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Match Preview: FCD at Dynamo

The basics: 

FC Dallas (0-1-4, 8th Western Conference) v. Houston Dynamo (3-2-1, 2nd Western Conference) 

All-Time Record: Houston lead the all-time series 9-3-6. 

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Last meeting: 

March 27, 2010—Dallas hosted Houston to open the 2010 season, and the Texan rivals finished knotted at one. Defender Mike Chabala gave Houston the lead in the 36th minute scoring the first goal of his MLS career before Dallas responded just two minutes later through a long-range stunner from Atiba Harris. Dallas mounted several quality chances in the second half, but their finishing let them down and the game ended tied 1-1. 

What's at stake? 

The winner of Wednesday’s match receives El Capitán, the replica cannon awarded to the winner of the team’s regular season series. With MLS expansion, Dallas and Houston will only meet twice this year and with the first match ending tied, the cannon goes to the winner of this match. The Dynamo have won the cannon three of the last four years. 

More importantly is traction in the standings. Dallas have fallen off the pace in the West and a win will put them right back in the thick of things. Houston hope to build some momentum after their 3-0 drubbing of Kansas City over the weekend in order to try to gain on the Galaxy.

Heroes & Villains: 

Atiba Harris v. Corey Ashe—With midfielder Marvin Chavez returning from injury soon, the pressure is on Harris to perform. He had success in the first matchup between the teams, scoring a goal, and arguably had his best match last week against New England, when he also notched the equalizer.

Ashe returned to his preferred left midfield spot and played well last week, having one of his best games in Dynamo orange. While he didn’t make the scoresheet, the midfielder displayed a tireless work rate and had a hand in several quality chances. Can he get the better of Harris? 

Sala v. Landin and Oduro—It appeared entering the season that goalkeeping would be a Dallas strength. Sala, though, has struggled, and he conceded an embarrassing goal last week against New England. His backup, Kevin Hartman, has not done much better in his limited U.S. Open Cup appearances.

Houston strikeforce Luis Landin and Dominic Oduro clicked magically last week, contributing a goal and three assists among them. Their combination produces a lot of shots from various angles and distances, something Sala—or Hartman—must contend with if Dallas are to get a result.

Stat that makes you go "Hmm ...":

The Dynamo are undefeated at home against Dallas. In all competitions, Houston are 7-0-2 including U.S. Open Cup and playoff matches. 

He said it:

“It’s one of probably the biggest rivalries in MLS. Everything is bigger in Texas, so this game is going to be huge. They haven’t won yet so they are going to come out hungry for three points.” — Dominic Oduro, Houston striker