HOUSTON – Most rivalries do not need additional fuel to stoke the fires, but the Texas Derby will get just that as the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas prepare to renew their rivalry in a knockout game in the fourth round of the US Open Cup Wednesday night (9 pm ET, watch on HoustonDynamo.com).
As Houston head into the game with their rivals, they’ll be looking to make good on a result they feel was a missed opportunity earlier in the year.
“The loss was a bitter one the way it was taken. The ways the goals were scored and the way we fought back, we felt like we deserved an outcome,” said striker Giles Barnes. “I don’t think you need to add anything more to a local derby. It’s going to be a good one for the spectators and good one to be involved with as well.”
Houston traveled to FC Dallas Stadium March 17 and engaged in one of the early season’s best games, roaring back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game in the second half.
Deep into stoppage time it looked as if Houston would leave with a well-earned point, until Kenny Cooper scored a dramatic – and controversial – goal where the ball looked to strike his arm before falling to his feet for the fatal finish in 3-2 Dynamo loss.
Since that game both teams have found success, with Houston off to their best start in franchise history and Dallas leading the league in points. Now they’ll renew that rivalry in an unexpected fashion in USOC play, where the winner – while not getting possession of “El Capitán,” the replica Civil War-Era cannon that serves as the trophy for this matchup and is in FCD hands for the year – will get to end the other’s tournament run.
“I think any time you play a Houston-Dallas game it means a lot to us and the fans,” said Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell. “It’s a chance to go out and get a result we didn’t get earlier in the year. Our goals are to make the playoffs and we wanted a regular season win, but if we can get one in this tournament and keep going, we’ll take it.”
Both teams had their best foot forward in that early game, with lineups near full-strength for both teams. This time around, there is less certainty. Houston is in the middle of back-to-back bye weeks that could open opportunities for head coach Dominic Kinnear, but his team will have to wait and see what lineup Dallas puts on the field.
“When you come out of this game, you want two things: One, you want to move on to the next round, and you want to make sure when you come out of it you have healthy players,” said Kinnear. “[Dallas] have been playing well. It’s going to be a battle with these guys.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.