The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas will square off on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas in the third leg of the 2018 rendition of the Texas Derby after drawing in the first two matches this season.
And as important as this match is to FC Dallas in its battle to stay atop MLS’s Western Conference table, the Dynamo will be much more motivated to win and earn continued supremacy amongst the two Lone Star State rivals.
Houston (7-12-7, 28 points) has now gone nine MLS matches (dating to July 7) without a victory and has lost six of its past seven contests. The latest is a 1-0 setback Wednesday on the road to the Red Bulls, the Supporters Shield standings leaders.
Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera didn’t pull any punches when describing the state of desperation for his team after that loss.
“Individual plays, individual mistakes are hurting us,” Cabrera said. “We have to win — we need to win. We are playing for our lives here. What we gave here tonight it just not good enough. We have to push harder. Mistakes are killing us.
“It’s my responsibility but the players need to step up. When we have to defend, we need to clear the ball — we can’t just give it away, and when we have the chance to score we have to put the ball in the net.”
FC Dallas (13-6-7, 46 points) heads home after losing a wild match at San Jose 4-3 on Wednesday. The back-and-forth match produced a combined seven goals in opening 62 minutes before San Jose held on for the win.
“We could have scored a couple of more, but sometimes things just don’t go your way,” said FC Dallas striker Dominique Badji, who had one of FCD’s goals in the loss. “As athletes, we have to have short-term memory — we lost (Wednesday) but we have to move forward and use that as motivation for what we need to do on Saturday.”
The Huntsmen remain in first place in the West, a point in front of Sporting Kansas City and three up on Los Angeles FC.
Six of the past seven Texas Derby matchups have ended in ties, with the only exception a 3-1 FC Dallas victory in Aug. 2016. The 2017 campaign produced three draws between the two sides, and the year before that, FC Dallas and Houston each earned a win, loss and draw.
—Field Level Media