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KNOW YOUR ENEMY: Houston Dynamo

FRISCO - FC Dallas returns home for the first Texas Derby of 2017 against the Houston Dynamo looking for return to their winning ways. Dallas (5-2-4) has suffered back-to-back losses to open a week with three games in nine days, but looks to be well rested against their in-state foes after leaving five starters behind in Texas for their mid-week match in Chicago. Houston (6-5-1) comes in off of two straight losses and without a point on the road thus far in 2017. The two sides are tied with 19 points heading into the weekend. 

Derby Days

The Dynamo took back El Capitan in 2016 by virtue of a goal differential tiebreaker after each team went 1-1-1 in the regular season series a year ago. Dallas did take the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal meeting between the sides en route to the 2016 title, but a 5-0 loss to open the season series last March was too much to overcome to retain the Mountain Howitzer for a fourth straight season. Houston holds a 6-5 series advantage entering the 12th season of the Texas Derby. 

Key Match-Ups

Walker Zimmerman vs. Erick Torres: The Dallas defender was one of five held out of Thursday’s match to prepare for a dangerous Dynamo attack coming to town on the weekend, led by Cubo Torres. The Mexican international has nine goals in 11 matches this season and leads MLS with 0.96 goals per 90 minutes played.

Maxi Urruti vs. Aldolfo Machado: Having played every minute of 2017 for Houston, Machado leads a back line that has often been left out to dry, allowing 20 goals in 12 matches this season - third most in MLS. A well-rested leading scorer for Dallas will try to add to that total on Sunday evening. 

Last Time Out

(4-2-3-1): Joe Willis; DeMarcus Beasley, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, A.J. DeLaGarza; Ricardo Clark, Juan Cabezas; Romell Quioto, Alex, Mauro Manotas; Erick Torres.   

Key to Three Points

Dallas will be out for blood on Sunday night, looking to save a less-than-desirable start to the week with points at home against their rival. If the players left behind for Thursday’s match in Chicago can prove Oscar Pareja’s strategy right and lead FCD back into the win column, they’ll head into a normal match week sitting well in the Western Conference race and just as important, above the Dynamo. 

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