Dynamo prepare to play MLS Cup final in rain
Year after year, the Houston Dynamo make a run. It doesn’t always end in an MLS Cup appearance – as it has the past two seasons – but the routine with which Dominic Kinnear’s team makes a late season surge is the stuff that dynasties are made of.
Dynasties are also made of great individual talents. The best teams of all-time usually have some of the best players of all-time, and yet - when it comes to the Dynamo – individual awards have been inexplicably tough to come by.
Let’s examine this year’s season-ending MLS awards… and where Houston was -- yet again -- overlooked.
Defender of the Year:
Winner: Matt Besler (Kansas City)
Finalists: Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Aurelien Collin (Kansas City)
The Snub: Bobby Boswell appeared in and started more games (33) than any of the DOY finalists. He did this while anchoring a back line that allowed fewer goals (41) than Bernardez’ San Jose outfit (43).
Goalkeeper of the Year:
Winner: Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City)
Finalists: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Michael Gspurning (Seattle)
The Snub: Tally Hall’s 12 shutouts were far more than Kennedy’s eight, and though his GAA (1.19) wasn’t quite as impressive as Gspurning’s or Nielsen’s, he far outlasted the Sounders goalie in terms of durability (33 starts to just 21).
Newcomer of the Year:
Winner: Federico Higuain (Columbus)
Finalists: Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Michael Gspurning (Seattle)
The Snub: Boniek Garcia’s impact on the Dynamo and MLS is undeniable. Houston was hovering at .500 when he arrived and lost just four times in Garcia’s 22 starts since. For all of Higuain’s exploits, and there were plenty, his team still missed the playoffs.
The issue isn’t necessarily that the Dynamo aren’t winning any individual hardware, but rather, that Houston can’t seem to even get a finalist in categories where it is clearly deserved. For far too long, Dominic Kinnear’s side has been labeled as a unit where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
With five conference finals appearances in seven seasons, it’s about time those parts start getting some credit.