HOUSTON – Once again, the Texas Derby is upon us. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas urgently need points if either of them wants to clinch a playoff berth.
Back in May when the first Texas Derby was played at BBVA Stadium, both teams were doing well. FC Dallas had a 5-2-2 record at the time with 17 points, while Houston had one less point at 5-1-1. On that occasion, the Dynamo took the derby win with a final score of 2-1.
The reality is quite different now.
Dynamo and FCD are below the playoff line entering Sunday night’s 8 p.m. ET derby at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Dallas (10-10-7, 37 points) is better off at eighth place in the Western Conferences standings and tied in points with the No. 7 Portland Timbers, who have the final playoff spot because they have a better goal differential.
As for the Dynamo (9-13-4, 31 points), they are in 10th place and six points behind their in-state rival.
“Obviously we are down, and we need that when our objective since the season began is to enter the playoffs,” attacking midfield Tomas Martinez said of winning this game. “It would be three very important points for us to stay in the fight.”
Having their head coach fired mid-week while enduring a four-game losing streak can take a toll on players’ morale, but the Dynamo seem to be responding quickly and positively to the new path the team has taken.
“I think it shows a lot on the mental side if we can get away with the three points against Dallas,” Martinez said, adding he thinks a win would help the team’s confidence a lot.
The victor will take all the spoils Sunday – three points, bragging rights and El Capitán, a replica 18th-century mountain howitzer cannon.
El Capitán was housed in Houston for two consecutive seasons, but last year Dallas took the series win home along with the cannon.
“We have a huge amount of respect for Dallas and the kind of team that they are,” Houston interim head coach Davy Arnaud said. “We understand that it’s a rivalry game and what that all brings, but they can play and we know that we are going to have to have a good game to get the result we want.”
These are the current rules and tiebreakers to determine who gets the unique derby trophy:
- Head-to-head regular season series (W-L-T)
- Head-to-head goal differential in regular-season series
- Result of playoff series (if applicable)
- Result of CONCACAF Champions League series (if applicable)
- Result of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match (if applicable)
- Holder retains trophy