Dom Kinnear, and the Houston Dynamo have done it again. In an era when MLS struggles to keep talented players in the league, and continues to sign over the hill, washed up foreign stars, Houston stands above the rest.
In signing Luis Angel Landin, the Dynamo have brought to MLS precisely the type of player that no other team has in several years. A young player whose already been capped for his national team at the senior level, and has been successful in a top 10 worldwide league (according to last year’s IFFHS domestic league rankings). Landin, in fact was one of the top non South American strikers in the Mexican League in the past few years. Without a doubt he was the top Mexican striker in the domestic league, under the age of 23 while with Pachuca.
Written off by the two most recent Mexican National Team managers, Landin is coming to MLS at the perfect time. The league is struggling to win acceptance among many of the same fans who embraced it after the David Beckham signing. TV ratings continue to flat-line, while many including myself argue the quality of play isn’t improving. Landin simply put can be the superstar of MLS, playing on the league’s best team for the its best coach.
Instead of signing the thirty something foreigners that populate MLS rosters, or taking a flier on a young foreign player whose potential upside is limited, Houston has made a can’t miss signing. Once again, Dom Kinnear scouts like no other MLS coach, and makes a move that other MLS teams avoid making or are incapable of making: Sounds like a broken record, doesn’t it?
Having watched Landin on TV, dozens of times for Pachuca and Moreila, he is the polar opposite of the type of signing MLS clubs typically make. A clean finisher who has outstanding vision and makes challenging, daring runs, Landin should be the final piece to the Dynamo’s attempts to regain the MLS Cup crown.
In an era when many MLS signings are overblown and leave those of us who have seen some of these players previously either laughing or crying, Houston has again separated itself from the pack in the league. Like the broken record referenced above, Dom Kinnear has an understand of football and keeping his team ahead of the curve that so few in MLS or American Soccer have.