A late game-winner from Kenny Cooper gave FC Dallas a classic 3-2 Texas Derby win, their fourth all-time, against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at FC Dallas Stadium.
The Dynamo clawed back from a 2-0 deficit with two second-half goals from Andrew Driver and Brad Davis to nearly salvage a point, but Cooper’s 90th-minute goal – along with George John and Andrew Jacobson’s first-half tallies – handed FCD three points and brought “El Capitán” back to Frisco.
Dallas recorded just their fourth win in 20 Texas Derby matches to reclaim the 19th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon that’s awarded to the winner of the season series, but many will wonder if Cooper’s goal should have stood after it appeared the forward trapped the ball with his arm.
Houston, meanwhile, will be disappointed to leave without any points after mounting a valiant second-half comeback fueled in large part by Driver’s impact off the bench.
Houston should have taken an early lead in 21st minute when an exquisite chip from Boniek García freed Giles Barnes to bear down on the Dallas goal with only Raúl Fernández to beat. Barnes chose to shoot rather than slide it across to the unmarked Will Bruin, forcing Fernández into a nice save but ultimately wasting a golden chance.
FC Dallas made Houston pay soon after when FCD midfielder Michel floated in a free kick from 40 yards that found the head of Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell. Boswell’s attempted clearance came off the back of FCD’s George John, bounding past Tally Hall and into the corner of the net to give Dallas a 34th-minute lead.
Dallas doubled their advantage just two minutes later with more set-piece magic as David Ferreira’s corner was blasted home by Andrew Jacobson for his first goal of the season. Amazingly, the two-goal advantage for FC Dallas marked the first time the north Texas club has ever had a multi-goal lead on its rivals to the south in MLS play.
The Dallas pressure didn’t stop and Schellas Hyndman’s men looked to have taken a three-goal lead before halftime when Ferreira’s through ball played Jackson in on goal in the 41st minute. The Brazilian’s chip beat Hall, but the strike was called back by the offside flag. Replays showed the Brazilian to be even with the last defender, though Dallas were still pleased to take a two-goal lead into the halftime break.
After a quiet second half, things sprung to life again late as the Dynamo pulled within a goal. Michel, one of the heroes of the first half, failed to clear a ball deep in the box, allowing Kofi Sarkodie to pick his pocket. The defender slipped the ball across the box to Driver, who slammed it off the crossbar and in to awaken the sleepy game.
Incredibly, the Dynamo tied things up in the 83rd minute as Fernández spilled a Cam Weaver cross into the path of Davis. The midfielder, who was quiet for most of the match, easily curled the rebound past Fernández to pull things level with less than 10 minutes to play.
The Texas Derby had one final twist, though, as Kenny Cooper won “El Capitán” for FC Dallas in the 90th minute. Michel’s cross looped over Watson and while Cooper fluffed his header, he made no mistake when the ball fell into his path, scoring his first goal of the season.
The win moved FC Dallas to 2-1-0 on the young season, while the Dynamo suffer their first loss in Frisco since 2009 and are now 1-1-0. Dallas and Houston return to action next Saturday, March 23, when the Dynamo take on Vancouver at BBVA Compass Stadium and FC Dallas host Real Salt Lake.