FRISCO, Texas — Houston Dynamo 1, FC Dallas 0.
No, that’s not a scoreline between the two Texas teams on the field of play. Instead, it’s a scoreline referring to the number of billboards one team has in the other’s city.
Last Monday, Houston placed a billboard on the Dallas North Tollway, 12 miles from Pizza Hut Park stating: "Houston: Two times better than Dallas." Houston’s two MLS Cup championship trophies are pictured next to the text.
The billboard was conveniently placed adjacent to an FC Dallas billboard with a picture of Brek Shea and some information about purchasing season tickets.
Houston may have had the first strike, but FC Dallas and team president Doug Quinn are not backing down.
“That was well executed. Now it’s our turn,” Quinn told MLSsoccer.com last Thursday after the press conference announcing Shea’s contract extension.
But Dallas are not without provocations and taunts of their own. They've recently hired a plane to fly over Houston's Roberson Stadium with a message during Dynamo home games (inset pictured above).
“We circle the [Dynamo] home games with a banner that says, ‘Dallas ‘Til I Die,’" Quinn explained. "We started it two games ago so we will keep running that until we go down there and play."
The first leg of the Texas Derby kicks off Saturday, May 28, at Robertson Stadium. The winner of the derby receives El Capitán, an 19th-century howitzer cannon. FC Dallas won the derby in 2010 and fire the cannon after every home win.
Quinn mentioned a previous conversation he had with Dynamo club president Chris Canetti to grow the rivalry.
“Chris Canetti and I have known each other a very, very long time," Quinn said. "He asked me earlier in the year what my level of tolerance would be and I said, ‘I have a very high level of tolerance, so long as you have a high level of tolerance.’”
To provide an idea of the placement of Houston’s billboard, travelers going to Pizza Hut Park from downtown Dallas and nearby neighborhoods routinely drive via the Tollway. Last week, FCD captain Daniel Hernandez saw the billboard on his way to Pizza Hut Park and tweeted his thoughts:
“Ah, hell nah! Houston Dynamo has a billboard on Dallas tollway? Payback is a b***h! Can’t wait to face them. So disrespectful!”
With Houston demonstrating their desire to deepen the rivalry between the two teams and cities, it’s Dallas’ turn to strike.
“Lots of further ideas coming on, so stay tuned,” stated Quinn. “It’s a great rivalry and we both want to build it. [The billboard] was a surprise, but I’m curious how long it stays up because it’s very expensive.”