How many FCD supporters, in recent memory, could remember having Houston at home twice per season? You would have to go back to 2009 to imagine that fantasy scenario. It is not a dream, however, and both sides look to field strong starting XI’s in Wednesday’s US Open Cup clash in Frisco.
Hyndman’s 2013 home record is spotless: undefeated in eight and seven wins total. Kinnear’s Dynamo is inconsistent at best, sporting a 2-3-2 record away from BBVA Compass in all competitions thus far. Most FCD fans, and Dynamo fans nonetheless, will forget the 3-2 FCD victory in Frisco back in March. Kenny Cooper’s inadvertent “Hand of God” secured points for Dallas on what should have been a comfortable 2-0 victory (if not more) that March afternoon.
Fast forward to the past five matches. Houston is 1-2-2; FC Dallas is 3-1-1. Kinnear’s Dynamo has also been shut out twice in those five matches, additionally only managing four goals to call their own. FCD has netted thirteen times at home this year, more than half of their goals scored in 2013. Dallas, still, has two games in the next four days while Houston will be able to take a comfortable week off only to face Montreal away the following Wednesday.
Should Hyndman forgo cup glory and stay the course in MLS action? Fans would hope not. Nothing gets ire up in Frisco like the color orange or the Texian Army. Consider the situation, though. FCD has two games in hand on Salt Lake, who is second in the Western Conference. They play a derby match midweek that could lead to a home quarterfinal in the Open Cup, let alone the CONCACAF Champions League (should they win the USOC).
The match on Saturday at Portland really is the factor that might skew how strong Hyndman’s side will be on Wednesday. Caleb Porter’s Timbers have been entertaining and effective, as well as indomitable at home. Could it be a case where the Portland game is sacrificed in favor of cup glory? A draw away at Portland isn’t as clear-cut and simple as it was in the Spencer era of the past two seasons. FCD could very well be vying with Portland for a Western Conference title by October.
Needless to say a drawn out over time thriller followed by penalties may be fatal for FCD’s legs going into Saturday’s match. Ironically, FCD could meet the Timbers for a third time this season in the USOC quarterfinals if Wednesday’s match ends favorably.
Injury concerns are minimal at the moment, and both Andrew Jacobson and George John are in consideration for returns to first team action. Given the health of the squad, consistent home form, dodgy away form, Houston’s dodgy away form, and quick turnaround for Saturday’s game at Portland, it would be easy to believe FCD makes a run at Houston and cup glory tonight.
(image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images)