Tomorrow is the annual battle of Texas as FC Dallas squares off against arch-rivals Houston Dynamo. The winner gets El Captian, a civil war style cannon as the prize in terms of hard wear but more importantly the winner gets in-state bragging rights.
The rivalry continues to grow each year. It is as good of a time as ever to look back on some of the top moments in the Texas Derby.
1- Cooper wins it late in 2013
I'll start with the most recent derby win for FC Dallas. Last year was a fun one as FC Dallas knocked off the Dynamo in week three and then went on to down them in the US Open Cup fourth round as well. Ah fun times.
Anyways, this game had it all last year. Drama, physical play, and more importantly a FCD win. Dallas went up 2-0 on Houston before halftime but the Dynamo came charging back late in the second half. But it was a last minute Kenny Cooper goal that sealed the three points for FC Dallas on the day.
Was it a handball? Did it matter? No. FCD won the cannon for the first time in what felt like a lifetime.
2- Ihemelu wins it for FCD
The last time FC Dallas won it in Houston was in 2010. Schellas Hyndman's men were down to 10 men at Robertson Stadium with 15 minutes to play in a scoreless game. Then Ugo Ihemelu scored a late winner to give FCD the franchise's only win in Houston and only outright win of the "El Capitán" cannon.
3- Red cards and more red cards
The Texas Derby hasn't been too kind to Jair Benitez over the years. In the 2010 game mentioned above, the Colombian was ejected for elbowing Dynamo forward Luis Ángel Landín. Two years later, Benítez was shown red for violent conduct. His actions were not limited to regular season, however, as he was accused of spitting at former Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron in a preseason game in 2011.
4- Dynamo win the first Derby thriller
This one goes all the way back to May of 2006 when this rivalry first got started. Boy was it was great way to kickoff this Derby too. The Dynamo jumped out to a 3-0 lead in a massive first half. Dallas found their own momentum after the halftime break. FCD mounted a furious comeback as Carlos Ruiz and Ramón Núñez scored in back-to-back minutes early in the second half. Dwayne De Rosario restored Houston's two-goal advantage, but Drew Moor pulled one back in the 76th minute. Dallas, however, never found the equalizer in what was eventually a 4-3 Dynamo win.
5- The Clark-Ruiz fun
One of my very first FCD games when I moved to Texas for good was the epic kick heard around the league. In September of 2007, the Dynamo were in Frisco for the last meeting of that year. Houston had a big three goal advantage before Ricardo Clark went a bit batty. In the 88th minute of the match, Carlos Ruiz and Clark became tangled on a free kick, and the Dynamo midfielder eventually kicked Ruiz violently and saw red for his actions. Clark was famously suspended for nine games, missing the Dynamo's run to MLS Cup 2007 and fined $10,000.