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What we learned in the 5-1 Texas Derby win

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Excitement for Cobra, plaudits for Acosta, and tifo talk

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas trounced the Houston Dynamo to retain possession of El Capitan for another year. Perhaps even more valuable were the three points they secured that moved them into a playoff spot. The Western Conference is tight and it’s going to take all 34 matchdays to sort it out. But after last night’s game, Dallas can take on their next six opponents with renewed confidence and maybe a few new tricks in the bag.

The Cobra Strikes

The best thing about writing my post-match article first is that I get to be the first one to rant about how exciting Cobra’s play was. We already loved the guy (and deservedly so), so it’s nice to finally get some on field production.

While he didn’t provide much other than the goals, that’s all he needed to do.
Cobra’s shots and passes against the Dynamo
MLSSoccer.com

While he didn’t make an immense impact on the chalkboard, he shouldn’t be expected to. He may actually be the poacher that Dallas have been searching for. I’m not going to proclaim his arrival yet, but that seems to be his skill set. All we’ve been asking for is a guy that will make the runs, which he did, and put away the chances that they get at a decent rate, which he did.

His emergence couldn’t have come at a better time. MLS playoffs are all about whose hot at the end of the season and if Dallas can ride Cobra into a top seven spot, they can compete with anyone for a game or two.

Open Games

Rivalries tend to be a little bit chippier, but also more end to end. Both teams come out aggressively with something to prove and you end up with scorelines like 3-3 or 5-1. Once that tone has been established on the pitch, the game gets taken out of the coach’s hands tactically. It’s up to the players to react to the requirements of each moment.

Bryan Acosta excels at doing that. We knew that he was a, for lack of a better word, dynamo— willing to bounce around the pitch and contribute in any phase of play. But in these open games where that’s what everyone is required to do, having a mature player like Acosta controlling the middle of the park makes the difference. His nine recoveries and four successful tackles show that he was key to breaking up Houston’s moves and launching Dallas’ own. This week, Dallas struck quickly and thrived in transition against a disorganized Houston defense. Acosta’s wherewithal to be in the right places and his passing range to turn those moments into movements make him Dallas’ biggest asset when the tactics get thrown out the window as two teams go at it.

Tifo-Time

The supporters always kicks it up a notch for the derbies. They’ve had some solid tifos over the last few years, which is your favorite?

2019’s Tifo

https://twitter.com/futbolMLS/status/1165784750881169409

2018’s Tifo
https://twitter.com/Mongoose_FC/status/1036042686879490048
2017’s Tifo
https://www.reddit.com/r/MLS/comments/6e2jcv/dallas_beer_guardians_tifo_for_the_texas_derby/?ref=share&ref_source=link

Poll

Which tifo do you like best?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    2019 (Muscular bull)
    (38 votes)
  • 25%
    2018 (Is this a Dynamo?)
    (15 votes)
  • 11%
    2017 (Spy vs Spy)
    (7 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now

Should the goal of a tifo be to strike fear into the heart of the opponent? Poke some fun at the other team? Communicate your team’s values and history? I love the quality of the most recent one, but there’s something about a massive muscular minotar that feels kind of goofy. Are Houston players supposed to look at it and say, “Man, that sure is how I feel right now”? As little value as we usually place on this rivalry, I don’t mind the lighthearted 2018 tifo that pokes fun at the Dynamo’s history. Maybe being down in Austin I’m too far removed from the sentiment at Toyota Stadium last night, but I can’t imagine either fanbase not being generally hospitable. Lighthearted teasing seems like the right mood.

That’s the thing about manufactured MLS rivalries, they have to grown with the team’s history. I hate SKC because they’ve whooped us in meaningful games. Until Houston and Dallas have a few scrappy games with the season on the line, I don’t think the rivalry’s character is going to change.


Will Cobra take us to the promised land (wherever that may be; the sixth playoff spot?)? Is Bryan Acosta our season MVP? Where are you at with the rivalry? Have any tifo ideas that you want to be heard out on?