Koke abruptly leaves Dynamo

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com

Koke's Houston Dynamo career came and went in a matter of weeks.

The Spanish striker reportedly asked to be released from his contract with the club and has left Houston, presumably to rejoin Aris in Greece — where he starred before coming to MLS — according to comments made on his Facebook page.

Koke scored one goal in his brief MLS stay, notching Houston's second goal in its 2-2 draw with New York on May 21. He played in seven games and made two starts, and reportedly told Dynamo staff that he wanted out over the weekend. He appeared as a late substitute in Houston's 2-2 draw with Dallas on Saturday.

"He's expressed his interest to leave the club, and we're going to regroup on Tuesday after the holiday to assess the situation and talk to the league further," Dynamo president Chris Canetti told the Houston Chronicle on Monday.

Assuming his contract is terminated without a hitch, Koke's departure will free up considerable cap space for the Dynamo. According to the MLS Players Union, Koke was on the books for $153,000.

As for potential replacements, Houston has been repeatedly linked to Hibernian striker Derek Riordan, although Sky Sports reported on Monday that his wage demands continue to be too high for the Dynamo.

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What do you think about the Koke fiasco? Who do you see Houston bringing in to replace him?

Share your thoughts below.

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82 Responses to Koke abruptly leaves Dynamo

  1. Jimmy Bobo says:

    A fiasco is exactly what this signing appears to be. My guess is that he realized he didn’t like the physical style of play in MLS. Still, this is very unprofessional (on Koke’s part) to abandon a legally-signed contract.

  2. creige says:

    Or maybe it’s the 100+ degree weather. Houston is always going to be a culture clash for non-Latin American imports. I thought he looked good when he did play.

  3. Dominghosa says:

    Houston’s DP curse continues. They should go the way of RSL and forget about signing a DP, really Houston should never sign a DP again, and just load up on solid players with an an affordable salary.

  4. Cabrito says:

    Having been to Houston….I can’t blame him.

  5. Matt S says:

    Houston should hold off on DP signings until the new stadium opens up and then maybe they can attract and keep a DP. Feel bad for Houston but I guess it’s just their luck with DP signings. Someone must not be doing a proper job in their front office identifying the right players and selling the club (and the heat) to them.

  6. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    I’m sorry, but I’d rather be in Houston than in Greece, where the economy is collapsing and the people won’t stop rioting because the government doesn’t have enough money to employ 1/3 of the population anymore.

  7. roger says:

    went to the game saturday, he came in for about 15 minutes with a man down, only to get bitched at. (i think by brad davis)

    i believe Dominic was trying to bring him in slowly but he might of seen it as disrespect being that we might have the weakest forward tandem (bruin-weaver)

  8. Papabear says:

    He wasn’t a DP. Doesn’t change your point about Houston’s trouble making a “big” foreign singing stick though

  9. Diesel says:

    The heat? cmon your talking like it’s one of these 100 degree cities…I think it’s a case where foreigner thought he would make instant impact and dominate and was in for a shock when surprised by the physical nature and talent of the league.

  10. fischy says:

    Perhaps, if you’re one of that 1/3, there’s some validity to your comment. If you’re a pro soccer player and a star in the top flight, there’s no way that life in Greece doesn’t beat Houston. Unless, of course, you like soulless strip malls and the tasteless garbage you get at chain restaurants.

  11. fischy says:

    So, if it’s a mutual termination, the contract isn’t on the books any longer? Sure beats losing your DP to ACL surgery. Not sure that I agree it’s logical.

  12. Erik the Orange says:

    While I gotta agree with the comments about Houston….the fire ants, the crow-sized mosquitoes, the unbearable humidity of the tropi-dome, etc etc etc…one thing you CANNOT take away from Houston is it’s food. Unless, that is, the only places you’ve trolled are Applebee’s and Chachki’s.

  13. jpenny says:

    Perhaps if you weren’t a snooty jerk the locals would have recommended places they actually go to instead of an Olive Garden or Applebee’s . . .

