The Houston Dynamo added another piece to the roster puzzle earlier this week by selecting Austin native Michael Lisch, a goalkeeper from the University of New Mexico, in the 3rd round of the MLS Superdraft. However, with pre-season training camp beginning next Monday the 27th, key roster questions remain for a club that meandered through the 2013 season before making a playoff run that left them one goal away from the MLS Cup Final.
The Lisch pick brought the total number of off-season additions to the roster to five: David Horst (trade), Tony Cascio (loan), AJ Cochran (draft), Mark Sherrod (draft), Michael Lisch (draft). It also filled a clear roster need as Lisch becomes the #3 keeper in the squad. With several days to go before the start of training camp, the Dynamo currently have 24 players on the roster:
Keeper (3): Tally Hall, Tyler Deric, Michael Lisch
Left Fullback (1): Corey Ashe
Center back (5): Jermaine Taylor, Eric Brunner, David Horst, Anthony Arena, AJ Cochran
Right Fullback (1): Kofi Sarkodie
Center Midfield (3): Ricardo Clark, Warren Creavalle, Servando Carrasco
Left Midfield (1): Brad Davis
Right Midfield (2): Boniek Garcia, Brian Ownby
Attacking Midfield (3): Giles Barnes, Alex Lopez, Tony Cascio
Forward (5): Will Bruin, Omar Cummings, Jason Johnson, Bryan Salazar, Mark Sherrod
The Dynamo have at least one open roster spot remaining and potentially as many as three. These spots must be used wisely as there remain clear areas of need, including: depth at fullback and the wings, a starting quality center back and a goal scoring forward.
Dynamo fans received an unexpected boost last night when Glenn Davis indicated on Dynamo All Access and via Twitter that negotiations between Andrew Driver and the Dynamo appear to be back on. Darrell Lovell further tweeted that discussions have been ongoing since last week.
— Glenn Davis (@GlennDavisSoc) January 23, 2014
To add onto Glenn’s tweet/radio show, Driver is back.on radar and has been in talks since early last week. No resolution as of yesterday.
— Darrell Lovell (@DarrellLovell) January 23, 2014
The likelihood of re-signing Driver was thought to be fairly low given a large gap between Driver’s salary expectations and the amount of flexibility the Dynamo have under the salary cap. Driver has most recently been seen on trial with English Championship side Yeovil Town, but has previously expressed a desire to remain in Houston if able to agree terms with the Dynamo.
While far from a done deal, Driver’s surprise return to the team would be a boost to a club that will lose Boniek Garcia to World Cup duty with Honduras this summer and possibly Brad Davis as well. Driver impressed fans and pundits around the league during his first few months with the Dynamo last season after joining the club on February 19th, 2013. His form declined over the second half of the season following injuries, however the off-season break will likely have done him some good (Driver had no break last season, joining Houston directly from Hearts of the Scottish Premier League).
Re-signing Driver combined with the loan this week from Colorado Rapids of Tony Cascio would largely resolve the issue of depth on the wings. While fans will hope for the Dynamo to add a goal scoring forward and a proven starter at center back, salary cap realities and the philosophy of the organization makes it far more likely that any further roster additions will be supporting cast type players or players that have fallen on hard times through injury or other causes but with potential if they can regain form.
The Houston Dynamo officially announced the re-signing of Andrew Driver on Friday afternoon. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
— HoustonDynamo (@HoustonDynamo) January 24, 2014
Check back in a few days for 5 key questions heading into pre-season training camp.