FC Dallas and the host Houston Dynamo will be in full playoff desperation mode when they square off on Saturday night for their 2021 Texas Derby finale.
Both teams are below the playoff line with the season heading to its final quarter, making every point precious.
The teams have drawn both meetings so far this season: 1-1 in Frisco on May 8 and 2-2 in Houston on Aug. 21.
Dallas heads to Houston after a 3-3 draw with New York City FC on Tuesday in New Jersey. Jader Obrian scored twice in the tie, including the tally that evened the match in the 73rd minute. It was the first-ever MLS brace for Obrian. Jesus Ferreira also scored for Dallas.
Dallas (6-10-9, 27 points) enters the weekend in 10th place in the Western Conference with nine matches to play. The club is 2-3-3 in its past eight matches, with both wins in that span coming against expansion Austin FC.
"I'm not happy with the point -- we need to win," FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez said after the tie at NYCFC. "It's that point in the season where we are not going to have a playoff picture if we don't make each of these games our playoff. That has to be our mentality."
The Dynamo are in even worse shape, heading home after a 1-1 road draw with the LA Galaxy that didn't help their postseason chances.
Houston (4-10-11, 23 points) is in 12th place in the 13-team Western Conference, with five teams to climb over and 10 points to find.
The Dynamo struck first with a goal from Fafa Picault in the 13th minute but conceded the equalizer in the 61st minute.
"This was a big point for us -- obviously we wanted three and that's what we came for, but we got one," Houston coach Tab Ramos said after Wednesday's draw. "Now we have a huge game on Saturday against Dallas. And I think if we get the three points on Saturday, we're right back in this thing."
Houston has won just once since May 22, a 3-0 victory at home against Austin on Sept. 11.
--Field Level Media