2014 MLS Season Preview: Houston Dynamo Remain In Title Conversation
Consistency is the name of the game for the Houston Dynamo and they have relied on great play at home to be a perennial contender. This may have been one of the flashier offseasons in Houston in the recent history as they decided to part ways with mainstay center-back Bobby Boswell. Dynamo legend Brian Ching announced his retirement and took over the Houston Dash in the NWSL.
With Dom Kinnear at the helm and no CONCACAF Champions League, the Dynamo should again contend for a playoff position. If they make the playoffs, they are always a threat to win the MLS Cup.
The attack will come from many of the same cast of characters as last year. Will Bruin regressed heavily last year from his 2012 form, but will still be deployed as the Dynamo target forward. Giles Barnes was able to turn into an attacker from the midfield last year and will be looked at to find the spaces. Tony Cascio is making a great impression and scoring goals in the preseason and could be a key part to the attack for Houston in 2014.
Rookie forward Mark Sherrod was signed to a contract on Wednesday and will remain with the team. Omar Cummings should also see some time. The attack is the biggest concern for Houston, especially if Bruin can’t find the net.
Oscar Boniek Garcia expanded his worth last year, showing his defensive abilities. Still, he excelled on the offensive side with many key passes that spurred the Dynamo attack. Boniek Garcia will mostly likely miss time on international duty with Honduras this season.
Brad Davis will have an outside shot at Brazil, but still remains a major cog for Houston. He has four goals in the preseason, but is best known for delivery off his left foot. Veteran Ricardo Clark will be the other consistent midfield player.
The defense for of the Houston Dynamo should be good this year and will need to be if Houston struggle to score. Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor and Corey Ashe are sure starters. The other center-back position is coming down to friends Eric Brunner and David Horst. They split time this preseason, although Horst has gotten the longest look after a 72-minute performance in Carolina.
Tally Hall will be in goal as he started 43 matches across all competitions in 2013. Hall has a 8-4-3 career postseason record with 0.91 goals against average.
Having consistency can also mean that there are older players on the roster, so Houston will have to avoid injury. With fewer matches overall and the home-field advantage, Houston will once again challenge for a playoff spot in an improved Easter Conference. They should finish with 52 total points, which is one better than last year, with a 14-10-10 record. They will make the playoffs as the fourth or fifth seed but be bounced in the opening round.
Check back on Sunday to continue following our series previewing all 19 MLS squads’ seasons as first kick approaches on March 8 at CenturyLink Stadium. Also be sure check out the previous MLS previews.