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First trip to the state capital: 3 things to watch

The Dynamo head west on 290 to take on Austin FC in the expansion side’s first Texas Derby.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Tienamo FC, I mean, Houston Dynamo FC are back on the field tonight with a midweek match in the state capital. This will be the Dynamo’s first visit to their newest in-state rivals Austin FC. Austin is coming off a 1-0 loss at home against the Colorado Rapids, and currently sit in last place in the Western Conference. Tonight’s game will air locally on QuestTexas channel 55 with pre-game coverage beginning at 7:30 PM CT.

The Newest Texas Derby

Austin FC joined Major League Soccer this season and tonight’s match will be their first Texas Derby. Can we call it that? Did we run that by the Derby committee? Nevertheless, Austin comes in to their first game against opposition hungry, having lost their last 4 matches. “It brings another element – an on-field intensity, as well as an off-field intensity,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said in his media availability Tuesday. “Those things tend to merge and start to really spark and drive what the derbies can become. We hope this one with Houston, as well as the one with Dallas, is full of big moments.” The Dynamo will have a fight on their hands with an Austin team needing points who will be up for the occasion. “We expect it to be heated,” Wolff said. “They’re obviously needing points just like we are. We’re the home team and they’re a good side, so it will be a competitive, spirited game. I’m sure of that.”

Corler? Bairsher? Baird and Pasher Bring Excitement

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Baird made his Dynamo debut Saturday night against Real Salt Lake and Dynamo fans had to be pleased with what they saw. He came very close to scoring and his link-up play with Tyler Pasher, after not sharing a single minute on the training pitch together, looks to be an exciting combination. With Baird and Pasher’s speed on the wings, the Houston attack could take on a new element, much like the Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis days. If Maxi Urruti is cleared from health and safety protocols, look for him to link up with these two and hopefully find the scoring boots he had earlier in the season.

Steady Backline

Houston is coming off a clean sheet on Saturday, their second in their last three games and opponents have not scored a goal from open play against the Dynamo since July 7. The emergence of Sam Junqua at left back and the addition of Teenage Hadebe at center back has added even more stability to a back four that has limited opponents to six shots on target in the three-game stretch since the international break. Austin has scored just 10 goals in 15 games this season, so the Dynamo will look to continue locking down the opposition in the final third.