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Dynamic Move for Houston


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.

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  1. mo

    August 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    look this is the thing landin is a very good player if u hear the news the problem always been with his father managing his career thats why his had trouble with playing time.but i am willing to bet anyone that he is going to be one of the best players on the mls ooohh and another you see i only watch europe soccer teams or mexican teams only exceptions are ( and now the dynamo) so please beleive u are getting more ratings slowly but surely and by the way galaxy please let go of beckham he is only making people like me hate teams like l.a. all he does is get paid and goes back to europe, a damn shame ill say. Go landin and blanco (mls with signings like this my whole family will soon be tunning into mls games)

  2. Rex

    August 21, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I think you guys missed the point about being a DP.

    Why does he have to be a world class player (or washed up world class player) to be a DP?? They Dynamo have a DP spot that they have never used, so why no use it on a young guy that they like. So what if he is not the class of other DPs in the league. Dynamo have always said they wanted a DP on their own terms.

    It’s simple, the Dynamo are a better team with Landin than without. The fact is, the Dynamo don’t need (or want) a Beckham or Lumberg or Blanco. They don’t need a star, they just need another forward and they got one. If the Dynamo win the MLS Cup, does it matter if they win it with Landin or Kaka?

  3. jon

    August 21, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Everything right now is just speculations. As much as anything, Landin was very poorly managed by his father for years and that caused issues dating back to Pachuca. My understanding is that his father no longer has anything to do with career. Kinnear does have a great track record for getting players back on track, so we will see . . .

    The DP title is a little different also. Because he is on loan, Landin is not getting that money. He is paid the original amount he signed for. The Dynamo are paying Cruz Azul.

    Oh, and if he scores even one goal like this I say it’s a win

  4. Marc

    August 20, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Only 4 caps yet a DP?

    Wow, Kartik, you really sold us a bill of goods implying he was a national team regular!

  5. Kevin

    August 20, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Soccer Fan raises some valid points. A guy with 4 caps for Mexico who couldn’t consistently start in the FMF being a DP is a joke.

    But Kartik, in his nearly weekly Dom Kinnear is god post claims this guy is better than Beckham.

  6. Soccer Fan

    August 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm


    this will go down as one of your sorriest and most ill advised pieces ever. i come to read ur stuff whether here or at csrn in the past because you are an original thinker with a clear and thoughtful mind. but lately, stung by the criticisms of alot of people who don’t think critically or want nothing but rah rah stuff about mls, you’re started writing some really dumb stuff, like saying mls attendance is better than spain or italy when u know half those people get free tix. besides it is factually incorrect what u claim.

    also u suck up to houston all the time. are they the new dc for you? the 96-99 dcu reincarnated?

    mls tv ratings are in the gutter. u readily admit that. when a premier league game with no advertising airing before 5am on the west coast gets the same rating share as mls in primetime, we have a problem. when every single epl telecast on fsc gets higher numbers than the highest rated mls telecast on fsc we have a problem.

    as far as landin, u claim to watch the mexican league. yes at one time he was a up and coming star, but he stunk at the end at moriela and is not wanted at cruz azul. mexico caps guys left and right if they even show some signs of progress and yet he has not been called in since 2007.

    to the guy roger above, the best players in the fmf recently like benitez go to england or spain not mls. the leagues are not even comparable and this is coming from me, a very anglo white american who watches lots of soccer of all forms when it is on. the best mls teams would struggle over the course of a season in mexico. do not kid yourself into believing otherwise.

    the mexican league is not the mexican national team.

  7. Roger T

    August 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Well Kartik, does this finally convince you that MLS is superior to the Mexican League?

    We’ve signed their top player away for the second time in three years!

    • Mexico is better

      August 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm

      I really hope you’re being sarcastic. Cuahtemoc was NOT Mexico’s best, and Landin didn’t even start. Let’s hope you were just kidding, cos Mexico is 100% superior to the usa.

      Btw, I hope they pronounce his name Land-in, rather than Lahndeen. When you’re speaking English, stick to it all the way

  8. Rex

    August 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Several reasons for Landin wanting to come to the Dynamo.
    1. Dynamo Success.
    2. Dynamo Exposure due to Superliga and Champions League. – Dynamo played12 matches between 2007-2009 vs Mexican clubs in meaningful competition. Their record of 4-5-4 vs these teams could be better but its still competitive.
    3. Blanco Factor. Blanco’s return to El Tri helped the image of MLS. Perhaps, Blanco the face of MLS instead of Beckham??

  9. Houston=Armpit

    August 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Wow, a Hispanic player — a Mexican even! — on the Dynamo roster. I guess there’s a first time for everything. Hope he doesn’t get lonely in that lily-white locker room.

    • Rex

      August 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

      It’s a black and white locker room, just so you know. And nobody gets lonely winning championships.

      • Brian Zygo

        August 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm

        Everybody seems to forget Danny Cruz.

  10. Soccer Guy

    August 20, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Way to get your usual cheap shots in the article, Kartik.

  11. Pat

    August 20, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Dynamic move…I see what you did there.

  12. eplnfl

    August 20, 2009 at 7:34 am

    You can go back and forth of the ultimate qualities of the player. My take is that any named signing is a good one for the league with so many players rumored to be out the door to Europe when the season ends. MLS can not continue to function with talent leaving at the first chance and playing overseas.

    So, good for Houston, they have some impressive talent there and let’s hope that the league is able to formulate a plan to save it’s better talent for American fans to watch in person and not on ESPN.

  13. tyduffy

    August 20, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Definitely seems like the type of player MLS needs. It’s hard to build a league on decrepit thirty-somethings, young kids with potential that will be realized in Europe and squad players who could not survive in other leagues.

