The Houston Dynamo returned to BBVA Stadium for the first time in 174 days and played their in-state rivals FC Dallas to a scoreless draw.
With no fans in attendance, the 36th regular-season edition of the Texas Derby had a unique feel to it, but the teams brought the rivalry intensity anyway, combining for 28 fouls and four cards in a hard-fought affair.
Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić and the Houston backline combined for the team’s first clean sheet of the year and Marić’s first in MLS. The Croatian ‘keeper wasn’t called on much, as Dallas only mustered seven shots, and none in the first half. He finished with one save in the shutout.
The Dynamo created the first dangerous opportunity of the match in the 19th minute when midfielder Memo Rodriguez first shot on goal when he worked free at the top of the penalty area and fired a low right-footed effort that forced a save from Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
Forward Alberth Elis was inches away from getting on the end of a Darwin Quintero cross in the 26th minute, but Maurer was quick off of his line to punch the ball away. Left back Adam Lundkvist gathered the rebound and whipped in a cross, but Maurer was able to snatch it before it found its target.
A minute later, Rodriguez and forward Christian Ramirez played a nifty one-two that resulted in Ramirez chesting the ball down and rifling a right-footed volley that forced a quick save from Maurer to parry it away for a corner kick.
Forward Darwin Quintero was inches from scoring his second free-kick goal in as many matches when he whipped a low right-footed curler just past the near post in the 42nd minute. The Colombian won the foul that set up the free kick near the left corner of the penalty area, drawing a yellow card on Dallas midfielder Jesús Ferreira in the process.
Dallas came close to finding the opener early on in the second half, when Ferreira rolled a shot just inches wide 50th minute. After carrying the ball left-to-right across the top of the penalty area, he dragged a right-footed shot back across goal but just wide of the target. It was Dallas’ first shot of the night after being held without an attempt in the first half.
Rodriguez forced another save from Maurer in the 55th minute with a right-footed shot from 25 yards that forced the goalkeeper to dive low to his right to smother it.
Elis looked to be in great shape for the breakthrough goal in the 74th minute when a deflected pass ricocheted right into his path inside the penalty area, but the Honduran wasn’t quite able to get his feet sorted and his right-footed shot rolled into the arms of Maurer.
As the final quarter-hour ticked off the clock, the Dynamo pressed forward in search of a late winner as Dallas appeared content to absorb pressure and play for the scoreless draw. Elis had the best chance with a headed shot in the 81st minute, while Rodriguez had a pair of chances in the dying minutes but was denied by Dallas defenders.
Next up for the Dynamo, they will travel to the Midwest to take on their other intra-conference rival, Sporting Kansas City, on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. CDT. That match will air live throughout the Greater Houston area on KTBU Ch. 55 QuestTEXAS and on radio in Spanish on Univision Radio 1010 AM.