So, you want to be a professional soccer player?
You’ve got a little skill. You know how to strike a ball. You’ve worked that speed ladder and showed the doggone thing who is boss, right?
Now you think you can run with the big dogs, with the lads who play for pay?
Here’s what I suggest: start with Houston Dynamo practices this week. Because those bad boys are going to be super intense, somewhere between soccer practice and cage fighting. As they say, if you can make it there …
Here’s what the Houston Chronicle said about the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s 3-1 loss at already eliminated Philadelphia.
Kinnear tore into his team afterward, delivering an expletive-laced tirade that could be heard down the hall at PPL Park. No doubt he was incensed by the Dynamo’s listless play and lack of fire, which was unacceptable in the critical match.
From there, Kinnear offered some on-the-record quotes that are as close as he ever comes to criticizing his team. “It wasn’t good enough. That’s how I’ll leave it. I’m just disappointed.”
I’ve said this plenty of times before: There is nothing fancy or secret or groundbreaking about the way the Dynamo do things. Kinnear is still fairly young (45) but is far and away the longest serving MLS coach at his current position for one simple reason: he demands accountability on the field.
That’s it. It’s all the little things. Getting into the right places. Making the correct decisions. Tracking back faithfully. Marking on set pieces. Fighting for second balls with Jack Bauer intensity. Being a good locker room presence.
Every manager wants these things; Kinnear demands it. And for those who can’t quite make the grade in any one area, Kinnear thanks them and moves them along.
Right now, too many players aren’t getting it done. Rookie Kofi Sarkodie gets caught with the ball too often, and then goes down too easily when it happens. Ricardo Clark may cover a lot of ground, but his passing looks a bit slow and overly contemplative right now. There’s more, those are just the first things that come to mind.
And for Kinnear’s part, that 4-3-3 (or whatever it was in Philadelphia) may need a re-think, perhaps back to the well-rehearsed roles everyone had in the 4-4-2.
Because 1-3-3 over their last seven (6 of a possible 21 points) is not going to get it done, especially not when the club is healthy, with pretty much everyone available for selection.
So, yes … go ask about joining up in the Dynamo practices this week. It is not going to be pretty, technical, tika-taka stuff.