Danny Cruz option declined

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Houston Dynamo, MLS, transfers

Not much to say on this. Although Cruz has shown great potential and is loved by the fans, you can’t change the fact that he’s not starting quality. With his option salary, which most likely is equivalent to that of a starter’s, and the fact that it is known that Kinnear is looking for a good wide midfielder, Danny Cruz is a loss in salary cap. I suspect that he will be re-signed for a lesser price, but if greed sets in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cruz part ways.

According to Jorge Caamaño, who works for Fox Sports Español, the deal is already done, but according to Al Dia from Costa Rica, he is coming on trial. Regardless the news is still consistent with the fact that Alvaro Sanchez is coming to Houston. It seems as if most people are labeling him as a midfielder, but, from his YouTube videos, he is more of a striker. He could play as an attacking midfield, but then Kinnear will definitely need a good holding mid behind him to cleanup all the extra room. If tasked to sit behind two strikers, he will probably play more like a withdrawn forward than an attacking midfielder. The best explanation I can think of is that in midfield he is more like DeRo less like Holden. As a striker, Alvaro Sanchez is clinical with the finish.

Below is a link to MLS-Rumors, and a YouTube video of him. Additionally, I have included the original article.
Jorge Caamano’s twitter
Al Dia article
Alvaro Sanchez confirms he is coming to Houston

Tally Hall

Tally Hall sees all

Its July 13th and today marks the first feature article ever done here on The Final Pass. This may lack… originality, if you will, but it’s always a fun thing to ponder. Who is on the Dynamo Wish list?

The Keeper:
After a successful first half of the season, Tally Hall has established himself as the #1 keeper. Tally Hall’s positive play is great because , combined with Deric and Pina out of the Academy, it makes a statement that we are a club well on its way to having a tradition of good keepers. I think this spot is set for the next 20 years or so, and is certainly not a need during this transfer window. If anybody is signed, Newton will be released or sold to FC Tampa Bay, then replaced by Pina, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen.

The Defense:
As hard as it is to believe Houston has now gone two games with no goals allowed, replacing Freeman in favor of Sarkodie has done just that. Does this mean that our backline is all figured out, or, as I believe, the midfield has done a better job of not exposing the backline as often? Regardless of what you believe has helped our backline, it should be fairly obvious that we should trade a center back for a midfielder or maybe even a left back. Ashe has done an incredible job so far and has loads of potential on the left side, but he has had the tendency at times to make mistakes defensively or get caught in possession. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to sign an aging left back to help Ashe along his way (or Barrett can do some one on one coaching with Ashe).

Excuse me for my moment of dreaming, but my three name list consists of…
1. Jorge Fucile
2. Eric Lichaj
3. Edgar Castillo (a little more serious)

The Midfield:
It’s no secret that our center midfield has been atrocious since Clark and Stu’s departure. Cameron has been tasked to be creative in the middle and drive the attack. However over this last year and a half, I think what you have seen is Cameron gain some technical ability and a better touch on the  ball, but he is not mentally wired to pull the strings offensively. Since his move to defensive midfield and Watson’s rise to attacking midfield, the team has been more solid defensively, which is a direct result of Cameron, and a little more potent in attack. Cameron is now being asked to drop back deeper and track runners. In addition he provides an outlet for the back four, previously unavailable due to Palmer’s poor technical skill. Watson is the temporary fix in the middle for now because at least when the ball goes to the center of the pitch the play doesn’t stop dead in its tracks. Obviously the needed area of improvement is attacking midfield. I fully expect Kinnear to find some sort of DP in that spot that lives up to potential, however I don’t think a DP is necessary. I’ll start with the rumors and/or trialist.

1. Daniel Cruz
I think Cruz is a very good option as a fix to at least salvage this season. From what I have seen from his videos on YouTube, he is comfortable on the ball and can at the least help the offense flow a bit more a la Holden, but he has a little more vision for passing lanes. Of course it’s not all positive. Even in the highlight videos I saw he made plenty of mistakes and doesn’t appear to be as reliable or consistent as Kinnear would obviously like. Keep in mind how dangerous it is to judge a player solely on highlight reels though.

