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Wilmer Cabrera open to playing both Dynamo, RGV players in Leagues Cup

The Houston Dynamo may very well use Rio Grande Valley FC players for their Leagues Cup match this summer. They may use their own first-team players, too.

The Dynamo were announced as one of four MLS teams to compete in the inaugural Leagues Cup, a short summer competition that will see clubs from this side of the border take on Mexican opposition. The Dynamo welcome Club America to BBVA Compass Stadium on July 24th, but the friendly falls in the thick of summer and a busy stretch in the MLS season.

What kind of roster the Dynamo use for that match is not yet clear, but it is possible, if not likely, that a combination of first-team players and ones from the club’s USL affiliate is used for the affair.

“We might have to complete the roster with (RGV players) because we have 13 games in 40 days,” Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera told SBI. “We don’t know who’s going to play and we don’t know who’s going to be available, but we’re going to try to do it the best way possible. If we have to use players from RGV, they have to take advantage of the opportunities.

“If we have to use the whole first-team roster they have to compete to win, or if we have to mix it — no matter what it’s going to be a great experience and we’re going to try to do our best.”

It would be understandable if Cabrera were frustrated over having to play an exhibition match in the middle of the campaign. After all, the regular season has been compressed this year, with more games taking place in less time so that the MLS Cup final is held in November rather than in December.

Cabrera, however, sidestepped the question of if this match and overall tournament are as unnecessary as many fans and pundit have deemed them.

“Well, right now whatever I say, it doesn’t count,” said Cabrera with a sigh. “We have to play this game so we need to try to take advantage of the opportunity to play against a Mexican team on July 24. There’s nothing that I can say, positive or negative, that’s going to change, so we need to take a very positive approach to try to use that game as an opportunity to compete with a very, very well known and very strong Mexican team.

“Because no matter what it’s going to be big and hopefully we can take advantage of that opportunity.”

There is of course plenty of time for the Colombian manager to map out the Dynamo’s strategy for that tilt against Club America, but he is not planning to select any players to the match-day roster until days before kickoff.

All Cabrera knows as of right now is that he will have an “extensive roster” at his disposal. Who winds up playing is to be determined.

“I cannot say what it’s going to be because we have to play the (MLS) games first,” said Cabrera. “Then, when we come back on July 20 from Toronto is when I’m going to have the roster and then I’m going to see who will be available.”


  1. Having said that… the MLS teams need to start getting used to playing a string of 2 games a week for a month or 2… if any of these players want to go to Europe… guess what they play Cuos and European Championships games a lot there! Also not enough of MLS teams actually START academy players… time to start playing the kids more… sink or swim. If you successfully develop 1 or 2… that’s a free player on salary cap to either pay starters at other positions or more depth so the team is 16 or 18 deep and not just 12 or 13 deep

    • I’ve been thinking about this lately in terms of why the NT has fallen off and at least one answer I feel is true is the 8 international slots and 3 DPs squeeze out these young domestic players you think should be in the rotation. My theory is cut back down to 5 international slots like USOC and you’d start to see more domestic players get involved, and slightly more room for the U20s to get traction. I was looking at it the other day and wondering how does the highest finishing U20 team in the region 3 U20 world tournaments running not turn into the best senior NT as well? And then I ask myself, which MLS team is going to play them? I see it as structural but maybe it’s also an attitude change. My Dynamo seem scared about going beyond maybe the first 15 players off the roster.

      • I think the NT fell off from a disconnect in what was needed throughout the USSF system and the senior national team. Also we got cocky, Klinsmann made some dumb mistakes but along with him everyone went too far at extreme levels. He was trying to bring about change sending knocks on MLS players or the Federation for not pushing MLS & player development more….but than he got stuck on guys he shouldn’t have…then Arena thought the conservative style of always would be enough. When he clearly had better options abroad or even in MLS than say Beasley at Left back, Zusi at right back etc etc

        Either way we need more fan and press involvement to grow the game and push the league and teams

    • Re Houston, we’re going to start 8 or 9 foreign players, 3-4 of whom start for Honduras, and we have maybe 1 guy on the whole team you might look at for the US bench.

    • Houston starts 3-4 Honduran NT starters, and then has basically 1 player that might be considered a sleeper prospect for the USA bench (Memo).

    • If they are going to add these types of competitions then they need to expand the roster size and cap. With MLS travel and current roster limits, there is no way MLS teams can play this many games.

  2. I bet he got called on the carpet after a local reporter tweeted the day of the LC announcement saying WC would basically use RGV players. This is actually a back pedal from that position. The fixture congestion argument is fair but I think where he “got in trouble here was being honest about how he’d staff a cup match the team hadn’t really marketed or sold tickets for.

    • In fairness to Wilmer (though I am going to point out he ranks poorly in MLS on whether players like their coach) we could probably sell 15-20k tickets in 2 months just to Club America fans regardless of whether we openly said we would field the RGV reserves or the HD starters.

  3. Great job, MLS, overloading our teams with utterly meaningless games in the middle of the summer… Instead of creating a new tournament, why not make the effort to fix the Concacaf champions league tournament so that MLS has a fair chance to compete against Liga MX teams instead of making them playing during pre-season?

    • More tournaments mean more sponsor opportunities and partnerships which means more money coming into the league. Even though its at the players expense and can cause fatigue and injuries, MLS is focused on being as profitable as possible and to make as much money as they can. Expect more tournaments and competitions like this to grow and pop up.

    • I feel like MLS needs to start the season in early February or last weekend of January. Just play the majority of the games in the West Coast or Domed stadiums like Vancouver, Atlanta, Montreal (if they play a couple in the Olympic stadium they can make a bit more on ticket sales) and they can plan on teams with Big name DPs playing there like DC United with Rooney, or LA Galaxy with Zlatan etc etc.

      We have enough West Coast teams and domed stadium teams to play 4 or 5 games in the earlier part of the year.
      LAFC, LAG, San Jose, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, FC Dallas, Houston, Orlando, , Montreal, Minnesota FC& SKC (their fans show up even if cold, play them for home games mid February on)

      That’s 12 venues Now and 15 when the 3 new franchises come in
      Then going forward you could play at Miami FC & Nashville and even Austin FC

      This is also another reason why we need to give Sacramento a team

      • I thought it was a missed opportunity for Canada not to be involved. My sense of how the teams were picked is the teams that didn’t have games on Sunday before the first round or Saturday after, and then also nothing Canadian because their domestic cup is going midweek. But to me the interesting change would have been to take Superliga and bring in at least one Canadian team this time. I think when Superliga started there was one Canadian MLS team (TFC) and back then they stunk.

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