In previous years, we’ve done a Three Questions series with fellow SB Nation blogs for upcoming FC Dallas games. This week we’re extending it by a question as we welcome Dustyn Richardson from Dynamo Theory to help us preview Saturday’s Texas Derby clash with the Houston Dynamo.
Note: Our answers to their questions will be up on their site here.
BDS: Houston has been transitioning this season under Paolo Nagamura, how has the start of the season been for him and what are the fan’s expectations for him this season?
DT: The team really seems to have bought into Nagamura and his staff. They’ve lost just once and could probably have a couple more wins if they could finish better. Coming into the season, I think there was a lot of hesitation from fans about the hiring, seeing that his SKC 2 teams were bottom of the table, but that narrative has definitely begun to shift. Nagamura comes from the Peter Vermes coaching tree and from a club that knows how to develop young players, something the Dynamo have been very poor at doing during their existence in Major League Soccer. The fanbase has begun to see a path forward, with younger talent in the pipeline, and the senior team that buys into Nagamura and what he is building, and I think they are 100% behind him, regardless of how this season plays out results-wise.
BDS: Given the new ownership and moves in the offseason, what does this club need to do next to get them back to a contender in MLS?
DT: There is finally a foundation in place to get the club back on its feet and back to being a contender. The previous regime didn’t seem to have any vision or desire but with new owner Ted Segal and the hiring of general manager Pat Onstad and technical director Asher Mendelsohn, there is a clear path forward. I have said to others that this club won’t be rebuilt in one season, and I think the fan base realizes that too. There were a lot of missteps from previous GM Matt Jordan and the coaches he hired and won’t be easy fixes. Most importantly, I think Ted Segal realizes this is going to have to be built and not rushed, and he will allow the new front office, the team and resources to get the Dynamo back to being contenders in MLS.
BDS: The Dynamo have had some good results this season, who are some players FC Dallas fans need to become familiar with for Saturday’s game?
DT: Darwin Quintero has had a bit of a rebirth under Nagamura and is playing some of the best soccer of his career. He has four goals this season and has been the team’s playmaker on offense. Darwin has even been contributing defensively which is music to everyone in Houston’s ears. A player FCD fans will be very familiar with, Fafa Picault, has also had a good start to the season with two goals. He’s the typical Fafa he has always been, a guy that runs at defenders and is just a pest for 90 minutes. Sebastian Ferreira was the club’s record signing but he has been slow to get going. The Paraguayan scored his first two goals in the win over San Jose but then went cold again against Portland. Fans are waiting for him to really break out and it feels like it’s just a matter of time as he continues to adjust to a new league and style of play.
BDS: Now that the Dynamo have a second team, are there any players with that squad that you see as ready for a move up to MLS yet?
DT: Dynamo 2 have won all four of their first four games and they are beginning to get the notice of fans and the media around Houston. In Tuesday’s Open Cup win against RGV 17-year-old homegrown Brooklyn Raines started and played very well until having to come off with an injury. Beto Avila, who has four goals in MLS NEXT Pro, provided the game-winning assist on Tuesday and midfielder Marcelo Palomino was involved a lot against the Toros as well. All three of these guys, along with midfielder Juan Castilla seem to be like they are close to ready for MLS. It will be interesting to see how the club continues to develop them and when they begin to fully immerse them in the first team.