Houston Dynamo Win: Plus Other News and Notes


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The Dynamo defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL Pro, the third tier of American soccer, by a score of 4-1 today at Houston Amateur Sports Park. Giles Barnes topped off a strong all-around match with two goals while Tony Cascio and Omar Cummings continued quality pre-season campaigns by scoring one apiece.

The Riverhounds are training in Houston this week as part of the overall affiliate partnership between the two clubs which was announced in November of last year. Under this relationship, the Dynamo will loan a minimum of 4 players this season to the Riverhounds; which players those will be has not yet been revealed.

This was the 8th match of the pre-season for the Dynamo and the last one in Houston. On Friday, they depart for the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, SC before returning for the regular season opener on March 8th against New England Revolution.

With the season drawing near, player performances and team weaknesses and strengths are becoming clearer, I highlight a few here:

Giles Barnes: Barnes had a very strong day today, demonstrating the full breadth of his ball skills and getting into position to score two goals. He has been consistently good this pre-season, playing primarily at forward rather than in the midfield. The way things are shaping up, it is looking increasingly likely that he will start up front alongside Will Bruin in a rotation with Omar Cummings.

Omar Cummings: Cummings looks healthy and appears to have regained his speed. More importantly, he has been in goal scoring form. Still, Kinnear’s pre-season pairings suggest that Cummings may be the first option off the bench or in a rotation with Barnes rather than a full-time starter.

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Will Bruin: Based on pre-season performance, the Dynamo should start Barnes and Cummings at forward and leave Bruin on the bench. This appears unlikely, however, as Kinnear continues to rely on Bruin. Bruin has scored only once, against the Dynamo Academy, and has missed his fair share of quality opportunities. In recent games he has barely been noticeable on the pitch.

Mark Sherrod: Sherrod continues to impress. There are areas of his play that need improvement, but he has shown great hold up skills, linked well with the midfield and he consistently demonstrates his abilities in the air. He may be headed to Pittsburgh on loan, but as the only true target man on the team there is still a chance he works his way into the rotation as a late game option.

Tony Cascio: Based on the pre-season, the Cascio loan is looking like a stroke of genius. His lovely back heel goal today was just the latest in a series of goals. With Warren Creavalle injured and unable to play, Cascio may well have played himself into the first team starting on the right with Boniek Garcia moving into the center (as has been done in the last several matches).

Alex Lopez: Lopez has been underwhelming this pre-season, a trend he finally reversed today with some strong passing, including an assist on Cummings’s goal, and quality on the ball play. Where Lopez has been weakest is getting back and defending well, a requirement in Dom Kinnear’s system. As a result, Kinnear has been starting Lopez at defensive midfielder, clearly trying to send a message. At this point, Lopez seems to be slipping down the pecking order and there is some chance he could be sent out on loan to Pittsburgh to get playing time, despite his young designated player status.

Defense: The defense continues to look suspect, especially in the middle. I would like to think that this is due to the injuries that have kept Jermaine Taylor, Kofi Sarkodie and Corey Ashe out for parts of the pre-season and the fact that David Horst and Eric Brunner seldom played last season, but the Dynamo may head into the season with defense continuing to be a liability. Horst shows a lot of promise, is physically imposing and verbally bosses the backline but has shown rust in getting caught out of position from time-to-time.

The Dynamo next play on Saturday against DC United and former teammate, Bobby Boswell.


Trialist Sito Seoane has indicated via twitter that he was not offered a contract with the Dynamo.

Sito impressed with his creativity, ball movement and set pieces.  For most of the pre-season he outplayed Alex Lopez, unfortunately, the Dynamo are already packed at midfield and have greater needs at other positions. This increases the chances that Euan Holden and/or Mike Chabala will be signed to a contract by the team to provide depth at fullback.  Given Sito’s play, I think we can expect to see him playing for another MLS side soon.