We’re getting close to the end of another Major League Soccer season where the Houston Dynamo fail to appear in the postseason. It’s been a year of rebuilding in Houston and there may be more of the process ahead in the next year with a new head coach coming in. General manager Pat Onstad told Glenn Davis on Soccer Matters last night that the Dynamo have their three Designated Players in place next season in Hector Herrera, Sebas Ferreira, and Coco Carrasquilla. There will be allocation money available to sign players and the new CBA in MLS brought about free agency.
MLS players negotiated new free agency rules in the last Collect Bargaining Agreement, lowering eligibility standards to include more players, removing the cap on the number of free agents a team could sign, and eliminating player exclusions based on salary. Players are now eligible for free agency at 24 years-old with 5 years of service in MLS. The Players’ Association published the list of players who will be free agents in the upcoming offseason. Some of these players have since signed new contracts but you can see the whole list here.
With no DP spots available, the Dynamo will be looking at many of the roster mechanisms like re-entry draft and free agency to continue adding quality to the roster. Keep in mind, the players on this list are free agents, so they could be open to joining other teams for whatever they’re looking for at this point in their career, but Houston is an option. Let’s look at five players that the Dynamo could look at in free agency.
Derrick Etienne – Columbus Crew
The Haitian international began his career with the New York Red Bulls and had a short loan stint at FC Cincinnati. Etienne has spent the last three seasons with Columbus and has blossomed into a complete winger. Etienne has six goals and five assists this season in just over 2,000 minutes. Even more impressively, Etienne has 69 shot-creating actions this season, averaging three per 90 minutes. This is an area that the Dynamo have been sorely lacking in this season, in getting Sebas Ferreira opportunities. Etienne is right-footed and has played mostly on the left-wing under Caleb Porter this year, cutting in and creating chances. Etienne turns 26 in November and still has a lot of his prime ahead of him.
Wil Trapp – Minnesota United
Trapp is a true ball-winning midfielder that would greatly improve the Dynamo midfield. With a player like Trapp sitting deep as a defensive shield, it would allow Coco and HH free reign to get forward and control the attack. Just have a look at Trapp’s defensive numbers and the percentile he is in compared to other MLS players in each category.
Trapp will be 30 at the beginning of next season but his skillset, along with his leadership abilities, would be a big addition to a team trying to get back to the postseason.
Alex Muyl – Nashville SC
The Nashville SC winger turns 27 on Friday. While he may be called a winger on websites, Muyl can play a number of positions. Just this season he has lined up at left midfield, right midfield, center midfield, defensive midfield, and wing back. The New York City native has two goals and two assists this year, but his primary role of a defensive winger makes him one of the best in MLS. He ranks in the 90th percentile or higher of wingers in tackles, blocks, clearances, and the 86th percentile of aerials won. While still in his mid-20s, Muyl has vast experience in MLS and won a Supporters Shield in 2018 with the New York Red Bulls.
Joao Moutinho – Orlando City SC
The number 1 overall pick in the 2018 SuperDraft, Moutinho will enter free agency this summer with the chance to keep developing as a player. Moutinho turns 25 in June and has started 25 games for Orlando this season. Adam Lundkvist is likely the starting left back again this season, but he could leave himself as a free agent. Another left-footed fullback could be a good addition for a team that always tests its depth. Moutinho is a very good tackler and can get forward into the attack seamlessly. He would have no problem stepping right in as a starting fullback and is young enough to hold that position down for years to come.
Alexander Callens - New York City FC
Callens is one of the best center backs in MLS and he is going to demand big money to sign. He won MLS Cup with NYCFC in 2021 and is now poised to cash in. Callens is 30 but spending big money on a center back could improve a team like Dynamo in a big way. Daniel Steres is out of contract and the big contracts of Tim Parker and Teenage Hadebe could be shopped this offseason. If Parker or Hadebe or moved, would the front office once again spend big money on a center back? Callens would be worth it.
Who would you like to see the Dynamo try and sign this offseason? Let us know in the comments.