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Houston Dynamo and MLS 2017 Predictions

Last year, the Keeper Notes crew took some major flack for their negative outlook on the Houston Dynamo after a relatively strong preseason.  My favorite prediction was my own that Owen Coyle would be the biggest disappointment entering the year. Sometimes a blind squirrel and nuts and whatnot.  Another extremely positive preseason for the Houston Dynamo and here are the Season Predictions for 2017:

Hal Kaiser

1.  What place do the Dynamo finish in the West?  8th place – yes, this is an improved team and I could easily see them finishing as high as 3rd or 4th if all goes well, but I suspect that the midfield will continue to be an Achilles heel and the back line will struggle with injuries. That said, I do think that this team is now genuinely a couple of players away from competing.

2.  Breakout player for Houston?  Cubo Torres – let’s face it, scoring a few goals automatically makes him the breakout player compared to his Dynamo history thus far.

3.  Dynamo Golden Boot Winner?  Mauro Manotas

4.  Dynamo MVP?  Ricardo Clark – until he shows signs of age, I’m going to keep on picking him

5.  Best Acquisition in the off-season?  AJ DeLaGarza – might not have been a flashy acquisition, but he should button down a right back spot that has been a weak point for a while now.

6.  Biggest Disappointment in Orange this year?  Juan David Cabaezas – In preseason, the guy looked like a walking red card. Predict “Red Card” Ricardo Salazar hands him one on opening night and it goes from there.

7.  Conference winners?  FC Dallas and Toronto FC

8.  Who wins MLS Cup?  Toronto FC

9.  Darkhorse team to make a run at MLS Cup?  I took Montreal Impact last year. Are they still a darkhorse? I’m sticking with them. 

10.  Any surprise or breakout player to watch in MLS?  In memory of Leo Ponce: Stephen Wondolowski

Houston Legend Leo Ponce. RIP Brother.

Dwain Capodice

1.  What place do the Dynamo finish in the West?  I guess I am the optimist this year for some reason.  I’ll go with 5th Place, but its highly possible the team flames out by May as Machado, Leonardo, and Cabezas struggle. First half of the season, the Dynamo play like the Montreal Impact.  Destroy and Counter.  Second half of the season, the Dynamo Front Office ponies up and secures the #10 they promised the Dynamo fans last year when they shipped out Giles Barnes.  I can dream, right?

2.  Breakout player for Houston? Agus.  I think he takes that starting spot from Leonardo or Machado by the end of May.

Agus has been an important part of improving Dynamo defensive performances at the end of 2016. Credit: Ray Escamilla

3.  Dynamo Golden Boot Winner?  Mauro Manotas.

4.  Dynamo MVP?  Tyler Deric.  Just a weird gut feeling he has a breakout year. (Editor’s Note: Again)

5.  Best Acquisition in the off-season?  AJ DeLaGarza 

6.  Biggest Disappointment in Orange this year?  Juan David Cabaezas.

7.  Conference winners?  Seattle is stronger than they were last year so it’s hard not to pick them.  I think Toronto and Giovinco finally get the job done though in the East.

8.  Who wins MLS Cup?  Toronto FC

9.  Darkhorse team to make a run at MLS Cup?  Kyle took my initial thought of a DC United team making a run.  So I’ll go with Atlanta United.  I know expansion teams have traditionally not fared too well, but it’s hard not to be a fan of what Atlanta is doing.  

10.  Any surprise or breakout player to watch in MLS?  Everyone always goes with the offensive players.  I’ll go with Walker Zimmerman.  If you weren’t paying attention last year, he was great so perhaps I am cheating a little bit.

Jen Cooper

1.  What place do the Dynamo finish in the West?   6th
2.  Breakout player for Houston?   Cubo!
3.  Dynamo Golden Boot Winner?  Quioto
4.  Dynamo MVP? Clark

Ricardo Clark celebrates a goal against FC Dallas. He’ll need a few more in 2017. Photo by Ray Escamilla

5.  Best Acquisition in the off-season?  Vicente Sanchez

6. Biggest Disappointment in Orange this year?  Too busy traveling the world following soccer like the She Believes Cup to be harsh on the Dynamo.  Did I mention that tomorrow Germany plays France and the US plays England?
7.  Conference winners?  Toronto & LA
8.  Who wins MLS Cup? Toronto
9.  Darkhorse team to make a run at MLS Cup?   Dynamo
10.  Any surprise or breakout player to watch in MLS?  I am too busy applying for the NWSL Commissioner position to answer all these questions.