    Also, the way I heard it reported his price tag was going to balloon up to dp level in July and the Dynamo FO refused that.

  14. Rowsdower says:

    Don’t give me that crap. Here’s a clue, Pearland, Katy, the woodlands, Mo City, Beaumont and all the freaking burbs ARE NOT HOUSTON. We have a vibrant nightlife and some amazing food. You sound like one of the DBs who dis the city but actually never experience the city.. commute from the burbs to another burb and say how horrible this and that is.. how about getting a loft in mid town.. a house in the heights or Montrose and actually get to know the city. Until then shut the hell up.

    Koke thought he could come in and dominate. end of story.

  15. federico says:

    The problem with Houston is they are a bunch of cheap asses that dont know anything about soccer

  16. chris says:

    I hope this makes people realize just because you play in europe doesn’t mean you’re good

  17. 3VIL L33T says:

    Koke just needed time, the real focus should be the midfield. Bruin/ weaver both prove they can score and Ching is a good target forward. How does it work now for Houston to bring in a player? Can they just sign someone tomorrow, or does some sort of player signing/transfer window/date need to open up?

  18. WK says:

    Heh. 100 deg weather, and the cultural black hole that is Houston- yeah I’d rather live in Greece too. At least you can visit Italy or Turkey, and hang out on the Aegean. In east TX, you get… Galveston.

  19. Loser says:

    Hey man,

    There’s a reason why SimCity 4 includes architecture from 1980s Houston

  20. Smash Famous says:

    All this mess in Houston started the day DeRo boarded that plane to Toronto.
    Then followed by Holden.
    Houston I’d try your damndest to make sure Brad Davis isn’t gone after he kills
    it this year. Unfortunately I can see him jumping ship quick.
    Oh and by the way Houston isn’t that bad of a place. It’s no Austin but it’s got
    some cool spots.

  21. RK says:

    Koke isn’t it.

  22. Morning Train says:

    i’ll take a summer on the Mediterranean over a summer on the Gulf any day…sigh

  23. JoeW says:

    1. Houston has a lot of nice positive elements to it. That said….Greece is a great place to have a honeymoon or a vacation. For Europe, it’s cheap, mostly GREAT weather, never has the downside of Houston humidity, the islands are accessible. This isn’t about Houston being a bad place, it’s about Greece being a great place to be. And, MLS is also a tough league to adjust to–very physical, lots of travel, lots of running, heat (remember, we’re a summer league so even hot countries like Greece and Spain rarely have teams playing in 90 degree weather–more likely it’s the chill of winter).

    2. I can’t quite figure the Houston braintrust out. They’ve got an excellent rep at evaluating MLS talent and making trades the play out well for the team. Their track record at international signings is….dreck. It’s like if there’s an accent involved they lose brain cells. What gives? I know that most foreign signings don’t work out (in ANY league, the heck with just MLS). But I’d be hard pressed to find any recent foreign signing for Houston that’s consistently had good impact.

  24. roger says:

    it is dummy. with the humidity it feels like 105-110

  25. The Dude says:

    Have you ever been to Greece? It’s hot as Hades. The real reason he left Houston is homesickness (for Aris). He said as much on his FB page.

  26. David says:

    Looks like Koke really did not know what MLS is like before getting on the plane.

    1. Regular play at 90degrees + in Houston
    2. Long stints on the road (nothing like the Greek league)
    3. Very physical league
    4. Good defenses/shaky service. It is tough to score.
    5. Significant defensive responsibilities from strikers

    I think Koke was looking for a B league walk in the park. MLS is a B league but no walk in the park. MLS players earn their money. Houston should be very careful recruiting established European players. Perhaps Latin Americans would fit better.

  27. Jason B Go Dynamo! says:

    Is he going back to Greece? From what I understood, he left there cause he didn’t like it… Maybe he will go home to Spain and quit soccer. I dont think there was enough ball at his feet opportunity in Houston with the poor quality of midfield in Houston. Houston NEEDS a creative attacking mid! Houston NEEDS Cautamec Blanco!!! What else is he doing these days?

