Houston Dynamo FC picked up a well-earned road point against their arch-rivals FC Dallas this afternoon at Toyota Stadium in the first round of the 2021 Texas Derby.
Offensively, Houston outshot their neighbors to the north 15-13, while on the other end of the pitch they blocked seven of Dallas’ shots before they could reach the goal. The Dynamo drew 21 fouls and won 55 percent of their 50/50 duels in a gritty team effort that gave the team its third positive result in four outings this year.
The Dynamo struck first after winning a penalty in the 33rd minute. After floating out to the right wing, midfielder Memo Rodriguez whipped in a cross to midfielder Joe Corona. Corona’s headed shot caught the arm of Dallas defender Bressan and referee Alex Chilowicz immediately whistled for a penalty.
Forward Fafa Picault stepped to the spot a minute later and coolly buried his shot into the lower right corner of to give Houston a 1-0 lead over his former club. The goal not only opened Picault’s account with the Dynamo, it also made him the first player to score for both sides in the Texas Derby.
Dallas equalized in the 42nd minute through forward Jáder Obrian. The scoring play started with a switch of play from midfielder Andrés Ricuarte to midfielder Bryan Acosta on the left edge of the penalty area. Acosta one-touched a centering pass to Obrian, who was able to tap it home to level things at a goal apiece.
The Dynamo nearly retook the lead going into halftime thanks to a one-man counterattack by forward Maxi Urruti. The forward ran onto a clearance after a Dallas corner kick and raced from his own half into the Dallas penalty area before getting off a low right-footed shot that forced a diving save from Dallas goalkeeper Phelipe.
Rodriguez forced a pair of saves from Dallas goalkeeper Phelipe in the second half. In the 50th minute, he unleashed a blast from 30 yards that had plenty of power behind it and was on target, but Phelipe was well positioned to palm it away and recover the rebound. He forced the ‘keeper into action again with a free kick in the 61st minute. After Picault was dragged down just outside the penalty area, Rodriguez laced a low right-footed blast under the wall and toward the lower right corner of the net, forcing Phelipe to dive low to palm the ball wide for a corner kick.
Second-half stoppage time saw Urruti once again create a chance out of pure hustle, as he ran around Dallas center back Ryan Hollingshead to put himself in on goal. His first shot forced a save from Phelipe, and the rebound was cleared just before forward Ari Lassiter could run onto it and tap it home.
Houston goalkeeper Marko Marić came up with a key save in the 27th minute, diving to pluck a headed shot from Dallas striker Andrés Ricuarte to keep things scoreless. Ricuarte found space near the penalty spot to get on the end of a cross and sent his headed effort toward the upper right corner before Marić went airborne to snag it.
Marić finished the afternoon with two saves, which helped earn another $1,000 for Houston middle school soccer programs through the Every Save Makes A Difference program by TUDN, Allstate and MLS WORKS. To date, Marić has helped generate $2,500 toward soccer equipment for Houston ISD through the program this season.
The Dynamo return home for their first midweek match of the season when they host longtime rivals Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CDT. Tickets for that match are available at HoustonDynamo.com/SingleGame, and the match will be televised throughout the Greater Houston area on QuestTexas 55. Fans can also hear the match in Spanish on TUDN Radio 1010 AM or in English online at HoustonDynamo.com/Radio.