FRISCO, Texas – For the 14th time in club history the New England Revolution will play a road game on Independence Day as they’ll visit FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night.
Kickoff between the Revs (6-7-6, 24 pts.) and FCD (7-5-5, 26 pts.) is set for 9 p.m. ET, with coverage available in English on both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM.
Current Form: Revs determined to snap three-game skid; FCD just ended their own slide
A dogged second-half performance couldn’t prevent the 10-man Revs from suffering their first home loss in almost a year last weekend, as they dropped a 2-1 setback to the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps. It was a result which snapped the Revolution’s league-best home unbeaten run at 17 games.
The loss was also New England’s third on the trot – after similar 2-1 losses in D.C. and Columbus – and dropped the club’s record to 1-5-4 in the last 10 league games, drawing comparisons to last year’s summer swoon in which the Revs suffered a club-record eight straight losses.
Of course the Revolution forcibly reversed course last season, going 9-1-1 down the stretch after putting their summer struggles behind them, and they’re looking to that experience for guidance and inspiration as they aim to once again turn the tables on a frustrating run of results.
“We try to learn from that,” said Kevin Alston, who may be in line for a start on Saturday night with injuries and suspensions ravaging the backline. “It’s an unfortunate slump right now that we don’t want to be in, but I think we’re more adept around this time to figuring out how to get out of it and turn things around.”
FC Dallas experienced a similarly maddening stretch from mid-May to mid-June, going winless in six games (0-3-3) and slipping from the top of the Western Conference down to sixth place. That run was halted last Friday night against the in-state rival Houston Dynamo, however, as FCD ran out 2-0 winners at home.
The architect of that victory was Fabian Castillo, whom the Revs will pay careful attention to this weekend.
“He’s as good as they get one-v-one,” Jay Heaps said of Castillo. “There’s going to be collective defending and making sure that we handle it the right way and that there’s always a help defender and cover and balance. Because if you try to do it by yourself, you’re going to be in some trouble with him.”
More recently Dallas traveled midweek for a non-league match, dropping out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 6-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
Past Meetings: Revs in search of first road win over FCD since 2008
There was no road city which offered the Revolution more success from 2002 through 2008 than Dallas, where the Revs went 7-2-0 in nine visits. But that success has not carried into recent years.
Since 2009 the Revs have picked up just one point at Toyota Stadium, going 0-4-1 in their last five visits. All four of those losses have been via shutout, with New England’s only goals coming in a 2-2 draw in 2010.
Overall the Revs have won just once in their last eight meetings with FCD dating back to 2009, going 1-5-2 against their opponents from the Lone Star State.
Injury Report: Farrell suspension forces Revs to shuffle the deck on the backline
Stalwart center back Andrew Farrell was ejected for just the second time in his career last weekend against Vancouver, meaning the 23-year-old defender is suspended for Saturday night’s visit to Toyota Stadium.
With other center back options Darrius Barnes and Jermaine Jones both sidelined by long-term injuries, it leaves former FC Dallas defender London Woodberry as the likeliest option to partner veteran Jose Goncalves in the middle of New England’s backline.
FC Dallas will be shorthanded, as well, with a trio of contributors reporting to their national teams ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Blas Perez (Panama), Tesho Akindele (Canada) and Kyle Bekker (Canada) departed for international duty earlier this week and won’t be available on Saturday night.
Final Thoughts: Revs once again prepared for searing temperatures at Toyota Stadium
“When you go into a game like that, you kind of have to know your strengths and weaknesses,” Alston said when asked about Saturday’s temperatures, which will approach 100 degrees. “You have to keep the ball more. You can’t go all out from the start – it’s just not realistic. You have to kind of play into that.”