FRISCO — It's been two years since El Capitan resided in Dallas. Since 2016, the mountain howitzer has been in the grasps of the Houston Dynamo. The weirdest part about it is neither side has won a game since 2016.
The 2017 campaign ended in three draws between the two sides, and the year before that, FC Dallas and Houston each earned a win, loss and draw. Since the Dynamo took the goal differential tie-breaker in 2016, they retained El Capitán in 2017's stalemate.
Dallas will try to break that trend this season with the first of three 2018 matchups against Houston starting Saturday. FCD has won El Capitan five times in 12 seasons since the rivalry started, but have only lost one match to the Dynamo since the start of 2013. The players understand the significance of earning the bragging rights of being the best team in the state of Texas.
Victor Ulloa said he understands there are heated rivalries all over the world in different leagues, but the one that resides in Texas means more to him being an FCD Homegrown. He said he's explained to the newer players on the team how much winning this rivalry means to the team and its supporters every season.
“I’ve been here awhile, so I know the rivalry a little bit more than some of the guys, some of the new guys, especially," Ulloa said. "This weekend is the derby. We know they are our archrivals and we want to beat them, so we’re motivated to keep this momentum going and hopefully stay up top.”
Oscar Pareja knows about the importance of the Texas Derby, too. Pareja became the head coach of FC Dallas in 2014 and won El Capitan in his first two seasons in charge. Pareja said he wants his players to feel comfortable in Houston and to understand how big of a game it is for the team.
"A team that we have been successful against, when we went there to Houston and there has been a good battle," Pareja said. "I think it is important for us to understand that we’re going to make our boys and our team feel that they can go there and be the protagonists of the game."
Saturday will be one of two away games in the Texas Derby for FC Dallas this season, so getting points on the road will be crucial for the team's success in the rivalry this season.
“We know these games are always tough," Ulloa said. "They’re derbies and we’re always trying to win, they’re trying to beat us and we’re trying to beat them. We know each other pretty well, we know their system very well. It’s almost as similar to what we play sometimes. This will be a fun game, and hopefully we can get those three points.”