Although the winner of "El Capitan" is already decided, the Texas Derby just got a little more interesting.
There's more at stake on Sunday than just bragging rights for each club. FC Dallas sits one point back from MLS leaders, Los Angeles Galaxy, in the race for the Supporters' Shield. Houston Dynamo are currently fighting for a playoff spot in the West and this match is essentially do or die.
Dallas has already defeated the Houston twice this season, once on the road 4-1, and once at home 2-0, claiming the cannon, "El Capitan." Coming off two straight losses, it's a must-win game in many of the players' and coaches' minds in the battle for the Supporters' Shield.
"You know it's going to be a hard fight," defender Je-Vaughn Watson, who has played on both sides of the rivalry, said. "We're not taking them for granted. We know they're a good team."
FCD has only lost two games at home all season and feels confident they will get the three points. Watson credits the fans for their strong home-field advantage throughout the season.
"The fans are great," Watson said. "When you play at home, you're more confident."
With so much at stake for both sides, the level of play and desire will rise. The emotions of both clubs will be tested.
"It's definitely going to feel more like a playoff game," Homegrown midfielder Victor Ulloa said. "It's going to have that intensity."
Ulloa has grown up in Texas and played with FC Dallas since he was a kid. He and the other Homegrowns on the squad know this rivalry all too well.
"We've been having this rivalry since we were little kids," Ulloa said. "We don't like Houston very much. We're ready to crush the orange."