The Texas Derby will be decided on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium as the Houston Dynamo take on FC Dallas for the third time this MLS season (7:45 p.m.).
FC Dallas, currently leading the Supporters Shield race with 45 points (13-7-6 record), are 0-1-1 against the Dynamo in MLS this season, with a 5-0 loss in Houston in March and a 1-1 draw in Frisco in June. The teams also squared off in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals, with Dallas ousting the Dynamo 1-0 on a stoppage time goal from Fabian Castillo.
Castillo, who had 5 goals and 5 assists on the season, is no longer with the team after a loan to Trabzonspor in the Turkish Süper Lig in July. Dallas' attack still boasts the services of Maxi Urruti (team-leading 7 goals) and playmaker Mauro Diaz (team-leading 10 assists).
“They’re very good on the counter, especially when Diaz picks up the ball, like a lot of players in this league, if you give them time and space, he can really hurry you, so he’s a guy you have to pay attention to," Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett said. "(Michael) Barrios does a good job. They also have other players who have filtered in, (Ryan) Hollingshead I think is a talented player. He’s up and down and puts in an honest work rate every time he’s out there.
"They have hard-nosed players in midfield that are good at winning the ball. (Kellyn) Acosta is really good, (Carlos) Gruezo and (Victor) Ulloa, when he goes in and plays. They’re very solid across the back line. They’ve got good experience and quality throughout the roster, and it just seems like regardless of the roster they put out for any game, they perform at a similar level. You can’t just prepare for one player or another, you have to prepare for the whole group.”
Both teams are coming off of midweek matches, though while the Dynamo were home on Wednesday night, FC Dallas is traveling back from Nicaragua and a 1-1 draw against Real Esteli in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. FCD did feature a rotated lineup in the match, with seven changes in the starting XI from the team that lost 1-0 in Salt Lake last Saturday night. Diaz, Urruti, defender Walker Zimmerman, and goalkeeper Chris Seitz started on the weekend but did not travel to Nicaragua.