Dallas Soccer DFW

Ruiz, FC Dallas gear up for Lone Star clash

Published 6/26/2007 4:35:54 PM by staff from mlsnet.com

 When FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo meet on Saturday afternoon at Pizza Hut Park, the Texas sides will be battling for in-state bragging rights and for "El Capitan," the replica 18th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon that goes to the winner of the season series. Dynamo claimed that prize last season en route to capturing the 2006 MLS Cup, but FCD has every intention of bringing it to Frisco in 2007.

One matchup to watch in Saturday's latest installment of the Lone Star rivalry features FCD captain and forward Carlos Ruiz squaring off with Dynamo defender Eddie Robinson. Ruiz is regarded as one of the top strikers in MLS and Robinson one of the circuit's top center backs. And these two veterans definitely have a history.

In Houston's last regular season appearance in Frisco, Sept. 2, 2006, Robinson was sent off in the 31st minute after receiving two yellow cards in around a minute.  Robinson was first booked in the 30th minute for giving Ruiz a shove and was shown red a minute later after he elbowed on the Guatemalan international. FCD won 1-0, getting their lone goal from Houston native Arturo Alvarez in the 86th minute. That remains the Hoops' only win against Dynamo, against whom they are 1-4-1 over the last season and a half.  Despite the fact that his side has struggled against Houston, Ruiz is looking forward to Saturday's match and also to facing off against Robinson.

"I respect him a lot," Ruiz said. "He's a very strong defender and one of the best in the league. Every game we play against them, he doesn't want to lose and I don't either. So we run at each other and do everything possible to win the game for our team."

Playing against one of the top defenders in MLS is something that definitely appeals to Ruiz.

"He's one of the best in the league and I like to play against those kinds of players," he said. "When you play against someone who is a good player and someone that you know wants to win is great. I know Eddie, have talked to him after games and know he's a good professional."

FCD head coach Steve Morrow is also looking forward to the Ruiz/Robinson matchup.

"I think Carlos enjoys that type of physical challenge," he said. "He's a smart player who has been around the league a long time. He knows how to use his body well. Those two always seem to have a thing going and I'm sure both of them are looking forward to it."

Morrow also noted that the fact that Ruiz and Robinson are similar types of players -- those who like to use a healthy dose of physical and psychological warfare to get under an opponent's skin -- only adds to the appeal.

"They're both strong competitors," he said. "Carlos is up for that kind of challenge and showed that in the games he played for Guatemala recently. I think Robinson is a good, hard competitor as well. It's a good, honest fight and something that both players will enjoy."

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