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Scouting the Houston Dynamo: How to win El Capitán

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Can Dallas reclaim the trophy?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo will face off for the third and final time in the regular season tonight. The Dynamo had their six game unbeaten streak come to a halt last week in a 2-1 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

El Capitán

Both times FC Dallas and Houston have played this season the game has ended in a tie. The trophy belongs to whoever wins this game, but in the result of another tie, let’s look at the tie breakers.

  1. Head-to-head regular season series
  2. Head-to-head goal differential in regular season series
  3. result of playoff series
  4. Result of CONCACAF Champion’s League series
  5. Result of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match
  6. Holder retains trophy

In the result of three ties, it would come down to the winner of a hypothetical playoff matchup, but if for any reason Dallas and Houston didn’t meet in the playoffs after drawing, the trophy would be retained by the Dynamo.

Projected XI

Key match-up

Dallas’ defense vs Cubo Torres

Everything has gone right for Cubo Torres this year. He’s netted 12 goals and gotten a call up to the Mexican national team. He’s the highest scoring Mexican MLS player ever and with two more goals, will have the record for most goals scored in one season by a Dynamo player.

During Dallas’ drop in form, to say they’ve looked shaky in the back would be an understatement. Atiba Harris caused a few heart attacks against Colorado, the once unbeatable Hedges-Zimmerman pairing just seems inexplicably off, and Hernan Grana has continually shown himself to be a defensive liability. With the offensive struggling to create chances, just one slip up like Grana’s poor marking on a corner last week, could sink Dallas. Cubo Torres doesn’t need much to make his mark on the game. Shutting him down is Dallas’ key to success.

Key to success

Putting pressure on Alexander

Juan David Cabezas has started every Houston Dynamo game since April 22nd. His streak of 19 straight starts will come to an end this week as he faces a suspension for yellow card accumulation. Eric Alexander is expected to start in his holding midfield position. Dallas fans know just how important a good defensive midfielder is. Carlos Gruezo, on his day, can neutralize just about any number ten in the league. Dallas must exploit Cabezas’ absence this weekend.