Christmas Morning For The Dynamo

They’ve got a new stadium coming.

They’ve got a dearth of talent.

Revised: One big, happy, future Dynamo Stadium...if they get their DP

They’ve got a huge, diverse fan base that earned that stadium.

Tim Leiweke, part of the Dynamo ownership group, commented today that Houston Dynamo should bring in a significant player. Wait, not strong enough, check out the direct quote:

“From a business standpoint, the only thing I’ve asked Chris and Dom to do is don’t dip your toe in the water.

If you are going, go big. I don’t believe in halfway, and there is a commitment amongst all our partners to make it a significant player that moves the needle from a business standpoint, fan standpoint, as well as on the pitch.”

Wow, it’s now up to coach Dom Kinnear and COO Chris Canetti to deliver.

Big Tim: Voted Fast Company's Most Creative Man in Sports, 2009

If you’re looking for a potential Houston DP, given Leiweke’s comments, your candidate has the following complexion:

• They can pull both American fans and Mexican fans into that shiny new stadium.

• They fit a team need for Houston (primarily attack).

• They should be attacking if possible either way–those players tend to fetch more fan buzz and interest.

• You’re thinking about a salary (to the player) of about $2M-$4M.

Five Plausibilities (not ready to call them Possibilities)

DaMarcus Beasley (Signed for Hannover, Sept. 2010)

Major Draw: 7 – True Possibility: 2 – Team Need: 7

Overall Score: 16

Yes, Brad Davis inhabits the left flank quite well for the Blackpool, but Beasley is best on the right cutting in on his left foot.

Questions about whether Beasley is a Dom Kinnear type or would leave chilly Glasgow for sweltering Houston will and would abound.

That said, Beasley has close ties with Traffic Sports which rep Latin American events and they might have something to say about this.

Morientes: Still a player...

Fernando Morientes (Retired, Sept. 2010)

Major Draw: 5 – True Possibility: 5 – Team Need: 7

Overall Score: 17

Had Leiweke made his comments three years ago (when the DP was just an embryo) then Morientes would likely be your man.

At 34 (35 next year) Morientes just completed a one-year deal at top French club Marseille. The former Spanish star striker can still score and he’s a good teammate. Enough bang for a major DP signing? Just shy?

Dos Santos, nominee for Best Young Player, World Cup 2010

• Gio Dos Santos (Tottenham Hotspur)

Major Draw: 8, True Possiiblity: 4, Team Need: 9

Overall Score: 21

Dos Santos will need little service as well to do his work and his hometown is less than 500 miles away.

Confined to sporadic play on Tottenham’s bench and failing in his endeavor to make a name at Galatasary, Dos Santos could–conceivably Nery Castillo-style–be loaned for a term to Houston.

Dos Santos, even with his inconsistency, would tear up MLS and quickly be a favorite for the scoring crown.

He’s exciting and he’ll certainly sell seats. Salary? He’ll come at a premium as he is making $5M these days.

Might be shooting too high on Gio, but if Houston wants to make a splash…

Juan Román Riquelme:

Major Draw: 7  – True Possibility: 6  – Team Need: 9

Overall Score: 22

He’s still got it, but can you get him out of Argentina? Ante up the ducats, Dynamo.

We give Suazo the thumbs up...for Houston and for Old Spice spokeman...

• David Suazo

Major Draw: 8  – True Possibility: 7 – Team Need: 8

Overall Score: 23

Probably your best candidate here.

The Honduras national is about ready for an Americas homecoming. After a sparkling Serie A career, Suazo has been fighting for playing time and went on loan to Genoa during the last half of last year.

Suazo could still get it done in MLS though, and he’s a short skip from home–Honduras.

The Rest:

Ronaldinho: He’s still Milan-quality and likes to be out in the scene. L.A. is a believable rumor, Houston is not.

Carlos Bocanegra: I know a Mexican-American and captain of the USMNT. Captain America for crissakes.That said, the Dynamo don’t need a defender and just how transformative Boca’s presence will be on or off the field remains to be seen.

