Houston Dynamo: Another team’s limit delivers valuable midfielder

Midfielder Joe Corona comes to the Houston Dynamo driven by his rich experience

Houston Dynamo FC picked midfielder Joe Corona out of the MLS Reentry Draft. Austin FC had welcomed the accomplished player from LA Galaxy with their expansion draft pick. Rapid and miraculous developments delivered this first major pro sports franchise to the Austin sporting public.

Just a few years ago, new Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt planned to move the team to greener pastures. Austin’s local politicians quickly prepared a place for the team. When Ohio law spurred Precourt to sell to owners who would leave the MLS franchise there, the league Board of Governors allowed Austin FC its birth.

The stadium is about ready. A 23-acre, $45 million training facility is on track for spring 2021. But urgency left the team front office when they clicked open where someone had typed his desired salary into the record.

For the first time anyone had heard outside team chambers, Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said the team has limits as to what they could do financially. So both sides sat on a deal for the midfielder touted as a key figure in the team’s maiden MLS season.

Corona elected not to opt-out of the reentry draft. So he moves his experience with LA Galaxy, Liga MX, and the U.S. Men’s National team to Houston Dynamo FC. His scouting reports show no significant weaknesses. His greatest strengths are dribbling, tackling, and passing.

His best game last season was on Sep. 2 against Portland. Working central midfield mostly in a 4-2-3-1 formation, he played all 90 minutes and scored unassisted in the 71st minute. He took only two shots, both on goal. He won an aerial and got in a tackle as LA Galaxy edged out a victory 3-2.

When Houston Dynamo FC favor that same formation, they’ve been using midfielder Matias Vera in the left-center spot Corona occupies. Neither general manager Matt Jordan nor head coach Tab Ramos predicts any strife in finding the new midfielder a place to start producing for the squad. Jordan spoke of Corona’s experience bringing more quality to their infield. And Ramos said he immediately fits on the team’s pitch and will help to build culture.

Corona joins 22 other players so far contracted for the 2021 MLS season. That’s seven midfielders. Houston Dynamo FC has limits like all MLS teams. But the limit didn’t reach midfielder Joe Corona’s salary.