Kyle Nowotny

1.  What place do the Dynamo finish in the West?  8th place

2.  Breakout player for Houston?  I want it to be either Memo Rodriguez or Christian Lucatero. Instead I’ll hope it will be Erick Torres.

3.  Dynamo Golden Boot Winner?  Mauro Manotas with 13 goals.

4.  Dynamo MVP?  Lets go with Mauro for being a dynamic striker the team has needed for a long time.

Mauro had an incredible finish to the 2016 season. Can he keep it up in 2017? Credit: Gia Quilap

5.  Best Acquisition in the off-season?  Romell Quioto looks like a real gem for the Dynamo. His pace and finishing will be crucial for the offense and I expect him to not only score quite a few goals but set up several himself.

6.  Biggest Disappointment in Orange this year?  DaMarcus Beasley. It will be a combination of age and injuries that will force him out of the lineup too much and his backup, Dylan Remick, won’t be able to fill in those huge shoes.

7.  Conference winners?  Toronto FC and FC Dallas.

8.  Who wins MLS Cup?  TFC with the league double.

9.  Darkhorse team to make a run at MLS Cup?  DC United. They’ve made several good acquisitions over the past 18 months and will close out RFK Stadium in style, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Expect them to lose to TFC in a tight Eastern Conference Championship.

10.  Any surprise or breakout player to watch in MLS?  Nemanja Nikolic for the Fire will turn out to be a very good pickup. The Hungarian striker is going to tear up the weaker defenses of the East. For Vancouver, their pickup for former Sounders striker Freddy Montero will be huge and help them to bounce back after a disappointing 2016.

 

Ray Escamilla

1.  What place do the Dynamo finish in the West?

In a place of despair with the growing pains of the new club; the Dynamo will finish two spots shy of the playoffs (8th place)

2.  Breakout player for Houston?

Christian Lucatero will undoubtedly have the most breakouts (acne, get it?).  Erick Torres will get a fresh start this season under Wilmer Cabrera.  By already shedding pounds in the off-season and getting his Whataburger fix out of his system, Torres is poised for a return of Chivas USA form and become the player Houston originally clamored for.

Erick Torres is primed for a breakout 2017 season. Right? Riiiiight? Photo by Nigel Brooks.

3.  Dynamo Golden Boot Winner?

From the glitz Hollywood to the swagger of the Bayou City, AJ De La Garza is the most likely to get a pair of Golden Boots.  But the most likely to surprise and get the scoring title is Alberth Elis.

4.  Dynamo MVP?

The departure of Owen Coyle will pay off rewards for years to come and deserves repeat nominations!  The hopeful MVP is Tyler Deric who will consistently stay between the pipes, continue Save of the Week wins, and get national team attention.

5.  Best Acquisition in the off-season?

To contrast the above’s departure of Owen Coyle and the bad position Wade Barrett was placed in, head coach Wilmer Cabrera will end up being the best acquisition.  An honorable mention will be AJ De La Garza from a leadership role that was vacated once Bobby Boswell left the team.

6.  Biggest Disappointment in Orange this year?

The jersey.  Maybe one day they’ll be bold enough to have Sporting KC designs instead of the uninspired ones.  I’m still disappointed they went away from the stadium skeleton design.

This may be the year that Damarcus Beasley finally calls it quits just like Claudio Reyna’s knees did at the World Cup with lingering knocks that never puts him at the level to be effective against speedy forwards

7.  Conference winners?

Will Bruin is swapping jerseys in ’17. Credit: Ray Escamilla

FC Dallas; Toronto FC

8.  Who wins MLS Cup?  

Toronto FC

9.  Darkhorse team to make a run at MLS Cup? 

LA Galaxy – They will make a big splash with Chicharito in mid-season.

10.  Any surprise or breakout player to watch in MLS?

Will Bruin will be the biggest acquisition which will single-handedly propel Seattle to the MLS Cup and Open Cup victories with his scoring prowess.  The Dancing Bear will change his nickname to the Scorching Bear because he’ll be so caliente.

Let us know what you guys think. Who is right? Who is wrong? Is Toronto really going to be as good as the crew thinks? Will AJ light up the right flank? Who do you think will be the MVP and LVP for the Dynamo? Let us know in the comment section or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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