The Texas Derby battle between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas will have a lot more than bragging rights riding on it when they meet Sunday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tex.
The two teams play for year-long possession of “El Capitan,” an 18th century cannon that goes to the team with the best head-to-head record. Houston, behind a brace by Mauro Manotas, won the first match 2-1 on May 4.
But both teams also desperately need three points in the race to make the top seven in the tight Western Conference standings for the MLS Cup playoffs. FC Dallas (10-10-7, 37 points) enters the contest in eighth place while Houston (9-13-4, 31) is 10th.
“It’s a six-point game, it’s a rivalry game, against a team we are battling with for a playoff spot, so we understand all those things,” interim Houston head coach Davy Arnaud told mlssoccer.com. “We have made that point this week, what this game is going to mean for us, and the importance of it is now with eight games left. We understand.”
Arnaud took over head coaching duties after Wilmer Cabrera was dismissed on Aug. 13 following a 2-11-1 stretch. The Dynamo rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to tie the Colorado Rapids, 2-2, last Saturday and end a four-game losing streak in Arnaud’s head coaching debut.
As impressive a comeback as that was for Houston, it was only the second best one that day for a Texas team.
FC Dallas rallied from a 3-0 deficit after 56 minutes to tie the host Montreal Impact, 3-3, scoring two goals in the final five minutes, including a header by Ryan Hollingshead off a corner kick by Michael Barrios in the 90th minute to tie it. Reto Ziegler had cut it to 3-2 with a penalty kick in the 85th minute. It marked just the 15th time in MLS history that a team rallied from a three-goal deficit to earn a tie.
“It wasn’t a win but certainly felt positive,” FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “It’s an important point for us.”
—Field Level Media