Ruud Van Nistelroy: Not your guy Houston. The mercurial Van Nistelroy has a lethal shot but perhaps more than any other former World Class striker, he needs service to be effective.

Something tells me between Houston weather or cultural fabric, Van Nistelroy would be highly petulant before long.

Nope! Houston fans are not calling for you...

Freddy Adu: Houston fans are smart soccer fans. They’ll sniff out Adu as a potential draw more than on his potential on the field. Steve Goff will probably float this rumor sometime in the next week. Kidding.

Alessandro Del Piero: Bright lights, big city. I could see him hitting LA, Philly or New York before Houston.

Eddie Johnson: The Florida native–who we’ll discuss in another piece this week–would not be coming back to MLS as a designated player in our opinion.

Dejan Stanković: A good fit, but won’t draw from Latin America and hasn’t moved from Inter since before 2004.

Not a chance the Irishman comes westward...but he'd be a great fit!

Damien Duff: An excellent choice, but he’s not giving up the British Isles for Texas.

Joseba Llorente: Jozy Altidore’s Villarreal striker sibling has played his entire career in Spain; a good fit, but not likely to leave.

Paco Torres: He would be Houston’s new Stu Holden. Is he DP material? Not quite.

Clarence Seedorf: A smart and still productive player; I just don’t see the fit though.

Guillermo Franco: The junior Morientes. One year behind Morientes, but further behind in talent.

Added commentary from TSG reader Chris, who has participated in our MLS Jumbles:

I’ve been discussing this a bit with some of the knowledgable Dynamo fans over at Big Soccer and based on that and Tim Leiweke’s comments one thing is apparent: this is going to be a BIG name signing.  There was pretty universal agreement that this needs to be a player who’s shown on the European and/or world stage, mixed opinions on whether or not a Spanish or South American export might be favored, and general desire for a #10 or an out and out striker who’s exciting to watch and generates media attention (and great highlights).

The big issue with finding a DP is that MLS has shown serious reluctance to pay transfer fees. This means you have to find a player who’s ideally on his way out of a club and most likely a bit on the older side, that combined with the desire for star power the Dynamo are after and you’ve got your work cut out for you. There are always occasions where a player will be released from his contract, however, as in Henry’s situation with Barcelona.

After hearing your pick and looking over the El Tri roster I thought about Andrés Guardado. Not as big a name but would definitely appeal to the Hispanic population and he’s a legitimate footballer in Spain. Probably not as big a name as is desired, however, and he may not be interested in a move.

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33 responses to this post.

  1. I will guess that any former or current USMNT player will get the nod simply due to location. Not guessing many European players will want to play in the Houston climate.

    Close 2nd behind the USMNT players should be any Mexico national team member. Great location for them due to being close to home and in a big hispanic market.

    On behalf of all DCU fans we sure do miss Tim Leiweke. Just look at the plunge to the bottom of the league DCU has taken.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/08/25 at 10:46 PM

      Yeah but he only owns like 1/3 of the dynamo he chose to stay with hisbig money becks which on a business standpoint I can respect but at the time LA was crap and Houston was… what they should be this year. Names that stand out to me are dos Santos adu and Torres. I think we could get Torres without him being a DP if we wanted because although it always seems to me we don’t have money I always think of de la hoya and then think no we must be holding out for someone. Let me emphasize however that our need is not really in attack (and especially not in the wings), our need is in anyone who can attack in a central midfield position. Here’s an exciting and not likely at all, but robinho is not happy with city.

      Reply

  2. I’d say you have a .01% possibility of getting Riquelme. First, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere about him saying he’d like to play at Boca until he retires, and #2, he makes just as much as Gio2Santos at Boca (5m$) and has a 4 year contract.

    Houston needs to pull Mexican-Americans, not Hondurans, so no Suazo I’d say.

