FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Opposing forces are set to collide on Saturday afternoon when the New England Revolution’s league-leading defense will be put to the test by the high-powered FC Dallas attack.
Dallas ranks second in the league with seven goals through four matches, winning three of those contests en route to first place in the Western Conference standings. Those seven goals have been scored by six different players, highlighting the strength of FCD’s balanced attack.
“They’ve shown they can score a lot of different ways,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “They’ve had a couple set-piece goals, they’ve had a couple against-the-run-of-action goals and a couple plays where they developed it nicely, built, possessed it and attacked.
“They’re a complete team. It’s just a matter of knowing your opponent, then stepping on the field and trying to make them do what they don’t like to do and make us do what we can do well.”
What the Revs want to do well is possess the ball from back to front, keep the opponent under pressure and show a killer instinct in front of goal. Glimpses of that style have been visible early this season, but the end product hasn’t been sharp enough as the Revs have produced just one goal.
That won’t stop the Revs from trying to dictate the tempo against FC Dallas, however, as the best way to limit FCD’s dynamic attack is by keeping the ball off their feet.
“As long as we attack, we keep the ball like we can, we push them backwards, that’s not a place they like to be,” said center back A.J. Soares. “If we can get the ball in their end and be dangerous, smart and disciplined in our game plan, we should be fine.”
There will, of course, be periods in which the Revs need to defend, and in those moments they’ll rely on the defensive strength which has helped them keep two clean sheets in the first three matches.
“We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said right back Andrew Farrell. “We’re not going to try to change it, try to adjust to them. We want to play our soccer and have them kind of adjust to us. We’re just going to take the fight to them and hopefully get three points at home.”