Know Your Enemy: 6/26 Houston

Know Your Enemy: 10/1 Houston Dynamo

It’s the final leg of the 2015 Texas Derby as FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo complete their regular season series on Sunday at Toyota Stadium, pres. by WinStar World Casino. Dallas brings a record of 14-10-5 into the weekend, good for 47 points and third in the Western Conference. Houston sits eighth in the West with 41 points and a record of 11-12-8.

HIGH-STAKES AFFAIR
This weekend’s rivalry caries heavy implications for both sides as each eye a 2015 postseason run. Dallas, with a win and a San Jose tie or loss, would clinch an MLS Playoff berth for the second-straight season. Houston, on the other hand, sits three points out of a playoff spot coming into the weekend. With Sporting KC and Portland – teams that occupy the two final playoff spots currently – each having a game in hand over the Dynamo, a loss this weekend would all-but eliminate them from postseason play with two games left after the Derby.

KEY PLAYER FOR HOUSTON
Giles Barnes – The international half of the Dynamo’s two-striker attack sits second on the team in goals in 2015 with seven and leads the team with 70 shots. Barnes picked up a goal and an assist in a must-win contest against Colorado last week and has the lone goal for his side against FCD this season.   

KEY MATCH-UPS
Fabian Castillo vs. Sheanon Williams – The Colombian international has shined in the first two legs of the Texas Derby this season, scoring in each game and doing the leg work that eventually led to a Jermaine Taylor own goal in June’s meeting. As Castillo looks to get back to his scoring ways down the stretch, the Derby couldn’t come at a better time.   

Jesse Gonzalez vs. Will Bruin – The homegrown will get his first taste of the Texas Derby looking to extend the team’s 148-minute shutout streak against the Dynamo. Dan Kennedy started each of the first two legs, but it’ll be Gonzalez getting the sixth-straight start for FCD as he looks to rebound from back-to-back games allowing three goals.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Goalkeeper: Tyler Deric; Defenders: DeMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Sheanon Williams; Midfielders: Brad Davis, Rasheed Olabiyi, Ricardo Clark, Leonel Miranda; Forwards: Giles Barnes, Will Bruin.

KEYS TO THREE POINTS

Dallas returns home where they’ve won six of their last seven contests looking to start the final month of the season on the right foot. The Texas Derby has been a one-sided affair in 2015, and if FCD can continue their home-field dominance, they can do their part to secure a seat in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.