It is just a matter of time until the Houston Dynamo announce their year-end roster moves ahead of the 2023 MLS season. The squad will have some holes in each position group to be filled during both winter off-season as well as the summer transfer window. Today, we will go over some potential candidates that could strengthen the attacking group.
The Sebastian Ferreira signing in the off-season ended up being a good one after all. Ferreira is a natural born scorer when he finds himself near the opponent’s goal. The addition of Thor Ulfarsson also boosted the striker position and heck, even the winger position since the Icelander spend plenty of time out on the flank. However, the real issue in 2022 and even the year before that, is the lack of dangerous play from out on the wings. The team lacked the aggressive runs and crosses being flooded to the six yard box for the strikers to find. Here are some players who could potentially come in and spark the attack.
Derrick Etienne Jr. – Haiti, 25 years old
Derrick seems to be entering the prime of his career. His contract ended with the Columbus Crew and he will likely be moving to a new team and a new challenge next season. He finished the 2022 season with 9 goals and 6 assists. While these are not the biggest stats in the league, what makes Etienne an intriguing prospect to bring to Houston is that every season he gets better and better. He has the speed, agility, and skill to go around defenders and create dangerous attacking plays. He falls in the 99th percentile in touches in the attacking penalty area with 5.80 per game. Check out the rest of his numbers on fbref.com. Hopefully, general manager Pat Onstad didn’t burn any bridges with Etienne and pursues him to sign with Houston.
Diego Rubio - Chile, 29 years old
The Colorado Rapids have a club option to keep Diego Rubio around for another year, however, he might be looking at a new opportunity and money elsewhere in the league. Rubio has been a manace in the attacking third for a few years now. The man from Santiago de Chile helped the Colorado Rapids get back into the playoff hunt and they even finished in first place in the Western Conference in 2021. Diego is a versatile player that can play alone upfront, as a second striker, on the wing, and as a 10. He has the ability to play with his back towards goal and open the field for his teammates to push through. Rubio could likely pair up well with Sebas and make Houston dangerous in front of the opposition goal.
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez - USA, 20 years old
It is really weird that the homegrown is likely out with the Seattle Sounders, similar to Marcelo Palomino with Houston. Alfonso saw most of his playing time in MLS NNEXT Pro with Tacoma Defiance. He led the league in goals for a good chunk of the season where he appeared in 23 matches, scoring 9 goals and assisting on 4 more. Ocampo-Chavez is another interchangeable player who can be moved around in the attacking third of the field. He would be kind to the salary cap and wouldn’t require an international roster spot.
Tyler Boyd - USA, 27 years old
Anyone remember Tyler Boyd? He was poised to take American soccer by storm as a dubbed wonder kid. Tyler was called up to the USMNT by Gregg Berhalter back in 2019 and even got to compete with Team USA during the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has been in Turkey for the last 4 years, scrapping for playing time with teams like Ankaragucu, Besiktas, Sivasspor, and Caykur Rizespor. As of today, he has appeared in a total of 121 matches, scoring 17 goals and assisting on 8. Boyd is an explosive winger that isn’t afraid to dribble past defenders and swing a ball in towards the opponent’s box. His contract is set to expire in 6 months and could be coming to MLS next season.
Diego Lainez - Mexico, 22 years old
Lainez was rumored in the summer to be a target for the Dynamo. However, per sources, Real Betis and the Dynamo couldn’t come to an agreement. Diego was then loaned out to SC Braga in Portugal, and though he was received with much praise, he has quickly found himself out of favor with the coaching staff and onto the bench. His contract ends in 6 months and he will likely be ending his European dream. At 22 years old he still holds plenty of potential, but like other young players, he was likely not ready to make the jump to Europe. The Houston possibility got closed once already, why not try again and get the Mexican winger again?