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FC Dallas vs. Houston: What to Watch For

The first Texas Derby of the season. Who has an edge?

MLS: FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A struggling FC Dallas collide with a Houston team that can’t win on the road. Despite all of that, for the first time in a while, the two teams are both competitive in the Western conference and this match-up will surely have playoff implications.

Shooting Boots

Both teams have dynamic strikers leading their teams. Cubo Torres has reclaimed his old form under Wilmer Cabrera and has nine goals this season. Cubo tore this league up when he played for Chivas and he seems to be back at it. Add to that Mauro Manotas, Romell Quioto, and Alberth Elis and Houston have some serious goal scoring threats.

Dallas has struggled a bit with shooting this year. Maxi Urruti is having a fantastic season with 6 goals so far and has made miracles happen with his work rate, but his partner, Cristian Colman has still yet to score a league goal. Urruti is followed by Kellyn Acosta, who has become a serious threat on set pieces this year. The rest of Dallas team, while threatening, have mostly failed to bag goals.

A return of the 4-4-2 and Colman

Javier Morales has basically provided little to nothing to Dallas attack in his last few appearances, and the loss on Saturday surely must have shown Oscar Pareja that the time for the 4-4-2 is upon us. Dallas began the season in that setup and was seemingly better for it. Colman and Urruti worked well together despite Colman’s inability to score, because he created space for Urruti to do his thing. In more recent 4-4-2’s Tesho has gotten the nod, but has also been wholly unimpressive. Plus their is the lingering thought that any moment now Colman will get the monkey off his back and open that floodgate. If he does it on Sunday that is all the better for Dallas.

Importance of the Derby

No, not the rivalries importance, the league itself. Dallas and Houston are tied for 2nd in the West, with 19 points each. For the first time in years this game is huge for both teams. Last year, losing to Houston didn’t really mean anything to Dallas as they continued on two win the Shield and Open Cup. This year, Houston and Dallas are in direct competition and a loss for either side would be a blow to the campaign.

It is going to be a big game. Rivalry bout, with a lot at stake and both teams needing to rebound after poor showings. This has the makings of a great game.