Sixty-five days ago, the Houston Dynamo exited the pitch at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Missouri disappointed and dejected after having fallen one game short of a third consecutive MLS Cup appearance in eight seasons. Fast forward to Monday, January 27, 2014, a cold and blustery opening training day for the 2014 season in Houston as the men in orange took the pitch with a renewed determination to earn in 2014 what had so elusively evaded them in Kansas City.
Since dropping the conference title game in KC, the Dynamo front office led by team president Chris Canetti has been hard at work strengthening and solidifying a perennial powerhouse in MLS play. Gone are the likes of Cam weaver, Calen Carr and Bobby Boswell. Enter david Hosrt and Tony Cascio along with MLS SuperDraft picks AJ Cochran, Mark Sherrod, and Michael Lisch. Combine those with the core of returning veterans Brad Davis, Tally Hall, Will Bruin, Giles Barnes, Boniek-Garcia, Corey Ashe and Kofi Sarkodie. Mix in the talent of Alex Lopez and Servando Carrasco and a healthy Omar Cummings, Jermaine Taylor, Warren Creavalle, and Andrew Driver and you have a recipe for another title run by Houston's winningest sports franchise.
"We are very, very optimistic about the 2014 season," said Canetti at a press conference following the opening day of practice.
From that cold dark frigid night last December till now, head coach Dominic Kinnear and his training staff have been pointing towards this day.
"We have forty days of preseason. I know that, the guys know that. I like being on the field. I enjoy being back in the locker room, getting involved and having a better season then we did last year," said Kinnear. Obviously we set some records, made some great memories and obviously our ninth year will be some more of that but the ultimate goal for us is to win an MLS Cup and that's our aim as always."
The road to the Cup won't be easy but Dynamo defender Corey Ashe is positive that this group of guys are up to the task.
"We are all competitive. We know each is year is going to be harder and harder to achieve the things we achieved the year before but we go out and we compete. That's the one thing Dom tells us to do. It may not be your day technically but you want to go out and make it hard for others ( the other team) and that's what we do. We don't have a group of flashy players. We're just a group of guys that go and do our best and win."
Houston opens its preseason schedule with a 3p.m. tilt on Wednesday January 29 at the Houston Sports Park against the Dynamo Academy before taking on the Colorado Rapids in an 11a.m. match on Sunday February 2nd at Houston Sports Park.