The Houston Dynamo see 66 points that are up for grabs and can salvage their season, but their desire to pick up as many of those as possible will not rush them into deciding who is their next head coach.
The Dynamo began their coaching search in earnest on Wednesday night after mutually agreeing to part ways with Owen Coyle. His desire to be closer to his family in England was the primary reason given the for move, but a factor that certainly helped the Scotsman and Dynamo split was the club being in last place in the competitive Western Conference.
While the reasons for Coyle’s failure in his year-and-some-change in MLS can and likely will be discussed in the coming weeks, the Dynamo have to focus on moving forward. There is still plenty of time for them to dart up the standings, and making a push for a playoff spot is not out of the realm of possibilities. Not with five months left in the season.
An argument can be made for the Dynamo having a better chance of putting this slow start behind them the sooner the third head coach in their history is appointed. Nonetheless, the Dynamo plan to take as much time as needed during this process.
“At this time, we don’t want to limit ourselves to a set timeline,” said Dynamo vice president/general manager Matt Jordan. “I think what’s important and what we think is important is to take a right decision, and that’s why we’re not limiting ourselves to the potential interim candidate that can be evaluated. Right now, our focus is our game this Saturday. There’s not going to be anything communicated before Sunday.
“At the same time we’re not going to limit ourselves and lock ourselves into a timeline because it’s important to take time and make the right decision for the organization. Ultimately, the most important thing is the organization and how we’re going to continue to move forward.”
As it stands, the Dynamo currently sit on a measly 11 points via a 3-7-2 record. Only the Chicago Fire have less points, but they have played one less game than the Dynamo, who have struggled with consistency all year long. For instance, the Western Conference outfit has scored a respectable 18 goals thus far, but conceded 20. The Dynamo have also yet to record a point on the road through six games while going 3-1-2 inside of BBVA Compass Stadium.
It just has not been good enough from top to bottom for the Dynamo in 2016. If it had been, Coyle would likely still be in charge regardless of his wish to be closer to home.
“Right now, if we’re in first place, Owen being away from his family wouldn’t be as challenging,” said Jordan. “Right now we’re 12 games into the season. We’ve had some good performances, we’ve had some performances that we can perform better, we’ve had some heart-breaking results.
“I can’t state with 100 percent certainty, but I do think it’s a fair point that if today we are higher up the standings – and I only say this just on a personal level – it probably makes it a little bit easier being away from your family.”
One person that is widely seen as a good candidate to be Coyle’s successor is Jason Kreis. He was fired at New York City FC at the end of 2015 because of a lackluster expansion season that finished without a playoff berth, but proved prior to that with Real Salt Lake that he can turn a small-market, low-budget team into a winner and MLS powerhouse.
Still, Kreis’ previous successes do not guarantee anything.
“Very normal that Jason Kreis’ name pops up,” said Jordan. “Obviously, he’s a highly-successful coach and he’s been a highly-successful coach in this league and somebody that’s done a great job. Right now our focus is our game against Vancouver this weekend, and we’re in the process of evaluating all potential candidates that would be good for us to consider moving forward.”
The Dynamo might take their time in their search for a new head coach, but are not ready to chalk this season up to a loss just yet. There are still plenty of matches left on the schedule, and a good string of performances can right the ship. Regardless of if it is with an interim or permanent head coach in place.
“I’ve been a part of this league for almost 20 years, as a player and working in the front office, and one thing I can tell you with 100 percent certainty is things change quick in Major League Soccer because any team can beat any team on any given day in any venue,” said Jordan. “When we look at how much soccer is left to play – we have 22 games available and we have 66 points on the table – there’s a lot to play for.
“The MLS is unique to any league in the world where things can turn around very quickly and a couple good results go your way and all of a sudden you’re right back in the mix.”