2. Giovanni Dos Santos
The Tottenham attacking midfielder back from loan with Racing Santander. Did I mention he’s part of a youth movement in Mexico with lots of nationalistic pride? How about his huge ego? Can we move on?

Jose Francisco Torres

My preferred non DP choice

Now some people who should be on the Dynamo Wish List

1. Jose Francisco Torres
A good center attacking midfielder who can dictate where the ball is and know how to move offensively. Torres is comfortable with the ball at his feet and uses himself to better everybody else around him.  We don’t need somebody that will attack the goal themselves, we need somebody who can help the team attack the goal. Precisely why Feilhaber would have been great too. This move would benefit both parties as Houston would get Torres in the middle and Torres would get the American exposure he needs to help him on his way to the national stage. Torres comes with a risk though because part of his needed exposure is to prove to the world, or more specifically Bob Bradley, that he can withstand a physical challenge.

2. Freddy Adu
Freddy Adu is gifted with the ball. He was highly touted as an American prodigy in center midfield, but after being sold to Benfica, he hasn’t really had the chance to develop. On the ball, he can take on an entire team by himself, but off the ball he lacks in his defensive responsibilities. Like Torres, his main criticism is that at the first sign of contact he can’t deliver. As far as the possibility of signing him, Adu’s club may be looking to cash in after a good showing in the Gold Cup. I was calling Adu as a bargain before the Gold Cup and it may be too late now.

The Forwards:
So far, Bruin has been nothing short but a breath of fresh air. He’s performed admirably up top as a striker who had to pair with Weaver. Ching finally being healthy again, is automatically a huge boost. We already know Kinnear wants to sign a speed option, but the question up top is how big does he go? Does he still want Bruin starting and try to sign a speed option off the bench, or does he go with a big name that will push Bruin to the bench? Yet again I will start with rumors and trialists then move on to fun options.

1. Rodolfo Zelaya

Kinnear, make it happen

The El Salvadoran currently scoring goals for fun for Alianza has been widely speculated, and he seems to fit the bill. A quick young striker with good touch on the ball that can provide the finishing touch on a goal that, at this moment, nobody, in orange, seems to be able to do. Sounds great to me why haven’t we signed him? Oh other clubs are interested… I’m too scared to compete with other clubs for the rights to a player…

2. Miller Castillo
Nobody really knows that much about him. What we know is that his last club was in the 2nd division of Mexico and Kinnear describes him as quick with enough strength to survive in MLS. In other words, they’re going to trial him and hope for the best. Well as far as predictions go I don’t think they’ll sign him off of this week he’s spent here because he got hurt on the third day or so. Does anybody really want somebody that scouts found in the 2nd division of Mexico anyway?

Less serious now…

1. Carlos Tevez
Can you really tell me that you don’t want the Manchester City captain? He’s said that he wants to leave England because he doesn’t like it there, and Corinthians are already on board with trying to take him back. Unfortunately for them, they are not willing to pay the 50 million pounds that city is asking. Corinthians is not willing to go above 35 million pounds. I don’t have a clue how “big” AEG expects us to go, but that would be a fantastic signing.

During this transfer window, obviously the first priority is to help the attack, but Kinnear should not forget about our left back spot.

Hunter Freeman in action

Hunter Freeman in action

*UPDATE* He has now been officially announced *UPDATE*

Chris Canetti, the president of the Houston Dynamo, today has named Hunter Freeman, formally with IK Start and Clarence Goodson, the newest defender for the Dynamo. It is not “official”, but since Canetti introduced him as the newest signing at a thursday night fan function, It is pretty safe to say the deal is done. The official announcement is supposed to be Friday, so we will see how true this is sooner rather than later.

