The Houston Dynamo entered November still searching for a head coach and some key players to add to the roster. They ended the month with a new head coach, a couple of solid bench players and a flurry of moves that left fans scratching their heads.
Three days into the month, the Dynamo made the first of mad interesting and confusing moves. They announced the signing of Daniel Steres to a contract extension. The veteran defender appeared in just 18 games for the Dynamo after playing 18 the previous year for the L.A. Galaxy. In his six MLS seasons, he has played in more than 20 games just once on his career. Making the move even more confusing was the description of Steres as a player "we need to build around veterans who best embody our values and understand how to win in this league." This according to Dynamo GM Pat Onstad who barely a week later would trade away defender Tim Parker who made 60 starts in 62 appearances and logged more than 5,000 minutes in two seasons.
Following the roster moves on November 7, the heralded the signing of new head coach Ben Olsen. Olsen, for the most part, has been a pretty solid MLS coach during his tenure with DC United. Two questions loomed with this signing. First, how much did the past relationship with current Dynam GM Pat Onstad play into the decision making. Second, and the bigger question of the two is whether Olsen can adapt his style to the strengths of his player. Primarily known more as a defensive minded coach, he has promised to play fast and up tempo. Only time will tell.
A day after the Olsen signing, veteran winger Fafa Picault was traded to Nashville SC. It was a move that was not surprising nor disappointing as Picault registered more negatives in his last couple of seasons and had netted just 18 goals in 61 games.
Two days after the Picault move, the Dynamo injected some more confusion into the month trading their defensive stalwart Tim Parker for cash to the expansion side St. Louis City FC. Parker who served as team captain during much of his tenure had finally given Houston a centerback that was reminiscent of Bobby Boswell. If Olsen is to build a competent defense, it will be without a centerback in the prime of his career.
Just ahead of the deadline on Nov 14, the team released midfielder Memo Rodriguez, Zeca, Darwin Ceren, and Quintero. No real explanations from the club except to say they were going to be making significant changes.
On November 22, the team announced the selection of forward Ifunanyachi Achara in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. The selection makes little sense. Since being drafted 25th overall by Toronto FC in 2020, the 25 year old has played just 30 games and was relegated to a bench role by TFC. His three goals and assist do not make form a promising addition. The team had seven days to make an offer, no announcement has been mad regarding a contractual agreement.
In the midst of selecting Achara, the team also announced the signing of Artur, a 26 year old midfielder from the Columbus Crew. Hmmm, do you see a trend? Artur was an up and comer for the Crew logging 82 minutes a match before the injury in 2021 which limited him to four games. In 2022, he was forced to split time with Aidan Morris and had just 20 starts and 24 appearances. Houston gambles once again on a player hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. Houston could have kept Memo who produces mmore offensively playing about the same number of minutes.
A day after that interesting selection, the Houston Dynamo announced the signing of goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell. Tarbell, in his time, was a pretty fair keeper. He also happen to harken back to Onstad's time with the Columbus Crew. Tarbell is not a projected starter with Steve Clark still on the roster. Since winning the MLS Cup in 2020with the Crew, Tarbell has made just five starts. No need for Tarbell when you had Michael Nelson on the squad.
Houston's November although filled with a lot of movement did nothing to excite the fans. They have a lot to prove if they expect to win over the fanbase.