Dynamo Dos gets set to renew its season this week after the FIFA break, It wasa welcomed break after the Dos had dropped their last two decisions coming in. Now with break ended, Dynamo Dos head coach Kevin Bundy talked about the road ahead.
The Dynamo Dos, the MLS Next PRO team of the Houston Dynamo FC prepares for its middle game of the season after opening 7W-3L-D. The team faces some stiff challenges as some of its key members will be moving on to play college ball. The ability to have such players is a blessing and a curse.
"Yeah, we're going to lose quite a few guys coming up in the next month, month and a half. Obviously, guys going to school," began Bundy. "You've got Bryce Barnum going to Duke. You've got Reese (Miller) going to Virginia. Eric Monge, a lot of these guys that are college bound and it just speaks to the pathway of some of these players. So, I think one of the positives of what we're doing right now is we've we have Kieran Sargent from Georgetown, who has just come off a Final Four run starting games as a freshman, he's back into training. And then we have Josh Hellenberger, who is going into his third year. He's actually transferred from Clemson to go to Akron. But two really good academy players that we had in the past years and didn't have this platform. So, you know, as we move guys on, we also bring guys back in that are going through that college process to evaluate and see where they are, how close they are to maybe continuing their growth and becoming a part of our project. But it's exciting for those guys to be able to go and play and play at a high level."
Just because these guys are gone to college, doesn't mean the cupboard will be bare for a Dynamo 2 team that is currently five points off the pace of the Columbus Crew 2 side. Houston will have plenty of firepower moving forward and build on a goal differential of plus six. Two of those players Pap N'Doye and Kyle Edwards are expectto play key roles up top.
Papa's form is starting to get there.," continued Bundy. "We have to remember sometimes these guys, they're used to college seasons and these college seasons, they play their 15-20 games in three months, and then they have the rest of the year to prepare for the next season. So, sometimes these seasons are a grind. It's part of the development process. What we saw in Papa at the beginning of the season and then obviously, as he's kind of grown into what a professional season looks like, and the demands that we put on him, because obviously, we are his biggest critic, minus himself, he's very self-reflective. These two players, I think, complement each other. Ithink they're a massive threat in this league. But there is a growth period of that. They do have to continue to get to know each other in a competitive game. At training, that's fantastic, but these games are the proving ground of how they can work together. Kyle could have very easily scored two goals in the first 20 minutes of the last game and then we saw what happens when you don't play. Obviously, the conditions were tough, but you know, 60 minutes plus was hard. He's gassed, and he's done what he can. So, we've really tried to continue to prepare him to be able to execute when you get into that game situation."
Another player that excites Bundy looking ahead is Jacob Evers. No matter where he is on the pitch he makes a difference. Much of what he does is ungearalded by most because its the little things that don't get into the stat box like finding the right guy for an outlet ball or delivering a service that eventually finds its way to the back of the net.
"I thought Jacob Evans was one of our best players," gushed Bundy. "He kind of goes unnoticed sometimes because he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, but he's a key player in our attack. No matter where he plays, if he plays in the midfield or if he plays out wide as an inverted winger, you know, he's a really key part of the distribution to get that final product. So, I'm excited.
With a trio like this and then guys like Beto Avila, Juan Castilla, and Daniel Rios training up with this first team and then learning how to put it into a game situation for the Dynamo Dos makes for a win-win situation.
Bundy's challenges are endless. He and his staff continue to look for players to add and develop for the Academy. Players currently brought in potential and then developed into delivering on that potential.
It's a fine balance because you know, part of developing a team and a club is obviously always keeping your eyes out for young players that have potential that we might be able to get. So, Micael was a massive target for us. I think everybody has seen what benefit he's brought. You look at the guys that we brought in, we're looking for players like that all the time. And, you know, we have weekly scouting meetings. Obviously, there's a lot of factors that go into bringing a player, from a budget, from a roster standpoint, from international spots, from potential to progress to the first team. So the one thing thatwe are really proud of is we are bringing in a lot of guys to look at and you know, some of these players, they might be college players that are going to go into the draft next year, they might be young college players that we need to keep our eye on down the road, they may be young players that are American that had been overseas playing internationally and now they've come back and they weren't they want to get into the league. So, at any given week we have four or five guys in where we're taking a lookat it and then they go into a bucket of what's the timeframe on, if we're interested, when they would join the team. So, it's an ongoing process but even more ongoing than that is you know, this week is the second week in a row that we've had more than four players from the under 17s into the first team. We had a training session last week. Where we had Leo Gitau, Andre Gitau's, his brother, who, I think he's just turned 14. We had him into training. And people may say, 'Oh, well, he's 14.' The kid's excellent, you know, and he deserves an opportunity to train, and he did fine. So part of our process, too, is developing these guys inside our club. We've seen that with Diego Rosas, we've seen that with Lalito (Moreno), who's been in. We played 11 v 11 yesterday, and Lalito was one of the most impactful players in the field. And that's fantastic for him. He's going to play with the 17s tomorrow in a friendly game, but continuing to have that progression of those players. So not only are we looking outside, we're always looking to strengthen the roster, but we're also making sure that what we have in house is getting opportunities as well."
The Dos regardless of the challenges will continue to put out the best best product given what they have to work with each week. It's a great marriage between Bundy and Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura to create the next great XI for the Houston Dynamo FC team.
The one thing you're always going to get from the staff and from the players in this club, is that we never can be satisfied with the results or the way things are going," cncluded Bundy. "We have to continue to improve. A big part of that is Paulo (Nagamura) has been excellent bringing guys into the first team environment. He's been fantastic about guiding a lot of our high-potential young players on Dynamo 2 in a way that they're getting opportunities that progress them when they come back down.