The Obvious:
Assuming Chris Canetti isn’t making stuff up making himself look stupid, and Hunter Freeman was in Houston for the announcement because he actually is the newest Dynamo, this is a great addition to the roster. Hunter Freeman is a good, attack minded defender that is no stranger to MLS. At 25, he’s not really the typical veteran that our back line is typically utilizing, but he’s not really very extremely young either. I’m pretty sure (correct if I’m wrong) that he plays right back, so it’s much-needed offensive depth there after losing Mulrooney.

The On Field Meaning:
Dom clearly is trying to enforce good wing play again. Going back to 2006 and 2007, we had Barrett and Waibel on the left and right side respectively. They were just as much a key to our offensive success as Davis and Mullan. Right now, it’s looking like Davis and Clark or possibly Davis and Cameron are going to be the solution on the wings. I think with Davis and Cameron on the wings, you’ve the best wing play in the league. If we could get someone to fill the whole in center midfield (paging Torres or Feilhaber), then everything should go smoothly in the midfield barring injuries or suspensions. Cameron on the right really provides great flexibility because if the CM gets hurt Cameron can fill in, but if Cameron gets hurt Clark can go on the right side. However the midfield is for another day.

The Off Field Meaning:
I’m not sure if Jordan Graye is here to stay. At the outside back position we now have Chabala (a personal favorite on the left), Hainault, Graye, and now Freeman. Considering that we have some players that I think could fill in capably on the right side defence, namely Cameron, I don’t see for what reason we keep Graye. Obviously there is the reinstatement of the reserve league and we need to build a deep squad, but I don’t see him factoring into the picture. Him not showing up to the fan function tonight makes me think he’s not here to stay. As best as I can tell, he will probably be traded to someone else, but, yet again, only time will tell. For all we know this could mean that Chabala or Hainault are leaving, or Hainault might be in the process of being converted into a center back. He seems to have more of that skill set anyway, and he constantly gets burned with speed, autopasses, etc. The only thing I’m certain of with these move is that Cameron will never convert to right back now.

Lots of good changes going on, and Dom is clearly going for a Texan team. All the more reason for Torres to come as the attacking midfielder. (Please note this hasn’t been reported anywhere I just think he would be a great fit.

Please recommend The Final Pass to anyone you know that likes the Houston Dynamo or MLS. You might WILL win a chance to be a part of a fantastic community😄.

I don’t think I have been doing a good job keeping this blog running. So far I have a post about Manchester United being the club chosen to play against the all-stars in Houston and 1 Build Up. Obviously that’s not a great start. However, I fully intent on making this better. To start I’m just going to recap everything that has happened with the Dynamo that is noteworthy.

The Season:
The 2010 MLS Season was without a doubt disappointing for Houston fans everywhere. So much went wrong and very little went right. The squad itself could be argued better than the new Champions in Colorado, but that really doesn’t amount too much. The best summary of the 2010 season is either “Cameron out almost all season” or “Dynamo concede late goal; lose again”.

The Jersey:
With both the kit design and the jersey sponsor expiring in the same year, the Dynamo set out to do something different. With the new stadium on its way, a DP by 2012, and a bad 2010 the new look for the Dynamo is just kind of the icing on the cake for what could be dubbed the New Dynamo. The jersey itself really isn’t that bad.

2010 Home Kit
We throwback… what exactly are we throwing back to?

 The Home Jersey is orange with a white collar and a radial watermark coming from the crest. I think the orange used on the home is a little too washed out compared to past editions, but it’s still nice. What bugs me most is the fact that it looks like the 88 Nederlands kit. People are going to say that we are just trying to fake tradition… copy a good team… etc. In reality, (as far as I can tell) Canetti asked for some thing classy/retro with a white collar. If anything, this is inspired by United coming to play in Houston for the MLS All-Star Game. The common complaint as far as the actual kit design goes is the “radial” pattern coming from  the crest. It seems more likely with this jersey that the front office is going to try to keep some sort of radial watermark element in the shirt now. It looks really busy in the picture I’ve posted, but I can assure you it is not glaringly distracting in person. Think somewhere along the lines of the sun coming from the right side of the 2009/2010 Jersey.

