Know Your Enemy: 6/26 Houston

Know Your Enemy: 6/26 Houston Dynamo

FC Dallas returns home for their first game at Toyota Stadium since mid-May on Friday as the Houston Dynamo come to Frisco for the second leg of the Texas Derby, presented by Novo Nordisk. Dallas capped off their five-game road swing last weekend with a 1-1 draw in Colorado against the Rapids, bringing their record to 6-5-5 on the season. Houston fell last week to the Portland Timbers, 2-0, and brings a 5-6-5 record into Friday’s match-up.

Derby Days

In early May, Dallas took the first leg of the Texas Derby in resounding fashion on the road, 4-1. In the seven games since, however, FCD has had just one three-point performance. Houston, on the other hand, has more than doubled its win total on the year with a 3-3-1 record since May 1. After claiming El Capitan in the season series in each of the last two seasons, FC Dallas can clinch the trophy for the third-straight season with a win on Friday. The Dynamo currently leads the Texas Derby – claiming El Capitan five times to Dallas’ four.

Key Player for Houston

Giles Barnes – The Jamaican international returns from his first Copa America appearance just in time for the second leg of the Texas Derby. Barnes has started all but one of Houston’s games this season, including the first meeting with FC Dallas in which he scored his team’s lone goal. On the season, he has six goals total and leads the Dynamo in shots with 46.

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Key Matchups

Mauro Diaz vs. Ricardo Clark – With a new, long-term contract in-tow, Diaz will look for another big game against the Dynamo on Friday. In the first leg of the 2015 Texas Derby, Diaz was all over the pitch picking up a goal and two assists in 74 minutes of action. After a long and, at times, frustrating road trip, Diaz will be looking to showcase why the team wanted to keep him in Dallas through the 2019 season.

Matt Hedges vs. Giles Barnes – The Captain appears primed to make his first start with FCD since June 7 on Friday after coming on as a late sub last weekend in Colorado. In the Dynamo’s 4-4-2 formation, both Barnes and Will Bruin are scoring threats up top, combining for 13 of Houston’s 21 goals on the year.

Projected Lineup

Goalkeeper: Tyler Deric; Defenders: DeMarcus Beasley, David Horst, Raul Rodriguez, Kofi Sarkodie; Midfielders: Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Alexander Lopez; Forwards: Will Bruin, Giles Barnes

Keys to three points

FC Dallas hasn’t played a MLS game in front of a home crowd in 42 long days, and coupled with the added intensity of a Texas Derby matchup, Friday should be a rocking atmosphere at Toyota Stadium. FCD has been able to feed off of the home fans so far this season, and if they can continue to have Houston’s number offensively, the Dynamo could be going home empty-handed.