ON THE CLOCK

Houston Dynamo in the MLS SuperDraft under GM Matt Jordan

Houston Dynamo in the MLS SuperDraft under GM Matt Jordan
Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo hold the eighth overall pick in Thursday's 2020 MLS SuperDraft (11:30 a.m. CT, ESPN+).

Once a source of solid contribuitors to the club, only five of the 18 SuperDraft selections under Matt Jordan's five-season tenure have seen MLS minutes for the Houston Dynamo.

The Dynamo have actually gotten more by trading away draft picks. For example, the acquisition of Goalkeeper Joe Willis in 2016 was one that provided the Dynamo a solid contributor and starter until he was traded to Nashville this offseason.

The following is every draft choice of Jordan's tenure as the club's Senior Vice President/General Manager:

[Players in bold remain with the club]

2015

Round 1, #8 overall - Midfielder - Zach Steinberger (3 games played, 29 MLS mins)

Round 2, #30 overall - Defender - Oumar Ballo (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 2, #36 overall - Forward - Rob Lovejoy (19 GP, 351 MLS mins)

Round 3, #49 overall - Defender - Taylor Hunter (1 GP, 90 MLS mins)

2016

Round 2, #26 overall - Defender - Ivan Magalhães (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 3, #47 overall - Defender - T. J. Casner (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Trades:

Round 1, #6 overall - Traded to Philadelphia Union along with general allocation money, and targeted allocation money in exchange for midfielder Cristian Maidana and forward Andrew Wenger (December 7, 2015)

Round 4, #67 overall - Traded to D.C. United along with midfielder Andrew Driver in exchange for goalkeeper Joe Willis and defender Samuel Inkoom (December 8, 2014)

2017

Round 1, #10 overall - Midfielder - Joe Holland (5 GP, 22 MLS mins)

Round 2, #30 overall - Goalkeeper - Jake McGuire (0 GP, 0 MLS mins) [Acquired by trading Corey Ashe to Orlando]

Round 2, #36 overall - Defender - Danilo Radjen (0 GP, 0 MLS mins) [Acquired by trading Brad Davis to Kansas City]

Round 4, #70 overall - Defender - Robby Sagel (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Trades:

Round 1, #4 overall - Traded to Portland Timbers for the the #10 pick, an international roster spot and $100,000 in general allocation money.

Round 3, #48 - Traded to Real Salt Lake for defender Abdoulie Mansally

2018

Round 1, #20 overall - Goalkeeper -Michael Nelson (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 2, #43 overall - Forward - Mac Steeves (3 GP, 26 MLS mins)

Round 3, #59 overall - Midfielder - Pablo Aguilar (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 3, #66 overall - Defender - Sheldon Sullivan (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 4, #89 overall - Defender - Manny Padilla (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Signed to affiliate RGVFC outside of the draft: Goalkeeper Nico Corti, Midfielder Bryce Marion

2019

Round 1, #8 overall - Defender - Sam Junqua (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 2, #33 overall - Defender - Andrew Samuels (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Round 3, #56 overall - Midfielder - Brad Dunwell (0 GP, 0 MLS mins)

Trades:

Round 2, #32 overall - Traded to Chicago Fire in exchange for midfielder Arturo Alvarez (December 10, 2017)

Round 4, #80 overall - Traded to Real Salt Lake in exchange for the MLS rights to midfielder Luis Gil for the 2018 season (April 23, 2018)

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The NFL hasn't scheduled a game for every day of the week.

Yet.

“We’re going to be the new 7-Eleven," New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "NFL, 24 hours, you can watch them play any given day.”

The veteran preparing for his 14th season has a way of lacing his critiques with playful satire that hits his intended target. With the NFL close to filling every day of the week with a game in the 2024 season, the league with a reputation of “any given Sunday” might just qualify for that new nickname.

It's all part of the NFL's plan to keep growing the game and the league.

“Our job is to be everywhere our fans are,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said when asked about the league's new three-year Netflix deal that this year adds Wednesday games. “They have almost 300 million global subscribers. We are obviously focused on becoming more global. So it's a huge benefit to us.”

That deal is why the league that has scheduled and played games on Christmas for years will be playing not one, but two games on Christmas when defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City visits Pittsburgh as part of a holiday doubleheader capped by Baltimore at Houston.

The difference is this will be only the third time the NFL has played on a Wednesday since 1950.

The four teams involved all play on Saturday, giving coaches and players the kind of turnaround faced when a Sunday game is followed by a Thursday night kickoff. Tuesday is the only day the Chiefs won't play a game this season — technically the lone day off for NFL players with Sunday games.

Washington coach Dan Quinn said the key to preparing is sticking to a routine and shifting days. That involves trying to fool the body clock.

“This would be like a Wednesday, this would be like a Friday, this is what we do before the game, so it’s not as difficult as it seems," Quinn said. "You have some travel that you have to work in, shorter weeks, longer weeks, but staying true to a process.”

The Baltimore Ravens will only miss playing a game on a Tuesday and Friday in a schedule that includes a pair of Thursday games. Christmas will cap a stretch of three games in 11 days for Baltimore.

Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton said it's not so much a concern as more of a “shock factor,” but players will adapt and prepare for what may be the start of a new stage for the NFL. He said players likely had the same conversations when the NFL introduced games on Monday nights, then Thursday nights.

“I’m sure 10 years from now, that might be the norm,” Hamilton said of an NFL schedule featuring games throughout a week.

Arizona offensive lineman Will Hernandez said getting the body to bounce back quickly is tough.

"I just go back to this: We all signed for it. We know what it is. Let’s just go,” Hernandez said.

Monday nights used to be for a premier game for the NFL. A new contract added games on Sunday night.

Then the NFL started opening seasons on Thursday nights in 2006. In 2020, the NFL played its first Tuesday night game since 2010 because of the pandemic. Before that, the NFL hadn't played on a Tuesday since 1946.

The schedule released last week opens as usual on a Thursday night with Baltimore visiting Kansas City.

Then Philadelphia plays Green Bay in Brazil on Friday night — previously seen as a sacrosanct night for high school football.

Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets kick off the traditional Monday night slate on Sept. 9 at San Francisco.

Thanksgiving long has been a day for the NFL with games in Detroit and Dallas now expanded into Thursday nights with a triple-header. This will be the second straight season the league will compete with stores for attention on Black Friday, with Las Vegas visiting Kansas City for anyone not shopping.

Add in the international games, NFL players' body clocks and circadian rhythms easily could be thrown off.

Jordan said the league preaches about using Guardian caps for player safety. “But nobody cares about our protocol of how to get our bodies back from a Sunday game to now a Wednesday game?” Jordan said. “Not saying that sounds absurd."

Player safety didn't stop the NFL from expanding the schedule from a 16-game season to 17 games in 2021 by cutting a preseason game in the league's first expansion since 1978. Now expanding to 18 games at some point in the future is a topic for discussion as Goodell says people "want obviously more football.”

Then the schedule-maker has to find a day to slot those games, giving the NFL another chance to fill out the rest of a week where every day looks like just another work day for players.

“If anything, we were going to practice, so why not play?” Jordan said. "And now we can wear our Guardian caps in the game!”

___

AP Pro Football Writers Dennis Waszak and Josh Dubow and AP Sports Writers Brett Martel, Noah Trister, David Brandt, Stephen Whyno, Dave Skretta, Joe Reedy and Mark Anderson contributed to this report.

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