It’s finally a new era for Houston Dynamo FC. Former goalkeeper Pat Onstad was hired as the club’s general manager and Paulo Nagamura was brought in as the new head coach. The club also hired its first technical director in Asher Mendelsohn. Owner Ted Segal has begun to make his mark by bringing in the new staff and by opening his checkbook to sign striker Sebastian Ferreira for a club-record fee.
Houston Dynamo FC (2021: 6 wins, 12 draws, 16 losses/13th place in Western Conference)
Head coach: Paulo Nagamura
Key additions: F Sebastian Ferreira, D Zeca, GK Steve Clark, D Daniel Steres
Key losses: F Maxi Urruti, GK Marko Maric, M Boniek Garcia, D Maynor Figueroa, F Ariel Lassiter
Projected Best XI:
Best offseason move: Coming into the offseason, a pure number 9 was the biggest hole in a Dynamo roster with several of them. Rumors swirled about if the club would spend money and who might they spend it on, and owner Ted Segal made sure all those questions were answered. Houston signed Paraguayan forward Sebastian Ferreira from Club Libertad for a club-record transfer fee with reports putting it anywhere from four to seven million dollars. Ferreira has scored everywhere in his career, and he will be looked to keep the trend up to help Houston get back to winning ways.
Best reason to pay attention: Look, this team is not going to be great. This won’t be a team that runs up and down at break-neck pace, scoring goals at will. This also will not be the kind of team that grinds out 1-0 wins with lock-down defense. What is this team going to be then? That is a great question and the best reason to pay attention to the Houston Dynamo. What are Paulo Nagamura’s tactics going to look like? Will a DP forward in Sebastian Ferreira be able to score goals in Major League Soccer? What is Zeca going to bring to the team?
With new blood in charge from the owner to the GM to the coaching staff, there are so many questions to answer about this team as the 2022 season progresses. After so much deserved and sometimes undeserved criticism, the Dynamo are changing from top to bottom, from the owner to the coach to the players. The change is exciting and to witness it in real time is worth the watch.
The one glaring weakness: As much work that the new front office has been doing, and is still doing, this team has a lot of holes. Onstad and Nagamura have both mentioned the possibility of a winger and midfielder being added before the season starts. That timetable is looking unlikely now that we are just days away from Houston’s first game but, the wheels seem to be in motion. Getting this team back to the playoffs and then back to a perennial playoff team and eventually MLS Cup contenders is going to take time.
The adage says that Rome wasn’t built in a day and the Houston Dynamo aren’t going to be built in a day or even one season. It’s not going to be a quick fix and you know, that seems to be just fine with Dynamo fans. It’s ok because for the first time in a long time there is some hope in Dynamo-land. There are signs that things are being done the right way, that money is being spent to improve the roster and the experience for fans. “In Ted We Trust” is alive and well but give it some time.
One fact you can use to impress your friends: Last year the Dynamo won El Capitan, the replica 18th century mountain howitzer cannon given to the winner of the season series between Houston and FC Dallas, for the first time since 2017. The two teams met three times in 2021 with the first two matches ending in a draw and the Dynamo winning the final contest 3-2.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe character who most personifies this team: This isn’t an easy pick for the Dynamo because they’re very much a team in transition with untapped potential given new players to MLS, a new head coach, a new general manager, and a new owner. There’s a lot that can go right and a lot that might not go as expected. For the unexpected results, the hopeful, but angry fans – at least if last season is an indicator – Bruce Banner is an excellent choice.
The Dynamo can be a force in this league, if properly provoked, for better or worse. Whether that translates to a good Hulk or one that is completely destructive, we’ll have to wait and see. For now, the Dynamo are still Bruce Banner experimenting in the lab, hoping for the best.
Alternatively, for the real Marvel fans who would balk at the Dynamo being anywhere close to a Hulk character, we can just say Thor since he already plays for the team.