Looking Back at The First 50 Matches of the Texas Derby

FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo - MLS 2020. Omar Vega/GettyImages
FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo - MLS 2020. Omar Vega/GettyImages / Omar Vega/GettyImages

The match between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas on Saturday, July 11th marked the 50th match in the history of the Texas Derby which dates back to when the Dynamo joined the league in 2006.

There are two ways of looking at the Texas Derby. One is by just looking at it from an individual match perspective (with this past weekend being the 50th occurrence), and the other being from a season series perspective (with the team that wins the season series winning the "El Capitan" trophy, which Dallas holds the edge in 9-8). For this article, we'll be looking back specifically at the 17 years of individual matches between these two lone-star state rivals.

This is a very tight rivalry historically as Dallas holds the advantage with 18 wins. Houston has won 15 matches, and then there have been 17 draws. As you can tell, there isn't much separating these two clubs in this Derby, even though there has definitely been ebbs and flows to it.

The first ever meeting between the two rivals was on May 06, 2006 with the Dynamo coming out victorious in an exciting 4-3 match. Ricardo Clark scored the first every goal of the derby in the 31st minute of that match.

Houston dominated the rivalry early in their first 2 seasons (2006 and 2007, the years in which Houston won back-to-back MLS Cups in their first 2 years in Houston if you remember). The Dynamo went 7-2-2 in 11 matches across those two seasons. The Dynamo outscored Dallas 15-6 in the 2 year stretch.

The 2 squads also met in the 1st round of the MLS Cup playoffs in 2007 with Houston advancing 4-2 on aggregate (Dallas won the 1st leg 1-0, then Houston won the 2nd leg 4-1). This has been the only ever time that the 2 clubs have met in the playoffs.

The final match of the Derby in 2007 was marred with controversy and infamy. Houston won the match 3-0, but the most talked about moment from the match is when Dynamo legend Ricardo Clark seemingly kicked Carlos Ruiz of FC Dallas while Ruiz was laying down. Clark was sent off with a straight red card and was suspended for the remainder of the season, and it was really a tough to watch moment in this rivalry.

The 2006 and 2007 season are 2 of the banner years for Dynamo fans not just due to their MLS success, but also what they were able to do in the Texas Derby. Houston came in and took firm control of the rivalry right after moving to Texas.

Then came a stretch of more even play in the rivalry, even though Houston was still winning more. From 2008-2012, there were 11 matches of the Texas Derby. Houston won 4 of them, Dallas won 2 of them, and there were 5 draws.

Then things took a big switch as Dallas dominated the rivalry from 2013-2015, winning 7 straight matchups (Dallas won every matchup in those 3 seasons). Dallas outscored Houston 23-7 in that stretch as it was ALL Dallas for 3 straight seasons.

2017 and 2018 were weird years in the rivalry. There were 5 straight draws in that span. Each club scored 6 goals in the 5 matches. It really is odd to see so many consecutive matches in a row, even between 2 rivals.

From 2019-2022, Dallas has the edge with 4 wins to Houston's 3, and then there have been 4 draws (including Saturday). This has been arguably the most even stretch of matches in the rivalry. It's almost dead even between the number of each clubs' wins and the number of draws (it's even more even if you included the 2017-2018 stretch of draws).

If you look at the Texas Derby from an era's perspective, Houston dominated the "early years" of the rivalry (2006-2012), Dallas dominated the "middle years" (2013-2016), and then the rivalry has been pretty even the last 7 years.

From 2006-2012, Houston won 11 of 22 individual matches. Meanwhile, Dallas won just 4 matches in that span, and then there were 7 draws. Houston went 11-4-7 in that stretch.

In the middle era of the rivalry (from 2013-2016), Dallas won 9 of the 11 matchups, while Houston won just 1 and there was 1 draw. Houston went just 1-9-1 in that stretch.

In the most recent years of matches (2017-2022), Dallas has won 5 matches, Houston has won 3, and there have been 9 draws. Houston is 3-5-9 in this stretch.

From an individual player perspective, Houston has the top 2 goal-scorers in the history of the competition. Brian Ching and Ricardo Clark are tied for the most goals scored in the rivalries history as they've each both scored 6 goals apiece. FC Dallas' top two scorers are Michael Barrios and Kenny Cooper who have 5 goals apiece. Fafa Picault is tied with Barrios and Cooper with 5 goals (and has a chance to move up the list as his is still an active player).

Houston has the honor of being on the winning side of the biggest blowout of the rivalries history in 2016. Houston ended Dallas' long winning streak with a 5-0 thumping of their rivals. The Dynamo dominated the 1st half with 4 goals en route to the big win. This might be one of the most memorable wins in the Derby for Dynamo fans because it ended that reign atop the rivalry for Dallas, and seemingly let out a lot of frustration.

Now we'll look at the rivalry from a host club perspective. 27 of the matches have been hosted by Houston (at varying different venues), with Dallas hosting 23. As you can expect, each team has been very successful in the matches that they host.

In Houston's home matches, they have won 12 matches, Dallas has won 6, and there have been 9 draws. So, Houston is 12-6-9 in their home matches in this rivalry.

In Dallas' home matches, Dallas has won 12 matches, Houston has won 3, and there have been 8 draws. So, Houston is 3-12-8 in road matches in this rivalry.

The Texas Derby has also happened in the U.S. Open Cup four different times. Dallas has won three of these matches, compared to Houston's one. Houston won in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Open Cup. Dallas then won in 2013, 2014, and 2016. The Dallas wins came in the Round of 16 in 2013 and 2014, and then the quarterfinals in 2016 en route to FC Dallas' Open Cup title that year.

This past weekend's match was one of the most exciting finishes (if not matches) in the history of the derby with 2 goals in added time, including one in the 11th minute of added time from the Dynamo to equalize. That is one of the latest goals ever in an MLS regular season match.

As MLS grows and brings in more teams, the Texas Derby is happening less times per season, but the rivalry still remains one of the biggest in MLS and still means a lot to the supporter's of both clubs.

While the addition of Austin FC into MLS creates another in-state rival for these 2 squads (the Copa Tejas is now the 3-way Texas rivalry), the matchup between Houston and Dallas has a lot of history, and will always mean a lot to these two clubs. It will always especially mean a lot to their fanbases as well. Houston and Dallas have now played 50 times, and it's looking like the Texas Derby is only going up from here.