FRISCO, Texas – There won’t be any winter weather to keep the New England Revolution off the field this Saturday night.
One week after the Revs were forced to postpone their home opener because of extreme cold in the Northeast, temperatures are expected to be in the upper 70s when the Revolution visit FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium this weekend. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, with English coverage on CSN New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and the Portuguese call on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will bring fans Revolution Postgame Live immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England, while host Rob “Hardy” Poole and analyst Shalrie Joseph will handle postgame duties on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revolution rested and eager after unexpected off weekend
Having opened the season with a 1-0 road loss to the Colorado Rapids, the Revs were very much looking forward to an opportunity to bounce back in front of their home fans last weekend, but wind-chills below zero in the Foxborough area made conditions unsafe, and the Revs – and their fans – were forced to wait.
As a result, the Revs will now open the season with back-to-back road games against the sides that finished 1-2 in the overall MLS standings last year, and although there are similarities in the challenges the Revs will face away from home, their opponent this weekend presents a unique obstacle.
“It’s not going to be easy on the road – it’s similar in that sense to Colorado,” said Kelyn Rowe. “But I think as a team they’re a little different. Colorado was very good defensively; they sit back a little bit and catch you on the counter. Dallas is just good going forward. It’s a little bit different of a game plan.”
Saturday night will officially be FC Dallas’ regular-season home opener, although Oscar Pareja’s side played in front of the home fans this past Wednesday night, getting goals from Maxi Urruti and Kellyn Acosta in a 2-1 win over Mexican powerhouse Pachuca in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal.
FCD have also gotten off to a strong start in the league – taking four points from a pair of road games – and Revolution head coach Jay Heaps knows that his side will need to be sharp from the opening whistle on Saturday night against a Dallas team that has been playing meaningful games for the past month.
“(We) have to learn from the Colorado trip, but in the end, they’re different animals altogether,” Heaps said. “That first game of the year, you’re feeling each other out. Dallas is going to be [five] games in now in terms of having CONCACAF (Champions League) … We have to be ready for a midseason game.”
Past Meetings: Revs return to Frisco for first time since last year’s U.S. Open Cup Final
FC Dallas have owned the series with New England in recent years, winning five straight regular-season meetings on top of their triumph in last year’s U.S. Open Cup Final. The Revolution’s last win over Dallas was in September 2011, in what proved to be Steve Nicol’s final victory as New England’s head coach.
The Revs’ last trip to Frisco – and their last meeting with FCD – was that Open Cup Final in September, when Juan Agudelo’s pair of goals weren’t enough as New England fell 4-2, matching the score-line from their only regular-season meeting last year at Gillette Stadium.
It’s been six months since the Open Cup Final, but according to Rowe, it’s a game that will be on the back of some players’ minds come Saturday night.
“Each guy’s a little different,” Rowe said. “Myself, yeah, I have a little fire in my belly … We didn’t show great in that final, and I want to make sure that we show a lot better.”
Injury Report: Extra week offers Nguyen a chance to return to full health
One player who benefitted from the unexpected off weekend was Lee Nguyen, who is back to full strength after limping off 60 minutes into the opener against Colorado with an ankle contusion.
That leaves just Brad Knighton (out with a concussion) and Zach Herivaux (questionable with an ankle injury) on the Revolution’s official injury report ahead of the weekend.
FCD, meanwhile, is without playmaker Mauro Diaz, who’s out long-term after tearing his Achilles tendon late in the 2016 season. He’s joined on the sidelines by both Ryan Hollingshead and Anibal Chala.
Final Thoughts: Farrell says Revs can build off defensive performance in Colorado
“We’ve got to be ready to go into a tough environment against a really good team, and put out a good effort,” said Andrew Farrell. “We’ve got to work a lot, and then find our offense, and work on [our] defensive shape.
“In Colorado we did pretty well at some points. Obviously we gave up a set-piece (goal), but other than that, I think we did well defensively. We’ll carry that into the game against Dallas.”