Houston Dynamo: 5 Key Questions Heading Into Training Camp

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Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo open pre-season training next Monday, January 27th with a squad closely resembling the one that had the best start in franchise history last year before stumbling its way into the playoffs. Once there, the team demonstrated its typical playoff form in upsetting New York Red Bulls on its way to the Eastern Conference Championship, falling only one goal short of making the MLS Cup Final. The up and down performances of last season naturally have left fans wondering which version of the team it will see this season; the team that was difficult to beat or the team that very nearly missed out on going to the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history.

While the Dynamo roster is little changed, Major League Soccer has evolved over the past 12 months with clubs splashing large sums of cash to improve, such as Toronto FC acquiring Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe earlier this month.   This has left Dynamo fans concerned that their side may not be able to keep pace with established teams like New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City as well as teams that look greatly improved on paper, such as DC United and Toronto FC.

There is some reason for optimism: for starters the Dynamo will have fewer non-league distractions with no CONCACAF Champions League play and no World Cup qualifying to worry about – they will lose Boniek Garcia and perhaps Brad Davis to the World Cup, but that beats the time lost last season to national team call-ups; secondly they begin the season without the pre-season injury issues they had last season; lastly, this is the same team that earned 17 points in its first 9 matches last season. However, there are still gaps in the roster, and with the re-signing of Andrew Driver this week, the Dynamo likely have only 1-2 roster slots available for adding new players prior to the start of the regular season.  We see 5 key questions to be answered during the pre-season which will go a long way towards determining how successful this team will be during the regular season.