New England Soccer Today

Into the Heat

When the New England Revolution head to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas on Saturday, the temperatures in the mid-90s might not be the hottest obstacle the struggling team has to overcome. 2010 MLS Cup finalists FC Dallas has turned its season around after a rocky start and at 5-0-3 in its last eight games is one of the most in-form teams in the league.

Shalrie Joseph is staying with the Revs, but injuries are depriving the team of two other key midfielders. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

Dallas’ (6-3-4, 22 points) resurgence has come despite the loss of 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira, with the team going 4-0-3 since the influential midfielder went down with a broken ankle. The Revs (3-5-4, 13 points) recently learned they’ll be without their 2010 Team MVP Marko Perovic after season-ending knee surgery. Thus far New England’s offense has struggled to cope with the absence of last year’s top scorer.

New England’s struggles have been especially prominent on the road, where the team is just 0-3-2. Unfortunately for the Revs, improving that mark will not be easy against a Dallas side that has been near unbeatable at home with a 4-1-2 record at Pizza Hut Park and the lone loss coming back in March.

The Revs will have to deal with more than just the absence of Perovic as well. Though Shalrie Joseph will be available after withdrawing from Grenada’s CONCACAF Gold Cup squad to instead stay with the Revs, Benny Feilhaber, who had been called up to the U.S. National Team, is out regardless with a right ankle sprain.

While Perovic had been the Revs creative force on the wings this season when healthy, Feilhaber has led the attack from the center of the midfield with his pinpoint passing. The combined absence of the two will severally limit the inventiveness of an already faltering attack that has been shutout in five of the last eight regular season matches.

Head Coach Steve Nicol will have a tough choice on whether to stick with a 4-5-1 formation, despite the Revs limited midfield options, or switch to a 4-4-2 and give Rajko Lekic a partner up top, likely Zack Schilawski. Considering the Revs difficulty scoring, a switch to an offensive minded 4-4-2 to try and revive the Revs attack may be in the cards. Either way, the Revs will need more decisiveness in the final third if they are to have any success against a talented Dallas squad.

But while Dallas has been tearing up the league in recent months, the Revs can take some confidence in knowing they’ve gotten the better of Dallas since the league’s inception in 1996. The Revs hold an all-time record against Dallas of 22-10-3, including an 11-5-2 record in Dallas.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 8:30 p.m. and can be seen live on Comcast Sportsnet New England.


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