The Houston Dynamo announced the signing of free agent left back Brad Smith on Friday evening. The signing comes ahead of the opening of training camp on Sunday morning.
Smith comes with accolades as an Australian international and an MLS Cup winner in 2019 with the Seattle Sounders which Houston emphasized in the announcement. Smith, though, is coming off an ACL injury. Make no mistake, this signing is a project and not someone who can step in and make an immediate impact. Houston needs impact players.
The other problem with this signing is it continues a trend of signings that are either connected to the Columbus Crew where Dynamo GM Pat Onstad served before returning to Houston or DC United where current Dynamo head coach Ben Olsen and Onstad were together. BeforeFriday's announcement, Houston had added former Columbus midfielder Artur, former Crew backup keeper Andrew Tarbell to go along with former DC United coach Ben Olsen, and former Columbus Crew coaches Adin Osmanbasic and Tim Hanley. Yes, Osmanbasic has also been the Dynamo U-17 Academy coach the last two seasons so not quite a direct connection but a connection nonetheless. Hanley was Onstad's goalkeeping coach in 2006. They were both together with the Crew in 2020. Believe it or not, Houston has a 62 year old goalkeeping coach. This is no joke.
And now comes the signing of Smith who is coming off a knee injury in the prime of his career and Houston was the only one interested. It appears to be another toss it on the wall and see if something good comes of it. The ACL injury which happened in early July of last season means that Smith will not be available until April at the earliest. The 28 year old had arrived from Seattle after DCU had cleared spaced by sending Kevin Paredes to Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg. He had 14 starts in 16 appearances before the injury and now he is cast aside. Considering that Smith cost DCU $750,000 in general allocation money and had started 49 of 63 matches in Seattle prior to arriving at the Red and Black, why don't they want him anymore? That's a lot of money to give up on less than a year after the fact. One would think DCU would want to see what they had before they dump in. What was there to lose by having come to camp and compete?
Only time will tell if this move pans out in the next two years and the club will be exercising its options for 2025 and 2026.