Here are 3 players that we could see in the first team in a near future:
As you already know, the newly created MLS NEXT Pro league kicked off a few weeks ago. Two matches in and the boys of Houston Dynamo Dos are currently undefeated and have managed to not concede a goal. We know that coach Kenny Bundy’s team includes quite a few players who are signed with the first team including the likes of Xavier Valdez, Ian Hoffmann, Ethan Bartlow, Juan Castilla, Marcelo Palomino, Danny Rios, and Brooklyn Raines and all have a great possibility of featuring in Paulo Nagamura’s first team sheet.
The perfect example of course is Ethan Bartlow, who got his Major League Soccer debut against Inter Miami over the weekend due to injuries in the center back position. Bartlow had been consistently getting minutes during Dynamo Dos preseason and the home opener. Was his first appearance perfect? No. However, he did well in his role and helped the team get its first points on the road of the season.
Here are 3 players that you may not be aware of who are working hard with Dynamo Dos to sign a contract with Houston Dynamo FC.
Talen Maples, Center-back
Talen came to Dynamo Dos after spending the 2021 season playing for Toronto FC II, appearing in 19 matches and scoring 1 goal while with the USL League One’s team. Maples is one of the most experienced players in the team and has earned the captain’s armband with Dynamo Dos. He is a strong, vocal leader who is capable of organizing the back line. Even with a different center back, Sterling Penniston-John, who replaced Bartlow in their last match, Talen was crucial in maintaining the defensive group composure against a very good Quakes II team. If issues continue to arise in the center-back position for Nagamura, and Maples continues to play well, then there will be no surprise if he gets a go with the first team.
Mujeeb Murana, Right-back
Mujeeb comes to the team after playing his college years with the prestigious Saint Louis University. Murana, who is originally from Nigeria, spent a lot of his childhood in the Houston area, Missouri City to be accurate, and he attended Hightower High School before playing for the SLU Billikens. Jeebs has been in the Houston Dynamo academy system since the age of 12 years old. So far this season, we have seen him hold down the left side attack from the opposition. Standing at 6’2 tall, he isn’t your stereotypical right back. Jeebs has speed, power, and a soft touch on the ball which has helped him put a few opponents on skates. Even with the arrival of Zeca, the right back position may still be up for grabs, and if Nagamura likes what he seems from Jeebs in the upcoming fixtures for Dynamo Dos, there is always a possibility that he could see an opportunity come his way.
Papa N’Doye, Striker
Unless you watch every minute of every match including preseason of the Houston Dynamo, you may not have Papa in your radar. However, we got a glimpse of N’Doye during the preseason match that the Houston Dynamo played against the Colorado Rapids. He played a very good game against a very good opponent. Now with Dynamo Dos, the man from Senegal has been impressive, even scoring his first professional goal in what happened to be the game winner against Quakes II. Papa has a strong built in mix with good pace and a knack for goals. If he continues to find the net or at least be dangerous for the team, then surely coach Nagamura could be interested in his services especially if both Sebastian Ferreira and Thorleifur Ulfarsson continue their goal scoring drought.
Houston Dynamo 2 has a ton of talent in their squad, and expect for the team to push the first team in every joint practice. Seeing more players jump from the MLS Next Pro squad to the MLS team is something that every fan would want to be a normal thing especially with Houston natives who’ve weaved through the academy since a very young age.