I was at the training session of the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday morning, having just been reacquainted with the team after I returned to the USA on Monday, as they had just completed their first home game in the MLS against the Philadelphia Union.
The Dynamo have a number of players, including the likes of Alex Dixon, Brad Davis, and Ryan Richter, all of whom have recently moved to Houston, but the team’s main focus is on the future, with only the aforementioned three expected to leave for the MLS.
I was struck by the fact that I had not heard any negative things about the Dynamo.
It was as if, in the first few months of the new year, they had decided to focus on the current players instead of the future.
So why is this?
I can only assume that this is because, in spite of their title of ‘one of the best teams in MLS’, the team has been very much lacking in the transfer market, having spent almost €500 million in the last three seasons.
The signing of Dynamo defender Tyler Deric from Sunderland in January was an example of the club having done all it could to try to improve the team, which in turn only made them less attractive to potential buyers.
The Dynamo, of course, have no plans to sell their players, which is probably why they have managed to keep the majority of their squad together.
The most notable exception to this is the signing of former Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma from Marseille for a reported €7 million, who will replace the likes, including David Villa and Didier Drogba, of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea squad.
Despite this, Dynamo fans, and even the team itself, seem to be enjoying their new surroundings.
At the time of writing, Dynamo is still undefeated in the league, with six wins and two draws from their last nine games.
That’s pretty good, but what does that tell us about the future?
The Dynamo have had two players leave this summer, while the club has not had a single player move to MLS.
And despite their current form, the team are not expected to compete for a playoff spot this season.
With so many new faces, and not having a single transfer in place, I was hoping that the team would continue to focus more on the players in the squad, and develop them in a way that will improve their potential in the future as well.
However, in order to do this, the Dynamo must continue to improve their squad in the short term.
When I spoke to some of the players about the changes to their squad, I noticed that the majority were very disappointed with the state of the team.
They felt that they had not been given the proper tools to compete in the current climate, with the manager not giving players enough time to learn the team style and the squad’s tactics.
There was a sense of disarray amongst the players, with some even complaining about the lack of leadership.
They were also not given any guidance, such as how to organise a training session, and what to expect from their manager.
It was evident that they did not have a proper understanding of the changes coming.
In order to make this change, Dynamo will have to find a new way of approaching the game.
They will have a great chance of making the playoffs in 2017, but I do not think they will be able to keep pace with the likes in Europe.