The Dynamo qualified for the knockout round as second seed in the South 2 group and advanced to the elimination round of a second tournament this year (Leagues Cup and U.S. Open Cup). Houston earned three points in group stage play versus Orlando City SC and Club Santos Laguna. Orlando beat Santos Laguna 3-2 in regulation in Florida on Saturday, securing Houston’s place in the knockout stage of the tournament.
Pachuca earned a group stage bye for Leagues Cup as the Liga MX champion with the most combined points accumulated across the Clausura and Apertura seasons in the 2022 calendar year.
The clubs have a storied history, meeting in seven competitive matches. Pachuca has won four matchups, while Houston has won three. The two have met four times (two aggregate matchups) in the CONCACAF Champions League, including Pachuca edging out Houston 5-4 in the 2007 semifinals. The teams also met three times in the North American Superliga, including the Dynamo getting the better of Pachuca 2-0 in the 2008 semifinals. The most recent matchup came in the 2010 Superliga group stage when Houston won 2-1.
The winner of Houston and Pachuca will face the winner of Charlotte FC and Cruz Azul in the Round of 16. Charlotte and Cruz Azul play at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Thursday, August 3 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
The revamped format of Leagues Cup features 47 clubs that currently compete in Major League Soccer and Liga MX. Both leagues have paused their regular season to compete in the World Cup-style tournament.
Here are three key points ahead of Wednesday’s match:
- CAPTAIN TIES: Dynamo captain Héctor Herrera began his youth career with Pachuca in 2007 and made his professional debut with the club on July 21, 2010, in a North American SuperLiga match versus MLS side Chivas USA. Herrera made his league debut a year later versus Santos Laguna and was shortlisted for the best rookie of the 2011 Apertura portion of the Liga MX season. The midfielder and Mexican international totaled 52 appearances and two goals with the club’s first team.
- RESURGENT SEASON: Along with advancing in Leagues Cup, the Dynamo are having a resurgent season, currently sitting in a Western Conference playoff position. Houston reached the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time since winning the title in 2018 and will host Real Salt Lake at Shell Energy Stadium on Aug. 23. The Dynamo, FC Cincinnati and Real Salt Lake are the only teams currently in an MLS playoff position and still alive in both the U.S. Open Cup and Leagues Cup.
- NEW FACE: Although he will not be eligible to play in Wednesday’s Leagues Cup match, Houston Dynamo FC today announced the signing of attacking midfielder Sebastian Kowalczyk on a full transfer from Pogoń Szczecin in Poland. The 24-year-old attacker joins the Dynamo on a full transfer through 2024 with club options in 2025 and 2026, occupying an international roster spot. Kowalczyk joins the Dynamo after spending his entire professional career with Pogoń in the Polish first division, making 157 first team appearances and scoring 19 goals. The Polish national team player is the 17th player signed to Houston’s first team since the start of the primary transfer window in January of this year.