The Lone Star State rivalry will be renewed on Saturday as a struggling FC Dallas side hosts the Houston Dynamo at Pizza Hut Park.
Dallas has lost two straight in MLS regular season play, slipping to fourth place in the Western Conference with 46 points on the season. It has managed just one win in its last six league matches, posting a 1-4-1 record over that stretch.
In its last regular season match, Dallas was held scoreless for the second consecutive game, falling to Red Bull New York 1-0 at home. Dallas failed to rectify its poor league form in its midweek CONCACAF Champions League tilt with Pumas, suffering a 2-0 home defeat to the Mexican side.
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman could not put his finger on the exact cause for the recent Dallas slump.
"It doesn't seem like we're playing with the same type of intensity and we're not having as much success as we had perhaps in the middle portion of the season," Hartman said.
"I don't know if it's because we have different personnel on the field, if it's because we're lethargic, we're tired. I don't know exactly what it is. I know we need to hurry up and rectify the situation as quickly as possible."
Houston sits in a tie with the Philadelphia Union for third place in the East with 39 points apiece. It is coming off of a 2-1 home win against the San Jose Earthquakes, a match that Will Bruin says was a virtual must-win.
"It's a huge win," Bruin said. "Coming off a loss in Kansas City and an unfortunate tie in Columbus, it was almost a must-win. Three points were huge to get, and hopefully this gets the ball rolling to a playoff push."
The Dynamo are still winless on the road this season with a 0-6-9 record away from Robertson Stadium. There are only three teams in MLS history to finish a season without an away win: the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2003 (0-9-6), Real Salt Lake in 2005 (0-14-2) and the New York Red Bulls in 2009 (0-13-2).
Dallas and Houston played to a 2-2 draw at Robertson Stadium on May 28. Andrew Jacobson gave FC Dallas the lead in the 27th minute, but it was canceled out just before halftime with a goal from Cam Weaver. Ugo Ihemelu thought he had scored the winner for Dallas 20 minutes from time, but Colin Clark rescued a point for Houston, slipping a shot past Hartman in the 87th minute.