Considering their status as two-time defending Eastern Conference champions, the Houston Dynamo likely weren’t expecting to land an immediate full-time starter with either of their selections in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft. What the club did accomplish with the 13th and 37th overall picks was to add depth at two areas on the roster that will surely be stretched over the coming months.
In taking forward Jason Johnson out of VCU with the 13th pick, the Dynamo replaced some of the attacking speed lost between Mac Kandji’s expected departure and Calen Carr’s injury. Johnson can play as an out-and-out striker but may find himself out wide for Houston, a position where his speed will be an asset in breaking down opposing defenses. A heavily left-footed player, Johnson’s passing in the final third is one of his best qualities.
The added bonus in selecting Johnson is his Generation Adidas tag. As a result, Johnson’s contract won’t count against the club’s salary cap. The 22-year-old has also been capped at the senior level for Jamaica, a rare accomplishment for players entering MLS through the SuperDraft.
Despite multiple reports noting Johnson’s poor showing at last week’s combine, Dynamo President Chris Canetti wasted little time in showing his confidence in the selection via twitter.
Strong pick for us in Jason Johnson. 100% consensus at table on it. Best available and fills need.— Chris Canetti (@ChrisCanetti) January 17, 2013
With the 37th overall pick, Houston took Jimmy Nealis out of Georgetown - adding further depth to their backline. Nealis – who is aggressive going forward - featured at left back for the Hoyas and offers consistent left-footed service from that spot.
Prior to the Nealis pick, the Dynamo had just six defenders on their roster – a number that might have proved insufficient should Houston make a deep run in CONCACAF Champions League, the U.S. Open Cup - or both.