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Know Thy Enemy: USOC Final Edition with Big D Soccer

Nine years ago the Revolution went down to Texas and came home with a USOC trophy. It's been 17 years since FC Dallas has hoisted any kind of silverware. This is going to be good.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight's the night everyone. The New England Revolution are down in Frisco, TX to play FC Dallas in the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final.

It's been a pretty fun road for the Revolution, who got heroics from Zachary Herivaux in their opening game of the tournament against the NASL's Carolina Railhawks and two rounds later it was Je-Vaughn Watson who carried the team into the semifinals with a goal and clinching shootout penalty against the Philadelphia Union.

Now all that stands between the Revs and a birth in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League is arguably the best team in MLS. Dallas is really good, but if the Revs can carry over their play from the past few weeks then they certainly have a chance.

The big debate for New England has been will Kei Kamara, who missed the wins against Colorado (international duty) and NYCFC (injury) start? The Revs have been a force with their new formation and Juan Agudelo leading the way, and while adding a player like Kei probably can't hurt, what's more important is for the Revs to maintain their style of play for the previous homestand.

The quick ball movement, the counter attacking, the amazing 1-2 combinations in the final third - all of these things should be happening regardless of who is on the field but the Revs have struggled to generate consistent offense for most of the season. It's one thing to beat a depleted Colorado team and a even a rising NYC team at home, but going on the road to Dallas and getting a point, let alone a win, is already a difficult task.

For this momentous occasion we chat with Drew Epperley of Big D Soccer about play on a short week, whether or not FCD can win the first MLS treble, and how Dallas' midfield will deal with the Revs diamond formation.

Be sure to check out my answers to Drew's questions over on their site and take a bit to listen to Dan Feuerstein's USOC Preview show featuring myself and FCD analyst Daniel Robertson.

TBM: Okay, it's a short week and FCD is coming off a 1-0 loss to the Rapids. First, judging from the stat lines, FCD didn't play all that badly and lost a tough 1-0 game or did they? Secondly, how many regular starters were rested against Colorado?

DE: Saturday's game was odd to say the least. FCD had chances against the Rapids but the finishing in the end was not good enough to beat a well organized team like Colorado. You have to give the Rapids a lot of credit for how they approached the game and how they took advantage of one opportunity and made the most of it.

Oscar Pareja rested a few guys in that game, which may have accounted for the sloppy attacking play for the first 60 minutes or so. Michael Barrios came off the bench to start the half and did give some life to the attack. But once Colorado got their goal, Pareja was forced to put in both Mauro Diaz and Mauro Rosales to try and get some service into the attack.

TBM: FC Dallas is lining up a possible shot at the MLS Treble - USOC, Shield, MLS Cup - it's really hard to imagine that a team this good over the last few years still hasn't won silverware since 1997. What's the talk been like in the build up for this game in Dallas, how excited is the fanbase?

DE: There is some treble talk around town with the team. I think a lot of people are wanting to take it one trophy at a time right now. I know I am personally. I'd rather see them get one before people start handing them the other two.

People are pretty excited about this game though. The team did a good job of making sure it was a high priority all season long and were able to sell out the game in the process. Lately there has been a lot of 1997 talk since it was the last time the team won anything and how important that game was at the time for the franchise. People around here know that a trophy can do a lot of good for this club in a city that really supports its winners.

TBM: The Revs have a bit of a new formation, a diamond midfield that has had some recent success against a depleted Rapids team and NYC FC, but will it work tonight? What's the strength for Dallas defensively and how have you fared without star striker Fabian Castillo?

DE: A lot will come down to how well Carlos Gruezo and Kellyn Acosta clog up the middle of the park behind Diaz. If those two keep the passing lanes clean and the pressure off their back line, it will help open up things for Diaz in the attack. Dallas has struggled in the past with teams that play a diamond midfield but given the way they play at home, I don't worry a ton about the past. This group has been keyed in on this title game for some time now and know that if they control the tempo and pace, they will walk away with the trophy.

As far as the whole Castillo thing. Yeah, the team has done pretty well since losing him a few weeks ago. You can't replace a guy like that over night and FCD really had no chance to with the way it all went down. Barrios and Rosales have done well in stepping up lately in his place, as have guys like Tesho Akindele and Ryan Hollingshead. Pareja has basically resorted to a committee approach on the wings since Castillo left and will likely continue that trend tonight.


Injuries: Zach Loyd (concussion)

Lineup: Chris Seitz, Maynor Figueroa, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Ryan Hollingshead, Carlos Guerzo, Kellyn Aocsta, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Mauro Rosales, Maxi Urruti

Prediction: FCD 2, NE 1 (in extra time)