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Know Thy Enemy: Revolution vs. FC Dallas

The Revs haven’t beaten FC Dallas since Rajko Lekic was scoring goals for the club, can New England continue their strong start today?

MLS: New England Revolution at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

True story, the last time the New England Revolution beat FC Dallas was back in 2011. This game also happens to be my first ever Revs game and it took place at a time when New England was, well, bad. Like really bad.

The Revs were in such a funk in 2011 that this random win against Dallas would be their only win in a span of months, with Rajko Lekic and Shalrie Joseph finding the scoresheet for New England that day. Since my fateful first trip to Gillette Stadium, Dallas has owned the Revs in the regular season and I’m not even going to bring up the 2016 US Open Cup Final.

Despite a lot of regular season success, including a Supporter’s Shield as well in 2016, Dallas has been dreadful in the playoffs and tumbled out of the playoff race last year by winning just two of their final 15 matches. 2018 isn’t off to a great start either, and that’s a strange thing to say for a team that is unbeaten through their first four games.

As always, we chat with our good friend Drew Epperely of Big D Soccer about just why FCD isn’t winning games and the walking wounded that is seemingly every homegrown on Dallas’ roster. You can check out my answers to Drew’s questions over on their site.

TBM: FC Dallas is unbeaten, but how deceiving is that record considering it includes three home draws? Did the early CCL schedule hurt FC Dallas or has this team just been unable to grab all three points early on in 2018?

DE: Yeah, the four game unbeaten run feels weird when you really look at it. I think if anything the thing that has caused issues is the two bye weeks that were on the schedule because of the early CCL exit. The team hasn’t been able to get a good rhythm so far because of the schedule.

TBM: A follow up to the first question, FCD is really banged up right now. Who’s out, who’s close to coming back and is that real culprit to the early season draws? Who’s been seeing more minutes with these injuries and who needs to produce more until everyone this team is closer to 100%?

DE: Right now it appears that a lot of guys are out but the majority of the injury list is made up of Homegrown players that are really going through their first real professional injury. Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania all are dealing with injuries that are keeping them from being able to break into the lineup.

The biggest injury though has been Kellyn Acosta and his sports hernia injury. With him out we’ve seen second year midfielder Jacori Hayes pick up a lot of valuable minutes that he wasn’t able to get last season.

TBM: We all know the Revs are going to press, but how will FC Dallas deal with the Revs strategy and who should be the key player to break the press and get some chances?

DE: Dealing with the press will come down to how Dallas wants to handle the midfield. They’ve tried a couple different looks this season to help extend the wings. Other looks have been seen to help clog the middle.

Dallas lives through Mauro Diaz in the middle of the field. If Hayes and Carlos Gruezo are able to lock down the midfield and give Diaz the space he needs to create, then Dallas should be able to extend their unbeaten run over the Revs.

Lineup/Predictions/Etc

Jimmy Maurer, Anton Nedyalkov, Reto Zeigler, Matt Hedges, Reggie Cannon, Jacori Hayes, Carlos Gruezo, Roland Lamah, Mauro Diaz, Michael Barrios, Maxi Urruti