  14. todd

    August 20, 2009 at 12:32 am

    wtf. the Montero deal sounds shady as ____, how would that sort of contract not way against the sounders salary cap?

    • Rex

      August 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      The Sounders are a top team in the West this year by MLS design.

      • Berlin

        August 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm

        +1. LAGs 2.0

      • Berlin

        August 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

        Great point re Blanco Rex. I think it depends from which direction you see the MLS, from the South it’s either Blanco or Guille, from the East it’s still got to be Becks.

        Landin, like Montero appears to be doing this year, has the potential to turn into a world class player. If he commits to his game, Kinnear&Co. can turn him into a killer up front. Imagine what they can do with someone with Landin’s talent compared to what they did for Ngwenya, Kamara, and Jaqua.

  15. Enrique

    August 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Exactly, thanks Adam. The point is that there are more teams who are willing to invest in a young player than just over-the-hill stars like before and that is good news no matter where they go.

  16. Adam

    August 19, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Moreno just went from “on loan” to being league property last week. He leaves for Europe we get paid.

  17. Enrique

    August 19, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Sorry, it’s “he’s not wanted by Enrique Meza”.

  18. Enrique

    August 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I think it’s a really good signing for Houston and the league but I wouldn’t rate him as high as Kartik does. I’ve watched him a lot and he is not having such a great season or what they expected in Cruz Azul and is not wanted by Enrique Meza, never fully impressed with the “El Tri” etiher; hopefully he can produce more with a fresh start. I think that signing Omar Bravo would have been a lot better but Dynamo couldn’t land him even though they pursued him a lot.

    Are we forgetting about Freddy Montero if we talk about signings? This kid has talent and has more possibilities of playing in Europe than Landin. I know Marvin Chavez has gotten very little press but it’s another young player with enough talent to make a difference in Dallas.

    • Lars

      August 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm

      Montero is a loanee, and MLS will not get anything for him, nor will he stay in the league long.

      • BFT

        August 20, 2009 at 12:18 am

        • Kartik Krishnaiyer

          August 20, 2009 at 9:31 am

          Playing in the Colombian League is not the same as playing in the Mexican League, especially for Pachuca and Cruz Azul. Montero was likely an “easier” signing for MLS much like Juan Toja was a few years back than Landin is. Heck, these days we’re seeing guys from the Mexican and Honduran leagues go right to the Premier League and start (C. Benetiz, H. Thomas) so any signing of this cliber is bigger than a signing from a financially struggling league.

          • Lars

            August 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

            Columbian league is terrible to watch. Deportivo Cali is one of the few teams worth watching in it. We get it on GolTV in Canada. It’s like watching MLS, except not knowing where any of the teams are, and the names of any of the players.

          • Enrique

            August 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

            The problem with Landin is not where he came from, a talented player is a talented player, his problem is the inconsistency of his game and immaturity. He’s a player that misses way too many goals although he has proved that he has a lot of talent. All three teams he’s been in he gave a great start and then a sharp decline, then has a problem adapting his game because of his huge ego. I just don’t think that a guy with so many mental lapses can dominate the way you described it but let’s hope I’m wrong.

            At the time when Seattle signed Montero, the Colombian was wanted by teams in Europe(Real Betis specially) and decided to come to a new franchise and give it a face, I think that’s bigger given Montero’s talent. In the other hand Landin is coming because he’s fourth on the list of strikers in Cruz Azul and Monarcas(they owns his rights) did not want him because they have Sabbah and did not want any drama. Again, you’re right, it’s a great signing but let’s not make it out to be like it’s Pato or Rooney.

            Basically my fear is that he is not going to have good chemistry in the team and Ching is going to have to become a facilitator instead of a target man and. That is the main problem Landin has had in every team, even with Hugo Sanchez in “El Tri”, he feels the team needs to play for him so he can be successful instead of playing for the team, this did not fly with Enrique Meza in Pachuca nor in Cruz Azul. Hopefully Kinnear can deal with this and this guy decides to play well so he can go back to Mexico in a couple of seasons like he planned when his dad asked for the trade.

  19. todd

    August 19, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    the reason Dynamo are in this position is because their “usual mls signing” of aging Ade Akinbiyi has failed on the field.

  20. park bolivar

    August 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    What’s happening here is that Dynamo are becoming to MLS what United were in 1998. Young, Hungry, Cheap, and Successful. I have no complaints. Lets go Dynamo!

    p.s. Okay, minus Ching, but F it, dude’s a badass…

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      August 20, 2009 at 9:31 am

      Yup, we don’t have an MLS team today that could match up with the circa 96-99 DCU teams and the magic triangle, but Houston is coming close.

  21. Adam

    August 19, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    And meanwhile, the real best team in the league signs Emilio Renteria.
    No comment on that?

    • todd

      August 19, 2009 at 11:15 pm

      how can anyone seriously say Crew or Dynamo are “really” better than each other? we’re in different conferences, can’t we appreciate each others awesomeness? Emilio Renteria and Landin, seriously amazing for MLS.

  22. Lars

    August 19, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I would argue Trader Mo is a great scout as well and has done no small task in bringing the kind of talent that TFC needs to succeed. Nana Attakora, for example, will definitely be a Canadian National Team player at some point, it’s a matter of when, not if.

    His use of first round picks in the draft this year has been amazing, with every single drafted player impressing in the appearances they’ve made. American Sam Cronin, Canadian O’Brian White, and Swiss Stefan Frei were all great picks.

    I would argue Mo is not the coach that Kinnear is, but is certainly as good of a scout, if not better.

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