FRISCO, TX - FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo have announced rules changes for awarding El Capitán, the 18th century replica cannon presented annually to the winner of the teams' regular season series. FCD and Houston will meet for the first time in 2009 on Saturday, May 9 at Robertson Stadium in Houston (live at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2).
Beginning this year, if the teams tie the regular season series in head-to-head record and goal differential, the results of other competitions, such as the MLS Cup Playoffs, will determine the winner. Should the teams not meet in other competitions the previous year's winner will retain the trophy.
"It was important to both clubs to change the tiebreaker system because we now play each other three times a year instead of four as we did in 2006 and 2007," said FC Dallas General Manager Michael Hitchcock. "The new rules will allow us to determine the annual series winner through direct head-to-head results in other competitions when necessary."
FC Dallas and Houston tied all three meetings last season, but FCD was determined the winner after outscoring the Dynamo 4-2 in road games. Because the teams now play an unequal number of home and away games in regular season play, both have agreed to eliminate the away goals tiebreaker rule.
El Capitán is a replica of an 18th century Mountain Howitzer cannon and weighs nearly 600 pounds. The trophy's official name was chosen by fans of both teams through an online poll in the first year of the Texas rivalry.
Criteria for determining the winner of the El Capitán series is as follows:
1. Head-to-head regular season series (W-L-T)
2. Head-to-head goal differential in regular season series
3. Result of playoff series (if applicable)
4. Result of CONCACAF Champions League series (if applicable)
5. Result of SuperLiga playoff match (if applicable)
6. Result of SuperLiga group match (if applicable)
7. Result of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match (if applicable)
8. Holder retains trophy
The teams will meet three times during the 2009 MLS regular season. The second game will take place at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday, June 13 (live on Fox Soccer Channel), with the final match set for Thursday, August 6 (live on ESPN2), also at Pizza Hut Park.