New England Soccer Today

Revs Have Something to Prove at Dallas

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Rare is the early season match that stokes the competitive fire at the deepest depths of an MLS player’s soul. So to hear Scott Caldwell attach such significance to his team’s the Week 3 contest at Dallas is, well, fascinating.

Coming off a stinging First Kick loss at Colorado, Caldwell believes the Revolution aren’t just looking to get a result at Dallas: they’re poised to see how they stack up against one of the best clubs in the league.

“If you’re not looking forward to it and taking advantage of an opportunity like this, then I don’t know what – you shouldn’t be on the field, I guess,” Caldwell told the media on Tuesday. “Everyone has got to look forward to this and want to prove themselves against the best. Not only proving themselves every day, but against good competition.”

It’s not hard to see why Caldwell is amped for the trip to Toyota Stadium.

Dallas has been nothing short of a dynamo for the past two seasons as they claimed both the U.S. Open Cup championship and the Supporters’ Shield last year, and became the first club in MLS  history to register consecutive 60-point seasons. The chance to knock a top-quality squad off its game is something every professional soccer player relishes no matter what the calendar says.

“It’s exciting,” Revolution defender Andrew Farrell told the media on Tuesday. “Obviously, early on in the season, we get to test ourselves against one of the top teams in the League on the road after a week off and two weeks ago against another tough team. It’s going to [show] what kind of grit we have, and hopefully we get a good result.”

No doubt the Revolution, who fell victim to Dallas in last year’s Open Cup final, will need plenty of grit to get something out of Saturday’s match. But they’ll also need something they’ve historically struggled to secure during the late-winter/early-spring portion of the schedule: goals.

“We watched them this weekend [at Sporting KC] and they’re a good team,” Farrell said. “We’ve got to be ready to go out into a tough environment against a really good team and put in a good effort. We’ve got to work a lot and find our offense, work on that defensive shape like we’ve been doing.”

New England’s revamped defense performed reasonably well at Colorado, as the Rapids were largely held in check during First Kick. Newcomers Benjamin Angoua and Antonio Mlinar Delamea forged a partnership that showed signs of promise while 22-year-old keeper Cody Cropper looked comfortable between the sticks.

But how they match up against the high-octane Dallas attack will be one the biggest tests they’ll face this season. Yes, the boys from the Big D may enter the match with a mix-and-match lineup due to Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal against Pachuca. Even so, Caldwell isn’t expecting Saturday’s events to be any easier for New England.

“We knew we were going to have some difficult road games,” Caldwell said. “We’ve all been mentally prepared, and we’re just looking forward to it.”

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