Match Preview: FCD vs. Houston

New chapter to be written in heated rivalry

FCD-Houston preview

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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

3:00 p.m. CT; 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 Capitan, a replica Civil War-era Mountain Howitzer Cannon given to the winner of the season series. Houston has held the cannon in three of the last four seasons, with Dallas last holding it in 2008.

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 Dario Sala