Houston and FC Dallas Both Striking MLS Oil Ahead of Texas Derby

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 3, 2014

Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear celebrates after his team beat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in overtime during an MLS soccer playoff game Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Associated Press

Heading into Saturday night's Texas derby at BBVA Compass Stadium, the pressure will be on both the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas to prove that a hot start can turn into a big result early in the season.

Both sides got off to blazing starts in the month of March with 16 combined points earned from seven games played between the two sides.

Houston has been one of the most consistent franchises in the league over the last five years, and in its first two games, it proved that this year will be no different.

The Dynamo thrashed New England in Week 1 at home before beating Montreal the next week by a 1-0 score.

After a bye week, Dominic Kinnear's club faced a trip up to BC Place to take on Vancouver, a game which resulted in a 2-1 loss.

That result could have been much different had Houston put away another chance or two on the treacherous turf up in British Columbia.

FC Dallas has come out of the gates on fire for the second consecutive season, as the team is currently in pole position to win the Supporters' Shield.

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New manager Oscar Pareja ignited his team with a spark in Week 1 against Montreal and it has not faded away in four weeks of play.

Wins over Chivas USA and Portland, as well as a draw on the road against Sporting Kansas City, have handed the team plenty of confidence heading into one of the most difficult stadiums in Major League Soccer to earn a point in.

The matchup between the two sides will see a team with a very creative and fluid attack go up against a gritty midfield that has a few playmakers as well.

FC Dallas' trio of Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez has combined beautifully during the first four games of the season to produce some visually appealing soccer that any fan around the league would love to watch.

The trio has combined for six goals and one assist, with Diaz becoming the breakout star because of his creative abilities behind Perez in the attack.

Pareja has also received strong production in defense, as just five goals have been conceded by the back line led by center-back Matt Hedges.

Houston boasts some similarities to FC Dallas since it has an explosive forward on its roster in Will Bruin, who showed during the first two weeks of the season that he is out to prove a point in 2014.

While the output of Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia may be subtler than the flashy display of the FC Dallas midfielders, the pair is still able to provide Bruin and Giles Barnes with plenty of quality chances.

The most striking similarity between the two sides may be at the full-back position, as both teams contain a pair of defenders that are not afraid to move forward in attack, while having a strong defensive game at the same time.

Houston's Kofi Sarkodie and Corey Ashe will be household names in a year or two, while Jair Benitez and Kellyn Acosta are also eager to be mentioned by more players and fans across the league for their play.

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 17: Jair Benitez #5 of FC Dallas passes the ball during the second half of the game against AIK at Jeld-Wen Field on February 17, 2013 in Portland, Oregon. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The terrific defensive contributions from each back four has let the attack flow freely and not chase in desperation from behind.

Thanks to all of the impressive play in March from all the players on both teams, Saturday's clash will be a must-see match that could teach us a lot about how both clubs will do against the league's best in 2014.

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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