The Houston Dynamo are coming off of their first point away from BBVA Compass Stadium nearly halfway through the season. The organization and its head coach, Owen Coyle, had parted ways before the match as Assistant Wade Barrett along with Sports Performance Director Paul Caffrey, and Goalkeeper Coach Paul Rogers have handled coaching responsibilities together before an official interim manager is named by the front office.
Today the Dynamo travel to FC Dallas, a team currently unbeaten at home, to play in a Texas Derby match. Earlier this season the Dynamo bested their in-state rivals to the tune of a 5-0 victory in what was easily the high point this season. With a win the team will take the Derby and the coveted trophy a cannon called El Capitán for the first time in 3 seasons. Wade Barrett, the de facto leader of the trio of managers overseeing the squad, will also hope for a positive result in order to increase his case for the official interim label and he has a lot of support from the players in that regard.
In our preview of the match we discussed the Dynamo's poor road record this year, but we wanted to know more about the squad we'll be playing against so we spoke with Drew Epperley of Big D Soccer to gain insight about our in-state rivals.
Dynamo Theory: The Dynamo's win over FC Dallas this season was easily our high point on the year and likely the low point for FCD. What were the initial expectations for the Texas Derby and have those changed at all given the first result?
Big D Soccer: I believe FCD fans expect a win tonight in this one. Getting thumped the way they did earlier this season was not pretty by any stretch but it was a good lesson in how important this rivalry can and should be to everyone. I think in a way it has helped fans here want this game a lot more than they probably would have previously had they just continued winning against the Dynamo.
DT: FC Dallas is one of a few clubs this year in MLS to not have lost a game at home. What gives Toyota Stadium such a home field advantage?
BDS: Their home record over the last two years has really been special to watch as they've learned to turn it up a notch when they are playing in front of their fans. The players definitely view the stadium as a fortress in a way and look to protect it in that sense. They know a good play or a goal can really turn up the noise level in the building, even when it isn't full it can be very loud. They feed off that energy and look forward to getting more of it from the crowd.
DT: Both Houston and Dallas are coming off games this past Saturday with our meeting being a midweek matchup. What kind of adjustments, if any, will Dallas make followings its draw with the San Jose Earthquakes given the shorter turnaround?
BDS: In a way I felt the San Jose game was a bit of a trap for them as the Quakes were missing several key players and Dallas was practically back at full strength. I thought they were overlooking that game a bit and were probably lucky to get a 0-0 draw.
The short turn around hasn't been that big of an issue with this group this season though as they've already had two separate weeks on the schedule so far that saw them play three games in seven or eight days. Both of those stretches were pretty good overall, so I would expect FCD to come out tonight and pour it all on the field against the Dynamo. They want this game pretty bad too from what I've been able to see and hear.
Projected Lineup: Chris Seitz, Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Zach Loyd, Victor Ulloa, Kellyn Acosta, Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, Ryan Hollingshead, Maximiliano Urruti
For my answers to Drew's questions, please check them out at Big D Soccer!