The Away Jersey is pretty much the same thing except for there is no radial watermark and the trim is orange. Obviously you can’t have white on white, if you’re smart, so the collar and Adidas stripes change to orange.

Another significant difference is the jersey sponsor. Greenstar recycling is the new official jersey sponsor, and they replace the god awful Amigo Energy. In my opinion, the name recognizability isn’t an upgrade, but it’s still a great sponsor. First of all, Houston is going to get $12.7 million over the course of five years, so there is an instant money factor. However, the best part about this is that Greenstar is going to help with recycling in the new stadium. Greenstar’s goal is to make the new stadium one of the greenest in the country. If the Dynamo get paid for everything recycled, this is a great deal for the Dynamo; not so much Greenstar, so I’m pretty sure they’re not going to get paid like if one of us were to go recycle. 

The Stadium:
I hit on this slightly while talking about the new jersey, but really the biggest news is that the Houston Sports Authority finally approved the lease, and the stadium is officially on its way as soon as all the plans are done for it. Initially it was thought that construction would start in December, but that’s being bumped back now to January. Also there is the whole deal with Greenstar to make it a green stadium.

The Squad:
Finally the most important part, the squad. The Dynamo today extended Geoff Cameron’s contract.They also have re-signed Ashe and Robinson. In the expansion draft, nobody was taken from us, but we lost the rights to Ngwenya and Cochrane in the first ever Re-Entry Draft. Some big names the club is yet to re-sign include Onstad, Oduro, and Obadai.We traded for Jason Garey, and also for Jordan Graye. Honestly, the best source for the current roster is in the newest edition of Canetti’s Corner.

I meant to publish this on Friday, but computer problems made me delay the publsihing. Below is the full article 

Friday of any week marks the start of the weekend for many people, and with the start of the weekend comes the first Build Up piece for The Final Pass. 

There’s lots of games this week, specifically on Saturday, so I’m going to, one by one, review the importance of games, what to watch for, my prediction, etc. 

LA @ Seattle: 

All the talk in the past few weeks has been on Buddle and his incredible scoring form of late. I would argue for/against Buddle, but that is a conversation for another day. LA sits at the top of the whole league with 19 points while Seattle is 5th in the west with less than half of those points. Obviously this game is more important to Seattle who, as always, have high expectations for themselves. 

Tensions likely calmer

I would obviously be watching for Buddle to score or assist, assisting being more important to me at the moment, but besides that there’s Donovan as well. Donovan has remained quiet in MLS talks lately, so hopefully he can add another assist. On Seattle, the biggest thing I can think of, as a US Soccer fan, is the development of a Evans, who is probably too late to ever play in a World Cup. 

My prediction is slightly obvious in the sense that the galaxy win, but the score? So far Seattle has given up 8 goals, which is not typical Seattle, but to stay with the current stats I predict 2-0 in favor of Lando. 

Chicago @ Toronto: 

Chicago is the current home of, possibly, the single greatest striker in USMNT history. Sure he’s a bit older, and he’s not a member of the USMNT anymore, but he’s still a very productive scoring machine in the windy city. 

Bask in the glow

Some of you may see where I’m getting at already. Toronto has given up 12 goals so far, and with the history of Toronto and Preki in charge, I don’t think they can muster up much more than a tie. Chicago currently sits 2nd in the east, so I’m predicting a 3-1 score. Toronto comes out…losing. 

Philadelphia @ Real Salt Lake: 

Philadelphia has started out…well pretty bad… and Real Salt Lake has started under standards. If the season ended today, neither team would be in the playoffs, but it’s entirely too early to say stuff like that. I think it will be a close game. I would watch for Beckerman to shut down the Union attack, but who leads the Union attack? Le Toux is probably the most experienced player on the side’s attack, but I think Roger Torres plays a bigger role in the match than others. 

