Frank Yallop and Dominic Kinnear lead their teams into battle Saturday.

Yallop, Kinnear face off for first time

and then just a few weeks ago, Yallop took over the head coaching position of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The changes have brought the two friends together again, only this time as adversaries when Dynamo visit The Home Depot Center on Saturday night. The years between coaching together and coaching against each other this weekend haven't diluted their friendship one bit.

"We speak every week, even now. We are good friends and I am happy that he is doing very well in his coaching career," said Yallop of his long-time friend Kinnear. "He has a great personality and gets the best out of people. We had a great working relationship, and now he has done very well."

The two coaches head into this weekend in very different places. After taking over in 2004, Kinnear continued the tradition of winning that Yallop started, leading the Earthquakes to the MLS Supporters' Shield last year and putting Dynamo into second place in the Western Conference this year.

Yallop, on the other hand, is still trying to piece together a Galaxy squad that has struggled mightily all season long. He's still looking for a first victory with his new team, one that hasn't won since April 29.

Despite wins and losses, most anticipate a very hotly contested game, both on the field and the sidelines. Todd Dunivant played for both coaches during his time in San Jose and knows that the friendship will take a backseat for 90 minutes on Saturday.

"Those guys (Yallop and Kinnear) are good friends. I think they'll have a drink before and after the game," said Dunivant. "When it comes down to the game they'll be all business."

Familiarity between the two teams that have been two of the fiercest rivals over the course of the opening decade of MLS extends beyond the sidelines too. Players like Dunivant have moved back and forth between the two teams. With the addition of Yallop in Los Angeles, the teams are likely to get even more similar.

Both Yallop and Kinnear share similar coaching styles, which isn't too hard to believe considering they coached together for three years. This weekend might favor Houston simply because their players have played in a familiar system for several years. But it's only a matter of time before these teams will be neck and neck once again.

"Eventually you're going to see these two teams mirror each other," said Dunivant, "because the coaches have the same philosophy and come from the same school of thought."

For the men in charge this weekend is much simpler than two former colleagues trying to get one up on the other. Three points are on the table and both teams will be fighting for the full complement. The friendship will extend far beyond this Saturday's game, but for 90 minutes both men will only be thinking about getting a win.

"We are great friends. I have known him for a long time and we obviously coached together for three years," said Yallop. "He has done a great job down there and they are a good side. We are looking at trying to get a good home win."

Greg Daurio is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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