Dynamo Reserves Poised to Smash Record
|The reserve division may have just been disbanded, but that doesn't mean the 2008 reserve champion Dynamo are going to stop making headlines. Four regulars on that team are jointly poised to break a dubious record next year: The longest amount of time between an MLS player's competitive debut and MLS regular season debut.|
The date: July 10, 2007. Houston was playing in the US Open Cup Round of 16 at the Charleston Battery, and decided to blood five new players. They would be eliminated 1:0 after extra time. If that sounds familiar to this past season, it's because virtually the same thing happened on July 1st. Same matchup, same location, except this time they went out on penalties after a 1:1 draw. Dominic Kinnear apparently cares more about the Superliga.
Four of the players that made their debuts in that 2007 game are still with the team today (sorry Mpho Moloi). All of them made their second Dynamo appearance in that 2008 rematch, and they've also seen a bit of action in the Champions League and Superliga. But to this point, none of them have made a regular season appearance.
They are Mike Chabala, Nick Hatzke, John Michael Hayden, and Erik Ustruck.
In particular, Chabala's lack of playing time must be particularly frustrating. He's the only one to have been with the team for three seasons after being drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 Superdraft. He has two championship rings, and was even on the bench for the 2007 MLS Cup.
Chabala just recently started the crucial last group stage Champions League game at left back in place of Wade Barrett, who was then curiously left unprotected in the expansion draft. Could Kinnear be thinking about making a change there? I seriously doubt the team would keep a player on the developmental roster for four straight years (or that he would agree to that), so he's either going to be getting playing time next year or cut.
Hatzke is the only one not to have played outside of the Open Cup, and he's also notable for his age (born 1983). That means he'll have to be on the senior roster next year, which at this point seems unlikely.
If any of these four play an MLS regular season game next year, they will absolutely smash the current record. Let's say the season starts early on March 21st, 2009. If any of them play in that match, they will have gone almost 1.7 years between their competitive and regular season debuts. That's almost twice the current leader:
Biggest Difference - Competitive Debut vs Regular Season Debut