Cristian Maidana

2016 ASA PREVIEW: HOUSTON DYNAMO by Harrison Crow

Maybe Houston is a bottom of the Western Conference barrel team, maybe they’re fighting for the last spot. Not to limit a season or story that has yet to be played out. But there probably isn’t much in the way variance in how this season ends for the boys in Orange. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.

2015 in review

The first week of November 2014 saw the Houston Dynamo fully shift into a new direction as just a month prior saw their only manager in franchise history, Dominic Kinnear, leave and return to San Jose

President Chris Canetti announced the organization's pursuit of not just a replacement for Kinnear, who was the team’s coach and organizational decision maker, but a new direction, ethos and brand. Matt Jordan was hired away from rival Montreal as the first Technical Director, General Manager and Vice President in Dynamo history.

A month later, Canetti called Owen Coyle, a veteran commander of many English Premier League relegation battles, and handed him the coaching reigns. The Englishman gladly accepted and found himself in new colors, a new country and likely a new definition of heat. 

The question I’ve had since last December is whether or not Coyle is the right man for the job. Jordan was hired with a very pronounced intention to implement use of analytics into the team and organization. Coyle has a past history of grinding out results based upon quantity and volume, which isn’t necessarily a recipe for long term success. But, in fairness he hasn’t had the horses to do much else.

More on 2015 and looking ahead to 2016 after the jump.

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2016 ASA PREVIEW: PHILADELPHIA UNION by Coleman Larned

The 2015 MLS season was Philadelphia Union's worst points haul in their existence, both in league and conference totals. In Jim Curtin's first full season as head coach, recently having the 'interim' title stripped, the Union were ponderous, soft and lacked a dangerous cutting edge and consistent goal scorer. 

DDLLLWDLLLL. By starting the season 1-3-7, the Union dug themselves a hole they never recovered from. Besides brief puffs scoring spurts from C.J. Sapong, the only consistencies the Union could grasp onto were indications of confusions of identity and the inability to impose their will. 

Floundering, season-long poor Elo totals, a bottom of the league possession% (46.3) and Fouls (11) per game, a bottom-five in the league shots per game (11.2) all pointed towards the previously offered adjectives.

A year that the club will quickly try to forget was signified near the end of the season with the continued restructuring in the back office and on the field. After Curtin was given the reins in his first coaching job, the end of 2015 saw CEO Nick Sakiewicz and ex-USMNT player and AZ Alkmaar's 'Director of Football Affairs' Ernie Stewart named 'Sporting Director' in Philadelphia. 

Read more about Stewart's style after the jump.

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