    How about Guillermo Franco? Mexican Nat, good striker, last I heard cut from West Ham and unattached so would be willing to come for less money.

    Reply

    • Of course I skip the “The Rest” section and miss the blurb on Franco, but I feel his Mexican connection would really resonate in Houston and deserves a second look.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/25 at 6:19 AM

      Thanks for the info on Riquelme Pat. Don’t know enough about his contract situation. Ill add that above.

      I did include Franco at the bottom of the article.

      I disagree that you specifically seek a Mexican American.

      Large Honduran population in Houston and a quality Latin American acquisition will bring in Latin American fans.

      Look at Geovanni in San Jose. Fans are excited for him though because of the stadium capacity not sure the impact will be seen in attendance.

      Reply

  3. Posted by jaime on 2010/08/25 at 6:49 AM

    Americans or Mexicans? I guess the rest of us supporters are not welcome?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/25 at 8:29 AM

      Jaime:

      Do you feel welcome now? I imagine you do.

      The article above is as much about adding talent to the team as it is filling a new stadium. It makes sense that the two biggest demographic groups would be considered as part of the selection process.

      I’m not sure I understand your comment beyond that. Houston is 49% white, 38% Hispanic (as is considered by the U.S. census) — they are it’s two largest demographics.

      Reply

    • no one said that other supporters are not welcom just that these two communities are the largest supporters of Dynamo Soccer. Its just good business to cater to your biggest demographic.

      Case in point NSCAA is hosting the Elite Hispanic Scouting Program in El Paso, TX:

      PARTICIPATING PROFESSIONAL TEAMS
      FMF, US Soccer, CD Chivas de Guadalajara, America, Tigres, Santos, Monterrey, Atlas, Puebla, Leon, Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire.

      Reply

  4. As a Dynamo supporter I’m agreed that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a Mexican player, Houston is a more diverse city than most people realize and more importantly your run of the mill El Tri player isn’t going to cut it. I do really like the option of Dos Santos or maybe Andrés Guardado (if he were interested) but outside of that I don’t see any names that are big enough that would be available. A Spanish or South American player would be nice but isn’t required, I think this needs to be someone who has shown well on the European and/or world stage.

    From the sound of things Leiweke wants the Dynamo to go BIG, a la Henry or Marquez, and there’s just not a lot of players like that available. I’d love to see us go after someone like Forlan but there’s of course the question of interest on the player side there. Maybe Deco, Milito, or Ballack as their careers wind down? Was Ryan Giggs serious about being interested in playing in the States?

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/25 at 7:28 AM

      Obviously, money talks but do you think Houston can compete with LA or NYC? They have a massive advantage as those cities have a natural (non-football) pull for somebody to live there.

      Reply

      • Very fair question George and I don’t know the answer. Houston isn’t New York or LA but it also isn’t KC, it’s a big international city with a lot of culture and a really reasonable cost if living. Who that might appeal to remains to be seen, bur I can’t imagine it’s worse than a lot of the smaller stops in the Premiership.

        Reply

        • The smaller stops in the premiership….are in the premiership. Same reason why the best hockey players in the world are willing to live and work in Detroit.

          Unfortunately, as much as Americans understand Houston to be a big international city, when I go to Europe most people only know New York, LA, Chicago and maybe Miami or Boston. It will be tough to pull a player there who doesn’t already have some sort of connection to the city or to its culture.

          Hence my initial feeling that the best bang/buck for a Houston DP will be Mexican/Central American.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/25 at 6:27 PM

          That was what I was alluding to, but knew if I said as much, I’d get called a snob.

          Reply

        • Technically, I can still be called a snob :)

          Reply

        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/08/25 at 10:52 PM

          However it should be noted that I’ve heard quite a few people argue that Houston basically had two downtowns in downtown and the galleria. If a big name player were to come over I would they would live in the much more shopping and diverse galleria. Another pull could be not getting mobbed by paparazzi Which is the us in general.