The man with a future

Torres’ wing play is absolutely pivotal to the Union’s success. If Torres has a good game, the Union win, so I’m going to say the young squad beats the defending champs 1-0 

New England @ Columbus: 

I would say this is a very important match for both clubs in the sense that if New England wins, they leapfrog Columbus in the standings, but luckily for Columbus fans, New England is without arguably their best player, Shalrie Joseph. New England has given up 11 goals so far this season. Then, looking at Columbus, you’ve got names like Guillermo Barros Schellotto and Robbie Rogers.

The most important part of the attack

Robbie Rogers is, in my eyes, the biggest factor in this match. He, from a US standpoint, is what I would watch for, and his wing play is THE most important thing for Columbus’ success. To me, the biggest thing Rogers has to work on to ever go to a world cup, which is already slim chances, is his ability to cross into the box. If New England capably shuts him and Guillermo down, they could pull a win. I don’t see it though, so a 2-1 victory for Columbus is my prediction.

DC @ FC Dallas:

Lots of people are talking about an encore for the young man named Bill Hamid. he basically won the game for DC, or so I’ve heard. I think DC is much more capable of what they have achieved so far this season, and Dallas… Don’t expect much good to come out of a Houston fan towards Dallas. If Bill Hamid is not being exaggerated, I don’t think Dallas has much of a chance, but regardless of that you should still watch because of the likes of Pearce and Pontius. Can Pearce shut out the DC attack? Will there even be much attack in the whole game? Will Pontius present himself as a capable option for 2014? Can Pearce prove that he should be on the 30 man roster? I’m rooting for him, he’s better than Bornstein. Close game without much attack, so I’m guessing 0-0 score.

New York @ San Jose:

If this was last year, I would pick a very boring tie, but this year I’m interested in watching New York. I’m yet to watch them play, but they sound like an entertaining squad. For USMNT fans there is not much to watch, but I can’t help but want to watch Brain Nielsen. His wing play is supposed to be fantastic and because of him and many others New York has developed a very dynamic squad.

New York will thrash San Jose 3-0.

Houston @ Chivas USA:

Houston is my hometown team, so my point of view will be biased whether I can help it or not. This is why I vow to never predict the score for Houston matches.

There’s lots for a Houston fan to watch for, but some of the key points for a USMNT fan are highlighted in this match up. I personally like Chabala to go to South Africa, but so far it seems like I’m the only one. If Chabala shuts down Sacha and company, it’s a plus, but if he can get forward and help in the attack, which is much needed for a depleted Dynamo, I think he’s yelling call me up. Unfortunately he could be too late.

Happier times for Ching. Now he's focused on South Africa

Ching is back for Houston and there’s no way he’s not going to work himself like crazy to get on the 30 man roster. I prefer Ching over Casey, but yet again a topic for another day. Houston is, according to mlssoccer.com below Chivas in the standings, but in the rest of the world we would be on top. Our goal differential is 2 while Chivas’ is 1. This is a big chance for both team to move higher in the standings, which leads me to my next point.

Sacha is very dissapointing on the international stage at times, but lately for club ball he hasn’t done much bad. He is thriving with the freedom that the new Chivas coach has given him so he is a big point for me to watch for as well.

Man U Houston Bound

Posted: May 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

MLS has confirmed today the club participating in the 2010 MLS All-Star game, and it’s a good one. It’s not just any old club, but it’s the red devils of old trafford.

On their way to stomp us?

 However, they’re not making a trip to Houston and then leaving back to Manchester, so all of you in Kansas City, Toronto, or Philadelphia can enjoy united’s play in person. The game will kick-off on July 28th, with a good time slot at 7:30. Televised by of course ESPN, but Telefutura as well? Is that normal because I’ve always thought it was just ESPN. Back on topic, the MLS website is stating that Rooney and Vidic won’t be available due to the World Cup, but it’s on July 28th why would they still be in South Africa? Either way you can’t help but be excited. Ticket should already be on sale…I think I’ll pay a visit to ticketmaster in a second.

My first initial thought when hearing this was THANK GOD! I thought that MLS would get a team from Mexico due to the game being in Houston.