It’s Heineken Rivalry Week in Major League Soccer, and the Dynamo are squaring off against the hated Chicago Fire in the Third Coast Derby this Saturday (4 p.m. CT; ROOT SPORTS).
What’s that? Not familiar with the Third Coast Derby, or its illustrious prize, the Calen Carr Cup? Typically derbies are determined by their geographic proximity. In this case, however, the derby is predicated not on shared physical space, but a shared name. Both the Gulf Coast (Houston) and the Great Lakes region (Chicago) lay claim to the title of the “Third Coast,” thus we have a derby. The derby was formalized with the Calen Carr Cup after the former Chicago Fire forward was traded to the Dynamo in March 2011.
The trophy (right), modeled after Carr’s iconic helmet, went to Chicago in 2012 after they took the season series but went to Houston for the next three years after a series win in 2013 and various tiebreakers in ’14 and ’15. The Dynamo hold an all-time lead in the rivalry (8-5-8 record), but the series has been dead even since Carr’s trade. Both teams have notched two regular season wins and tied seven times, though the Dynamo recorded a win over the Fire in the knockout round of the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
If you haven’t heard of the Third Coast Derby, here’s some other Dynamo rivalries you may be interested in:
- FC Dallas (Texas Derby): Everyone knows these two teams play for the replica 18th century mountain howitzer “El Capitan” in the Texas Derby every year, but did you know they also regularly compete in a game of 42, the official State Domino Game of Texas.
- Sporting Kansas City (Central Time Clash): The teams have had many tight battles as conference mates over the past several seasons in both the regular season and playoffs. The loser of each match is not allowed to eat any barbeque until the next matchup, so the stakes are high each and every game.
- LA Galaxy (AEG Cup): Once managed by the same majority owner, the Dynamo and Galaxy squared off each year in the AEG Cup. The winner received hugs and blessings from Phil Anschutz. The tradition is expected to continue despite the sale of the Dynamo to Gabriel Brener.
- Columbus Crew SC (Sun Shield): The Dynamo and Crew SC play each year for the Sun Shield, as they are the only clubs in MLS to primarily wear orange and yellow, respectively. Orange and yellow are bright colors, often associated with the sun.
- Colorado Rapids (Disputed Borders Derby): Did you know that the claimed borders of Texas once included part of what is now Colorado? That’s close enough for a derby! We’re rivals now, and when the Dynamo win Colorado’s part of Texas again.
- D.C. United (Capital Derby): Houston was the capital of the Republic of Texas from 1837-1839, while Washington, D.C. has been the capital of the United States of America from 1800-present. There’s bound to be competition between two national capital cities, especially when a life-size was figure of Sam Houston—President and Governor of Texas, as well as U.S. Senator and Congressman—is on the line.
- Montreal Impact (Brian Ching Memorial Cup): They took Brian Ching in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft and held him hostage. Every year, we play this game in his memory. Winners get Hawaiian leis.
- New England Revolution (Jeweler’s Derby): Regardless of result, the Dynamo keep their 2006 and 2007 MLS Cups won against New England.
- New York Red Bulls (Oh, These Guys?! Classico): Let’s face it, New York is the worst. And they probably feel the same way about Houston. That’s what makes us such great rivals. This rivalry’s unique, because it’s actually the loser that gets a prize. They have to wander the streets and say “Oh, these guys?!” every time they see someone wearing the opposing uniform.
- New York City FC (Oh, These Guys?! Part 2): We were already rivals with NYRB before NYCFC came along and actually played in New York City, so we carried over the rivalry to them as well. Same rules apply as above.
- Orlando City SC (Southern Strife): The rivalry between these two clubs extends past MLS and into the NWSL, where the Houston Dash and Orlando Pride are regional rivals according to the league, playing each other four times in 2016 (including this Friday in Houston). The MLS sides play just once, with the winner receiving a can of bug spray for the mosquitoes.
- Philadelphia Union (Rivalry Cup): Remember that one time we played and things got really intense and now we’re rivals? We sure do. We play for a plaque that says “RIVALS”.
- Portland Timbers (Hipster Derby): You haven’t heard of this one? Figures.
- Real Salt Lake (Not Friends Derby): We are not friends with Real Salt Lake. In fact, they are definitely our rivals. Up for grabs each time we play is a megaphone, the winner gets to use it tell everyone how much we dislike the other team.
- Seattle Sounders FC (Port Classic): Both cities have ports, so we're inextricably linked. And boy does it ever play out on the field. The prize is a captain's hat, which the winning goalkeeper traditionally wears while walking around the field saying "toot, toot" in the manner of a tugboat.
- San Jose Earthquakes (Kinnear Kup): Always a contentious clash, as the original iteration of the Quakes in MLS moved to Texas in 2005 to become the Dynamo. Now, the team with the overall lead when Dominic Kinnear retires gets first dibs on a shoutout in his Hall of Fame speech.
- Toronto FC (null): Everyone’s tried to force a rivalry here, but there really isn’t one. No real beef with these guys.
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC (The Hate): So famous it only needs one name, and zero explanation. Man, we really can’t stand each other. Winner gets to choose the postgame meal.
- Chivas USA (defunct, Copa de Cubo): The winner at the end of the all-time series earned the rights to forward Erick “Cubo” Torres. Houston won, 12-2-5.