When FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo meet for the first time at Houston's Robertson Stadium Saturday (7:30 p.m. CT), they'll begin a battle for more than just points and Lone Star State bragging rights.
They'll be playing for a cannon, and the teams are calling on their fans to suggest a name.
The teams announced Wednesday the winner of the season series will earn the possession of an 18th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon, which will recognize the best MLS team in the state of Texas during the year.
"There's a history of heated rivalries between teams in Dallas and Houston, and on May 6, we'll be adding another," said FCD General Manager Michael Hitchcock. "This promises to be another marquee series for both Texas and MLS. We look forward to bringing the cannon to Pizza Hut Park for years to come showing soccer fans throughout Texas that the best Major League Soccer team is right here in North Texas."
The Hoops and Dynamo will play four games this year - the first of the Texas rivalry - and the home team for each game this season will maintain the cannon and be able to fire it as it wishes. At the end of the 2006 season, the team that has won the season series will keep the cannon for all of the 2007 season, with the trophy then only changing hands after each season.
In the event of a tie in points after the four regular season games, the tie breakers will be as follows: goal-differential in the series; most road goals in the series; most goals scored in the series.
"We feel very happy to be playing for something more than just points," said Dynamo General Manager Oliver Luck. "It should make for an interesting rivalry between two teams loaded with talent and desire to be the best in the state of Texas."
Fans are invited to take part in the budding rivalry buy submitting suggestions for a name for the cannon at either FCDallas.net or HoustonDynamo.com. From now through May 7, fans can suggest names, and from May 8-12, fans will vote for one of the top five suggested names, with the official name of the cannon to be announced prior to the teams' second match of the season on May 13 at Pizza Hut Park.
There is a history of cannons being used in sports throughout the United States, particularly in college athletics. The University of Texas (Smokey the Cannon), Texas A&M (The Spirit of '02) and the University of North Texas (Boomer, the Victory Cannon) all fire their cannons at the beginning of each home football game and after the home team scores.
The cannon FCD and Houston will play for weighs nearly 600 pounds and is a replica of an 18th-century cannon. After meeting in Houston on May 6 and in Dallas on May 13, the teams won't play again until Aug. 12 in Houston. They finish the season series on Sept. 2 in Dallas.
FC Dallas is currently in first place in the Western Conference (3-0-2, 11 points), two points ahead of Houston (3-2-0, 9 pts).
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.