  28. Creige says:

    I have been to Italy – same latitude and it is very mild during the European season. I’m only guessing at the reasons but thanks for the update on homesickness. In general, I think it’s never going to be easy to attract European foreign talent if we don’t take into consideration their cultural background. Houston should look to central and south America for players. Plus they really need a play-making midfielder like Stu and DeRo were.

  29. Adrian says:

    He will be attacked, but if you watched the matches you could clearly see what was upsetting him.

    He was probably expecting similar service/play to what he was accustomed to in Europe. Boy, was he in for a rude awakening.

    You could see his frustration grow as long ball after long ball was heaved up the pitch. The guy rarely had the ball at his feet, but he didn’t disappoint when he did.

    This is a rather rash incident that highlights to severe lack of quality in the league. Also, it’s like 110 in Houston.

  30. frank from sf says:

    haha…spot on.

  31. Alex says:

    Long ball after long ball? With a mid field with Brad Davis and Geoff Cameron? Come on now.This guy sees how the team plays everyday in practice so the style of play wasn’t a surprise. Houston plays with the ball on the deck, only when they are desperate does the backline start bypassing the midfield but with two big hold up strikers who can play the midfield in sometimes it works, sometimes not.

    Koke to me looked like he just didn’t fit in, its hard to be a starter and a star and then be asked to sit and come off the bench thats a real gut check a true pro guts it out AlA Clint Dempsey a coward and mercenary sits and sulks and then asks out, he can go back to Greece, in their league Castillo, Carlos Ruiz hell even segares look like world beaters. The Dynamo need to stop worrying about international talent and use that extra cash to pay the guys who have gotten them this far and bring the young guns up.

  32. Stephen says:

    Although I agree that it hurt the Dynamo to see Stu and DeRo leave, they made an EXTREMELY strong effort to keep them both in Orange. DeRo wanted to leave for his home in Canada. Stu choose a better contract with Bolton bc the MLS couldn’t offer him any more. Same with Rico. Brian Ching’s contract puts the Dynamo in a pickle bc he’s been hurt the past 2 years and is over paid bc he’s the only “star” on the team. Brad is 29, it will be hard for him to make a switch to a foreign league with limited years left in the tank and a family to move. Dom has proven to find value in young players like Geoff Cameron, Corey Ash, Bobby Boswell and Andre Hainault. The club is just dying for a Star to market the team around and build on past success. An Attacking CM or Creative Striker will help boost the offense into a playoff team.

  33. Bford says:

    Dude is a baby. Stick it out the full season…. What a whiner and loser. And if you can’t have fun being a pro athlete in Houston there’s something wrong with you.

  34. bob says:

    I guess you can add KoKe to the #weallhatehouston

  35. MicahK says:

    Wow this has to be a slap in the face for Houston.

  36. ArisFC says:

    Talk about culture shock, Thessaloniki to Houston. I’m from the US and a move to Houston would be tough. Not a diss to Houston but if you’re not from that part of the country let’s be real – it’s not a cultural gem.

  37. Logan says:

    I wonder if the 2-3 DP rule was in effect when trying to sign Holden if Houston would have tried to offer up a bit more? Either way, I am glad Holden is doing well at Bolton. Get healthy Stu.

  38. Logan says:

    Houston have been poor as international signings. But I think this was actaully a good deal from them because it has a minor negative financial impact but had a chance at big gain.

  39. scott says:

    best. comment. ever.

  40. jakeS says:

    why do people bitch so much about houston weather? seriously, about 3-4 months out of the year its hot, yes. but all the other months are perfectly fine, I mean damn half the days in december you’re good going out in shorts and a tshirt. Want crappy weather? move to portland or seattle. Of course this all subjective, including those of you complaining about the lack of “culture”. still pretty shocking the amount of people dissing Houston though…..

  41. Yankee Doodle says:

    Texas talked about secession recently. Enough said.

