The Texas Derby has been played every year since 2006, when Houston Dynamo FC began play in MLS as a ready-made rival for an FC Dallas side less than a four-hour drive up I-45.

And yet there's a newness to these teams' first meeting of 2022, in the men who set the lineups and tactics for Saturday's Toyota Stadium clash (3 pm ET | Univision, TUDN, Twitter) and each teams' position in the table.

Dallas and Houston enter Week 8 tied on 12 points for fourth place in the Western Conference standings, with Saturday's hosts holding the edge in goal difference. Dallas have dropped only two points in their first four home matches under first-year manager Nico Estevez, and the Dynamo have conceded only once in each of their first two away contests under their own new skipper Paulo Nagamura.

This first of two matches this season (other is July 9) to decide who takes home the El Capitan cannon could very well be a postseason preview. If both teams do reach the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, it will remarkably be the first time since 2011.

"They're a good team, they're a really good team," Houston defender Adam Lundkvist said of Dallas. "They have some additions during the offseason, they added some good, quality players and a new coach as well. So, it's a completely different group. Still, we have a pretty good idea of what they're going to throw at us."

For teams aiming to recapture their glory years – when the Dynamo won two MLS Cup titles and reached four finals between 2006 and 2012, or when FCD won the 2016 Supporters' Shield and US Open Cup double – there might be even more potential for emotions to boil over than this fixture normally brings.

That's a possibility Estevez has considered and is trying to prepare his charges for.

"I think the way to control this is to have a plan," he said. "If you're focused on the plan and you focus on controlling these emotions because you know you have a task, you have a role, and you have instructions, you have to try and make that. While if you only think to fight and you only think to get into battles, you lose focus on what you have to do.

Estevez, who cut his coaching teeth amid the backdrop of the Derby del Turia between Valencia CF and Levante UD on Spain's Mediterranean coast, knows a heated environment awaits.

"We're going to bring everything," he said. "But as the game will settle, we'll have to be thoughtful and we'll have to think about how we want to break them down and how we want to defend them. It's not only about crazy runs or crazy energy. It's about putting that energy and those runs throughout a process to help us to beat Houston."

Houston come into Saturday as the defending El Capitan holders after earning five points from the sides' three matches in 2021, after Dallas had taken the honor in six of the previous eight seasons.

But the Dynamo also visit 11 years removed from their last win at Toyota Stadium, a 1-0 victory in September 2011 decided by now-FC Cincinnati defender Geoff Cameron's 87th-minute winner. The home side is unbeaten in the last 15 meetings between these Lone Star State rivals.

For Nagamura, the more recent success outweighs any trepidation about the trip north.

"We need to be calm and collected, make sure that we prepare," Nagamura said. "The one thing that I can say is that we need to take pride in being and wanting to be the best team in Texas. For me, I think it's a big rivalry, but the rivalry is outside the white lines. Inside the white lines – you persist, it’s preparation, it's work. Our mentality is to always be the best on the field and that's how we're going to approach the game."