A rivalry big as Texas: Houston, Dallas duel as tensions boil over

HOUSTON - The Houston heat and humidity played its part in the Texas Derby as tensions boiled over in Friday’s 1-1 draw between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas.

An 80th minute shoving match between Dynamo midfielder Alex and Dallas right back Hernan Grana, that resulted in a yellow card for each player, was the finishing touch in this season’s second Texas Derby match.

Simply put, these two teams won’t be inviting each other over for a good ol’ Texas barbecue anytime soon.

“We don’t really like each other,” FC Dallas center back Matt Hedges said on the physicality of the game. “That’s kind of how it goes.”

Dynamo defender A.J. DeLaGarza chalked up the late-game chippiness of both teams to tired legs from playing in the heat and humidity.

“Guys are tired, and a little bit slow,” DeLaGarza said. “And you see late challenges and late tackles. A couple today and obviously one that could have been a red card.”

For the past three years, the Dynamo have looked up at the standings and seen FC Dallas skyrocket to the top. This season, however, both teams have near identical records and have stayed above the playoff line all season.

If the good times continue for both Texas teams, they could both be in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Friday’s game was an example of how similar these teams have been this season.

“We had a couple of chances. They had a couple of chances. So it was an even game, 50-50 possession,” DeLaGarza said. “I think we have two different playing styles but on paper and on the field it’s somewhat even.”

Dynamo midfielder Juan David Cabezas said it was a tight game with not many spaces available to both sides. He added that as the game got more physical, it made any available space on the field disappear.

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja acknowledged that Houston has a strong side this year. He praised the Dynamo’s forward and their abilities, noting that FC Dallas defenders had a tough night handling them.

Two Texas Derby matches this season has yielded two draws, which means El Capitan is still up for grabs. These two teams will square off once again Aug. 23 with the winner getting bragging rights for a season alongside a sought-after cannon.