Houston Dynamo: Who Goes On Loan To Pittsburgh?


Any day now the Houston Dynamo will announce which players they are sending on loan to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds under the affiliate agreement between the two clubs. The Riverhounds open their season in Orlando on March 29th and ideally would like to have the Dynamo players available for training as early as soon as possible. Under the terms of the loan agreement the Dynamo will send at least 4 players on loan to Pittsburgh. The Dynamo could send more than 4 players, but it is unlikely that they will do so.

The two teams have been discussing candidates since prior to the Riverhounds week of training in Houston last month. At this stage it is probable that both teams know the identity of most if not all of the players who will go on loan; although it is possible the Dynamo could make last minute changes. With the Dynamo on a bye week next week, a likely scenario is that they wait until after the March 15th match against Montreal Impact to finalize the list just in case of injuries such as the twisted knee suffered by Tony Cascio against New England.

Names that have been tossed around as possible candidates for loan include: Bryan Salazar, Brian Ownby, Jason Johnson, Anthony Arena, Alex Lopez, Tyler Deric and rookies: Michael Lisch, A.J. Cochran and Mark Sherrod. Of these, who will be the 4 players to go to Pittsburgh?

I am not a big fan of sending rookies out on loan. I believe rookies are better served by spending a season training with their home clubs, getting to know their teammates, learning what it means to be and train like a pro and getting hands on training from club staff. If I was managing the club, the rookies would stay.

Houston Dynamo forward Jason Johnson (14) Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The substitute bench for the match against New England provided some indication that at least Cochran and Sherrod will not go on loan. Both were on the subs bench and Sherrod saw late game playing time. As I mentioned in our Dynamo season preview, Sherrod has earned his way into the rotation at forward as a late game option. His qualities as a target man were on display against New England in limited action when he won the lone long ball he saw, headed it on to Davis in what would lead to the final goal of the match.

Cochran was favored ahead of Arena on the substitutes bench. Cochran’s play grew stronger over the course of the preseason and he rightfully has moved ahead of Arena in the rotation. A strong case could be made for him passing by Brunner as well, although it is likely that Dom Kinnear would favor the more experienced player at this stage. Still, Cochran likely stays in Houston.

At the mid point of preseason, Alex Lopez looked so poor that I thought there was a real chance he would be sent on loan despite the fact that sending the young designated player might have created some controversy amongst the fan base. Lopez picked up his play enough over the second half of preseason, however, that it is doubtful he would be sent out on loan. Frankly, he probably would benefit from an opportunity for regular playing time – it looks unlikely that he will see much in Houston – but he will remain here.

The second year players clearly will get the most benefit from going out on loan. Riverhounds fans indicate that where their team needs help the most is at forward and in defense which matches well with the Dynamo second year players. Therefore, it is likely that Arena and the youngster Salazar will go to Pittsburgh. Johnson, who has quality but doesn’t seem to be in the forward rotation at the moment, will likely go as well.

That leaves Ownby and the keepers. Ownby spent last season on loan and offers flexibility and depth to the Dynamo at both the right midfield and right back spot. It is possible he could be sent on loan, but I will be surprised if it happens. More likely it is Lisch or Deric.

As I mentioned above, I am not a fan of sending rookies on loan and the Dynamo have one of the best goalkeeper trainers in the game in Tim Hanley. Unless it is clear that Lisch would be a regular starter in Pittsburgh he would get far greater benefit from remaining in Houston and training with Hanley. Therefore, I believe that Deric will be the keeper to go on loan. At this stage in his career, Deric needs the regular playing time to improve.

That leaves us, then, with a predicted loan roster of: Salazar, Johnson, Arena and Deric.

Agree, disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

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