FRISCO, Texas – The journey begins once again this weekend as the New England Revolution will kick off their 24th season on Saturday afternoon, when they’ll visit FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.
Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. ET with NBC Sports Boston televising the match and streaming the action live on NBCSportsBoston.com and their mobile app. Radio listeners can catch the call in English on 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2, and in Portuguese on 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the call on NBCSB and 98.5 The Sports Hub, while they’ll also host Revolution Postgame Live immediately after the final whistle on NBCSB. Rob “Hardy” Poole and former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms will take calls for 30 minutes postgame on 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2.
Revolution Season Members can enjoy Saturday’s opener alongside their fellow supporters at Gillette Stadium, where the Revs will host an exclusive watch party in the Optum Field Lounge.
Current Form: Revs aiming for a return to the playoffs in year two under Friedel
Having spent two weeks in Spain and another two in Florida – playing nine preseason matches along the way against a cadre of international, MLS and USL teams – the Revs are more than ready to get the real games underway on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Stadium.
“We’ve been ready for a little while,” head coach Brad Friedel said as the Revs made final preparations in Foxborough earlier this week. “As preseason rolls on, they do get a little bit stale and everyone gets to the point where they just want the matches to start. We’re there, and we’re ready.”
Friedel has stated several times that his side is much further along heading into this year’s opener, compared to last season when Friedel and his staff had just taken over a brand new squad. Now entering year two at the helm, there’s a sense that this is Friedel’s group, including seven new faces brought in this past offseason.
Those new faces – chief amongst them Carles Gil, Juan Fernando Caicedo, and Edgar Castillo – have all settled into their new surroundings, and they’ll look to help push the Revs back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015, having finished eighth in the Eastern Conference last year with a record of 10-13-11 (41 pts.).
“We’ve been working throughout the preseason,” said second-year right back Brandon Bye. “It’s a long preseason, so we’ve been figuring each other out and whatnot, but I feel like we’re in a good spot. We’re excited to get the games rolling.”
The Revs will get the games rolling against an FC Dallas side that finished fourth in the West last year (16-9-9, 57 pts.) – just five points off the top of the conference – but was bounced in the Knockout Round by an eventual MLS Cup finalist in the Portland Timbers.
It’ll be something of a new-look FCD as longtime head coach Oscar Pareja stepped down this past offseason to take the reins at Club Tijuana in Liga MX, paving the way for 38-year-old Luchi Gonzalez to make the jump from Academy Director to head coach.
“It’s kind of hard to know exactly what they’re going to bring because we haven’t really played them for a while,” said Diego Fagundez. “We know they have good players and it’s going to be a tough game, especially [because] they’re at home and they’re going to want to win their first game.
“We just have to go out there, make sure everybody is doing their job, work hard, and win our individual battles. If we do that, score some goals, we can definitely come back with three points.”
Past Meetings: Against FC Dallas, Revs aim to put recent history behind them
A new season means a clean slate for the Revs, who’ll no doubt be hoping to erase their recent history against FC Dallas with a victory on Saturday afternoon.
New England haven’t beaten Dallas since 2011, losing the past seven regular-season matchups, including a 1-0 result last April at Gillette Stadium. The Revs are also 0-7-1 on their last eight visits to Frisco, including the 2016 U.S. Open Cup final.
Overall, however, the Revs still have a winning road record against FCD (11-10-2), and they lifted their first-ever trophy in Dallas when they took down their Western Conference foe in the 2007 U.S. Open Cup final.
Injury Report: Farrell set to miss out on opener; J. Caicedo questionable
Friedel said earlier this week that he’s “expecting big things” from offseason signing Juan Fernando Caicedo in his first year with the Revs, but the Colombian forward may have to wait to make his debut as he’s listed as questionable for the weekend with a muscular injury.
Andrew Farrell, meanwhile, has been ruled out as the veteran right back continues to recover from an eye injury that prevented him from traveling to Florida for the second leg of preseason. That could mean an opening day start for Bye, who made 24 appearances (including 16 starts) during his rookie season.
“I think Brandon’s had a terrific preseason, to be honest,” said Friedel. “We’ll see how the season starts out.”
Final Thoughts: Friedel hoping Gil can “unlock some defenses this season”
“He’s a very good talent,” Friedel said of Designated Player signing Carles Gil, expected to make his MLS and Revolution debut on Saturday. “He’s very technically gifted on the ball. Great personality, if you haven’t spoken to him yet. He’s acclimatized very well. We’ll hopefully look for him to unlock some defenses this season, but also help in the overall possession side of the game.”