It’s early days in Houston Dynamo preseason, but there’s already a buzz and excitement among the team and its fans heading into 2017.

That energy was on display at Houston Sports Park on Saturday as more than 1,000 fans showed up for a chilly morning practice session to catch their first glimpse of a re-made team. It was also an opportunity for many of the players to get their first interactions with the Orange faithful.

“It’s nice, the first time to see the fans right now,” new defender Leonardo said. “I’m happy to see these guys and the new people. They waited for us for like four hours, so it’s my pleasure to sign [with] everyone here, take my time.”

The crowd was treated to a two-hour training session that featured a large-field drill that gave fans a chance to see some of the new talent on display. Even for old veterans, the support breathed a new life into practice.

“The earlier we can get people along with what we are doing and they get to see faces and are around the club. Building chemistry,” midfielder Ricardo Clark said. “It’s cool to score a goal in practice and hear a cheer from the crowd.

“There’s always good energy from our fans. We love to see them, we love to interact with them and they have been really cool.”

As the team pushes ahead with another five weeks of practice before the season opens at BBVA Compass Stadium, knowing the city is behind them gives players an extra push towards March, said Leonardo.

“It’s good for us, it’s good for everyone. They are very important for all of us, to give more motivation for the preseason before the first game on March 4.”