Twenty-two Major League Soccer matches have kicked off since the Revolution last played a meaningful game. During that span of time, FC Dallas has played twice—once in regular season action, and again in CONCACAF Champions League play.
While this headline has dominated match previews, it's not all Revs fans should keep an eye on. Here are five storylines worth tracking:
1. Can the Revolution end its six-year drought vs. FC Dallas?
The Last time the Revs earned a result against the Toros, Shalrie Joseph and Rajko Lekic scored the game’s only goals. That match took place on Sept. 10, 2011. Since then, the Revolution have gone 0-6 against FC Dallas. Can Jay Heaps’ squad get over the hump? To do so, they’ll need to slow down a high-flying FC Dallas attack.
2. Will FC Dallas field a second-choice lineup?
Óscar Pareja’s side has endured a busy start to the season, playing four matches since March 4. The club most recently played on Wednesday during a hard-fought CONCACAF Champions League win over Mexican-side Pachuca. Pareja will likely turn to his bench on Saturday, giving some of his core players much-needed rest. Can the Revs take advantage?
3. How will the Revolution respond to its unexpected bye?
Frigid temperatures spoiled the Revolution home opener last weekend, and a nor’easter prevented the club from practicing early last week. What does that mean for Heaps’ squad?
On a positive note, Xavier Kouassi, Lee Nguyen and Zachary Herivaux all had an extra week to recover from their respective injuries. On a negative note, the club has yet to find a rhythm in 2017, playing just one match (an out-of-snyc loss). In the end, will the extra rest help—or hurt—the Revs?
4. How will Jay Heaps arrange his midfield diamond?
Often a point of conversation during the early stages of the season, the Revolution midfield now operates with Juan Agudelo at the point. This arrangement didn’t work out during the team’s season opener, as both Agudelo and Lee Nguyen—who moved from an attacking midfield role to a second forward role—struggled to find the match. Will Heaps stick to his guns and keep Agudelo in the number 10 role? Or will he opt to start Nguyen or Kelyn Rowe in the spot instead?
5. Will Xavier Kouassi make his MLS debut?
Revolution fans have waited more than a year for Kouassi to appear in his inaugural MLS match. After a limited preseason, Kouassi dressed for the Revs’ season opener but did not appear in the match. Does he have a shot at making his debut on Saturday?
According to Jeff Lemieux, he does. Kouassi has fully recovered from his ACL tear and is working his way back toward full fitness. While a start seems like a stretch, Kouassi could see game minutes vs. FC Dallas.