The Houston Dynamo announced today that they have acquired midfielder Collen Warner in exchange for a conditional second round pick. Warner started 39 games in two seasons for Toronto FC.
Toronto FC acquired Will Johnson this off-season and already have Micheal Bradley. As a result, Warner became a bit of surplus to requirements in Toronto.
So why did Houston acquire Warner this late before the season starts?
The simple reason is that he fills a definite need. If you were to hold a gun to my head and ask me where the Houston Dynamo were thinnest yesterday, I would have said at defensive midfielder. They have Ricardo Clark and a collection of midfielders that just aren’t as good as Ricardo Clark at playing deep and breaking up attacks. That’s not a disservice to the quality an Alex, Zach Steinberger, or David Rocha may bring to the table, just a credit to the help Ricardo Clark provides a defense.
With defensively challenged Cristian Maidana and Giles Barnes likely starting together in midfield, the defense is going to need as much help as it can get. Collen Warner provides a stronger defensive option next to Ricardo Clark than may currently exist on the roster. The same logic applies if Ricardo Clark suffered an injury as Warner can fill in for Clark better than other options in terms of carrying some of the defensive weight of the team.
Second, there is very little cost. A conditional second round pick is nothing by MLS standards. A $150,000+ salary last year is also not outrageous for a player that has started in excess of a hundred games over seven years in MLS. Warner also has a history with Matt Jordan as both crossed paths in Montreal so he is a known entity.
Is this the sexiest move the Dynamo will make? No. But it is a move that can help this team. Especially if an aging Ricardo Clark suffered an injury at some point this season.