FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will play its only home game in the month of September this weekend when the club hosts Western Conference foe FC Dallas on Saturday, September 10 at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (4-11-12, 24 pts.) and FCD (13-7-7, 46 pts.) is set for 7:30 p.m. and the match will be televised live in high definition on Comcast SportsNet New England, while the radio call will be available on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
In recognition of and reflection on the 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, the Revs will offer a “Salute to Heroes” on Saturday night with a series of events and activities to recognize military members and first responders. More than 3,500 tickets to the game have been distributed to service members through the U.S.O.
Current Form: Three straight draws highlight Revs’ frustration; FCD in the midst of up-and-down stretch
A season-best offensive output staked the Revolution to a comprehensive 4-1 halftime lead on Wednesday night at PPL Park, but a three-goal comeback in the second half – including a stoppage-time equalizer from Sebastien Le Toux – helped the Philadelphia Union claw back for a 4-4 draw.
It was the third straight game in which the Revs conceded the game-tying goal in the 87th minute or later after similar finishes against the Houston Dynamo (1-1 draw on Aug. 17) and New York Red Bulls (2-2 draw on Aug. 20). New England has now scored the first goal in nine of its last 11 games, but the club has managed just one win in those contests (1-2-6) while conceding 14 goals in the second half.
“The group’s shown the whole season the commitment and the want to win,” said head coach Steve Nicol. “We just haven’t finished it off when we should’ve done on too many occasions so far this season, particularly the last three games.”
FC Dallas currently occupies third place in the Western Conference and overall MLS standings, just six points back of the LA Galaxy in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. Schellas Hyndman’s side has been inconsistent in recent weeks, however, going 3-3-3 in its last nine games and allowing red-hot Seattle Sounders FC to jump ahead them in the table.
A remarkable comeback helped FCD claim a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City in its last regular-season match back on Aug. 27, as Daniel Hernandez (70th minute), Maicon Santos (89th minute) and Bobby Warshaw (91st minute) scored late goals to erase a two-goal deficit.
Past Meetings: Marvin Chavez strike lifted FCD to victory in season’s first meeting
Honduran midfielder Marvin Chavez scored the only goal of the game in the 69th minute to help FC Dallas claim a 1-0 win over the Revs on June 4 at Pizza Hut Park. The result extended the Revolution’s winless run against FCD to four games (0-2-2) dating back to 2009, a streak which has followed an unfathomable stretch in which the Revs went 15-3-0 against Dallas from 2001 to 2009.
The good news for New England is that FCD’s recent success in the series has been limited primarily to Texas, as the Revs are 6-0-1 in their last seven meetings with FC Dallas at Gillette Stadium.
Injury Report: Phelan sidelined by concussion; FCD still missing MVP Ferreira
Pat Phelan, who wears protective headgear on the field because of a history of head injuries, will miss this weekend’s match after suffering a concussion late in Wednesday night’s game at PPL Park. Phelan collided with Union defender Danny Califf, whose knee caught Phelan’s jaw as the Revolution midfielder entered a slide tackle in the closing stages of the contest.
“[There are] different tests that they do and he’s doing that again today,” Nicol said after Phelan was absent from Friday’s training session. “(He had a) little bit of a headache on Thursday, but he’ll go through the process and obviously we’ll make sure he’s OK.”
Phelan will be joined on the sidelines by fellow midfielders Stephen McCarthy (L chronic shoulder subluxation) and Sainey Nyassi (R MCL sprain), both of whom remain out.
FC Dallas will be missing four players through injury, including 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira (R ankle fracture) and 19-year-old Designated Player Fabian Castillo (pelvis). Also unavailable will be defender Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear) and midfielder Bruno Guarda (L ankle), while stalwart defender Ugo Ihemelu will serve a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Key Player: Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney
Much of the Revolution’s attack filtered through the wings in Wednesday night’s 4-4 draw with Philadelphia as Chris Tierney and Monsef Zerka wreaked havoc on the left and right sides, respectively. Tierney was particularly dangerous from his natural wide midfield position, showing his ability both from set pieces and the run of play.
The 25-year-old set up A.J. Soares’ opening goal with a vicious free kick from the right corner, while he provided the assist for Zerka’s first MLS tally with a long cross to the back post from near the left touchline. The pair of assists were Tierney’s team-leading third and fourth of the season, matching the career high he set last year.
Final Thoughts: Revs searching for heart after trio of disappointing results
“We just have to be stronger defensively, like a team,” said forward Rajko Lekic, who scored his fifth goal of the season and added his first assist in a 58-minute performance against Philadelphia. “Not only the last four or five players, but it’s the whole team. We have to stay together.
“We have to show everyone that we want to win games,” Lekic added. “Not just walking on the pitch; we have to sprint. We have to help each other. We have to talk more. We have to win tackles. We have to show heart. That’s the big thing we have to show tomorrow.”