Houston Dynamo Announce Pittsburgh Loanees


Houston Dynamo forward Jason Johnson (14) and Philadelphia Union defender Fabio Alves (33) during second half of game at PPL Park. The Dynamo defeated the Union, 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo announced the identity of three of the four players to be loaned to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds today. As projected on March 13th; Jason Johnson, Anthony Arena and Bryan Salazar will join the Riverhounds as they prepare for the start of their season on March 29th.

The announcement was originally expected to come last Friday, however concerns over injuries on the roster – to Tony Cascio and Brad Davis – likely resulted in a delay in the timing. Injuries are also the reason that only three players were named today rather than the four that the Dynamo are required to send under the terms of the agreement with Pittsburgh.

Johnson and Arena plug gaps on the Pittsburgh roster; the Riverhounds are viewed to be weak at central defense and needing improvement up top. The recent signing of former Fulham striker Collins John by Pittsburgh has, in part, plugged the forward gap and Johnson will compete for playing time at the position. With Houston he has primarily been used as a left midfielder, a position he has shown little natural ability and instinct to fill. In limited playing time at forward, however, Johnson has shown potential.

May 29, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo forward Bryan Salazar (9) advances the ball past FC Tuscon midfielder Connor Brandt (11) during the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Salazar is a home grown player, signed from the Dynamo Academy last season. He has been buried well down the Dynamo depth chart and has not seen much playing time, even in the preseason. As a result, he is a natural selection to be sent on loan but may not have developed enough to actually see any playing time. Salazar can play at forward, a suddenly crowded position on the Riverhounds roster, or in the midfield where Pittsburgh has plenty of depth.

The 4th player, not yet named, is thought to be Brian Ownby. Ownby had a successful loan spell at Richmond last season but is unlikely to get much playing time with the Dynamo this season given the depth the Dynamo have in that part of the field. The delay in announcing Ownby is likely linked to lingering injuries to Cascio (knee) and Davis (hamstring) as well as the slow return from injury of Warren Creavalle. Until Cascio and Davis are fully healthy, Ownby needs to be in a position to fill in (as he did against Montreal when he came on as a substitute).

Dom Kinnear lined Ownby up at right back a couple of times during the preseason. An intriguing option is Ownby being sent on loan to play primarily at that spot. If Ownby developed into a decent fullback he would find a home on the Dynamo roster. Currently, the Dynamo have little depth at fullback plus they must cope with the expiring contract of Kofi Sarkodie at the end of this season.

Players sent on loan to Pittsburgh can be recalled during the season and other players sent out on loan in their place.