Part two of our series takes a look at the Houston Dynamo's expenditures on the defensive line and its goalkeepers. With new ownership in charge of the direction of the Houston Dynamo, they are spending money and trying to make this a better product on the pitch. Is it working? Is the money they are spending well spent on their goalkeeping and defense. Let's take a look.
The Houston Dynamo have never been big spenders until Ted Segal took charge and in so many words said things are going to be different. The old cliche says that defense wins championships. The Houston Dynamo backline has not been a quality group as a whole for some years. Although some changes have been made in the past offseason, the defense through 14 matches has remained pretty much the same. So back to the question...is this money well spent?
Houston's defense accounts for 42% of the team's current payroll. With two of their biggest earners in Teenage Hadebe and Tim Parker, they have centerpieces in the prime of their careers. The jury can still be out on Hadebe, the Zimbabwean international, since he has only played 10 games for Houston but at 6'2 he is a presence in the middle of the box.
Tim Parker, also a million dollar defender, has taken control of the defense with Hadebe in the middle. It's been awhile since Houston can say they had two real central defenders bit they have them now and they are worth every penny.
Throw in Adam Lundvkist for a bargain price of less than $350,000 and an even better bargain in the Brazilian Zeca and you can see how the Dynamo defense is shaping up for the long run. In addition, you still have the rookie Ethan Bartlow and Sam Junqua in his just his third year still learning the ropes. There will still be ups and downs with the backline as it matures but with these five its moving in the right direction.
Now let's talk about the goalkeeping. It's Steve Clark the aging veteran and Michael Nelson who is still waiting for his chance to be the number one. It is safe to say that the solution in the nets has yet to be found. With a goal differential of zero, it's a position that might be moving in the right direction consider the previous three years. Last year topped possibly the worst year in franchise history with a minus 18 goal differential so really no where to go but up.
The real question for the keepers is whether or not Clark is worth a half million dollars between the pipes. Clark is currently the fourth highest paid keeper in the league and yet his performance is way behind players like Andrew Tarbell of Austin FC who makes half his money and has a goal differential of plus 10 for the second year team. Heck we could still have Joe Willis as lout last line of defense and spend less with similar results. There are more examples but the idea is simple. Clark is not the answer at 36 years of age. Spend less on your netminder and use the money elsewhere like midfield.
All in all, one must say the team has spent well on defense but lacks at the final spot in the net.