Sunday, February 8, 2015


Written by: Angelo Lawford
Date posted: 2/8/2015

It could be said about this Major League Soccer (MLS) post-season, that it is the most historic, most future minded, most progressive, and most forward thinking off-season in league history. But unfortunately, it can also be said, that it is the most confusing, most misleading, most convoluted and least transparent off-season in MLS history also. NYCFC (New York City Football Club), you got some 'splainin' to do.....

Not to mention as we now find ourselves in the dawn of the new season as training camps league-wide are now underway, there is the specter of a work stoppage as the league and players are currently involved in a tension-filled CBA negotiation. At last check, the players and league aren't what you would consider to be anywhere close to reaching a settlement. The players seem to be digging their heels in the sand, as players are in pursuit of the introduction of league-wide free agency. Like I said, not all peaches and cream this off-season.

But consider me one that continually looks to the bright side and flees far from negativity whenever it presents itself; at least, that is what happened for me today anyway. I'm just a part-time eternal optimist, but I digress. In all seriousness though, there is a lot of hope to take from this off-season and for that, I'm excited.

Though I am filled with hope for what the league is trying to do in affirming it's national presence as a league equal to what are considered to be the big three leagues by most pundits domestically speaking, you would be hard-pressed to find a more hopeful MLS situation than what is currently happening here in Houston with the Houston Dynamo.

The Dynamo have been hard at work this off-season, as they look to rebound from a rather ordinary last season and one that saw them miss the MLS playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. The lackluster season seemingly accelerated the introduction of new ideas and a new vision at the Dynamo offices downtown. There is now a new coach in place in Owen Coyle, who has coached at the highest level of club soccer.

He has had a more than respectable stint as coach in both England's Premier League and Championship divisions. He comes with new ideas and with an experience and a vision that could very well open up the game and become a more aesthetically pleasing event to both soccer fans and casual sports fans alike in our market. It was a great coup by the Dynamo to get Owen Coyle. 

The Dynamo also kept pace with some of the big money and big player signings that were a constant theme throughout the league this off season. Not to be outdone by the return to the league by the likes of USMNT heavyweight, Jozy Altidore, and fellow USMNT running mate, Brek Shea, as well as the introduction of names historic to the game, such as Ricardo Kaka and Steven Gerrard, the Dynamo managed to seize the opportunity to sign the growing Mexican national team phenom, Erick "El Cubo" Torres, which is a perfect get for the Dynamo considering his youth, his potential, and possible connection to our city given our city's cultural dynamics.

When you take into account what the Dynamo are doing in conjunction with what the league overall is doing, it's not that hard to succumb to the bright side of things and remain optimistic. Though there is still a lot of off-season and now pre-season story to unfold, that is the realm in which I will choose to live for now, in the midst of hope and optimism. Stay tuned..........

Angelo Lawford


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