On Monday Kenny Bundy was named the interim head coach of the Houston Dynamo. On Wednesday afternoon, he met with media in that capacity and shared his thoughts about how he expects the team to look.
Bundy has been with the Dynamo organization since 2016. He is a known commodity that has proven he can develop players, he can build a positive culture and he wins. Given all that, he did his best to deflect any questions dealing with his ascent to the interim head coaching position.
“I will process this moment once I get done what I want to get done," began Bundy. "Which is really helping this group see out these last five games. It would be selfish of me to sit here and think about what I've done in the past and how fortunate I am for this opportunity. I want to keep my head down and I want to do everything I can for this city, the fan base and these players to see out these last five games. End it with the momentum that I think this group can end it with."
As for the team, here are three key questions and answers by Bundy about the next five games and the expectations gleaned from Wednesday's extensive news conference.
(on what will be different with this team under his leadership) “It's really important for the players to understand that the expectations are for us to be competitive in these five games. There is going to be a structure and there is going to be an outline that will benefit the players to see some of these games out. To get the results that maybe we've dropped. One thing this team has done is they've competed. Have we dropped some results? Yes, but they've competed. That is a piece that is really hard to engrain into a team. My job is to build a structure and an outline – maybe tweak a couple things that I've seen to get them over that final hump to get them those three points to see out some of these tougher games.”
This is Bundy. At every stop, he has been a winner. HIs teams have more then excelled. His teams feature a balance between offense and defense. They score almost at will and play defense just as enthusiastically. His leadership skills are the same no matter the level.
(on the opportunities for younger players) “Players earn opportunities to play. When I was with Dynamo 2, it's not as easy as having one or two or 10 good games with Dynamo 2. There's a lot that plays into it. There's a lot that the club looks into that, looking at the roster, we'll see who steps up and wants to compete. That's the most important thing with five games left, the competition of this group needs to continue to be intense. I laid that out to the players today, the way I coach it's about intensity and it's about competing and really fighting to be on that field. The door is open. These guys have opportunities, them hearing that and feeling that, it's exciting, but I also think that there are guys that are senior guys that also want that and see that and feel that. So, the tables open for these guys. Whoever is going to compete and give us the best chance on the weekend will play.”
One of Bundy's strengths is giving players a moment in the sun at the right time. His development of young players is what has brought him to this point. HIs ability to relate to each and them knowing his transparency is authentic has played into success.
(on what the team needs to be competitive) “Looking back is important, but what we're really trying to do is look forward. What we're going to bring is structure, we're going to bring a clear and concise structure. We're going to try and do that in a really short amount of time. Paulo (Nagamura) and I saw some things very closely and obviously there's some things that I think we can improve. What we're going to do is give these guys confidence when they step on the field that they've been given all the information for them to play free and be successful. The chance creation can we get our wingers to understand when we have players on the ball like Coco (Carrasquilla) and Hector (Herrera) and Matias (Vera), that we know when those guys find that space. This is the movement that they're going to look forward to play this pass. Can we get Sebas (Ferreira) in areas where the service is being played to him where his strength is in between the six yard box. Can we get the backline to really focus on when we have the ball, especially at home. Because we've been dominant with the ball at home, even when we're with the ball, we're counter preventing. We're tactically looking at the game and saying ‘okay, if we lose the ball, how do we stop this? This counter?’ Those are the types of things that we're going to talk about. This is a short amount of time. I don't want people to think that we're going through 100 slides and saying we're changing everything. No, we are really clear and concise that there are a number of different items that if we clarify, at least we have a better chance. Then the great thing is that players, ,it's interesting that Fafa (Picault) said that, it's very brave of them to take responsibility. That's a very brave thing to do. It's easy to always look at other reasons why things don't work, but I want them to know that this is an opportunity for them to go and express themselves at home games. The first two games within three days apart. These are things that as a player you should look to and go ‘wow, we really have an opportunity here to flip the momentum.’”
Bundy's teams have excelled both home and away. They are chemistry driven groups that understand and buy in to the fact that if they produce clean sheets, they will win more often then not. These three questions and responses demonstrate without a doubt who Bundy is, what he expects and how his style is a winner.
For someone like Bundy, five games is enough time to demonstrate that he can win at this level. If Houston moves on to someone else, it could mean another nine years of mediocrity. General manager Pat Onstad and the Dynamo need to get it this time and the answer is right before them.