For a season lost in should've, could've, and would'ves, the Houston Dynamo have seen some moments of their future under head coach Paulo Nagamura. It's been a tough year but one in which not all is bad.
First, the Houston Dynamo have found their midfielder of the future and have locked him up. Adalberto "Coco" Carrasquilla is the real deal. From the moment, he sprinted 50 yards to score a dramatic game winner against the Colorado Rapids in preseason to Saturday night's deft touch that led to the opening goal of the match, he has been a bright spot. At 22, his youthful enthusiasm and hunger for the game motivated the Dynamo to lock him up contractually for the next few seasons.
Second, Nagamura has not been afraid to insert young players into the mix. You can say that 17 year old Brooklyn Raines insertion into the game Saturday night was out of necessity but anyone who has watched the Dynamo 2 this season knows Raines can play ball. He, along with guys like Thor Uhlfarrson, Marcelo Palomino, Juan Castilla, Sam Junqua, Ethan Bartlow and others are the reason Houston fans should be hopeful. All have received valuable playing time and showed they can play with the big boys given a little more seasoning.
Third, Houston Dynamo has flashes of being able to come out strong and dominate matches.. This team is 5-3 with zero draws when scoring first. Of the 10 matches in which they have scored first, they have gone on to score multiple goals seven times. Of the 12 games in which they have had to chase three points, they have scored multiple goals just twice and have a record of 2W-3D-7L. Learning to stay strong for the full 90 is a key to future success.
Finally, the first team despite having lost nine games by a score of 2-1 have shown they can play with anyone in this league. They have the talent from the Academy on up. If the Orange can beat LAFC with their stars, hang with CF Montreal and beat Nashville like they did on May 14, talent is not the problem. As Nagamura reminded us following the loss on July 12 to Austin, the ATX are good because their core guys have been together for 18 months. Houston has core players that can play. They need time together to build that chemistry. the last five games can be an opportunity to showcase for the fans what next season will look like.