          Reply

  5. I think it’s funny that the picture of the potential new Dynamo stadium, that has been floated around and is seen in the top of the article is literally just the Home Depot Center painted orange with the club’s name MS Painted onto it.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/25 at 8:30 AM

      Hey – thanks for letting me know. I couldn’t tell. I don’t HDC is a bad stadium with the exception that it’s the stadium of your arch rivals.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Rex on 2010/08/25 at 8:39 AM

    I don’t know why everyone keeps saying we need a Latin American player to draw fans. Do you think these people are ignorant and if they see Gomez as the last name they will come to the stadium? Not so much; they are educated soccer fans.
    The Dynamo have their grassroots presence in the Spanish speaking community and need to move on. I have always said the Dynamo need to push now for the urban 20-35 demographic (which does include many Latin Americans). It is easier to sell soccer to a non soccer fan than it is to sell MLS to a Primera División fan.
    I really like Torres. Everyone can relate to him. The Texans, the Americans, the Mexicans. But you are right, his talent and star power isnt what AEG is looking for. How bout the Dynamo sign two, younger but cheaper DPs…. Torres and Adu?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/25 at 8:47 AM

      Rex, welcome to TSG.

      First, unfortunately, you’ll find no love for Freddy Adu here. Until he buckles down and strings together at least one good season, in my opinion, Nike-backed and big name or not, he’s just not DP material.

      I understand your point of you.

      Do I think people are ignorant? Absolutely not. I have not met soccer fans in the States that don’t understand the nature of MLS and the game.

      Do I think people will come to the stadium just because they identify with a player who has star power?
      You tell me? How many people All-Star night were cheering exclusively for Chicharito? 25%…possibly more?
      Not a signing which draws a certain demographic needs to perform, but usually the first step for MLS is attracting fans to that first game.

      As I mentioned in my article and here just to reiterate, remove emotion from the situation. As I’ve commented other places, all things people equals Americans are a worthwhile talent in international soccer because there is a population of 300M most with either HD or the internet to follow them (and buy jerseys, etc._).
      The same principle does apply here.

      Reply

      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/08/25 at 11:04 PM

        I’m not a big adu fan but I’m under the impression he would fit great here. He’s like a mini DeRo or potentially can be. Need I say more? Torres I think could be the best overall signing the dynamo can make at a decent price. Btw maybe about half the stadium was cheering for chicharito but I don’t think anyone was there solely because of chicharito. Even if anyone was it would be more likely they were cheering because he is a growing talent not because he is Mexican. Chicharito wasn’t even signed when most of the tickets were gone… I think

        Reply

  7. I believe that Gerardo Torrado would be a fantastic DP signing. He is still just 31, plays in the defensive midfield role that the Dynamo has lacked a presence in this season since Ricardo Clark left and has captained Mexico many times.

    Reply

  8. Interesting idea I heard mentioned, though the timing may not quite work: Feilhaber?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/25 at 11:35 AM

      I’m pretty sure that Benny–who I believe has an Austrian passport as well as a US one–is going to stay in Europe.

      His situation right now is not because he is not talented, but rather because teams are trying to nickel and dime Aarhus because they know they want to shed his contract.

      I would imagine by end of January 2011 at the latest Benny is playing first division football in Scandinavia or greater Europe.

      Reply

  9. Too bad Raul signed a contract. that would be pretty sweet. I’d be excited…

    Reply

  10. Posted by Kevin on 2010/08/25 at 11:08 PM

    It should be noted that our stadium won’t be that big. It will hold about 20 to 30,000 people. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will ALL be covered. Also if I had to guess, not really said anywhere or put into a rendering but due to our whether it seems practical that there would be a retractable roof.

    Reply

  11. [...] I should say TSG was spot-on, chaps, when we suggested that Houston Dynamo make that forthcoming designated player a striker. [...]

    Reply

  12. [...] Houston broadcaster drops a David Suazo-to-Houston rumor. Called him the best DP candidate for the Dynamo back in August. [...]

    Reply

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