Each year the rivalry between Houston and Dallas takes center stage at the Texas Derby. Usually the front offices exchange banter leading up to the game, but this year was a little different. While Dallas released two viral videos and started a “Crush the Orange” campaign, Houston kept suspiciously quiet. Fans quickly reacted by poking fun at Dallas’ low ticket sales and weren’t afraid to point out that every MLS game at BBVA Compass Stadium has sold out. President Chris Canetti joined in, replying to a ‘crush the orange’ package he received, he tweeted “Thank u @FCDallas for the package. Appreciated. Sorry we haven’t reciprocated. Busy here w/ business.”

FC Dallas shipped in three busses worth of supporters, and Houston responded by putting them all in the top corner of the stadium, and rumor has it the section was surrounded by posters stating stadium policy regarding throwing objects on to the field and profanity.

Dallas was without eight players, including Brek Shea who did not make the trip to Houston due to injury. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Houston welcomed home Geoff Cameron, Andre Hainault, Je-Vaughn Watson and Jermaine Taylor all of whom played in World Cup Qualifiers for their respective countries.

The whistle blew and it only took Houston three minutes to score the first goal of the game. Will Bruin, who has been a revelation since joining the team in last year’s SuperDraft, converted a ball that bounced off of an FC Dallas player and swiftly put the ball in the back of the net. Afterwards, Houston dominated possession, but had few good runs of play on the ball. The FC Dallas offense took advantage of this, and created a few really good chances in the box. Houston’s backline struggled at times to clear the ball, but Hall came up big for Houston, effectively saving Houston fans from massive heart failure time and time again. Houston led 1-0 at the half and looked to retain their lead to the end.

Dallas put a stop to that early in the second half when Jackson fired off a strong shot and beat Tally Hall in the 59th minute to equalize. Dallas’ luck was smashed minutes later when Benitez was sent off with a red card. The red card saw both teams stress boil over and play became increasingly aggressive. Benitez was shown a red card when he elbowed Colin Clark unprovoked. It was the sideline official who saw the confrontation and signaled to the referee for a card. Immediately following the red both teams attacked, and Dallas’ Daniel Hernandez looked to be the most aggressive as fans watched him swing his arms violently as Dynamo Jermaine Taylor put him into a headlock. All of the players involved escaped without injury or further discipline from the referee. Later Hernandez alleged that he was spit on, a claim that has yet to be decided upon by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

Both Will Bruin and Brian Ching saw chances after Houston attempted to capitalize on the Dallas ejection, but neither saw the back of the net. It was midfielder Adam Moffat who scored the game winning goal in the 76th minute. Dallas ‘keeper Kevin Hartman got a hand on a corner kick and smacked the ball straight to Moffat’s feet. Moffat put Houston up 2-1 and ultimately won the game for the men in orange. Houston will keep El Capitan for another year, and extend their Texas Derby lead with 9 all time wins while Dallas remains at just 3. Dallas went home empty handed and couldn’t quite manage to ‘crush the orange.’ It just goes to show – if you’re going to talk the talk you’re going to need to walk the walk.