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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Houston Dynamo 🔎
Houston comes into the match fresh off winning the US Open Cup on Wednesday.
The final match in September is here for FC Dallas as they take on their top rivals, the Houston Dynamo, in a Copa Tejas and Texas Derby finale on Saturday night in Houston.
The winner of this match will end up with both Texas-based season crowns, while a draw would send Copa Tejas to Austin1.
Houston is coming off a big night on Wednesday, where they earned their second US Open Cup title in a 2-1 victory over Inter Miami in South Florida. Houston charged out to two first half goals before giving up a stoppage-time goal to Miami to win the title.
Let’s dive into how FC Dallas can earn three more points on Saturday against the team in orange.
Key Player: Hector Herrera
The Mexican Designated Player has been a drastically better player for Houston in 2023. While they do have some dangerous attackers to deal with outside of Herrera, if you contain what he is able to do on the ball in the midfield, you can end up slowing down the Dynamo attack.
Key Matchup: Amine Bassi vs Nkosi Tafari
Bassi will be looking for his 10th goal of the season tomorrow night. Guys like Tafari and Sebastian Ibeagha will be tasked once again with containing the other side’s leading scorer.
Home against FC Dallas: The Dynamo are unbeaten in their last nine home matches against FC Dallas (W3 D6) dating back to a defeat in August 2016. In fact, the home side has not lost any of the 18 meetings between the two sides since the start of the 2017 season.
Wednesday’s domination: The Dynamo outshot Inter Miami, 18-1, in the first half of their US Open Cup Final triumph on Wednesday. The plus-17 difference is tied for the second-largest shot difference in the first half of any match involving two MLS teams in all competitions in 2023.
Suspended: Luis Caicedo, Griffin Dorsey
Out: Ifunanyachi Achara (knee), Tate Schmitt (knee)
Questionable: Amine Bassi (lower body)
International duty: none
Ben Olsen used a strong lineup on Wednesday in their 2-1 win in Miami for the USOC title, so it will be fascinating to see what kind of rotation he does on Saturday.
Andrew Tarbell; Franco Escobar, Micael, Erik Sviatchenko, Teenage Hadebe; Héctor Herrera, Artur, Nelson Quiñónes; Amine Bassi, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Corey Baird
Keys To Three Points over Houston
Control your emotions - It is a rivalry game on the road, and the emotions will be very high for this one. FC Dallas has a shot at winning Copa Tejas and the Texas Derby with a win in this match. The one thing they have to really do well is keep their emotions in check. While Houston isn’t known for their big crowds, you can imagine that coming into a game after winning a USOC title will carry some energy for both the teams and the fans.
Set the pace and tone early - On that same line, the best way to get to the Dynamo after they’ve won a title is to knock them back into reality as early as possible in this game. FC Dallas has started off a little sluggish in recent games and has had to come from behind to earn points, so they need to get off on the right foot as early as possible in this one and force the Dynamo to chase the game.
Find your moments - Houston’s weird style of play will be tough to break down in this one, but as long as FC Dallas can use their speed on the wings and find ways to continue to involve Alan Velasco like we saw in Philadelphia on Wednesday, the chances will come. They have to make the most of them, though, as the Dynamo are stingy in the back, just like FC Dallas is this season.
In what has become the dumbest ruling in any rivalry history, Austin lost their first two matches of the year against FC Dallas and Houston, games that don’t count in the Copa Tejas standings in 2023 thanks to the unbalanced schedule. So yeah, things would look drastically different with those results included.