Houston Dynamo 2024 Season Preview: Aiming for Continued Success Under Ben Olsen's Leadership

Houston Dynamo 2024 Season Preview: Aiming for Continued Success Under Ben Olsen's Leadership

The Houston Dynamo surged back into the MLS spotlight in 2023, riding on the coattails of Hector Herrera's midfield mastery and the strategic nous of rookie head coach Ben Olsen. It could have been a year of rebuilding under Olsen's new stewardship, but the team defied expectations, securing a commendable fourth-place finish in the Western Conference and marking their triumphant return to the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Olsen's impact was transformative, fostering a newfound confidence that propelled the Dynamo not only to the Western Conference final but also to US Open Cup glory against Inter Miami. As 2024 dawns, the Dynamo, under Olsen's guidance, are not looking to rest on their laurels but to cement their status as perennial contenders in the Western Conference.

2023 Performance at a Glance:

  • Regular Season: Fourth in Western Conference
  • MLS Cup Playoffs: Reached the Western Conference final
  • US Open Cup: Champions

2024 Season Preview:

Squad Changes:

  • In: Jan Gregus (from Minnesota United, free transfer)
  • Out: Chase Gasper (to Chicago Fire, trade), Thor Ulfarsson (to Debrecen, undisclosed fee), Corey Baird (to FC Cincinnati, free transfer), Isaiah LeFlore (to Philadelphia Union, undisclosed fee)

Tactical Insights:
Ben Olsen proved his mettle in 2023, achieving remarkable success with a team that, on paper, might not match the star power of other MLS clubs. His preference for a 4-2-3-1 formation allowed Herrera to excel in a deep midfield role, with Amine Bassi spearheading the creation of chances. Despite not being a typical possession-heavy team, the Dynamo maintained an impressive 53% possession rate during the regular season, showcasing a balanced approach to both offense and defense.

Key Players:
Hector Herrera stood out as the Dynamo's linchpin last season, contributing four goals and 17 assists, a testament to his influence on the field. His partnership with Artur in midfield forms the backbone of the team's strategy, while the arrival of Carlos Ferreira is expected to fill the void left by Corey Baird's departure.

2024 Predictions:
The Dynamo's modest activity in the transfer market has raised questions about their attacking depth. While the midfield and defense appear solid, the team's success may hinge on bolstering their forward line before the season kicks off. With the current roster, Houston is well-positioned to make another playoff appearance, but strategic reinforcements could elevate their aspirations for the 2024 campaign.

As the Dynamo prepare to face St Louis CITY in the Concacaf Champions Cup opener, all eyes will be on Olsen and his squad to see if they can build on last year's momentum and establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.