It is time. The first 2016 edition of the Texas Derby is just around the corner as FC Dallas head down I-45 to try and build on last season’s sweep of the other Texas Club.
With El Capitan on the line, Captain Matt Hedges is ready to lead his men into battle.
“It’s always a good game,” Hedges said. “It’s intense and we’ve got some good results there in the past.”
While Dallas will not overlook past results that it has earned against Houston, the fresh FC Dallas squad are not underestimating Houston, either. The Dynamo earned a 3-3 draw at home with the New England Revolution on Opening Day.
Do not put it past Houston to remember the two 4-1 score lines Dallas rocked them by last season, but “It’s a new year,” Hedges said. “New team, new everything. We’re just looking forward to getting three points.”
In the wins over Houston last season it appeared that Oscar Pareja’s South American flair blew right past Owen Coyle’s English style of play. Hedges sees this as one of Dallas’ main advantages over Houston.
“Our speed kills everybody,” Hedges said with a laugh. “Our guys are so fast, but who knows. I think we played three great games against them last season.”
FC Dallas may be without one of its best speed demons as Colombian international Fabian Castillo is still nursing an adductor injury. While it appears he may be available Saturday, as reported by Jon Arnold of the Dallas Morning News Tuesday, Pareja’s initial time table of 2-3 weeks without Castillo seems to still be the case.
The depth that Dallas has on the 2016 roster should leave them with very few problems filling the hole.
“I don’t think it changes much [missing Castillo],” Hedges said. “We have guys who can come and slot right in and do the work he does. I think we’ll keep rolling.”
The FC Dallas defense, which notched a clean-sheet against Philadelphia Sunday, will look to clean up the few mistake they had last weekend. Hedges says the kinks will be worked out. The initial kinks were partially part of limited time together in pre-season, as the back-line that started day one was not used much in preseason according to Hedges.
“We were trying some new things,” Hedges said. “But we’ll get that worked out in the coming weeks. With how we played on Sunday, I don’t think we need to change much. It was a good, solid performance from everybody.”