Top 5 moments in Texas Derby history: Red cards, cannon fire and playoff heartbreak
On Saturday, FC Dallas and the Houston will resume their battle for "El Capitán," the Civil War-era cannon currently in the possession of FC Dallas after a controversial late goal from Kenny Cooper decided last year's one head-to-head regular-season meeting (Dallas also won the teams' Open Cup quarterfinal).
- RIVALRY WEEK: Houston vs. FC Dallas, Saturday, 8 pm ET, MLS LIVE
With that in mind, here are the Top 5 Moments in Texas Derby history:
5. Ugo Ihemelu Wins "El Capitán" for Dallas
May 5, 2010 – Perhaps the proudest moment for FC Dallas in the history of the rivalry, Schellas Hyndman’s men were down to 10 men (take a wild guess at who got sent off, you'll find out below) at Robertson Stadium with 15 minutes to play in a scoreless game. Then Ugo Ihemelu scored a late winner to give FCD the franchise’s only win in Houston and only outright win of the “El Capitán” cannon.
4. Jair Benítez Red Cards
Do we really need to say more than Jair Benítez? Despite his not always sterling reputation, the Colombian has only been shown the red card twice in his career, but both have been against the Dynamo.
In the 2010 game mentioned above, the Colombian was ejected for elbowing Dynamo forward Luis Ángel Landín. Two years later, Benítez was shown red for violent conduct. His actions were not limited to regular season, however, as he was suspended for spitting at Geoff Cameron in a preseason game in 2011.
“I think he is an unprofessional player,” Cameron told the Houston Chronicle after the match. “It’s just one of those things that he came up to me and it took me every ounce of my energy not to punch him in the face, hit him or retaliate. But I’m a better professional than he is. I just kind of turned my shoulder a little bit and shrugged it off.
3. Dynamo Win a Thriller in First Texas Derby Match
May 6, 2006 – Even to this day, perhaps the best regular-season game between the rivals was the first-ever game played on May 6, 2006. The Dynamo jumped out to a 3-0 lead in a dream first half, but Dallas weren't going to go quietly. FCD mounted a furious comeback as Carlos Ruiz and Ramón Núñez scored in back-to-back minutes early in the second half, sparking a wild finish. Dwayne De Rosario restored Houston’s two-goal advantage, but Drew Moor pulled one back in the 76th minute. Dallas, however, never found the equalizer in what was eventually a 4-3 Dynamo win.
2. Ricardo Clark Kicks Carlos Ruiz
September 30, 2007 – In one of the most famous flashpoints in MLS history, Ricardo Clark’s frustrations boiled over in the final minutes of Houston’s emphatic 3-0 win at FC Dallas Stadium. In the 88th minute of the match, Ruiz and Clark became tangled on a free kick, and the Dynamo midfielder eventually kicked Ruiz violently. Both players saw red for their actions, and Clark was famously suspended for an additional nine games, missing the Dynamo’s run to MLS Cup 2007, and fined $10,000.
1. 2007 Playoff Battle
November 2, 2007 – Regardless of any other games or red cards, the playoffs always take precedence, and the Texas rivals played a classic in their only playoff meeting. With FC Dallas leading 1-0 after the first leg, the Dynamo had some work to do, but a crowd of more than 30,000 showed up at Robertson Stadium in an electric playoff atmosphere.
FC Dallas quieted the crowd, however, with who else but Ruiz scoring in the 14th minute to put FCD up two goals on aggregate. As has been the case in many Dynamo playoff comebacks, however, discipline played a role. FCD’s Arturo Alvarez saw red, giving Houston life.
Goals from Brian Ching and Stuart Holden sent the game into overtime, and Ching and Brad Davis found the back of the net in the extra 30 minutes, giving the Dynamo bragging rights in a game that saw 10 yellow cards and two red cards.