He tasted USA v Mexico games, Derby del Turia games, Trillium Cup games (he narrowly missed Hell Is Real), but on Saturday afternoon, FC Dallas manager Nico Estévez, will have his first taste of the Texas Derby.
While it’s not the most colorful rivalry game of Estévez’s coaching career, the coach understands what the 49th meeting between original rivals Texas FCD and Houston Dynamo means for the supporters.
“It’s still a young league, but you can see, because FC Dallas and Houston have played so many of those games, how the rivalry has grown over the years and can be felt in the fans, the people who work around the players,” Estévez said in a press conference. “It’s good. It’s the essence of the game, and I think it’s good to have this type of game because it brings different energy, different emotions.
“The type and level of play are different.” Saturday’s game would be important even if it wasn’t a rivalry game.
In fifth of the season, both teams are sitting on 12 points – good enough to be in the playoff spots. They just drew scoreless last weekend.
Each is under new managers, with Estévez and Paul Nagamura taking over after disappointing campaigns last season. And even though each team only managed to taste defeat once early on, they are both finding their identity under the new manager, finding the right style, the right adjustments and the right chemistry. with the other players on the field.
The two have also just finished a midweek cup game which has forced these rookie coaches to make tough decisions about who to keep cool for the weekend game, the one which comes five hours earlier than the contest typical of the MLS weekend as a nationally televised matinee.
“I think this week was different because having a cup game, we were very focused on this game and we weren’t looking forward to the derby,” Estévez said. “We are now focused on the derby, and we have a clear methodology, a clear way of working that won’t change because of who the opponent is, it’s just about trying to give the necessary adjustments and adjustments. to prepare the team as well as possible. I think we are going in the right direction.”
Still, there are conversations between the coaching staff and in the dressing room to ensure this game is one in which FCD’s strong form at Toyota Stadium continues.
“I think it’s a great chance for the team to continue to be strong at home. Saturday is a great opportunity to regain confidence, to be the team in control of the game and to win a rivalry,” said striker Franco Jara, who scored a penalty in the midweek cup win , but who will probably return to the bench this weekend. “As they say in Argentina, Derby games are made to win, and even more so at home.”
FCD are yet to lose in four home league matches, winning the last three by dominant scores of 2-0, 4-1 and 3-1. In the last two matches, striker Jesus Ferreira has scored several goals, while winger Alan Velasco continues a quick adaptation to MLS after FCD spent a club-record sum to bring him from Independiente of Argentina during the offseason.
Dynamo are missing one of their favorite centre-backs, with Teenage Hadebe suspended after seeing a red card in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers. Yet even with 2021 draft pick Ethan Barlow sometimes pushed into action at fullback this year, Dynamo have allowed multiple goals in one game this season – a wild 4-3 win over the Earthquakes. from San Jose.
Estévez understands the context of the game and why fans would love to score big again, gain the upper hand in the battle for El Capitan and enjoy the first seven-game unbeaten streak for FCD since the start of the 2018 campaign.
“At the end of the day, it’s three points for each team, but it has this particular essence,” the coach said.
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