- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 15, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 MLS Season Previews, Features
Alright, we’re back on the 2013 MLS season preview train this afternoon. We’re also staying in the Lone Star State and will be diving into the two time Eastern Conference champions, the Houston Dynamo.
Dominic Kinnear’s squad has been so close the last two seasons but just haven’t been able to overcome the LA Galaxy in both MLS Cup trips. Kinnear has gone out this winter and restocked his lineup to compete again in MLS and in the CCL.
Has Kinnear done enough to keep the Dynamo as one of the league’s elite? We’ll soon find out.
2012 MLS Record: 14-9-11 (fifth in Eastern Conference), 53 points
D Eric Brunner (12/3/12 – trade from Portland)
F Omar Cummings (12/23/12 – trade from Colorado)
F Jason Johnson (1/17/13 – SuperDraft)
F Bryan Salazar (2/14/13 – Homegrown)[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]OUT:
M Colin Clark (12/3/12 – out of contract)
D Andre Hainault (1/10/13 – out of contract)
M Josue Soto (1/24/13 – waived)[/twocol_one_last]
Key Questions for 2013
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]“We got a taste last year – well, these guys got a taste the last two years – so we want to make that happen. It’s a long season, though, so digging into the brains of everybody right now will be a little too much. But it’s definitely in the back of your mind.” – Ricardo Clark on reaching another MLS Cup. [/quote] 1. Is the depth actually there? Kinnear had to get depth last year for his CCL run and with another trip on the way this season you have to wonder if the four players in will be enough? To be honest it should be as they do have an unsigned draft pick in Jimmy Nealis. Looking at their roster they are strong in about every area of the field and this winter they got deeper up front with the additions of Omar Cummings and rookie Jason Johnson. If I had to pick on one area of concern it would be their outside back depth. Nealis will be fine in time but he is only a rookie. The loss of Andre Hainault will be a bigger one should injuries come into play with their back line.
2. Can Omar Cummings thrive in Houston? Absolutely. I love this move for both Cummings and the Dynamo. It will be interesting to see where exactly he fits in their 4-4-2 set up. What Cummings has had little of in his MLS days is a midfield that can truly set him up in the manner that Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia can. I don’t think that Cummings will be a Golden Boot candidate but given the time and the abilities of his midfield and strike partner Will Bruin, he’ll certainly do very well in orange.
3. How important is the consistency factor in Houston? One thing I see when I look at the Dynamo and what they’ve done this winter is simple. They’ve kept it short, sweet and to the point. They got deeper where they needed to be, added offense with Cummings and kept the band together. The lack of roster turnover in MLS is a key ingredient in winning and getting to a MLS Cup. Kinnear knows all about those two things and he has the team to do it yet again. I don’t think they’ll win the Eastern Conference regular season title but as we all know, it doesn’t matter until you get into the playoffs. That is when the Dynamo have proven to be winners time and time again.
Breakout Player for 2013
Giles Barnes – It may be tough to say it will be a breakout year for him considering his history in the game. The 25-year old has been a professional since he was 17 years old. But I think we’ll see big things out of him this year as he will be the guy in the middle of the midfield that helps take pressure off Davis and Garcia.
Predictions for 2013
– Houston will come close in the CCL quest. It won’t be easy given the fact that they open soon with Santos Laguna. But my gut tells me that they pull off an upset in the quarterfinals and make a solid run in the CCL this spring. I may be crazy thinking that but I really see Houston as the one MLS club that has a decent shot at it.
– Dynamo will go unbeaten at home again. Let’s face it, when you dominate the way the Dynamo do at home, you go places. Houston has been consistently one of the best home clubs in MLS over the last few years, and I see that trend continuing.
– The Dynamo will land a DP in the summer window. Just like they did with Garcia last year, the Dynamo will hit another home run in the DP game this summer. Possibly another Central American? We’ll see.