The Houston Dynamo were unlikely participants in the MLS Cup final in 2011. Let’s face it, it would have been criminal if they walked away champions as at no point could you argue they were the best team in MLS, or even in the top five for that matter. You have to hand it to Dominic Kinnear for knowing how to organize a team that can compete with out any big time stars. It will be more of the same in 2012. Houston will have to survive playing their first seven games on the road before opening their new stadium in May. Don’t expect to see much in the way of beautiful soccer, but the Dynamo should be right in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference this season.
IN: M Nathan Sturgis, F Colin Rolfe, M Warren Creavalle, F Brian Ownby, F Karo Okiomah, M Eder Arreola, F Phillip Aseweh, M Daniel Roberts, F/M Macoumba Kandji, F G Erich Marscheider
OUT: M Francisco Navas Cobo, G Evan Newton, F Carlo Costly, D Hunter Freeman, F Jason Garey, D Eddie Robinson, M Danny Cruz
Projected Starters: Brian Ching, Will Bruin
Key Reserves: Macoumba Kanjdi, Calen Carr, Cam Weaver
The Dynamo have among the least desirable group of forwards when viewing with an eye towards fantasy. In an unbelievable statistic, nobody scored more than five goals for the Dyanmo in 2011. Brian Ching is back after the temporary kidnapping by Jesse Marsch and the Impact. It’s probably his last season and should start in his familiar role as a target forward. The Hawaiian failed to exceed twenty matches again for the third season running. It’s hard to see him breaking that trend now, leaving his ceiling at about seven goals. It’s quite possible that could still leave him as the teams leading scorer. Will Bruin represented himself well in his rookie season scoring five times in twenty-five appearances. He will start with Ching and has the potential to hit double digits this season. Cam Weaver figures to play when Ching is out and brings good size and physicality. Calen Carr recovered from a long term concussion problem to add a spark at the end of the season and in the playoffs. He should have a role as a speedster that can be brought into the later stages of a match. The one player that could evolve into a fantasy force is Mac Kandji. He has they physical tools to succeed in the Dynamo’s aerial attack, but also has the pace to stretch the field. Overall none of these players figure to be more than a third fantasy forward or a player you use when Houston plays twice in a given week.
Projected Starters: Brad Davis, Je-Vaughn Watson, Adam Moffat, Colin Clark
Key Reserves: Nathan Sturgis, Alex Dixon, Luiz Camargo
The only Houston player that we can get excited about in fantasy is left winger Brad Davis. He is the driving force of this attack as the game plan is to get the ball to his left foot and let him cross into the danger area. The 30-year old had a career high sixteen assists last season and now has at least twelve in his last three seasons. He is recovered from his knee injury and should be in the running to lead the league in assists once again in 2012 making him a top choice fantasy midfielder. The only other player to look at for fantasy this season will be Colin Clark who should start on the right side. He only started seventeen games in 2011 but still notched four goals and three assists. He could produce between five and seven in both categories this season which will make him a very useful fantasy midfielder. Adam Moffat and Je-Vaughn Watson will play in central midfield, but neither is much of a player to consider for fantasy. Moffat plays the holding role and can crack one from distance from time to time, but don’t expect more than four goals.
Projected Starters: Corey Ashe, Geoff Cameron, Andre Hainault, Kofie Sarkodie
Key Reserves: Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell
The strength of this Houston team is in defense, and they should be one of the best in the Eastern Conference. Geoff Cameron will move back from central midfield and could emerge as a MLS Defender of the Year candidate in 2012. The 26-year old had five goals and five assists last season, but remember he was playing in midfield for most of that. As a central defender he should be able to get close to that many goals, but without the assists. He is not quite an elite level fantasy defender, but he is in that next tier. Andre Hainault will partner with Cameron making a strong central pairing. The Canadian may also be pushed out the right back if Kinnear would prefer Bobby Boswell. The former DC United veteran scored five goals himself last season and would be a very solid fantasy defender should he start regularly. We think the season will instead start with Kofi Sarkodie at right back and Corey Ashe on the left. Ashe is a speedster who was converted from midfield, but did not register a goal or assist last season. Sarkodie is the player who could find himself joining in the attack and picking up a handful of assists. Overall Houston should be just outside the top five fantasy defenses for 2012 making all of their starters good options. This roster is desperate for some depth, and a few injuries could derail things fast in Houston.
Projected Starter: Tally Hall
Key Reserves: Tyler Deric, Erich Marsheider
Tally Hall emerged as one of the best keepers in MLS in 2011 posting a 1.13 GAA and tying for the lead league in saves. He is a great choice in fantasy again for 2012 as Houston should be aided by the unbalanced schedule. Tyler Deric will fill in should Hall get injured and is capable of holding the fort.
Sleeper: Macoumba Kandji
If there one player on this roster who can electrify a crowd it is Kandji. He has had his chances before in New York and Colorado and could only show it in short bursts. If he finds consistency in 2012 he could be a real treat for fantasy owners.
Bust: Brian Ching
Here is another case of name recognition gettin the way of a players fantasy value. Ching would be nothing more than a third forward for your fantasy team in 2012.