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Houston Dynamo have lost just one out of their last five league games and that loss came in their last match against Sporting Kansas City last weekend. Before that, the side beat Vancouver Whitecaps, secured a point against St. Louis City and LA Galaxy, and beat Columbus Crew.
FC Dallas have dodged defeats in all of their last five games but have picked up only seven points from an available tally of 15. Their last win in the league came on the road against Real Salt Lake just over a week ago and that will surely boost the club’s morale for the next match.
As it always has been, the Texas Derby will be quite unpredictable. The bookmakers have backed the hosts to win and that seems to be the right choice after looking at on-paper statistics.
In the regular season of the MLS, these two clubs have clashed 45 times. FC Dallas has won on 14 occasions, while Houston Dynamo has snatched 13 wins. Eighteen fiercely contested Texas Derbies have ended in draws.
When these two clubs met earlier this season, FC Dallas was closing in on all three points as they were leading till the 85th-minute courtesy of Jader Obrian’s 53rd-minute strike. Five minutes from the final whistle, Thor Ulfarsson restored parity and the match ended in a draw.
As the regular season of the 2023 MLS campaign draws closer to its end, almost all teams are fully focused on the league in a bid to either consolidate their playoff qualification spot or fight for one. Meanwhile, Houston Dynamo had one eye on the US Open Cup final against Inter Miami this past Wednesday.
On enemy territory, the two-time MLS champions scored two goals before the break and held on to that comfortable lead till second-half stoppage time. A 92nd-minute Josef Martinez goal reduced the deficit down to one and made things nervy but Houston Dynamo survived the scare and came home with the trophy.
A trophy was at stake in Houston Dynamo's last match, which is why coach Ben Olsen fielded a strong side featuring his regular starters. Amine Bassi is one of them and he has scored nine goals in 24 appearances in the MLS.
In the US Open Cup final, the Frenchman scored the second goal from the spot to maintain top form in the competition. With two goals and four assists in five appearances, the 25-year-old finished with the most assists and goal contributions.
Playing against a fast-paced and resurgent Inter Miami side can be exhausting and the upcoming derby fixture may have come at the wrong time for Houston Dynamo as their players recover from fatigue.
Olsen will be glad to see no injury concerns ahead of the Texas Derby but he will keep a sharp eye on the recovery of his players to see who is fully fit to start against FC Dallas.
Over the last five matches, FC Dallas have shown their opponents why they cannot be underestimated at this stage of the season. Currently occupying the final playoff qualification spot, FC Dallas can move up two or three places with a win.
In the last five matches, FC Dallas has held top sides like Atlanta United, Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew, and Philadelphia Union to draws. The club also picked up all three points against Real Salt Lake over a week ago.
Three key players will miss the Texas Derby for FC Dallas as coach Nico Estevez looks to get his tactics right in the crucial encounter.
Midfielder Sebastian Lletget is the latest player to join a short injury list at FC Dallas that includes the names of right-back Geovane Jesus and right-winger Bernard Kamungo. Their absence could make the right side a tad weaker in the high-octane match.
In the Texas Derby, FC Dallas will be up against a side that has been quite astute in defense. Houston Dynamo have kept 12 clean sheets - the most in the MLS so far.
Meanwhile, FC Dallas' last shutout came six games ago and was only their sixth of the season. The visitors will have to strengthen their defense to keep the Houston Dynamo attackers, who are not goal-shy, at bay.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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