Houston Dynamo FC

Houston Dynamo FC open the 2023 season with two-game road trip


Houston Dynamo FC open the 2023 season on the road this Saturday against FC Cincinnati. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and fans can stream the match for free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

Festivities to open the 2023 season continue Saturday as the Club hosts a watch party at Pitch 25 for the opening game of the new campaign. Presented by Bacardi, the event will begin with a Cascaritas tournament at 4 p.m. CT on the indoor soccer field. The festivities began on Tuesday as nearly 1,000 fans welcomed the 2023 roster at Buffalo Bayou Park.

Saturday’s match marks the Dynamo debut of head coach Ben Olsen, who joined the club as the sixth head coach in team history last November. The 45-year-old is one of the youngest coaches in the league and spent a decade on the touchline as a head coach in MLS. In that time, he earned 113 victories in league play, the ninth highest mark in MLS history and reached the postseason six times with D.C. United. The 2014 MLS Head Coach of the Year took D.C. United to the Concacaf Champions League twice and won the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

In addition to Olsen and the new faces on the first team staff, the club signed 13 new players for the 2023 season. The new additions combine for 13 trophies at the professional level plus additional silverware from the collegiate game. The offseason activity included a new partnership with SRC FTBL to build the club’s analytics department and the creation of an international player identification and recruitment department.

The Dynamo closed the preseason with a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas in a closed-door friendly at Shell Energy Stadium on Feb. 18. Coco Carrasquilla tallied the opening goal of the match and Corey Baird converted from the penalty spot for the final goal of the game. Baird also scored from the penalty spot in Houston’s 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew on Feb. 15 to close the two-game trip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Houston also faced Club de Foot Montreal in Florida after a 10-day trip to Mexico to face two LigaMX teams and Coyotes FC from the second division.

This is the third meeting between both teams and the second time the Dynamo visit Cincinnati. Both teams played to a 1-1 draw on July 3, 2021, in Houston, the most recent meeting between both clubs. Despite the limited encounters the match features a variety of connections. Olsen and Cincinnati general manager Chris Albright played together at the University of Virginia in 1997, again at the professional level with D.C. United and on the international stage with the U.S. Men’s National Team. The Cincinnati technical staff also includes former Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, who won two MLS Cups with the Dynamo in 2006 and 2007. More recently, goalkeeper coach Paul Rogers joined Cincinnati in 2022 after serving in a similar role with the Dynamo since 2015.

The Dynamo will return to the newly renovated Shell Energy Stadium on March 18 for the home opener against Austin FC. Tickets for the match are available at HoustonDynamoFC.com.

Here are three key points ahead of Saturday’s match:

  1. NEW PLAYERS BRING CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE: The Dynamo added 13 new players to the roster for the 2023 season and the new faces on the squad combine for 13 trophies at the professional level plus additional honors from the collegiate and youth game. Four of those additions have won MLS Cups, mostly recently in 2022 as Franco Escobar claimed the league title with LAFC. That was Escobar’s fifth title since coming to the United States and his second MLS Cup title. Artur also won a pair of trophies prior to joining the Dynamo last fall. He won the 2020 MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew and the 2021 Campeones Cup. Andrew Tarbell and Brad Smith have each won an MLS Cup title as well. Ivan Franco won three domestic trophies in his native Paraguay before joining the Club and Ifunanyachi Achara won the 2019 NCAA title with Georgetown.
  2. COCO CARRASQUILLA KEY IN PRESEASON: Panamanian international Coco Carrasquilla has played a key role for the team as they prepared for the upcoming season. Carrasquilla scored a goal against Club America, tallied an assist in the following game against Coyotes FC and created key opportunities for his teammates against MLS opposition in Florida and at Shell Energy Stadium. The 24-yeae-old enters his second full season with the team after signing on loan midway through the 2021 season.
  3. DYNAMO NAVIGATE ROSTER COMPLIANCE: Houston will navigate changes to the travel roster due to pending documentation for up to seven players. Carrasquilla, Sebas Ferreira, Teenage Hadebe, Hector Herrera and Thor Ulfarsson are all listed as questionable as they navigate pending appointments to update their international status with the league. Two players will miss Saturday’s game due to pending documentation as Ifunanyachi Achara and Djevencio van der Kust finalize their arrival to Houston. For more information on roster compliance, visit MLSSoccer.com.