HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Gabriel Brener, the majority owner of the Houston Dynamo, believes his franchise has the coaching staff, the leadership and the talent to bring the MLS Cup back to Houston.
"Yes I do," Brener said in a telephone interview with FOX 26 Sports from Mexico City. "I wholeheartedly believe that we have a team that could be a championship team. With the direction of (head coach) Wilmer Cabrera, I feel very, very confident.
"It's with great pride and honor that I am able to say this. All the pieces are falling into place. It took us a little bit longer than I was expecting when I took control of the team, but I feel good now about what we have in our hands."
Prior to Brener taking control of the team, the Dynamo won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007.
"We're very ambitious about this year," Brener said. "We hope to go all the way. As you have seen the league has become more and more competitive. There are no easy teams to play against, no easy games to win. So we will have to work very, very hard to reach the final goal, but I feel good about it.
"The core of the team is the same that we had last year. We just added a few new guys here and there, but the core of the team is very similar to what we had, with the difference that it's a year later. They know each other better and that shows that they will be playing better."
The Dynamo went from last place in the MLS in 2016 to the Western Conference finals a year later.
Brener made a huge financial investment in the team by bringing in star players like forward Alberth Elis (transfer) and midfielder Tomas Martinez (transfer).
"I think it's a true statement to the city that we represent and to the fans that are behind us, that we are going to do whatever it takes to have a competitive team, always trying to do the smart thing and not just a capricious purchase of a player," Brener said. "I think it's a true statement that we are standing behind the team, and that we want to make a success out of the team."
Brener, who took control of the Dynamo three years ago, is proud to be the only Mexican-born majority owner of a sports franchise in the United States.
"It gives me great pride to not only being in the sport that I like, but also to represent a sport that is so big in my country of origin as an ownership member," Brener said.
"I grew up in Mexico. Soccer, or futbol as we call it in Mexico, was my number one sport. When the opportunity came to take control of the team, when AEG was willing to sell, I thought it was a great moment for me to step into the shoes of the head of the team. I believe in soccer in the United States. I believe it is now a sport that has the wind behind it. More and more children are playing soccer. I feel good about what I did.
Saturday will be a very special moment for Brener when the Dynamo open the season at BBVA Compass Stadium against Atlanta United FC.
"As many times as I have been in the stadium, and see the stadium full, and see the people cheering and see how we make the children happy and the support groups are behind us, I want to pinch myself and say 'am I dreaming this or is it really happening?'
"It gives me great pride and satisfaction."