The Houston Dynamo held their opening day media session on Tuesday and by now you have read the plethora of articles talking about how excited the team is to start the season. Rather than regurgitate some of the same, here are some random observations from the opening day media session from someone who has attended all but a few.
1. This is Giles Barnes’ team
This team has a collection of veterans in Ricardo Clark, Oscar Boniek Garcia, and DaMarcus Beasley. It also has a collection of veteran foreign imports like David Rocha, Agus, and Raul Rodriguez. The team’s midfield is going to be built around new number ten; Cristian Maidana. A case could be made that any one of those players should be the team’s new captain.
But it’s Giles Barnes who has taken the reigns of this team. While there may be questions whether Barnes is better suited out on the left wing or at forward or whether he contributes enough defensively from a midfield position, there is no doubt that the team has fully gotten behind their new captain before the season kicks off.
2. 2015 brought a schism in the team
It appears there was a schism in the team last year. No one came out and said it, but multiple players talked about how much more of a team the Houston Dynamo are this year off of the field. Many credited new captain Giles Barnes for the change.
It partially makes sense that a schism would form when you hire a new manager and you have a significant amount of turnover from the prior year. It also seems likely that some of the moves this off-season may have had more to do with chemistry than on the field performance, fit in Owen Coyle’s system or a desire to be closer to family.
3. Draftees not yet signed
Draftees TJ Casner and Ivan Magalheas were not signed as of the media session. Why is that important? The Dynamo made moves (parting with Rasheed Olabiyi and off-loading Memo Rodriguez and Taylor Hunter to RGVFC) to open roster spots and it appeared they were set to sign the two new draft picks. However, the lack of a contract announcement for either leaves open the door that the Dynamo may fill those roster spots later.
Houston did just that with the acquisition of Collen Warner after the media session. They may sign one of the two later today or they may enter the season with an open international spot on the roster hoping to sign someone later this year.
4. The Citadel on Kirby
Rather than host the media session at BBVA, the Dynamo held it at a beautiful special event and wedding venue across the street from Houston Sports Park. In completely unrelated news, the Keeper Notes is looking for an official wedding venue sponsor if anyone knows of any venues interested.
Dwain Capodice is a freelance writer covering the Houston Dynamo and the US National Team for Keeper Notes and also serves as the Fan Blogger covering soccer at Chron.com. He can be reached on twitter @dcapodice or via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.