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Preview the Texas Derby: Houston Dynamo vs FC Dallas

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The rivalry between Houston Dynamo and F.C. Dallas will be settled in the midfield.

Will Bruin's foot will be in high demand at Saturday's game
Will Bruin's foot will be in high demand at Saturday's game
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Derby Preview

The time to face the Houston Dynamo’s old nemesis draws near. Saturday, at 7:00pm, the Dynamo will face off against F.C. Dallas at BBVA Compass Stadium.

This match is important for a number of reasons and is the source of much anticipation. The rivalry between the two teams stretches back a number of years. Matches between them used to be frequent, but now that the Houston Dynamo occupy the eastern conference, they only play F.C. Dallas once or twice a year. This makes the fight for El Capitan even more dynamic.

El Capitan is an imposing Civil war-era Howitzer. Each year, F.C. Dallas and the Houston Dynamo vie for the rights to this coveted piece of history. Whichever team is victorious takes the cannon home with them. Last year, the Dynamo had the pleasure of firing El Capitan in BBVA Compass Stadium. Local celebrities participated in a pre-game ritual of lighting the cannon. Perhaps El Capitan’s roar instilled in the team the confidence needed to host the longest unbeaten home streak in MLS! Unfortunately, El Capitan returned to Dallas following our defeat last year to the team. Now is the time to bring El Capitan home!

The fate of this game will come down to the midfield.

Dallas doesn’t intend to make it easy for Houston. Midfielder Mauro Diaz is the Etihad Airways Player of the Month for March. Diaz has scored two goals in four games this season. The speed and precision that got Diaz nominated will play a crucial role in Saturday’s game. Let us hope that Will Bruin, our own PotM nominee, will bring the finesse he displayed in his first two games of the season.

F.C. Dallas is also sporting a Dallas Homegrown name on its roster. Victor Ulloa played 87 minutes as a defensive midfielder against Portland Timbers. During that time, he ""completed 45 of 50 passes attempted in the match".

Injuries and red cards for former Dynamo will also make an impact on the outcome of the game. Adam Moffat will be absent from the Texas Derby. Moffat, traded from Seattle to FC Dallas in December, is still nursing an injury. Although it appeared that Je-Vaughn Watson would be serving a red card during the Derby for his actions during the match against the Timbers, the red card was rescinded and he will be available for play.

On the Houston Dynamo side, the lingering question of our midfield remains.

Will Tony Cascio be in the starting lineup? The dynamic midfielder picked up an injury that has been described as minor in the opening game of the season. Although Cascio was no longer on the injury list during the game against Vancouver, Andrew Driver started in his place. Driver has made several shots on goal this year, but has yet to notch a goal. Will we see Cascio’s return Saturday?

Oscar Boniek Garcia’s game play is crucial. For the first time in quite a while, Garcia did not play the full 90 minutes of the game against Vancouver. He was subbed off during the second half in a late push for offensive muscle. Garcia has netted one goal this season, knocking one home against New England.

On the positive side

Our captain, Brad Davis, will be on two days rest from the USMNT match against Mexico. Barring any additional resting, we should see Davis on the field Saturday.

In the defensive realm, David Horst has been a veritable godsend to our defensive line since Bobby Boswell was traded. Both his key slide tackles and his vertical game will be an asset on Saturday. Horst has had two headers nearly score off of a corner kick this year. It is only a matter of time before Davis’ left foot sends a well-placed ball his way for a goal.

The fate of El Capitan rests on the results of the Texas Derby. With any luck, we will soon be hearing the resounding roar of the Howitzer again at BBVA Compass Stadium.