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Roster battles boost Houston, and more takeaways from the Texas Derby

Wilmer Cabrera is managing his players’ minutes.

HOUSTON — It was an intense and physical game, but the Houston Dynamo won the season’s first Texas Derby with a 2-1 finish over FC Dallas. The next time the two Texas teams face off won’t be until August, but the year’s first Texas Derby gave us a good glimpse into the state of the Dynamo.

Here are three takeaways from a crucial win in a big rivalry game:

The games keep coming

The Dynamo have been active since early February when they participated in the Concacaf Champions League, and that condensed schedule has helped them quickly get into the rhythm of playing several games in a short span of time.

The Major League Soccer season is full of its own logjams, but because of their experience months back, they feel prepared for it.

“Let’s rest and take it easy,” said head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “We have five or six days to face a team like Seattle that is very strong and difficult. It is what we have in front and we are happy. So far we are fine. We have to continue with that solidity. If the team is that solid, we’ll have an equal chance in Seattle.”

Internal competition boosts Rodriguez

The Houston Dynamo has built a roster with depth in mind —  when one is injured another one can take their place. But that also gives the team a healthy level of internal competition.

“I feel good. With a player like Romell (Quioto) or Alberth (Elis) — internal competition is good for the team and we always train at 100 percent to be ready on Saturday,”said midfielder Memo Rodriguez. “We want to continue like this.” 

It’s that competition that has helped the Dynamo get the best out of players.Rodriguez, the homegrown midfielder, is the perfect example of that. He has scored four goals in seven games, five of them starts, and he may be on his way to a breakout year. 

El Capitán on the move

With the Dynamo’s 2-1 win over Dallas, the Houston team is closer to once again bring home El Capitán – a replica 18th-century mountain howitzer cannon that is awarded to the series winner.

Last year, El Capitán was housed in Dallas after calling Houston its home for two consecutive seasons, and the Dynamo want it back.

The current rules of who gets the cannon was established in 2010 and agreed on by both Texas teams. Here are the rules to decide who gets to hold onto the unorthodox derby trophy:

1. Head-to-head regular season series (W-L-T)
2. Head-to-head goal differential in regular season series
3. Result of playoff series (if applicable)
4. Result of CONCACAF Champions League series (if applicable)
5. Result of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match (if applicable)
6. Holder retains trophy

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