New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: Revolution at FC Dallas

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Well, if that phrase holds true, then a Revolution win at FC Dallas Stadium may be huge.

Facing a depleted and demoralized FC Dallas squad, New England – which is looking for its third straight win Thursday – may have the Hoops right where they want them. Well, almost.

Although injuries, call-ups and suspensions have devastated Dallas this season, the undeniable truth is that Schellas Hyndman’s squad is on its home pitch – a place where road wins are never easy to find. And while the forecast isn’t calling for stifling conditions (75 degrees at gametime), you can bet the Revolution will be feeling the heat against the former Burn.

Here are five questions to ponder before the Revolution lines up for the opening whistle at FC Dallas Stadium.

1. Can the Revolution parlay the momentum of their last two wins into three points against Dallas? There’s no doubt that Jay Heaps has his side believing. Believing in his philosophy. Believing in the changes. And more importantly, believing in themselves. But that belief will be tested on Thursday. Even though Dallas may be a team in peril at the moment, the Revolution cannot afford to believe that points are given against the Hoops. By no means. That being said, New England’s eleven should be able to carry out the task at hand: push forward, seal the rear and get three points.

2. How will the Revolution approach a game its favored to win? It’s been many months since the last time New England entered a game as the favorite. But on Thursday, they’ll step onto the pitch in that unfamiliar role. And therein lies the danger. Although Heaps has undoubtedly preached the importance of hard work, we’ll find out on Thursday whether or not that tenet has been ingrained into the team’s collective psyche. If the Revolution come out flying and get on the board early, it’ll signal that it isn’t about to sleep on any opponent. But if they falter and scramble and take on the appearance of their 1-0 loss to San Jose, then it may be a sign that the Revolution are believing their own hype.

3. Will Jose Moreno make his MLS debut? The Colombian target man has been with the team for nearly two weeks now, and it seems like it’s just a matter of getting him fit. And while Heaps admitted that he’d like to get him game ready before he starts penciling Moreno into the starting eleven, it’s entirely possible that the number 9 gets his first look as a second half substitute. Sure, it may be better to hold off on doing so until the team’s next game – some nine days after Thursday’s match. But, if we’ve learned anything about Jay Heaps the coach, it’s that he’s not afraid of the unorthodox.

4. Can Flo Lechner cancel out Brek Shea? With Kevin Alston listed as “doubtful” on the team’s Apr. 3 injury report, the weight of containing Shea may fall on the 31-year-old defender. Although he may not have the same speed as the shifty winger, Lechner seemed to fit seamlessly into the defense during the second half of the L.A. game. Even so, the fact is that he only has a total of 45 MLS minutes to his credit, and there is some doubt that he’s ready to go a full 90. That said, Darrius Barnes may be brought on early in the second half to spell Lechner. So even if Lechner is up to the task, Heaps will have to monitor his right back’s gas gauge throughout the night.

5.  Will Lee Nguyen find the back of the net? In his three starts this season, the technically sound 25-year-old hasn’t hesitated to put opposing defenses on notice. Whether its probing runs in the 18, connecting with the forwards or providing width, Nguyen has become an invaluable cog in the team’s attack. Against Dallas’ shallow defense – which, on paper, is considerably weakened without the services of Hernandez and Jair Benitez – it may just come down to Nguyen getting a decent look or two against a back four that was unceremoniously sliced and diced by D.C. last week.


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