The Texas Derby is here again. A chance to bring in three points from Western Conference contenders, but more importantly, a chance to bring home El Capitan.
And you bet Dallas have every intention of stealing it away from Houston after resting key starters Thursday against the Chicago Fire.
Houston have lost every game away from BBVA Compass Stadium this season. They’ve only scored 3 of their 22 goals away. The statistics documenting their poor away form goes on. If this wasn’t a rivalry week, maybe I would stop because you probably already got the point. But let’s revel in Houston’s struggles this week. Like the fact that Wilmer Cabrera has never won an away game with the Houston Dynamo. Or that they have a -11 goal differential away.
Houston have fielded a different lineup every game due to a number of injuries and tactical changes, but they should be at full strength for Sunday’s game. I have them in a 4-3-3 with Cabezas playing as the holding midfielder. This eleven has the most talent on the field, but it’s likely that Wilmer Cabrera will have them lined up in a more conservative formation that will allow them to absorb pressure from Dallas and counter.
FC Dallas fans versus Houston
Ending your unbeaten streak at home on a late goal hurts, proceeding to get man handled on the road the week after that just makes it worse. It’s important that Dallas, both the fans and the players, go out and make themselves known this match. This isn’t so much a key to the match as it is a key to the season. Winning big against Houston this week would help resurrect Dallas’ momentum, while another loss at home would make things even more difficult until Mauro Diaz’ looming return.
It’s the Texas Derby, Dallas has a chance to tie things up all time (Dallas are 9-10-8 against Houston), and there’s a freaking cannon on the line. There’s no better reason to come out to a game this year. With highs in the 80’s there’s no excuse to not make the trip to Frisco.
The winning the game starts with you, the fan, putting the pressure on a Houston team that has not won an away game yet.
"Houston's actually a pretty nice city." pic.twitter.com/IbkR7wQeUd— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) February 18, 2017
And let’s not forget- it’s Houston we’re talking about.
Keys to the Game
Houston must counter
Every fan would love to see their team come out and dominate every game. Control possession, have all the chances, always be on the front foot. Despite these teams being tied for second in the Western Conference standings, neither one has “dominated” very much this season. Maybe it just isn’t their style.
It isn’t Houston’s. In their six wins they have averaged 39.8% possession. In their five losses they have averaged close to 50% possession. With an attacking trio that have scored 18 goals, Houston have made their time with the ball count.
Wilmer Cabrera knows his team, and he knows they aren’t going to play prettier than Dallas. Expect Houston to sit back and make Dallas beat themselves.
Dallas must score first
Houston are 1-5-0 when conceding first. Compound that with their pitiful away record, and you are approaching a statistically anomaly if Dallas score first and lose. But in terms of momentum an early Dallas goal would do wonders for morale and get the crowd involved in the game.
- With Quioto in the Starting XI, the Dynamo have averaged 2.5 goals per game
- Houston have not scored first in 5 away games
- Torres, Quioto, and Elis have accounted for 18 of Houston’s 22 goals
- A Dynamo win would give them 7 in 2017 , matching their total from all of last season
- Oscar Pareja is 5-1-1 against the Houston Dynamo
- None of the Dynamo’s 22 goals have been scored with a left foot