Ahead of Real Salt Lake’s season opener at Houston Dynamo on Sunday, Dustyn Richardson with Dynamo Theory answered our questions about his side — and they’re a team that’s going through a strikingly similar transition in 2022.
Your ownership change has not been as dramatic or intense as Real Salt Lake’s — but that doesn’t mean it won’t be meaningful. What are you expecting from Ted Segal?
The fact that Ted Segal actually cares is going a long way with Dynamo fans. Segal has come in and basically done everything differently than it has been done in the past. The Dynamo broke their club record transfer fee in bringing in striker Sebastian Ferreira and there are now rumors that Houston has offered Mexican international Hector Herrera a contract with a salary over $6 million. When Segal bought the team there was a lot of “wait and see” because he was an unknown guy from New York and no one really knew what to expect. Now that Segal has completely redone the front office with the hirings of Pat Onstad as general manager, Asher Mendelsohn as the club’s first technical director, and Paulo Nagamura as head coach, and has begun to reshape the roster and actually spend money, expectations have begun to change for Dynamo fans, for the good.
You’re now the steward of RSL homegrown product Corey Baird. What are you hoping to see from him in 2022? Does he still hold a lot of promise, or is he simply an MLS veteran at this point?
Baird came to Houston in the middle of last year and never really found his footing under former head coach Tab Ramos. Now with Nagamura at the helm, it looks like Baird will be a starter, at least for now. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of promise for Baird but he is the kind of player that can hold down a starting spot on a team that is looking to build to a competitive level. He’s a solid veteran and his defensive work is a plus. Baird is going to have to be a plus on the offensive end as well to supply service to Ferreira. There are a lot of rumors about a wing being signed but nothing has happened yet so Baird looks to be a day 1 starter.
MLS writers have put the Dynamo near the bottom of the rankings in the league. Why are they wrong?
I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re wrong. Everyone who has seen the Dynamo of the last few years knows they were a huge mess. From top to bottom, the club needed an overhaul. Ted Segal and the new front office have begun that overhaul but this is not going to be an overnight fix. The Dynamo are probably going to struggle again this season, they may not finish last again, but cleaning up the mess from the previous regime is going to take a season or two. The odds aren’t high that the Dynamo and Nagamura take the league by storm and surprise everyone with a playoff appearance. Putting the Dynamo near the bottom of preseason rankings hopefully becomes a thing of the past very soon.