FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas pulled off a dramatic win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night to stay undefeated through the first four games of 2014. Mauro Diaz's 84th-minute game-winner also kept FCD perfect at home and kept Dallas atop the (admittedly still VERY early in the season) Supporters' Shield standings.
But this team knows it can't rest on its laurels, especially with a rivalry match looming next weekend.
"Now, we are looking forward to Houston," head coach Oscar Pareja said after Saturday's win. "I have had a couple of players already ask me about Houston and that’s a good sign."
Pareja said it's a sign of the philosophy the technical staff is working to instill in this team.
"Our philosophy or the message all the time is to get one game at a time," said Pareja. "We have to know where we are and every game will be an opportunity to keep maturing and get better."
And FCD's next "opportunity" will be against its fiercest rival. The Texas Derby, presented by Novo Nordisk, is always an intense match, but FC Dallas can expect an especially hostile atmosphere for this year's edition of the rivalry as the lone meeting of the season will take place at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.
"We get to go on the road with a tough challenge, but we’re up for it," said goalkeeper Chris Seitz. "We've gone into tough places, played well and gotten points out of it. We're going to go down [to Houston] and look for three [points]."
But three points won't be the only prize on the line next weekend, as FC Dallas will also be defending El Capitan. Dallas won the cannon that represents the rivalry trophy back from the Dynamo last season via a dramatic 3-2 stoppage time win, and the team plans on having it in place when they return to Toyota Stadium on April 12.
"We're going to enjoy this one tonight, recover tomorrow and we have a big game next Saturday," said veteran defender Stephen Keel. "We have a cannon in our house and that thing's probably not easy to move, so we're going to look to keep it here."