HOUSTON — The first Texas Derby of the 2019 season is coming to BBVA Compass Stadium and hosts Houston Dynamo feel well prepared to take on their state rival, FC Dallas.
Both teams have been doing well in the current season. FC Dallas (5-2-2) has 17 points and has played nine games, while the Dynamo (5-1-1) trails behind by just one point with seven games played.
The Texas Derby was established in 2006 and the matches are always among the most anticipated of the season. This one kicks off at 3 p.m. CT Saturday.
“Yes, we are looking forward to this game. It is important to us,” Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “They have been doing well so far. We have been doing well up to this point, and it is going to be a good game. It is going to be an interesting game – it is a Derby. You always want to win a Derby. We have momentum and I hope that our fans are motivated to come and support us.”
The derby will be a bit more exciting for Dynamo defense Maynor Figueroa, who previously played for FC Dallas for two years.
“The players just want to win. This is my first Derby on this side,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa said he wants to win with the Dynamo, but if he scores against his old team he will not celebrate out of respect for the fans who once cheered him on.
The winner of the Texas Derby series each season earns a year’s worth of bragging rights as well as the points. For Dynamo midfielder Tommy McNamara, it will be his first time participating in the state rivalry.
“It’s important to the fans. This will be my first one, but I’ve seen it from a distance, but now I’m going to be a part of it. It’s important to compete in these games and be ready. They’re coming here to try to win. They want to prove that they’re better, ” McNamara said.
Las time these two state rivals met up was in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, home to FC Dallas, who won with a final score of 4-2.
Not only did Dallas take the points, but also El Capitán, a replica 18th-century mountain howitzer cannon that is awarded to the series winner.
Currently, El Capitan is housed in Dallas, but before last year El Capitan called Houston home for two consecutive seasons.
The Dynamo want to play cool and collect and try to treat the derby like any other game, but they know there will be heightened emotions and motivation from players and fans.
“We need to focus and prepare ourselves physically and mentally,” McNamara said. “You do notice a difference in the stadium, in terms of the energy and atmosphere. You can feel the tension sometimes compared to another game in the regular season.”