Tensions were high in the Texas derby once again on Saturday, but a player who has been on both sides of the rivalry, Je-Vaughn Watson, stole many of the headlines in the latest meeting between the rivals.
FC Dallas stormed past the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, winning 4-1 after scoring three goals in a 10-minute stretch of the second half.
Former Dynamo midfielder Watson scored two of the goals for Dallas after the Dynamo's David Horst was sent off for a tackle on Fabian Castillo. Watson's tallies were his second and third of the season, which matches his previous career total in 65 matches.
"A very special night for Je-Vaughn," FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. "The way he's working for his teammates and the work ethic that he's showing us is great, and when that happens, the game will reward you and today was a good example. I liked [his performance] and I'm very happy for him and the team."
Watson's place in the lineup for this match was in doubt after he was inexplicably sent off last week following an exchange with Portland's Michael Harrington. However, his red card was rescinded midweek, and he made the starting eleven.
Watson headed in his first goal of the match in the 61st minute on Mauro Díaz's free kick following Horst's ejection. Watson appeared to double his tally seven minutes later on a corner kick, but on replay the ball clearly went in off the Dynamo's Giles Barnes.
Dallas and Watson, however, cemented their resounding victory two minutes later though, as Watson ended a counter attack by coolly finishing past Tally Hall.
Watson's celebrations were muted after both of his goals, like because Houston traded the midfielder in February of 2013 to its in-state rival. Watson made 41 appearances during his two seasons with the Dynamo.
"It's a good feeling but Houston is the first team that brought me to MLS," Watson said. "I have a lot of respect for them so I couldn't celebrate but at the end of the day I came here to do work. I went on the field to score a goal but to celebrate the goal would be overdoing it."
Many considered Watson's inclusion in the starting lineup so far this season as a short-term option, but with his recent performances it may be difficult to unseat the Jamaican international.
"For us, it was important that he was part of the game," Pareja said. "He proved how important he's becoming for this team."
For FC Dallas and Watson, Saturday's victory keeps them unbeaten and atop the table in the Western Conference, in addition to keeping the Texas derby trophy, El Capitán, in Frisco for another year.
"Getting the cannon back to Dallas is a wonderful thing and it means three more points to the tally," Watson said. "We have to keep our standing forward because were up in the standings and need to continue."