End of an Era in Houston?

Dominic Kinnear is the Houston Dynamo. Players have come and gone in the franchise’s 9 seasons but the head coach has remained a constant. A constant winner, having missed the playoffs in just one season. I have written about the Dynamo struggles this season and have always said that this is Kinnear’s team and he wasn’t going anywhere. With the recent report from Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, I am beginning to change my tune.

According to the article by Ortiz, the Dynamo front office has agreed to give Kinnear permission to leave after this season if the San Jose Earthquakes offer him a job. There have been rumblings about a possible return to San Jose for Kinnear, he grew up there and his family is there, but they seem to have gotten much louder. San Jose coach Mark Watson has struggled mightily this season and with the Earthquakes set to open a brand new soccer specific stadium next season, now is the team for the northern California franchise to make a splash.

If Kinnear was ever going to leave Houston, this is the perfect storm. The Dynamo have severely underachieved this season and look set to miss the playoffs, in a lackluster Eastern conference. The team hasn’t shown much growth, if any, in the past two seasons and if there was a time to make a change it would be right now. Assistant coaches Steve Ralston and Wade Barrett have been groomed by Kinnear and would seem to be the logical choices to take over the head job in Houston. Dash coach Randy Waldrum has spent the majority of his career in the women’s game and he wouldn’t leave the Dash “project” after just one season.

Looking outside BBVA Compass Stadium may be a bit more of a gamble. If a MLS assistant coach was to be promoted it would almost surely be Ralston or Barrett. If Kinnear left he would probably go under the agreement that one of his coaches take over.

A poor season for Houston, a poor season for San Jose, a new stadium being built. Most importantly, San Jose is home for Kinnear. He loves this city and this team and always speaks highly of both in press conferences. There’s only one MLS job that Kinnear would leave the Dynamo for. If Watson is let go, like many believe he will be, that one job will be open. If you ask me, Kinnear will go. He’ll go to San Jose and few in Houston will have any ill will towards him.

Sometimes you need new blood. Things grow stagnant and an injection of “new” is needed. I’m afraid the Dynamo have reached that point. Firing Kinnear in my opinion was never an option. He’s meant so much here and he deserved to go on his terms. His terms are now (about to be) on the table. 2015 will bring in two new MLS teams with Orlando City and New York City FC joining the league. 205 may also bring a new identity in Houston. Kinnear will always be Forever Orange. A new shade of orange in Houston is needed. It’s time for a new era.

(image courtesy of mlssoccer.com)

About Dustyn Richardson

Managing editor and Houston Dynamo writer for Total-MLS. Fan of all Houston sports teams and Manchester United supporter. Still angry at Bud Selig for moving the Astros to the American League.