Houston Dynamo’s 2016 season went south pretty quickly. Houston seemed to have a small bit of hype around it’s 2016 season to start. Owen Coyle’s second year in charge, combined with younger players that were projected to continue the “upward trend.” After a big 5-0 win against FC Dallas in week two, many thought it might be coming to fruition. However, time proved everybody wrong. Houston was a mess this year and as a result, they finished only one place better than the Chicago Fire. We’ll take a look at what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to be fixed.
Houston Dynamo 2016 Season Review
As mentioned earlier, a shock 5-0 win against FC Dallas lead many people to think things had finally changed in Houston. Owen Coyle took over for Dom Kinnear after he departed to San Jose at the end of the 2014 season. Kinnear left with the roster nearly falling apart in 2014 and a team that was just missing to many things. Coyle came in and admirably got them to within six points of a playoff spot in his first season. This year, after 10 games, Houston had conceded 24 goals, and compiled a record of 2-6-2. After losing to Chicago (yikes) on May 21st, it seemed like Coyle was pretty much done. It was announced on Thursday, May 25th that Coyle would be gone via a “mutual termination.
With Coyle gone, former Dynamo player Wade Barrett took over as head coach of the team. When he took over, they were 3-7-2. Barrett ended with a record of 4-7-11. Clearly it wasn’t good enough to make postseason. There were some positives though.
What Went Right
There were a few things that went right. Mauro Manotas finally got going. Houston has had quite the issues with it’s Designated Players. Manotas finally showed some of his quality under Wade Barrett. Personally, I witnessed a very good game from him in their 3-3 draw with Sporting KC in September. Manotas is only 21, and will be a good building block going into the 2017 season. Boniek Garcia wasn’t bad in 2016 either. He had nine assists which was the most in his entire career with Houston.
Wade Barrett getting a response from the players was relatively impressive as well. He had them playing relatively well and maybe some more quality on the field gets a couple of those 11 draws turned into wins. The biggest thing for them was the eye test.
They just seemed to be playing better soccer. Coyle had their defense conceding plenty of goals. Under Wade Barett, they conceded 21 goals in his 21 games. A goal a game average defensively was actually quite good.
What Went Wrong
There are two significant “wrongs” that stick out to me. One, Owen Coyle. Two, Cubo Torres. Both were absolutely horrible signings. Yes, Houston seemed closer on paper to the postseason in 2014. However that was not really the case. They had been eliminated weeks prior, and just happened to pick up a win in the final week, closing an eight point gap between them and San Jose to a “respectable” five points. It got even worse to start the season, as Houston surrendered three or more goals in five of their first ten matches. Houston played loose and undisciplined, not the recipe for success in MLS.
Cubo Torres was also a mess, and has been a mess since he came to Houston. A once highly touted, overpriced player, he was the shiniest of turds at Chivas USA in 2014. The shiniest of turds is frankly still a turd. He never lived up to the hype, and flamed out much like another American teenage star, Freddy Adu. Torres was a waste of money. It has been found that when teams waste money on DPs that don’t pan out, the club is hurt financially for a while. Just ask the Earthquakes.
The Off-Season Plan
There are plenty of things Houston needs to do. I’ll give a mini-list and provide some context with each necessary task.
- Hire Wade Barrett full-time
- Barrett won two MLS Cups with the club as a player. Plenty of MLS clubs who hired former players as managers have done well. Just look at Red Bull New York, D.C. United, Sporting KC, and New England Revolution have all made the postseason in recent history with former players as their head coach. The team looked and played better with his lead, he just needs better players to get results
- Get Rid of Cubo
- I don’t know how, but if they have to eat a lot of money in his contract, so be it. Get the cancer out of the body. Stop paying his contract, and disassociate yourselves from him as quick as possible.
- Get a Playmaking Wide Player and a Holding Midfielder
- These two positions will help shore up both the spine, and the goalscoring efforts of the team. Manotas definitely showed his goal-scoring capabilities. However, they really need some wide playmaking ability. With Boniek Garcia in the middle, they could add another holding mid to provide the backline with some cover. That would give Garcia a little more freedom to roam since he is more of a box-to-box type midfielder.