Looking to Houston
FC Dallas welcomes Houston Dynamo to town in a big Texas Derby match today. On Sunday, North Texas welcomes Dynamo Dos. It's rivalry week.
On Friday, both head coaches of North Texas and FC Dallas spoke with media ahead of a monster weekend for the teams.
On Saturday, FC Dallas welcomes Houston Dynamo who look full of energy and bite with the leadership of Ben Olsen. On Sunday evening, North Texas host Dynamos Dos at Choctaw Stadium with the recognition that they have never managed to beat their southern rivals.
Juicy 48 hours ahead, right?
Nico Estevez, head coach of FC Dallas, knows it will be a tough matchup.
“We have had experience with physical teams here. The first point is to match the intensity. Start with a good intensity and from there just play our game and find the ways we can progress the ball. They are a team that is very compact, very solid. Quality players. Dangerous combination plays,” Nico said. “We are going to have be at our best to beat Houston.”
Jesus Ferreira meanwhile has scored 3 goals in the past two games, and the team as a whole wants to keep that streak going.
“We have to put the ball close to the box and give to him. That’s our mission. As a team, to put a player like Jesus in a good spot to score,” Nico said. “He is doing a really good job being patient, getting in good positions. We have to progress the ball to the right areas to just give the chance to him score every game.”
The looming concern for FC Dallas are injury issues.
Nico shared with reporters that Paul Arriola, Sebastian Lletget, and Geovane Jesus are definitely out. Paxtom Pomykal looks poised to make a return after missing Wednesday’s match. The biggest question mark is Maarten Paes who has excelled in goal for Dallas. He picked up a knock midweek and will be evaluated tomorrow before the game.
One fun surprise on the bench for FC Dallas during that midweek matchup was Herbert Endelay, a Superdraft pick who has been making strides mostly with North Texas this year.
“He has been training with us, for almost the last two weeks. He came to Austin also. We decided not to include him on the roster. It was a great for him to experience an away match with that intensity. It was great that he came and could see with his eyes,” Nico said. “We decided to include him against Vancouver. He has the same impression. To see how the game goes. He is ready. He is getting the progress that we expected. This is why we put him playing games with North Texas - helps to get confidence and rhythm and be fit and ready to play. Other players like Nolan and Amet and Mulato. They will have their opportunity.”
For North Texas, Head Coach Javier Cano was clear about his team’s approach.
“We want the team to be brave with the ball. At home, we need to take more initiative - we know we want to face Houston Dynamo. We want to exploit those spaces that they give us. We want to find ways to exploit their back line,” Cano said.
He also hopes fans come out and support the squad after what he anticipates to be a great crowd on Saturday.
“We would love to have this environment like in Toyota stadium. It is a good opportunity. We play Sunday. It is a good time and good weather and an amazing place to be,” Javier said. “They beat us in preseason, so we want to try to win against them. We never beat Houston with North Texas - it is time to break that streak.”
It’s going to be a fun weekend with bragging rights and Copa Tejas points on the line.
What are your predictions for the weekend?
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