This article will appear in the May 28, 2011 issue of the Houston Dynamo Gameday Magazine.
From the first whistle of the first game, the Dynamo-Dallas rivalry has been passionate, on the field and off. Even preseason games have been heated, including a Brian Mullan-Brek Shea fight in 2009 and Jair Benitez spitting on Geoff Cameron in February 2011. Traveling supporters – more from Houston than from Dallas, of course – have added atmosphere to every game.
Since last year, with only two head-to-head regular season meetings, each matchup takes on added significance in the rivalry. Ahead of the first official meeting of 2011 and the 20th competitive match between the clubs (Buy Tickets), here are some of the key moments in the history of the rivalry:
May 6, 2006
Houston 4, FC Dallas 3
Houston leads series 1-0
In front of more than 21,000 fans, the teams opened the rivalry with a high-scoring barnburner. Ricardo Clark, Brian Ching, and Dwayne De Rosario scored in quick succession in the final 15 minutes of the first half to give Houston a 3-0 lead, but Dallas got back in the game with two goals in two minutes from Carlos Ruiz and Ramon Nunez. De Rosario responded six minutes later with a dramatic goal to make it 4-2, and the Dynamo held on for the win. They would go on to a 2-1-1 mark against Dallas to win El Capitán in its inaugural season.
September 30, 2007
Houston 3, FC Dallas 0
Pizza Hut Park
Houston leads series 6-1-2
Still the most-talked-about (and most-viewed-on-YouTube) moment in the history of the rivalry came from this fall Sunday afternoon. After Dwayne De Rosario scored in first-half stoppage time, the Dynamo got second-half goals from Eddie Robinson and Stuart Holden and were cruising to the first road victory in the history of the series. Houston’s Ricardo Clark and Dallas forward Carlos Ruiz lost their tempers in the final minute, with Clark aiming a violent kick at Ruiz’s chest and earning a then-league-record suspension that kept him suspended through the playoffs and into the 2008 season.
November 2, 2007
Houston 4, FC Dallas 1 (extra time)
Houston wins series 4-2 on aggregate
Houston leads series 7-2-2
The height of the rivalry was this second leg of the 2007 Western Conference semifinals, held on a Friday night before a packed house of more than 30,000 fans. Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Carlos Ruiz put Dallas ahead 2-0 at halftime. In the second half, however, Houston mounted a furious rally after Dallas was reduced to 10 men, and the Dynamo tied the aggregate score on strikes from Stuart Holden and Brian Ching. In extra time, Ching and Brad Davis put the series away, and Houston went on to take a second straight MLS Cup title.
May 28, 2008
Houston 2, FC Dallas 2
Pizza Hut Park
Houston leads series 7-2-4
The second of three ties between the teams in 2008, this match saw Houston’s Eddie Robinson and Dallas’ Andre Rocha ejected and produced a second consecutive amazing finish. The Dynamo had tied the season opener on a stoppage-time goal from rookie Geoff Cameron, but they were only in this game thanks to the first career goal from Corey Ashe. Finally, Houston earned a road point when Dwayne De Rosario crashed the net to convert a rebound in the third minute of stoppage time.
May 5, 2010
FC Dallas 1, Houston 0
Houston leads series 9-4-6
It’s not a rivalry unless both teams have something to brag about, and Dallas earned its first win in Houston in 10 tries last May en route to its best season ever and a spot in the MLS Cup final. Although Jair Benitez was ejected in the 73rd minute, Dallas pulled out the surprise win on a late free kick, as Brek Shea headed the ball across the face of goal, and Ugo Ihemelu was on hand to head it home.