- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 14, 2008
- 4 Comments
Today could be a light day on my part, its Friday and my school (WVU) is in the middle of their conference tournament in basketball (yes it is March and I do love my NCAA basketball). But as things break I will have them for you as normal here today. I also wanted to continue on my team-by-team season previews. Today we get the defending champions (two-time rather) Houston Dynamo.
2007 Record and Finish: 15-8-7, 52 pts., 3rd overall, 2nd in the west, MLS Cup champions
Incoming: Bobby Boswell (trade with DC), Geoff Cameron (SuperDraft), Johnny Alcaraz (Supplemental Draft), Kieran Hall (Supplemental Draft), Tony Caig (transfer), Franco Caraccio (transfer), Kyle Brown (claimed off waivers)
Outgoing: Ryan Cochrane (Expansion Draft), Zach Wells (trade with DC), Joseph Ngwenya (transfer), Nate Jaqua (transfer), Paul Dalglish (waived)
Questions Going Into 2008:
1. Who will score the goals this season?
Probably the one question on everyone’s mind right now with this club. Who (other than Brian Ching) will score goals now that Jaqua and Ngwenya are gone? In the first couple preseason games that the Orange have played in they haven’t looked all that great on offense. Ching has done alright, De Rosario has done alright in his own way, but guys like Chris Wondolowski and newcomer Franco Caraccio have to step up and contribute right away this season.
I don’t look for Houston to make any more moves at the moment unless they can find that trade within the league like they did last year in getting Jaqua and Ngwenya. I recall last year we had the same question about this club going into the season and Dominic Kinnear answered it for us with blockbuster trades that really proved to be a difference maker for the Dynamo.
2. But, does Kinnear have anything left to trade this time around?
That may be the toughest part. I honestly don’t know if anyone will be willing or stupid enough to trade with Houston this season like the last couple of years. Don’t forget, they also landed Richard Mulrooney in a deal with Toronto that really helped out their defensive midfield late in the season. Kinnear was able to add to his defensive depth this offseason with trading for Bobby Boswell, which should help out the Boz’s career down in Houston. As we have seen before with these trades to Houston, a fresh start always helps out.
Thing is if this club struggles or has injury problems early on or before the All-Star break, who will they then trade to help out? They have plenty of depth in the midfield and in defense so that may be the answer there but they already are without draft picks, having already traded their second and third-round draft picks in 2009’s draft.
I think if it comes down to it, Kinnear will part with that first round pick if it helps land a player that proves to be the difference of winning another MLS Cup.
3. Does this club have the gas in the tank to get the three-peat?
Depth has been their bread and butter in the last two seasons but with more games this year, you just don’t know if their depth is deep enough to carry them to another Cup. Right now I still think they are a striker away from being about to win the MLS Cup again. But having said that, the MLS season is long and we have seen before that you don’t have to have the best season to win the MLS Cup. Ask the LA Galaxy who were 8th in the standings in 2005 and won the Cup that year. If this club gets to the playoffs, which I am sure they will, they will have the best shot at winning it again as long as all parties are healthy again.
Their experience is more than any other club right now in the league and that is something that no one can take away from them.
4. Is it impossible to dream of the Dynamo winning the MLS Cup, US Open Cup, SuperLiga, and the CONCACAF Champions Cup all in one year?
Its not entirely impossible but I think with the lack of scoring up top its not going to happen.
First they won’t win the US Open Cup because they are like most MLS clubs who never give anything into that Cup anymore. SuperLiga is a maybe since they have some home games, but that group is tough and that game in DC will decide their fate in the group. The CONCACAF Cup depends on the draw, simple as that.
Could they win all four? Sure but I wouldn’t place any bets in Vegas on it. I think a club like DC is more likely to win multiple titles this season, not Houston.
5. How big of a gamble is Franco Caraccio for Dominic Kinnear?
Its odd to see Kinnear take a gamble on such an unknown player like Caraccio. But I think with the way Kinnear deals this is could be a really nice gamble if he adapts to the MLS quickly. He is still very young at 21-years-old but he has been a reserve for most of his professional career in Argentina so we really don’t know how he will adapt to the MLS. That’s a gamble that Kinnear is hoping to pay off in a big way though given the lack of depth up top right now.
If this kid comes out and meets the expectations that he will have then you can pretty much bet that Houston will be in LA playing for their third straight MLS Cup this year.
2008 Season Outlook:
Its hard to go against Houston right now in the means of repeating for a third time as MLS Cup champions. Most of the depth is there from the last couple years, but the only thing missing is another scorer with Brian Ching up top. As long as either Caraccio or Wondolowski step up and guys like Stuart Holden, Cory Ashe, and Patrick Ianni continue to progress in their young careers, the Dynamo will be fine and will easily be in the thick of things out west.
If their defense continues to play as they did last year, don’t even second guess them reaching a MLS Cup again here.
Injuries will hurt this club though if they aren’t careful but the depth is fine in most places so it shouldn’t hurt them too bad if it comes to that.
Kinnear is one of the best coaches in the league, if not the best right now, which has to count for something here as well. The questions up top are still going to be there until Kinnear makes a trade or someone steps up and answers them for the Dynamo. I think they are still a striker away from really doing damage in this league and in all the other competitions that they have to play in.
A three-peat isn’t unlikely here at all, I won’t cave in just yet and say it will happen but I am very close to doing so. I just need some more convincing here on their part in their scoring to make me cave in to that prediction.