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Texas Derby, Chapter One: 3 things to watch

The Dynamo head north for the first Texas Derby of 2021. Is this the year El Capitan returns to Houston?

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

The Dynamo head north up I-45 (except they took a plane) to Frisco for a match up with FC Dallas in the first Texas Derby of 2021. You can watch today’s match at 2:30 central on Univision, TUDN, and with English audio on Twitter. Is this the year El Capitan makes its return to Houston? Here are three things to watch.

Over the Hill

Today’s match is the 40th regular season meeting between the Dynamo and their neighbors to the north. The Frisco club has a slight edge in the series with at 13-12-14 record against Houston. The Dynamo have not won in Frisco in nearly 10 years, their last triumph at the home of their rivals coming on September 24, 2011.

Road Woes

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

The Dynamo have historically been poor on the road in Major League Soccer play and their first road game this season ended in a loss, 2-1 in Portland. If Houston is going to compete for a playoff spot this year they are going to have to start picking up points on the road. Beating your rival, in their own stadium, can go a long way in setting the table for the rest of the season ahead and give the team confidence that they can travel away from BBVA Stadium and get three points.

Former Frisco Fellas

Houston have a number of players on the current roster who have previously played for FC Dallas and will make a return to Frisco this afternoon. Fafa Picault scored a brace against the Dynamo while playing on the other side of the Derby last season. Maxi Urruti, who has started at striker in all 3 games for the Dynamo, spent 3 seasons in Frisco where he scored 29 goals in 95 games. The ageless wonder, Maynor Figueroa, has yet to get on the field this season but a return to his old home could also see his first minutes of 2021. The Honduran also spent 3 seasons with FC Dallas. These players are not only looking to beat their former club but they are MLS veterans who other players can lean on in a difficult road environment like a rivalry match. If Urruti and Picault can find the net in Frisco it will go a long way to the Dynamo coming back south with three points in their pockets.