Not only did all three Texas clubs in MLS not reach the playoffs last season, but they brought up the rear of the Western Conference. Times are changing heading into the 50th edition of the Texas derby Saturday night. FC Dallas sit sixth in the West while the Dynamo are 11th, but the progress is clear with Hector Herrera available for this match.
The former Atletico Madrid midfielder and current Mexico international joining the Dynamo is a statement of intent for a team in need of direction. Hererra has been training with the team since July 1 so he should, at minimum, step onto the field and possibly even crack the starting XI. It would be a great boost as the team looks to end a two-match losing skid, but their in-state rivals won’t go down easily.
In Alan Velasco and Paul Arriola, FC Dallas have their own exciting additions who have been able to push the team back to expected performance levels. Not to be upstaged, Jesus Ferreira enters the match in a tie for the MLS scoring lead with 10 goals as he benefited from the partnerships built within the Dallas front three. After selling Ricardo Pepi to Augsburg in Germany, Dallas has reinvested the money to improve the squad.
A team known for producing great academy players but not spending to augment their talent, Dallas flipping the script will go a long way when it comes to hanging with the big spenders in the West. The defense has also improved in front of Maarten Paes only conceding 21 goals in their 18 matches this season. Combine that with Paxton Pomykal being back to his best and Arriola scoring in five straight MLS matches and it’s no surprise that Dallas occupies a playoff spot despite being winless in its last four matches.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
Date: Saturday, July 9 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: PNC Stadium — Houston, Texas
TV: AT&T Sportsnet SW 2 and TXA21 | Live stream: ESPN+
Odds: Houston +140; Draw +235; Dallas +195 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Houston vs. FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Fisher is the only unavailable player for Paulo Nagamura’s squad as they look to defeat Dallas after losing 2-1 in their last meeting. Herrera starting would be a major boost but Sebastian Ferreira and Darwin Quintero will likely determine the outcome of the match. Daniel Steres is also set to make his 150th appearance which would be quite an accomplishment as he has helped improve the Dynamo’s defensive prospects this season.
FC Dallas: Also with a clean bill of health, FC Dallas will only be without Joshue Quinonez who is out with an ankle sprain. Nico Estevez has a pretty settled rotation as the team picks itself these days but all things start and end with the front three. They’ll need support from wing backs Nanu and Marco Farfan but if Dallas can get on the break, Houston will need to worry.
Herrera will make an immediate impact in helping contain FC Dallas on the counter but the points will be shared as both sides will have chances. Pick: Houston Dynamo 2, FC Dallas 2