Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo

Dynamo have the upper hand in Texas Derby

The basics

Houston (0-0-0) vs. FC Dallas (0-0-0) at Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas

All-time record: Houston leads the series 7-2-5

TV info

4 p.m. ET; TeleFutura
(Spanish), FSN Southwest (English), MLS Direct Kick

What's at stake?

Not only are these two teams
opening the season with an old-fashioned Texas Derby, but they are also playing
for El Capitán, a replica 18th-Century Mountain Howitzer Cannon
given to the winner of the season series. Houston has held the cannon in three
of the last four seasons, including last year.

Last meeting

Striker Jeff Cunningham
scored the only goal 20 minutes in as FC Dallas prevailed 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park
last August. It was only FCD’s second-ever win over the Dynamo, with both wins
coming in Frisco. Cunningham redeemed himself after missing a penalty kick just
a few minutes before his first-half tally.

Remember when?

The first time these two met
was in May 2006 at Robertson Stadium in Houston, and it hasn’t gotten much
better. Houston won 4-3 in front of more than 21,000 fans.

Heroes & villains

FCD vs. Pat Onstad: The veteran Dynamo ‘keeper has been between the posts for all 14
matches between these two clubs, and has seven wins and a goals-against-average
of just 1.14 to show for it. Onstad has allowed FCD to score multiple goals
only three times.

Jeff Cunningham vs. Houston defense: In eight career starts against Houston, Cunningham has
four goals and three assists. Two of those came during his two-year stay with
Real Salt Lake, one with Toronto FC and the game-winner for FCD last August.

Stat that makes you go, “Hmm…”

Neither team has won a season-opener since 2006. That year, the Dynamo won their inaugural match, 5-2 over
Colorado at Robertson Stadium thanks to four goals from Brian Ching. FCD beat
Brimstone Cup rival Chicago 3-2 in their ’06 opener as Dallas native Kenny
Cooper netted the game-winner in his MLS debut at Pizza Hut Park.

He said it

“For me, that is a different type of game. I have my mindset
for every game but this one has a little added spice. To beat Houston in the
opening game at home is doubly satisfying. We get the three points like normal
when we win, but against Houston, it has a different flavor.” – FCD goalkeeper
Darío Sala