  42. Ryan in MN says:

    +1 The South is a joke.

  43. c c says:

    I didn’t know the state of Texas could talk. Generalize much?

  44. jakeS says:

    +2 who the hell wants to live in Minnesota?

    actually scratch that, who the hell even thinks about taking a vacation in Minnesota?

    LOL

  45. hogatroge says:

    Diving. Oh, and being old.

  46. Justin Roelant says:

    Alot of the talk about Houston weather is a matter of opinion. I am from Virginia, but have lived in Houston the last 10 years so I’m not speaking without knowledge. I personally do not like the weather here at all, far too humid, and in Houston there’s nothing particularly pretty to look at. I love the outdoors, Houston kinda blows in that department. It has some cool spots but I’m no fan. What it does have, is JOBS. Period.

  47. EN says:

    The transfer window opens early July

  48. EN says:

    The Dynamo DID offer Stuart a dp contract. If you believed rumors it was for a cool million, plus being the “face of the league” (this was during Donovans negotiations with MLS and Everton). Not only is Bolton a better place to play but his most recent contract is worth twice what Houston offered. Say what you will but they tried real hard to keep him

  49. CT says:

    Re Koke: Clearly, Koke didn’t find what he was looking for in Houston. I saw every one of his appearances and his finesse game was overwhelmed by the size and strength of MLS defenders. He was also slow afoot and couldn’t separate from defenders. Needless to say he was almost worthless on balls in the air.

    Re Dynamo DP: The Dynamo have only had 1 DP – Landin. They’ve had miserable luck with foreign players and it’s hard to figure out why. AEG owns 2 MLS teams – one team has 3 DP’s (Angel, Donovan, and Golden Balls Beckham) and currently has the highest point total in MLS and the other has 0 DP’s and had a winless month of May. Houstonians are accustomed to getting the short end of the stick from our owners.

    Re Houston: It’s true that the city of Houston has some shortcomings, but I’m playing golf and relaxing outdoors while most of you are freezing your asses off covered with snow and slush. The remark someone made about culture couldn’t be further off the mark – Houston has world class restaurants, an opera company ranked 9th in the world, a ballet company that the New York Times has called “one of the nation’s best ballet companies. Houston is the home of both the nation’s manned space flight program and the world’s oil and gas industry. Houston may not be NYC or LA, but it takes a back seat to no other city in MLS by a long shot.

  50. CT says:

    The commenter that brought up jobs made a good point. According to the Texas Workforce Commission 9 states had net increases in jobs during the period of March 2006 to March 2011 and the increase in Texas was greater than the other 8 COMBINED. (539,500 vs. 134,400). One of you thinks the “South is a Joke”. Well, for all you in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, NY, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, who don’t have jobs the joke’s on you.

  51. TommyOC says:

    Ha.

  52. Yankee Doodle says:

    Your governor threatened it. You elect your governor. Thus, Texas talked secession. Own your BS.

  53. partnerincrime says:

    We all pay for your oil industry jobs with billions in subsidies for companies that rake in profits. The joke’s on ALL of us, you included Einstein.

  54. houdynamofan says:

    Houston’s last 5 home games.

    Weather: Cloudy-and-81-degrees
    Weather: Clear-and-78-degrees
    Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-69-degrees
    Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-85-degrees
    Weather: Clear-and-86 degrees

    During the summer the games are at night and are not much higher.

    If you can’t handle these temperatures play Hockey.

  55. CT says:

    I saw every one of Koke’s appearances. Koke’s problem was not service/play unlike what he was accustomed to in Europe. He was slow, short and couldn’t separate from defenders. MLS defenders towered over him and ate him up. Remember Freddie Adu in MLS? Nuff said. Having said that I thought that if Koke would have stayed longer the Dynamo could figure out how to make best use of his skills.

  56. houdynamofan says:

    Show me one subsidy to an oil company? The government takes money in taxes. Sometimes they take a little less and make everyone think they are “giving” money. You are one of the fools that falls for this.

