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Western Conference Preview: Houston Dynamo

What can we expect in 2016 from the team that finished in 8th place in the West in 2015?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dynamo sent their captain and assist leader Brad Davis to Kansas City. To replace him, they brought in Cristian Maidana, who had a career year in 2015 with 1 goal and 15 assists for Philadelphia. Maidana has been on 8 teams before Houston in the decade that he's been a pro, and each team has cut bait with him after less than 60 games. He is a luxury player that floats around the field waiting for the ball to arrive and then tries to hit a streaking forward for the assist. He doesn't defend. He doesn't hold the ball.

Houston also picked up Andrew Wenger, who has shown flashes of greatness but hasn't converted them into anything consistent. The jury is still out on his best position. Wenger played right midfield in a scoreless preseason game against the Rapids recently, where he attempted a few threatening crosses. Luis Garrido suffered a horrific leg break in a game for Honduras in November and will miss considerable time. Jermaine Taylor, who had lost the right back spot when Sheanon Williams arrived, was allowed to walk and was replaced with Jalil Anibaba. Center back Agus arrives from the Spanish second division to play alongside fellow Spaniard Raul Rodriguez.

Bottom Line: The only way the Dynamo will show improvement this year is if coach Owen Coyle can unlock the potential of players like Erick "Cubo" Torres, Maidana, and Wenger. Otherwise, the season will play out just like last year.

Houston Projected Strongest Lineup: