New England Soccer Today

The Warm Up: #DALvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Who: Revolution (0-1-0, 0 points) vs. FC Dallas (1-0-1, 4 points)
What: Week 3 of the MLS regular season
Where: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
When: Saturday, Mar. 18 at 8:00pm ET
Watch: CSN New England, MLS Live, Direct Kick
Whistle: Alan Kelly – Head Referee; Kyle Atkins/Anthony Vasoli – Assistant Referees; Younes Marrakchi – 4th Referee.

Scouting the Opposition:

– FC Dallas is led offensively by Maximiliano Urruti, who scored 10 goals in 2016, on top of two goals scored against New England in the U.S. Open Cup Finals.

-Coach Oscar Pareja will be without a key player in Mauro Diaz, who scored five goals and had 10 assists in MLS competition in 2016, but is recovering from a torn Achilles. Diaz also scored one goal and had three assists in FC Dallas’ 4-2 win over the Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup Final last October.

– FC Dallas signed midfielder Javier Morales as a free agent from Real Salt Lake in the offseason, but he has yet to make an appearance this season in MLS action. The three-time MLS all-star appeared in 111 minutes over two games against Arabe Unido in the CONACAF Champions League, but was an unused sub and left out of the 18 against the Galaxy and Sporting KC, respectively. Morales was expected to fill in for Mauro Diaz, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him make his season debut Saturday.

– Similar to the Revolution, FC Dallas primarily employed a 4-2-3-1 setup last year, starting in that formation 24 times. However, they’re just as comfortable in a standard 4-4-2, and used it nine matches last year. To wit, they’ve used both formations during the early part of the MLS season.

– Kelyn Rowe on Dallas: “It’s not going to be easy on the road, similar in that sense to Colorado. But, I think as a team, they are a little different. Colorado is going to be very good defensively and sit back a little bit and catch you on the counter. I think Dallas is just good going forward. It’s a little bit different of a game plan. Can we hold these guys to hopefully no goals, but at the max one, and see if we can catch one on the break and get out of there with at least a point.”

Injury Report (as of Mar. 16)

OUT: M – Zachary Herivaux (right ankle sprain)
OUT: GK – Brad Knighton (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: M – Lee Nguyen (right ankle contusion)

OUT: M – Mauro Diaz (torn Achilles tendon)
OUT: M – Ryan Hollingshead (neck injury)
OUT: M – Anibal Chala (sports hernia injury)
OUT: M – Victor Ulloa (sports hernia injury)

Recent History:

-FC Dallas has owned the Revolution in their recent history, winning the last five MLS matches, and outscoring the Revs by a combined score of 11-2 going back to 2011.

–The last meeting between the squads was in last year’s U.S. Open Cup final in Frisco, where FC Dallas beat the Revolution 4-2.

-Despite their recent struggles, the Revolution have a winning record against FC Dallas all-time, going 17-15-3 in MLS competition.

3 Things to Know:

1) The Revolution enter Saturday’s match on two weeks rest, while FC Dallas will be playing their fifth game in 18 days. On top of the MLS regular season, FC Dallas has been competing in the CONACAF Champions League, which featured a 2-1 Dallas victory over Mexican side Pachuca on Wednesday.

2) After exiting the season opener with an ankle injury, Lee Nguyen, who hails from nearby McKinney, Tx., recently returned to full training this week, and is likely to suit up for Saturday’s match.

3) In their two meetings against Dallas last season, the Revolution scored four goals, with three coming from Juan Agudelo. The other goal came from a Lee Nguyen penalty kick.

Score prediction: The Revolution have the unfortunate task of being the visiting team for Dallas’ MLS home opener at Toyota Stadium, where you can expect some high energy from the crowd. While the guests may have benefited from an extra week of rest, I worry about the possibility of rust for a team that’s still coming together. Meanwhile, Dallas started the season with four points from two road games and an impressive Champions League semifinal win. Confidence is running high in Dallas, and I think they show why they are the better team Saturday with a 3-1 victory.

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