By Mohammad Bushnaq
It's Derby Week! FC Dallas takes on their bitter intrastate rivals, the Houston Dynamo, Saturday night for the first (and only) meeting this season between the two clubs. Last season, FC Dallas played well against the Dynamo, notching two wins in both matches and reclaiming "El Capitan" for the DTID faithful.
WATCH: FCD 3, Houston 2
Game 1 - March 17, 2013 - FC Dallas 3 Houston Dynamo 2: FC Dallas came home to Frisco after a rough loss in Southern California to face their mortal enemies, the Orange from Houston. FC Dallas showed up to this match early, finding the net twice in the first half thanks to two set piece finishes by George John and Andrew Jacobson. After the early 2-0 lead, Andrew Driver entered the match and changed the dynamic for the Dynamo. A sloppy clearance by Michel cost FC Dallas the first goal in the 79th minute as Driver drove a shot under the crossbar and in for Houston's first goal of the game. Four minutes later, Raul Fernandez failed to handle a cross in from Cam Weaver and Brad Davis made him pay, bringing the Dynamo back from the dead for a temporary 2-2 result. In the 90th minute, Kenny Cooper was back "with a bang" sending the FC Dallas fans celebrating a St. Patrick's Day win over the Dynamo.
WATCH: FCD 3, Houston 0 USOC
Game 2 - June 12, 2013 - FC Dallas 3 Houston Dynamo 0: The two teams met again three months later in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Round of 16 at Toyota Stadium. After a rather drab first half an hour, FC Dallas took the lead in the 38th minute off of service from the set-piece wizard, Michel. The Brazilian sent a cross in that found Andrew Jacobson in the box. AJ touched the ball to Kenny Cooper and the striker had his second goal against the Dynamo in three months. Just before the clock struck one hour, Michel and Cooper were at it again. Straight from a corner kick, Cooper thundered home a pinpoint Michel cross for his second goal of the game. FC Dallas completed the rout with a sweet lob by Zach Loyd after Jackson caused a fumble by Dynamo keeper Deric. Loyd collected and calmly placed the ball over the keeper and defenders and in the net for the 3-0 lead. With the result, FC Dallas was through to the quarterfinals.
The voting is in and Mauro Diaz has run away with the first Etihad Airlines MLS Player of the Month award.
Having earned over 60% of the vote, "El Magico" is the first FC Dallas player to win POTM since Kevin Hartman in July 2011 and he becomes the sixth player in franchise history to win the award.
Diaz has been truly incredible in the month of March playing 346 of a possible 360 minutes while scoring two spectacular goals and adding an assist(that doesn't count his other assist to Je-Vaughn Watson in the Chivas USA game). Since coming into the league late last year, Diaz has played 14 games with five goals and three assists to his name, averaging a goal or assist every 96 minutes. Those are some truly stunning numbers and even more amazing when you consider he's just 23 years old.
The Argentine is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in DFW sports and if you don't have season tickets you really need to check out our Mauro Diaz "10 for 10" pack.
It's officially #TexasDerby week. Let the games begin:
While Mauro Diaz curiously was not named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week for his third consecutive home game despite scoring a late game-winning goal, FCD did have one representative on this week's team as 18-year-old homegrown Kellyn Acosta made the team for his marauding effort on Saturday night.
Acosta completed 45 passes in Saturday's game as well as two key passes and his brilliant assist to Blas for the first goal on Satudray night. Congratulations Kellyn!
Here's what they had to say:
D: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) – Picked up an assist and was relentness and brave in general down FCD's right side.
Multimedia Manager Aaron Griffin brings you The Final Word from tonight's big win:
Here's your Quick Kicks for this week talking to Oscar, Kellyn & Je-Vaughn about this weekend's tough matchup against the Portland Timbers:
Here's this week's Toyota Keys to the Match where we discuss what FCD needs to do to keep their unbeaten season going against Portland:
We're only through week three of the season and power rankings are tough to put too much stock into, but FCD's case is an interesting one because the national pundits vary wildly on where Oscar Pareja's undefeated team stands in the league pyramid at the moment. Let's take a look at some of the power rankings:
Starting off with Soccer By Ives, Dan Karell has FCD in ninth place, one of the lowest you'll find. Dan says:
"FC Dallas put Chivas USA back in their place when they visited Toyota Stadium on Saturday. Mauro Diaz continues to be the heartbeat of the FC Dallas midfield and a healthy Michel only helps on set pieces."
Liviu Bird of SI.com has FCD a spot higher in 8th saying:
"Dallas had plenty of scoring chances against Chivas but struggled to convert until the second half. Fabián Castillo made a good run from deep on a free kick to give his team the lead, and two more goals followed as Dallas turned a close game into a comfortable result. Óscar Pareja’s team is already clicking better than last year."
The clearly brilliant friends of ours at MLSsoccer.com have FCD jumping all the way up to the top spot in MLS at #1:
A more local take, Kevin Lindstrom at 3rd Degree has FC Dallas in 7th saying:
"While the top record in the West has a lot of FCD fans giddy with excitement, there still remains questions about this club. Injuries again rear their ugly head, and the late, questionable tackle from Thomas put Pareja’s men in a tight spot with what has got to be a frustrated and getting close to desperate Timbers group coming into town for Saturday’s clash. Diaz is the real deal at home, and we saw both wings blossom against a solid Chivas USA side last Saturday..."
ProSoccerTalk has FCD up five spots into eighth this week after Saturday's win:
"Pros – most points in the league; MLS’s best attack; Mauro Díaz and Fabian Castillo; a set-up that is going to give Castillo and Je-Vaughn Watson a chance to embarrass defenders all year. Cons – their schedule; their defense; not knowing whether Watson can maintain Saturday’s level all season. (2-0-1)"
ESPNFC thinks highly of FCD having them at the #5 spot after week three:
"Mauro Diaz continued to blaze a path toward legend status in Dallas, as his influence on Saturday's 3-1 win over Chivas USA was considerable. His through-ball on Je-Vaughn Watson's goal was sublime. The only downer for FCD? Hendry Thomas' red card."
The secret is beginning to get out. Mauro Diaz is really, really good. Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek break down what makes him so great in a special edition of MLSsoccer.com's Scouting Report:
The accolades are rolling in for FC Dallas players after Saturday's 3-1 win over Chivas USA. For the second time this season and second home game in a row, Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo were named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week.
They had this to say about the FCD players:
MF: Fabián Castillo (FC Dallas) – Rampaged through Chivas USA’s soft middle during the first half, and started the scoring by linking up well with his teammates.
MF: Mauro Díaz (FC Dallas) – The young DP bounced back from a quiet performance last week with another strong game, showing he can set teammates up on dead balls as well as the run of play.
Maybe we could've gotten Je-Vaughn Watson at least on the bench for his performance, but we won't complain about getting two players on the list.
The ProSoccerTalk guys also had Fabian and Mauro in their best XI adding a deserved inclusion for Jair Benitez who did a great job with Mauro Rosales on Saturday night.
Jair Benítez, FC Dallas – What was supposed to be a matchup between him and Chivas USA right midfielder Mauro Rosales never materialized. Instead, Benítez used the space he was afforded to have an impact going forward, especially as Dallas turned up the heat in the second half.
Winning is fun.