Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo
Venue: Toyota Stadium –Friday, June 26 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)
Match Odds: Dallas 17/20 – Draw 5/2 – Houston 16/5
Dallas haven’t won a game since early May, when they beat LA Galaxy 2-1 just a week after winning the first Texas Derby of the year in Houston by a 4-1 scoreline, but they will hope that a return to Toyota Stadium after five-straight road games can spark an improvement.
A run of three losses and three draws has seen FCD fall down to sixth in the Western Conference, barely hanging on to the last playoff spot in a very tight table.Embed from Getty Images
Houston are in ninth place in the Western but are just three points behind Dallas, knowing a win on Friday would move them above their rivals on goal difference.
Owen Coyle’s side have only won once in their last four MLS games as inconsistency is costing them a playoff position at the midpoint of the campaign.
Their last away trip saw them lose 2-0 in Portland so they must improve on that performance if they’re to win here. They also need to try and forget the first meeting this term and focus on getting a result in Dallas.
History would suggest that might be difficult as Dallas have won the last three MLS meetings over the last three seasons, including the game in Houston this year, and haven’t lost at home to the Dynamo since 2011.
FC Dallas have won El Capitan for the past two seasons and know a win on Friday will secure a third straight Texas Derby title and an all-time fifth, tieing Houston’s record in the series.
Oscar Pareja may be without Matt Hedges, who is struggling with a hamstring strain, but has no other injury concerns and will be looking forward to playing on home soil once again.
Owen Coyle could be without Brad Davis again but has no other worries ahead of this key clash.
FC Dallas’ last five: L/L/D/L/D
Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/L/D/W/L
Key Stat: There have been exactly five goals in each of the last four meetings between these two in all competitions, with Dallas winning all four matches.
Key Player: Fabian Castillo – Hard to overlook the rapid winger, especially after his devastating display in Houston earlier this season. Expect Castillo to cause problems again.
FC Dallas 2-2 Houston Dynamo – Tough to separate the sides ahead of what is a huge game. Dallas have home advantage but their recent form makes it difficult to see them winning. Houston were blown away in the reverse fixture this term and will have learnt from their mistakes. Score draw.