The Houston Dynamo have not had the best of seasons in 2022. Despite being near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, Houston as a club and organization have done some positive things in 2022. Here are three of them.
First, the team owner, Ted Segal put his money where his mouth is to use the old cliche. He ponied up the big bucks for Sebas Ferreira, Coco Carrasquilla, and Hector Herrera. They also added other players who haven't quite worked themselves into the equation like Thiago and Beto Avila. They also have some like Nelson Quines who is yet to portray his skill set as hyped. The spending of money and for the most part wisely is a big contrast from how they did business under former general manager Matt Jordan. Imagine the team we might have if any of these three including Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas and Romell Quioto were still here?
“I am squarely focused on building a winning organization – both on and off the pitch," Segal said at his opening press conference as new owner of the Houston Dynamo FC. "As I get to know both teams, my primary objectives are to ensure they have the necessary resources to succeed at the highest level and to foster the Club’s connection to its community.
He has lived up to his word.
Second, the organization has made a dedicated step towards developing young first team talent in the MLS Next Pro League. They saw an opportunity to participate in something where first teamers who weren't getting a lot of playing time could stay sharp and players with an eye on making the first team could be developed. The moment also allowed for the team to be based at Houston Sports Park like the parent club which is an untold benefit. Here Segal also spent money. The signing of guys like Marcelo Palomino, Juan Castilla, Papa N'Doye, Talen Maples, Kyle Edwards and others attest to that. The Dynamo 2 produced the best defensive side in their league and earned a playoff berth in their inaugural season.
"Houston Dynamo 2 represents the completion of the Academy to Professional pipeline and puts the MLS system on par with some of the best leagues in the world," Houston Dynamo General Manager Pat Onstad described when announcing Houston's participation. "This team will provide opportunities for young and promising players such as Juan Castilla, Nico Lemoine, Daniel Rios, Ian Hoffman, and Marcelo Palomino to get regular playing time against high-level competition on a weekly basis, which is paramount to their development."
It definitely produced the development, the intensity and the competition at a whole new level.
Third, Onstad wasted little time in parting ways his first coach hiring in Paulo Nagamura. He gave the former MLS star the players and the time (although some would argue this point) to produce a winning formula. He dumped Nagamura on September 5th citing the lack of momentum from the team going forward towards next year. He installed Kenny Bundy who was in the midst of leading the Dynamo 2 side to the MLS Next Pro playoffs. Bundy stepped in and immediately the atmosphere changed (even if not openly admitted.) The team began playing with a renewed energy and commitment. At 2W-1D-1L heading into Sunday's finale, Bundy has the team doing what Onstad expected.
The Houston Dynamo FC has been on the downside for the better part of seven seasons plus. As 2022 comes to a close, Houston fans now have something to look forward to besides an increase in ticket prices, new seating and other PNC Stadium renovations.