With yesterday’s loss at home to DC United, the Dynamo were officially eliminated from making the playoffs. This marks just the second time in the franchise’s nine year history that the team failed to make the postseason. The window for this team has come and gone. Head coach Dominic Kinnear is likely headed back to San Jose and the roster is in desperate need of an overhaul.
The first step in changing the roster will be league mandated. With expansion teams Orlando City and
New York City FC joining the league in 2015, Major League Soccer will hold an expansion draft on
December 10. Each current MLS team can protect 11 players on their current roster. Homegrown
players and Generation Adidas players are automatically protected and are not included in that 11.
Orlando and NYC will take turns picking 10 players each.
Jason Johnson and AJ Cochran are both Generation Adidas players and are protected. Both are
promising young players. Johnson needs more time to develop but these are players you wouldn’t want
to get rid of even if they weren’t automatically protected. The same goes for homegrown player Bryan
Salazar. The teenager has yet to see any time on the senior team in MLS play but he has the potential to
be a star. Hopefully we begin to see him blossom in 2015.
Which players the Dynamo protect will go a long way in shaping the roster for the future. So which 11
players should they protect? Here are my thoughts:
Protected: Tyler Deric
Unprotected: Tally Hall, Michael Lisch
Deric has been the Dynamo keeper of the future sometime and the future is now. With Hall’s ACL injury it will be tough to seem him ready for the start of the 2015 season. Third stringer Lisch is expendable as third string keepers can be found almost anywhere.
Protected: DaMarcus Beasley, Kofi Sarkodie
Unprotected: Eric Brunner, Corey Ashe, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor
Sticking with the theme of a young team, Sarkodie is the best fullback on the team. Beasley was brought in for his experience and veteran leadership and the Dynamo will need that going forward. Since Ashe plays the same position as Beasley it made it easier to leave him unprotected. Leaving all the centerbacks available is risky but Brunner, Horst, and Taylor are all similar players and whoever is left after the draft will be able to pair with Cochran next season in the center of the Houston defense. Arena is young and if he is not drafted could see some time next year. Protecting him over some of the other players just didn’t seem logical.
Protected: Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, Alex Lopez, Servando Carrasco
Unprotected: Ricardo Clark, Andrew Driver, Tony Cascio, Brian Ownby
Davis, Boniek, and Garrido all played in the World Cups and are the heart of the Dynamo midfield. Ricardo Clark is a key veteran leader on this team but it’s time to move in another direction and get more young talent in the lineup. Carrasco was eventually brought in to be Clark’s replacement in my opinion and he will take over that role in 2015. Ownby was another tough one to leave out as it was betwee him and Carrasco for that last spot. I like the central midfield player a little better in the makeup of a team which is why I left Ownby off. Driver is a journeyman who will likely come back to Houston if he isn’t taken by Orlando or New York City.
Protected: Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Mark Sherrod
Unprotected: Omar Cummings
Cummings time in Houston has come and gone. Barnes and Bruin have both scored 10 goals this season and will be the starters in 2015. Sherrod showed a lot of promise in his rookie season before he injured his ACL. A veteran forward will likely be brought in to back up Barnes and Bruin until Sherrod is fully healed and back ready to play.
Knowing how MLS operates, some of the rules on who can and can’t be protected will likely change between now and December. This was my best guess at what I would do. If you think I’m crazy, feel free to send me a tweet. Whatever happens, it’s time for the Dynamo to start fresh in 2015, from the head man down to the players on the field.
(image courtesy of Karren Warren/Houston Chronicle)