  57. CT says:

    I agree re MF. I’ve thought ever since DeRo left, HOU needed a true #10. Unfortunately, good #10’s are as scarce as hen’s teeth. With a true #10 HOU can move Cameron to his best position – holding midfield.

  58. CT says:

    HOU has a large African population (as opposed to our indigenous African-American population). As an alternative to Central and South American talent, the Dynamo could get a top class African player similar to Drogba, Eto, Essien, Gyan, Amoah, or Appiah and realize some energy in the Houston immigrant population.

  59. partnerincrime says:

    Use google and find them out for yourself. They just held hearings on CSPAN about them you can watch for yourself. You know-nothing idiot.

  60. houdynamofan says:

    Googled it. No subsidies just like I said.

  61. partnerincrime says:

    Then you are a waste of an internet connection and oxygen.

  62. The Most Interesting Man says:

    Koke was just a late match sub. This probably had more to do with his unhappiness than anything, even if he’s not admitting it. Not sure why Dynamo would sign someone like him, make a big deal of it, and then sit him down most of the time. Perhaps Dom quickly soured on him.

    As for possible homesickness, perhaps Dynamo FO needs to do a better job of helping international players relocate and assimilate comfortably.

  63. CT says:

    Not on me a-hole. I’ve got one of those jobs.

  64. CT says:

    Don’t know what state you live in Yankee, but I’m sure your governor has said some dumba** stuff too that you don’t endorse. But since Texas is the only state in the union that started as a sovereign nation, I’m sure that succession stuff made some people nervous.

  65. The Kdog says:

    Koke missed the gambling debts that he was incurring in Greece and needed to get back. Dude had SERIOUS gambling problems and thought Houston/MLS was an easy way to get away from everything. He was about to get suspended by Aris prior to his departure. Not sure where he is going but I don’t want anyone that does not want to be here. Neither do Dom or Canetti. No big loss.

  66. Rusty Shackleford says:

    +100000000000

  67. partnerincrime says:

    Congratulations, you’re part of the problem.

  68. Rusty Shackleford says:

    He’s just a wpussy thats all, scared of little change. Go back home, we don’t need you in our fledgeling league.

  69. Rusty Shackleford says:

    +1

  70. roger says:

    being that I work in the Oil and Gas industry, Houston has it GOOD :)… king of the south economically.

  71. jcr says:

    He must have developed strong ties in Greece or at least his family. You have to blame Houston on not doing a better job of screening these signings to make sure the player is ready to move to the U.S.. It is a large cultural change from Greece to the U.S.. You can’t just focus on all those other public problems because he was obviously enjoying his life there or at least his family which you can’t ignore.. If you have a good paying job, then you don’t have those issues of concern as long as the club is paying your salary.

  72. emmanuel says:

    I love Houston. I’ve been to quite a few cities (major ones) and i still love houston.

    STFU.

  73. emmanuel says:

    I’m telling you, we gotta tap in with a fair skinned, young Mexican player with national team involvement and you’ll get a packed stadium EVERY WEEK! LOL YEA RIGHT (on getting a player i described)!

    But you’re right, get a good central american or a player from the north of SA (Colombia preferably, we’ve got a decent Colombian population) who is creative and can take the heat and we’ll be ok.

  74. emmanuel says:

    LOL can’t even protect their own unions. C’mon…

    Texas is a right to work state cause we’ve got balls. Get fired? Tough luck. Get a new one or start a business (ALOT of small businesses). We don’t pay any dues to no corrupt Unions.

  75. emmanuel says:

    wow… really?

    could i see a link (please! lol)

  76. Will says:

    La Koke NO-stra

  77. Fanty says:

    He’s Spanish…Latin enough. No Excuses!

  78. Cheech says:

    It is Kinnear…MLS 1.0 style like Arena and Nichol…

  79. solles says:

    Houston is a crap hole, I’m not surprised someone would decide they don’t like it there.

  80. solles says:

    yeah… link or its just a rumor you’re starting.