Houston Dynamo Season Preview Part I: Goalkeepers


Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

This is Part I in a six part Houston Dynamo season preview:

Part I: Goalkeepers

Part II: Defense

Part III: Midfield

Part IV: Forwards

Part V: Tactical and Lineup Outlook

Part VI: Season Predictions

Entering the preseason, goalkeeper was the only level of the Dynamo lineup where there were absolutely no questions; that remains the case entering into the regular season. Tally Hall is firmly the man between the pipes for the Dynamo.

Hall is coming off what was arguably his best season (his third as a full-time starter). While Hall had more shutouts in 2012 than he did in 2013, 12 and 9 respectively, he also benefited from a much stronger defensive front that season. In 2013, Hall was frequently the hero, proving he deserves the nickname “the Wall” as a defense that was often suspect left him exposed too often. Hall played every minute of every regular season match, stopping 95 shots in the process and earning the post season honors of team MVP.

Hall is not without his weaknesses, however, and he deserves some of the blame for the defensive organization in front of him. Hall is not as vocal in directing traffic as a top keeper should be; an issue highlighted during the preseason as head coach Dom Kinnear could be heard imploring Hall to be more vocal in scrimmages.

Hall also struggles with accurately getting the ball back into play, especially with his feet. Far too often his punts and goal kicks end up over the sidelines and he struggles with hitting open teammates which makes it more difficult for the Dynamo to launch counter-attacks and frequently leaves the Dynamo immediately back on defense.

As a pure shot stopper, Hall should arguably be the leading candidate for the third keeper spot on the national team behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. The two weaknesses mentioned above, however, have left him behind Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson. The national team staff have worked with Hall on improving his passing accuracy; hopefully he can show some improvement in this area this season.

June 12, 2013; Frisco, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo goal keeper Tyler Deric (24) throws out the ball against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium . Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The #2 keeper for the Dynamo remains Tyler Deric, a former Dynamo Academy product. Typically Deric would have played in the US Open Cup and Champions League last season, however an injury kept him sidelined most of last season. When Deric has played, he has been a capable backup. He is stronger than Hall right now in his accuracy in getting the ball back into play and his organization of the defense (he is more vocal than Hall). However, he is not the shot blocker that Hall has become.

The 3rd keeper is Michael Lisch, this season’s 3rd round draft pick out of the University of New Mexico. At 6’4”, Lisch is cut of a similar mode as Hall. Lisch had a strong season last year in Conference USA and guided New Mexico to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

Either Lisch or Deric is likely to be one of the players loaned to Pittsburgh Riverhounds this season. If Lisch has a chance to play at Pittsburgh, it will likely be him. Otherwise, it makes more sense for Lisch to remain in Houston and receive training from the Dynamo staff while Deric gets playing time in Pittsburgh.

Conclusion: The Dynamo are blessed with one of the best keepers in MLS and a quality backup. This is a position of strength for the Dynamo.

Position Grade: A

Check back in a few days for Part II of the season preview, a review of the Dynamo defensive options.

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