MLS

FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo: Arriola says hosts must pay supporters back

By Sports Desk April 25, 2024

Midfielder Paul Arriola says FC Dallas need to start paying their supporters back in Saturday's Texas derby against the Houston Dynamo, having failed to impress in the early stages of the season.

Dallas sit 13th in the Western Conference standings with just five points from eight matches in 2024, their only victory coming against the San Jose Earthquakes in their season opener.

They have only taken two points from seven matches since then, putting head coach Nico Estevez under pressure. 

However, Arriola says a clash with their biggest rivals at Toyota Stadium represents a chance to put things right.

"Our fans have been great all season, we haven't shown up for them. It is motivation for us to go and beat Houston on Saturday and obtain three points," he said. 

Dallas were beaten 2-1 by the Colorado Rapids last time out, leading Estevez to question his players' character. 

"We turned up with fear, lacking in determination and character," the Dallas boss said after that match.

"It is very difficult to play like that because Colorado are one of the hardest working teams in the league on both sides of the ball."

Houston, meanwhile, are preparing for a second straight meeting with a state rival, having suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Austin FC – their third loss of the year – last week.

Star midfielder Hector Herrera made his first appearance of the season from the bench in that match, playing 30 minutes after recovering from a groin injury.

Head coach Ben Olsen said of the Mexican's return: "You can see when he comes on the field, the game changes for the better in some areas.

"Right after he came on, the pressure was turned up on them. We got into so many dangerous spots, but still that connection in the box just wasn't there."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

FC Dallas – Petar Musa

Musa is the only Dallas player with multiple goals to his name in MLS this season, having netted his second goal of 2024 in last week's loss to Colorado. 

Can he provide attacking inspiration for a team with just seven goals in eight games this year? 

Houston Dynamo – Hector Herrera 

While it remains to be seen whether Herrera is ready for a start, he could have a sizeable impact upon his return to action.

Last season, the Mexican led all Houston players for chances created (77), passes into the final third (835) and assists (13) in MLS play.

MATCH PREDICTION – FC DALLAS WIN

Dallas have made their second-worst start to an MLS campaign, only taking fewer than five points by this stage of a season when they earned four in 2009. They did, however, go on to make the playoffs that year.

With home advantage on their side, perhaps things will start to turn on Saturday. The Dynamo haven't won consecutive away MLS matches within a single season for almost 11 years, and they won their last road game 2-1 against Minnesota United.

Dallas tend to turn up for the derby, having gone unbeaten through their last 13 regular-season home matches against Houston (eight wins, five draws) in a run which stretches back to September 2011.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

FC Dallas – 44.6% 

Houston Dynamo – 26.5%

Draw – 28.9%

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