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PREVIEW: Revs @ FC Dallas

Posted on 02 June 2011 by Hank Alexandre

With Boston and Foxboro buzzing about the US Men’s National Team international friendly against Spain, the Revs are on the road this weekend to face FC Dallas.  Some will remember the 2007 US Open Cup final against FC Dallas in the same venue, Pizza Hut Park; but, this is not the same New England squad that nearly took the domestic double, and this Dallas squad hasn’t lost a game since April.  Dallas is currently in 2nd place in the west, and has scored 6 goals in its last 5 games. The Revs have only scored 2 goals in their last 5, and one of them was a penalty kick.  And while both teams have suffered injuries, Dallas has been able to rise to the challenge, while New England is struggling to find their way.   If the Revs hope to get on the right path, they’ll need to find some help from some unlikely sources.

Here’s the match up:

GOALKEEPERS: Matt Reis and Kevin Hartman have a long history, dating all the way back to their college days at UCLA, where Reis was Hartman’s backup.  Hartman, who at 37 years old, has seemingly resurrected his career in Dallas, where he’s had 6 shutouts this season in 13 starts.  Reis, who has had some injury issues over the last few years, has bounced back well this season, and despite his club record (only two clean sheets), Reis has made 35 saves in 9 starts, whereas Hartman has only made 32 with 4 more starts to his credit.  ADVANTAGE: Push. When it comes down to it, both keepers are veteran top notch keepers in this league, and there is not much to separate the two on paper or on the pitch.

DEFENDERS: New England’s rotation on the back line has taken another turn for the worse with Ryan Cochrane picking up a concussion in last week’s game against Los Angeles, so look for Franco Coria to get the nod alongside rookie AJ Soares.  Franco got the majority of the starts in the beginning of the season, but has since slid down the pecking order.  The Revs will likely have the services of Didier Domi once again, as he is currently off the injured list, and Kevin Alston will resume his position at right back.  Dallas however will be without the services of Jackson, as well as George John.  ADVANTAGE: Push. Dallas has more clean sheets, but with their both halves of their preferred central pairing out of commission, New England may have more of an edge.

MIDFIELDERS:  Thanks to injury, New England’s all star midfield line up of Perovic, Feilhaber, Dabo and Joseph, is now just Joseph.  Aside from Stephen McCarthy, the Revolution’s midfield corp has hardly seen regular playing time.  Chris Tierney however has worked himself into the starting 11 in Perovic’s absence, and with Feilhaber injured, Nicol will probably revert to partnering McCarthy with Pat Phelan, and push Joseph forward.  Dallas will have the luxury of starting the same four midfielders they started last weekend against Houston,  featuring team goal leader Brek Shea and former Revolution midfielder Daniel Hernandez. ADVANTAGE: Dallas – Consistency in the midfield is the one thing the Revolution lack, and Dallas has plenty of it.

FORWARDS: It’s the same old story when it comes to forwards. Dallas has them, New England doesn’t.  Nicol will likely play the 4-5-1, with Rajko Lekic alone in a striker role.  If he decides to go with two strikers, look for Zack Schilawski or Kheli Dube to make an appearance. Dallas will also likely start with a similar formation, with Fabian Castillo in front.  While Castillo hasn’t exactly been lighting the league on fire, he will have better service for the most part when compared to Lekic.  Advantage: Dallas.

COACHES: Schellas Hyndman has been hot over the last few seasons, bringing his team to the MLS Cup Final in 2o1o, and managing a 6 game unbeaten streak.  Meanwhile, Coach Steve Nicol has been struggling to find the missing ingredient to making his team the winning powerhouse it used to be. Advantage: Dallas – Hyndman has horses. Nicol doesn’t.

PREDICTION: Considering both of the teams’ current run of form, you have to give the advantage to Dallas. Revs will lose this Dos a Cero. 2-0.

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