It was a first 45 minutes that any soccer fan could be entertained by. Texas rivals FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo traded shots, fouls and cards but the first half ended on level terms with the two tied at 0-0.
Dallas created the bulk of the chances early on with Maicon Santos, Jackson Goncalves, Ricardo Villar and Brek Shea. Jackson nearly got on the end of one right away in the second minute when he made a great individual effort to force a bad ball back to Houston defender Geoff Cameron. Jackson's early shot tested keeper Tally Hall, who made several stops in the first 45.
The best chance for Dallas came in the 12th minute when Shea and Jackson traded passed back and forth until it was Jackson again who tested Hall. The Houston keeper just got a finger on the shot and gave Dallas one of their five corner kicks in the half.
The Brazilian Santos hit the crossbar midway through the first half after Andrew Jacobson flicked on a header to break Santos open in the box after a free kick.
Houston created a couple chances of their own late in the half with Brian Ching and Danny Cruz. Ching found some space between George John and Ugo Ihemelu late in the half and force Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman into a big kick save.