There’s no time at the start of the MLS season for the Houston Dynamo to catch their breath, as they go right from a wild 3-3 Opening Day draw into a Texas Derby match against FC Dallas this Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium (7:15 p.m.; TICKETS).
The Week 2 game is the earliest meeting between the Texas rivals, with only two previous matchups (2010 and 2013) coming in March.
“We will take direction from Owen [Coyle], they will guide us and we know how important that game is. It is a local derby and they are a good team with very good players,” Dynamo midfielder Cristian Maidana told the media after Sunday’s match. “They had brought on some good players and to be honest all of the games are tough. We have to remain focused throughout the whole game and avoid what happened today.”
What happened on Sunday was a good offensive showing to produce three goals against the New England Revolution and overcome and early deficit, but an inability to hold onto that lead in the waning seconds of the match. While the majority of the match was a positive for Houston, the team knows it will have to clean up areas in order to match a talented North Texas side.
Dallas opened their season with a 2-0 win in Frisco against the Philadelphia Union behind goals from All-Star winger Fabián Castillo and newly signed forward Maxi Urruti. It was a successful return to the field after falling to the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Final last season.
The lone blight heading into Texas Derby week for FCD is the likely loss of Castillo, who tormented the Dynamo with two goals and three assists in three meetings last year, after the young Colombian was stretchered off the field at the end of Sunday’s match.
"Fabián, in that last play when he went in front, he hurt his adductor. But he will be fine," FC Dallas head coach Óscar Pareja told reporters following the match. "As I said, it’s a muscular problem that can be healed soon. So we will have Fabian probably in the next two weeks. I don’t want to over-elaborate on that, but the prognosis from the doctors is okay."
Even without Castillo, the Dynamo’s northern neighbors have a litany of dangerous attackers to deal with. Argentine playmaker Mauro Diaz set up both goals against the Union, and has two goals and six assists against the Dynamo in four MLS matches. Typically on the opposite side of Castillo, midfielder Michael Barrios tallied seven goals and two assists in his first MLS season last year and could be a key without Castillo. The club bolstered their forward corps with the pickup of Urruti—who scored 10 goals with the Portland Timbers in 2014 and won MLS Cup with them last year—to work alongside 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele.
Despite the challenge in front of them, the Dynamo are focused on building off their own good performance from Week 1. Captain Giles Barnes said the team is ready to get back in front of the orange faithful to keep the season on the right foot.
“We feel that we’ve got two points dropped but know that it’s a good start. We are looking forward to getting out there next week.”