FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas hits the road for the first of two away games against Eastern Conference opponents. Up first is a trip to Foxborough to face the New England Revolution.
Second-year manager Jay Heaps and the Revs have started off the season with a 1-1-1 record through three games. The lone win came back in the second week of the season against the Chicago Fire. Jerry Bengston scored the lone goal in that game and for the club on the season.
The Revs have been shutout in each of their last two games, losing a 1-0 match two weeks ago to the Philadelphia Union before a 0-0 draw in their home opener last week against Sporting Kansas City.
The Revs are still in a bit of a rebuilding mode in Heaps’ second season. They brought in some new faces in their back line, including the first overall draft pick in this year’s SuperDraft, defender Andrew Farrell. The rookie has shown well in his three starts this season. Farrell, along with newcomer Jose Goncalves, have helped the Revs prove that they will be tough to beat this year.
The biggest missing player right now due to injuries for the Revs is striker Saer Sene. He is still recovering from an ACL tear. Outside of that, the Revs are fairly healthy with only questions marks next to 'keeper Matt Reis, midfielder Juan Toja and second year midfielder Kelyn Rowe.
Lee Nguyen vs. Zach Loyd – It has been a tough start to the season for Nguyen but this is the kind of game where he could begin to spark the offense for New England. He’ll be going up against Loyd this weekend. This is going to be a fun battle to watch as Nguyen has the technical ability to do some serious damage to the Dallas back line. Loyd will need to continue his impressive early season form for this one or else the game could go in favor of the Revs.
Key Player for New England
Jerry Bengtson – The Honduran Designated Player is the key cog in the attack for the Revs. If he doesn’t score, it will be interesting to see who steps up.
Heaps uses a 4-4-1-1 type of formation with former FC Dallas midfielder Juan Toja sitting just below Bengtson.
Goalkeeper: Matt Reis; RB: Andrew Farrell, CB: AJ Soares, Jose Goncalves, LB: Kevin Alston; RM: Kelyn Rowe; CM: Scott Caldwell, Clyde Simms; LM: Lee Nguyen; AM: Juan Toja; FW: Jerry Bengtson
Keys to three points
What we know about the Revs is that they are very strong in the back now. Having a strong back four with essentially two defensive midfielders in front (Caldwell and Simms), gives New England the ability to be on the ball a lot. Last week against Sporting KC they held the ball for 55% of the game.
Schellas Hyndman and the crew need to continue the type of play that they’ve used in their last two games that earned them six points. Spread the Revs out with Jackson and David Ferreira. Using the width of the field will help create chances; this is a similar tactic that the Philadelphia Union used two weeks ago when they beat New England.
Even with the bulk of possession typically going in New England’s favor, the chances will be there for Dallas and they have to make the most of them. Sporting KC wasn’t able to do much with their 13 attempts on goal last week. Putting away those chances are the difference between one and three points.
This is one of those early season games that FC Dallas should win, but navigating the road is never easy. Thankfully for Dallas fans this is a much better squad going on the road this week than what we saw going to Chivas USA back in Week 2.