It’s that time of year again. The Houston Dynamo kicked off their 2014 preseason on Monday, January 27 with their first training session at Houston Sports Park. With the core of the Dynamo intact, head coach Dominic Kinnear will look to sort out some final pieces prior to the first game of the season on March 8 against the New England Revolution at BBVA Compass Stadium.
While a few players who donned the orange last year are gone, the club has made moves to address nearly every loss.
Bobby Boswell, a staple in the Dynamo defense, is off to D.C. United after being selected in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Boswell’s departure leaves a big hole to fill, both on the field and in the locker room. Houston’s first offseason move was a trade for David Horst, a central defender capable of filling in for Boswell. The Dynamo sent Portland their fourth round MLS SuperDraft pick for Horst, which was a good deal on both fronts.
Horst will likely battle Eric Brunner for the starting spot in the backline. Brunner filled in admirably for Jermaine Taylor who missed the end of the season with injury.
In the midfield, Houston is set to be well taken care of in terms of depth. Andrew Driver explored other options after Houston declined his option at the end of 2013, but ultimately wanted to remain with the Dynamo and re-signed last week. Additionally, the club made Major League Soccer history by completing the league’s first ever loan deal. Tony Cascio played sparingly with Colorado Rapids last season and will join the Dynamo on a one year loan. In return, Houston sent Colorado an international roster spot for the term of the deal.
Here are Houston’s additions prior to the season (as of January 27):
|David Horst||Central Defender||Trade with Portland|
|Tony Cascio||Midfielder||Trade with Colorado|
|AJ Cochran||Central Defender||MLS SuperDraft (Generation Adidas)|
|Mark Sherrod||Forward||MLS SuperDraft|
|Michael Lisch||Goalkeeper||MLS SuperDraft|
Of the three draftees, AJ Cochran is guaranteed to make the squad for the upcoming season due to his deal with Generation Adidas. Mark Sherrod and Michael Lisch will both be playing to earn a contract with Houston during the preseason.
In addition to the players above, three players not signed to contracts showed up at Dynamo practice on Monday. Euan Holden was listed on the preseason roster as a guest, while Houston has invited San Jacinto College and Austin Aztex product Sito Seoane as the only trialist.
Left back Mike Chabala is in camp as well, and Keeper Notes has confirmed with the player he is in talks for a Dynamo return this season. The preseason roster does not list Chabala as a trialist or guest, although Chris Canetti referred to him as the latter.
The Dynamo will have a full preseason with several scrimmages against their Academy and a host of Major League Soccer clubs. A special game that is sure to attract attention is a scrimmage against the newest Dynamo partner – USL Pro’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds on February 19.
The Riverhounds will make Houston their training ground in mid-February ahead of their 2014 season and play friendlies against the Dynamo, the U-18 Academy, and Houston Baptist University.
Here is the full schedule of preseason matches (all times Central, home games in bold):
- Wednesday, January 29 (3 pm) | Dynamo Academy | Houston Sports Park
- Sunday, February 2 (11 am) | Colorado Rapids | Houston Sports Park
- Wednesday, February 5 (3 pm) | Portland Timbers | Tucson, AZ
- Saturday, February 8 (4 pm) | San Jose Earthquakes | Tucson, AZ
- Monday, February 10 (11 am) | Vancouver Whitecaps | Tucson, AZ
- Saturday, February 15 (10 am) | Houston Baptist University | Houston Sports Park
- Wednesday, February 19 (11 am) | Pittsburgh Riverhounds | Houston Sports Park
- Saturday, February 22 (4 pm) | D.C. United | Charleston, SC (Carolina Challenge Cup)
- Wednesday, February 26 (4 pm) | Seattle Sounders | Charleston, SC (Carolina Challenge Cup)
- Saturday, March 1 (6:15 pm) | Charleston Battery | Charleston, SC (Carolina Challenge Cup)
The scrimmages are open are to public.