Houston Dynamo FC hope to rebound from one derby disappointment when facing another in-state rival this Saturday at PNC Stadium, hosting an Austin FC side looking for their first away win against a fellow Texan club (1:30 pm ET | UniMas, TUDN, Twitter).

The Dynamo were the better team for at least the opening hour of their 2-1 Texas Derby loss to FC Dallas last Saturday before conceding in the 87th and 93rd minutes.

It was a gut-wrenching result under first-year Houston boss Paulo Nagamura, yet the Dynamo enter Week 9 in seventh place and above the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoff line in the Western Conference with 12 points (3W-2L-3D). Nagamura is trying to focus on the positives from the previous performance.

"Another derby, another clasico and this time against a team that has been doing very well. The guys responded really well this week,” Nagamura said. “It was clear that we had a good game against FC Dallas and we're disappointed with the result. The guys have great energy this week as we prepare for the game. We have a good idea of what Austin is going to throw at us.”

As for Los Verdes, Josh Wolff’s side has won three in a row to climb to second in the West (5W-1L-2D), including a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend.

But Austin were winless in all three of their trips to Texan foes during their expansion 2021 campaign, including a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Houston last September.

And despite his side’s own strong start, Wolff is plenty wary of the steps forward the Dynamo appear to be making under Nagamura, general manager Pat Onstad and technical director Asher Mendelsohn.

“These are guys that really understand the league and they look more like the old Houston that we’ve all known them to be,” Wolff said. “Athletic, fast, powerful, combative. (Adalberto) Carrasquilla and (Matias) Vera are very strong. (Darwin) Quintero can still pull strings and is very elegant in the midfield, and (Sebastian) Ferreira’s been a good addition.

"He scores goals and when you have (Corey) Baird, Fafa (Picault) and (Tyler) Pasher stretching the line, they’ve got ways to hurt you, there’s no doubt about it. And physically, they get behind the ball, they’re very difficult to break down."

Meanwhile, Austin's Sebastian Driussi is mounting an early Landon Donovan MLS MVP campaign with six goals and three assists, putting him atop the Golden Boot presented by Audi charts. Maxi Urruti has four goals and is coming off his first brace since early 2020.

And yet despite their strong start, Austin may still feel there’s a point to prove away from home. Los Verdes earned their first away victory of 2022 in their most recent travels, but only after Ola Kamara’s second yellow card before halftime enabled a second-half fightback from two goals down in a 3-2 win over D.C. United.

Before that, Austin suffered a 1-0 loss at the Portland Timbers and settled for a 2-2 draw at the San Jose Earthquakes after taking a two-goal lead.

But for a team that's challenging for the early Supporters' Shield race, confidence is also high.

“Derbies take their own life and we look forward to this,” Wolff said. “Last year was a battle and a grind against them home and away. We look to get started in a good way in this year’s [rivalry].”