HOUSTON. – There have been quite a few big changes for the Houston Dynamo since 2019, chief among them a new head coach for 2020.
Tab Ramos, who replaced Wilmer Cabrera, led his first preseason training session Monday and hopes to bring fresh ideas and new faces to the Dynamo.
“The players have been off for a long time, so I know they are excited about that,” Ramos said Monday. “They are excited about starting with a new coach and starting a new season, so we have to sort of bottle all of that excitement the first couple of days to make sure that physically we are getting exactly what we need.
“We want them to start forcing themselves to work a little bit harder, but at the same time, it is just the first day, and with all that time off it makes it really difficult. As far as the evaluation of the first session, I thought it was very good. I thought the players were happy and excited to be here, and that is a really important part for me.”
Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan had only positive things to say about the work done in the offseason. The club’s goal, as always, is to make it to the playoffs and compete for a championship.
“Well for us, we have outlined very clear objectives,” Jordan said. “We want to qualify for the playoff and compete to win the championship. That’s what gets us out of bed every morning and that’s what motivates us. We feel we have a team and a roster that could compete with anyone in Major League Soccer. A big offseason objective of ours was to get younger. And we feel we accomplished that, getting younger in each of our lines throughout the team.”
Some fan-favorite players are no longer with the Dynamo, but other familiar faces did return, including forward Christian Ramirez. He expressed support for his new coach and the direction of the club.
“These are exciting times,” Ramirez said. “There are exciting things going on with the club, and it is just a refreshing year. It was a refreshing offseason with the new coaching staff, new players coming in and our core still sticking together. I think that is an important part. When you keep so many guys together, you develop a style and trust that really helps make winning easy.”
Forward Mauro Manotas also trained with the team. There were rumors the Colombian forward might not return to the Dynamo in 2020, but for now the striker is part of the squad and ready to put his best efforts forward to reach goals that weren’t met in 2019.
“Everyone is totally different, but it seems that coach gives us a little more freedom in the dressing room — the time to arrive. [That] gives us the confidence to be able to do what we want in the sense of responsibility and respect for each one of us,” Manotas said. “On the pitch, we just have to wait and see in the following days. It was just the first day and we did not notice the difference so much, but we are going to be a very competitive team that is going to go out there and win at home and away games.”