FRISCO - Although there are multiple games in the series throughout the year. The Texas Derby isn't taken lightly in any reaches of the FC Dallas organization.
Homegrown Reggie Cannon got his first taste of the rivalry at the pro level last year, and Saturday a new batch of Academy products like Edwin Cerrillo and Jesus Ferreira will add their names to the Derby mix. But coming from the Academy, the Derby is nothing new, having made the trek down I-45 for years in the Academy.
"This has always been a huge rivalry. It was always a sense of urgency playing Houston," Cannon said this week. "You want to be the top team in Dallas and those are the two top teams."
“We’d try to set the scene just like the first team would do," Cerrillo said of his Academy Derby days. "Even the coaches would make that comment, just go out there and show who’s the best in Texas.”
Along with the homegrowns, FC Dallas it will also be head coach Luchi Gonzalez's first derby at the MLS level, but he knows the importance of the rivalry. He'll look to pick right up where he left off with a 3-0 record - outscoring the Dynamo 10-1 - during his last full season as an Academy coach.
"It's a game that is perceived as extra motivation or emotion to it," Gonzalez said. "You feel it. They feel it. It's organic for them (the Academy products), and you have guys who didn't come through our Academy that know the value and importance of a rival game. Everywhere they've played before in the past, they've had to play rival games."
“They have the advantage to play at home, but I know we’re going to have a lot of fans in the stadium too. I remember last year so I expect a lot of fans supporting us,” said Reto Ziegler, one of those veterans who got his first Texas Derby taste a year ago. “I know they’re a tough team. I don’t think they lost many players since last year so they are really good offensively and we know what to expect.”