Looking at the 2023 Houston Dynamo coaching staff

Looking at the 2023 Houston Dynamo coaching staff

The Houston Dynamo kicked off the 2023 preseason Sunday morning at Houston Sports Park under the watch of first-year head coach Ben Olsen and his coaching staff. It starts with more questions and then answers with the biggest one, is this the staff to turn it around?

In their third coaching staff in as many seasons, there are warranted reasons to wonder if general manager Pat Onstad has found the magic elixir Houston has been searching for since Dominic Kinnear was let go after the 2014 season. The Dynamo have only a winning season since then and are their fifth head coach, not counting interims, in the same span. Is this to return it? Let’s take a look.

Head Coach Ben Olsen

Ben Olsen had a great run at DC United. His 113 wins rank ninth all-time. During his decade in office, his teams made the postseason six times, and while they never won the coveted MLS Cup, they added the 2013 US Open Cup to their trophy case. Olsen is only 45 years old and in addition to his success as a coach was also a decorated player, so he knows both sides of the coin. He is hired to develop a new team, something he did five different times in the DCU. His teams, despite their youth, have managed to win or draw in 59% of their chances. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native is only two years removed from coaching, so the game hasn’t passed him by. Given the right players, he could be here for a while and Houston could return to football relevance.

Assistant coach Aurelien Collin

Collin lands his first coaching gig with the Houston Dynamo in 2022. The Frenchman had a decorated MLS career while anchoring the backline of 2013 MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City, the first of his four stops before retirement . At 36 years old, Collin brings a wealth of experience as a hitter and may be the smartest signing of all from Houston this offseason. A three-time All-Star, Collin appeared in the MLS playoffs eight times in his 11-year career, including a 90-minute performance in the 2022 Eastern Conference Final with the Philadelphia Union.

Assistant coach Adin Osmanbasic

For the past two seasons, Osmanbasic has been the head coach of the Dynamo Academy U-17 team, his only real coaching experience. Before arriving in Houston, he had stops in Atlanta and Columbus primarily as part of the video technical staff. Every coach needs an opportunity to show what he can do at the highest level, and with Houston in rebuilding mode, this is his moment. It is expected that part of his role will also be tactical preparation. He has been a regular contributor to spielverlagerung.com, a website dedicated to tactical and match analysis, among other things. Two of his most interesting authors may be more useful to Houston and key to why Onstad brought him up. One is Tactical Theory – the different forms of break defense and another he co-authored is How Guardiola & the 3-2-2-3 (ultimately) solved the defensive flaw. If either of these two items were a trigger for his promotion, Onstad may be on to something.

Goalkeeping coach Tim Hanley

The name should be familiar to Houston fans who have followed this team since the Dynamo arrived in the Bayou City. Hanley was Pat Onstad’s goalkeeper when Houston won the 2006 MLS Cup. He is a throwback to the Dynamo Way that permeated Houston soccer and perhaps that is why Hanley has received a third stint with the Houston Dynamo. Olsen was eight years old when Hanley began his coaching career in 1985, none of the players he would work with had been born. Hanley and Onstad were also in Columbus together, so it’s no surprise that the two have reunited. This move may have more to do with rebuilding Dynamo Way 2.0, and if so, then let’s hope it’s a stroke of genius.

This is a very interesting and acquired staff that could turn around Houston’s football fortunes. Ultimately the only way is up.

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