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In Canetti's Corner, Houston Dynamo COO Chris Canetti divulged some more information about the departure of Assistant Coach John Spencer. If you remember, the club announced that John Spencer would be leaving the club in the midst of a fury of activity that included the release of Luis Angel Landin and the signing of Anthony Obodai.
Here is what Canetti had to say:
John is moving on to pursue other career interests. An announcement regarding John's future will be made soon by the appropriate party. I'd like to thank John for his contributions to the Dynamo and wish him well. He has been a valuable asset to the organization.
While not saying where Coach Spencer will end up, Canetti seems to confirm our suspicion that John Spencer will shorty be announced as the head coach of a domestic soccer team. It has wildly been rumored that Spencer will be named the head coach of the Portland Timbers, who will join Major League Soccer next year.
Canetti also announced that the Dynamo are looking for a replacement for Spencer and could have already found the right person for the job.
In the meantime, we are actively seeking John's replacement and have some leading candidates in line. It is possible that we could announce a replacement this week.
It is unclear who will (or even could) fill Spencer's role, but a small group of people feel that former player and current member of the coaching staff, Wade Barrett, could be promoted to the open position.
Another interesting twist to this vacancy is that rumours that fan-favorite defender Craig Waibel could be released or will leave the team. If Waibel leaves, many feel that he would be a valuable addition to the coaching staff and still be able to contribute with his veteran leadership.
Updates will be posted as more information becomes available.
Late Tuesday night, the Houston Dynamo announced assistant coach John Spencer had left the team for personal reasons.
While this move may not seem as major as Landin’s release or Anthony Obodai’s signing, the departure of John Spencer is ultimately a significant loss for the Dynamo.
It has been a well known fact for the past two seasons that Spencer was being courted by Major League Soccer expansion team Portland Timbers. Nothing definitive has been announced, but Spencer is most likely on his way to Portland, where he will coach the expansion team in the club’s inaugural season in 2011.
This move was certainly Spencer’s decision and not the Dynamo’s.
“I’ll miss him and I loved working with him,” Kinnear said. “You always appreciate an assistant coach who has so much knowledge where individual players would come up to him and ask for advice because they know he knows what he’s talking about.”
Everyone in Houston should wish Spencer the best. He was a highly-valuable and influential member of the Dynamo staff and will always be a part of the club’s history.
Shortly after releasing Landin, the Dynamo signed Anthony Obodai, a Ghanaian footballer. The 27-year-old was playing for RKC Waalwijk in The Netherlands.
Obodai previously spent two weeks with the Dynamo in June, starting in two exhibition matches.
The Dynamo Theory had this to say about Obodai's signing:
Obodai is a 27-year old native of Accra, Ghana. He began his career in Ghana playing for S.C. Adelaide and Liberty Professionals before signing with the Dutch side Ajax in 2001. He joined Sparta Rotterdam in 2005 and moved to RKC Waalwijk in 2007. Obodai has also earned three caps with the Ghana National Team.According to Dynamo COO Chris Canetti, Obodai can quote, "add depth to our central midfield and give Brad Davis the chance to move back to his natural position on the left". Sounds like the plan would be for Obodai to play in the CAM role at the top of Kinnear's preferred midfield diamond depsite being listed as a defensive midfielder. Lovel Palmer was in the attacking spot against Columbus on the weekend and played well, but it appears Kinnear would prefer to keep Palmer in the holding role at the back of the diamond.Obadai could be available as soon as Thursday for Houston's first SuperLiga match against Pachuca.
In unrelated news, assistant coach John Spencer resigned, citing personal reasons. Spencer had been the teams assistant coach since 2006.
Spencer had played professionally from 1988-2004, with his best years in Chelsea. Spencer made more than 100 appearances and scored 36 goals in the five-year stint.
His signing was a move that everyone really wanted to work. He was supposed to be a great signing, Luis Angel Landin, Houston's first Designated Player, a one-time Mexican international, striker in the Primera Division, hopeful star for the Dynamo. But, alas, the reality, just like Landin in the box, fell short.
Landin was signed by the Houston Dynamo almost one year ago on August 20, 2009. He was Houston's first Designated Player, a rule in Major League Soccer that allows each team to sign star players and pay them outside of the salary cap. Other Designated Players have included David Beckham, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, and Luciano Emilio, so expectations for Landin were high.
The former Mexican-international came from the Primera Division de Mexico where he spent time with Pachuca, Monarcas Morelia, and Cruz Azul, where he was best known to most Dynamo fans for his gol escorpion, a fantastic goal nominated for FIFA's 2009 Goal Of The Year. With a resume that included a few acrobatic goals, Houston fans expected a forward that could immediately secure a spot in the starting XI and would help the Dynamo secure a third MLS Cup.
The Dynamo front office also pinned great expectations on Landin; he was supposed to be the striker who would bring new fans to MLS and would make fans of the Mexican game pay attention soccer in the United States.
Instead, the Dynamo coaching staff and fans were greeted with an overweight, sweaty striker who had trouble with the pace and physicality of Major League Soccer. Viewers immediately had doubts about the signing and many questioned what happened to the player they had seen on YouTube and Galavision.
Landin went into the 2009-2010 off-season with significant question marks around his status with the club. Many fans wondered how their first DP signing could fail so badly and if he would redeem himself in the 2010 season. Unfortunately for everyone, Landin came back to training camp worse off than he left. The striker appeared to have gained weight and picked up a quick injury in pre-season training (many blamed his weight as the cause of the injury). In an interview with ESPN Soccernet, Head Coach Dominic Kinnear was quick to point out his disappointment with the forward and his lack of significant progress. Already, it seemed, Landin's move to Houston was going to be deemed a failure.
Out of Houston's 16 games in the 2010 season, Landin only participated in 9, logging a mediocre 436 total minutes of play. Repeated injuries and a lack of confidence from the coaching staff relegated him to the bench, at best, and the training table at worst. It seemed only to be a matter of time before Houston released Landin and looked at other options. With the announcement on Tuesday night, the Landin era was over.
‘A lot of factors came into play, where it just wasn't the right fit,' coach Dominic Kinnear said. ‘I feel sad because I like him and I don't like it when players come in and they leave soon after. You don't bring players in to have them leave.'
And, in the end, it was a failure. Landin was unable to make any significant impact on the team and only managed to contribute two goals and three assists in the 11 months he spent in Houston. His lack of fitness kept him off the field and left him susceptible to injuries. He was unable to adapt his game to the physical style of play in Major League Soccer and may be best suited to return to Mexico where he once thrived.
Ultimately, Landin's career in Houston was described best by Dynamo COO Chris Canetti: "We are sorry things didn't work out with Luis Landín. Our hopes and expectations for this signing were never met. We believe it is the right time for the club and Luis to move forward. We wish him well in the future.'
Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.