FC Dallas comes to town for inter-conference clash

Revs host Western Conference leaders on Saturday afternoon

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution’s league-best defense will be put to the test on Saturday afternoon when the club welcomes the high-powered attack of FC Dallas to Gillette Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub covering the action.

Current Form: Defense carrying Revs in early going; Dallas tops in the West

The Revs (1-1-1, 4 pts.) finally opened their home slate last weekend, playing to a windswept 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City. It was the Revolution’s second defensive clean sheet in three matches, but the club has also been shut out in back-to-back games and has scored just once in the early going.

Although the wind limited both sides in last weekend’s home opener, head coach Jay Heaps wants to see more sharpness and commitment from the Revs in the final third, beginning Saturday against FC Dallas.

“Unfortunately, the home game I don’t think allowed us to do too much, but you still have to find a way to put a team under pressure,” said Heaps. “I think when we possess it a little bit more and we find the right passes in the right channels and the right penetration, we’ll be a little bit better. Last game we just didn’t have enough of that.”

FC Dallas (3-1-0, 9 pts.) has been one of the early surprises in Major League Soccer, boosted by an attack which has registered seven goals via six different goal scorers. Dallas currently sits alone atop the Western Conference standings, but with the aid of some home cooking; all three of FCD’s wins have been at FC Dallas Stadium.

Past Meetings: History on Revolution’s side when FCD comes to town

The Revs have spoken at great length about making Gillette Stadium a fortress, and they’ve certainly taken that mantra to heart when FC Dallas has visited in years past. Since 2004 the Revs are 7-0-1 in eight home games against FCD, outscoring their opponents 17-7 during that span.

But the overall series has taken a slight turn in recent seasons. After going 15-3-0 against Dallas between 2001 and April 2009 – including seven wins in Texas – the Revs are just 1-3-2 in their last six meetings with FCD.

Injury Report: Trio questionable for Revs; Dallas missing four

Three players who played the full 90 minutes in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Sporting KC are listed as questionable ahead of Saturday: Matt Reis (L knee irritation), Kelyn Rowe (R hamstring tightness/L knee irritation) and Juan Toja (L knee irritation).

Jerry Bengtson has returned to training and will be available for selection after missing the home opener while on international duty with Honduras.

FC Dallas will be without four players this weekend, including long-term injury victims Ugo Ihemelu (concussion) and Peter Luccin (ACL tear), as well as defenders Walker Zimmerman (groin) and Stephen Keel (quad).

Final Thoughts: Progression on track, but work still to be done

“I just want to go out there, put another zero up defensively and try to create something a little bit more offensively,” said A.J. Soares. “We’re happy with the progression so far and I think we’re going to improve a little bit going into this next game. We’re going out there to get three points.”