HOUSTON, Texas - Houston Dynamo General Manager Oliver Luck and FC Dallas General Manager Michael Hitchcock today announced a competition between the two Western Conference opponents that share the state of Texas. In establishing a new tradition, the teams will play for something more than points in the standings when they meet in the four-game regular season series. The winner of the inaugural series will earn the rights to keep an 18th century Mountain Howitzer cannon, recognizing the winning side as the best Major League Soccer team in the state of Texas during the year.
The team's meet for the first time ever on Saturday, May 6 at Robertson Stadium in Houston (7:30 p.m. CT) and return for the second meeting a week later, on Saturday, May 13 at Pizza Hut Park, live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. (CT). The final two games are on August 12 in Houston and on September 2 in Dallas. FC Dallas is currently in first place in the Western Conference (3-0-2, 11 points), two points ahead of Houston (3-2-0, 9 pts).
"There's a history of heated rivalries between teams in Dallas and Houston, and on May 6th, we'll be adding another," Hitchcock said. "This promises to be another marquee series for both Texas and MLS. We look forward to bringing the cannon to Pizza Hut Park for years to come showing soccer fans throughout Texas that the best Major League Soccer team is right here in North Texas."
During the first year of the series, the cannon will travel to each home stadium and be fired as team wishes. At the end of the 2006 regular season finale between the clubs, the team with the most points will retain the cannon for the entire next season. In the event of a tie in points after the four regular season games, the tie breakers will be as follows: greatest goal-differential in the series; most road goals in the series; most goals scored in the series.
"We feel very happy to be playing for something more than just points. It should make for an interesting rivalry between two teams loaded with talent and desire to be the best in the state of Texas."
Cannons have a history of tradition in the United States sporting culture, used often to jump-start fans at college sporting events throughout the country. In Texas, the University of Texas has "Smokey the Cannon", the University of North Texas has "Boomer, the Victory Cannon", and Texas A&M has "The Spirit of '02" cannon - each cannon fire at the beginning of each home football game and following scores for the home side. The Mountain Howitzer cannon that FCD and Houston will play for weighs nearly 600 pounds and is a replica of an 18th century cannon.
From Wednesday, May 3 through Sunday, May 7, fans may suggest names for the cannon through the online form on each team's website: www.houstondynamo.com and www.fcdallas.net.
The official name of the cannon will be chosen from fans votes of the top five suggested names from May 8-12. The name of the cannon will be revealed prior to the second game of the series held at Pizza Hut Park on May 13.
The Houston Dynamo is in their first year in MLS. Prior to this start of the season, the owners of the San Jose Earthquakes relocated that team to Houston and re-branded the team as Dynamo, leaving the Quakes history and records in San Jose in the event the team returns at a later date.
Other cannons used as sporting traditions:
Smokey the Cannon - University of Texas
The Spirit of 02 - Texas A&M
Boomer, The Victory Cannon - University of North Texas
The California Victory Cannon - University of California (Cal)
Touchdown Tommy Cannon - University of Miami (FL)
Fitzsimons Cannon - Youngstown State University
The Fremont Cannon - The prize awarded to winner of the annual in-state football game between the University of Nevada and UNLV.