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Know Thy Enemy: Revolution at The Messing With FC Dallas Texas Edition

We’re gonna nip all this talk of a “trap game” right here and right now.

MLS: New England Revolution at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

I am not going to try and figure out why the New England Revolution’s farthest west coast road trip is tonight in Frisco, TX.

Bruce Arena isn’t trying to figure it out either, but if the Revs are only going to play two Western Conference teams this year and only one on the road - FC Dallas is probably one of the best teams to draw for such a trip.

FCD is dead last in the West, with just 7 points from nine games played but do boast an unbeaten home record...of 1W-0L-4D. So while FCD hasn’t lost at home, they aren’t exactly racking up the points either. With just 9 total goals scored so far this year, the Revolution should have no problems being able to rotate a few starters, as they’ve been doing the last few games anyway, and pick up a win just as they have done against the New York teams in the past week.

With three points tonight the Revs would jump a point over the Seattle Sounders for the Supporter’s Shield lead, and if the Revs are a championship caliber team, they shouldn’t be dropping points to a last place conference team even if it is on the road. Anything less than a win tonight should be considered a disappointment.

That being said, I think FC Dallas is at least slightly better than their record indicates, but their attack in particular is absolutely a mess right now. Here to break it down for us is Drew Epperley of Big D Soccer. As always, check out my answers to Drew’s questions over on their site.

The Revs and FCD kickoff around 9pm Eastern later tonight.

TBM: So FC Dallas is in last place in the West...what has happened in Frisco to start this year?

DE: Boy, where do we start? From the attack not looking the part thanks to a guy in Franco Jara not earning his $3 million salary, to the defense being hit with a lot of injuries and formation switches from week to week. There has just been a ton of issues with this club and right now it may come down to how Luchi Gonzalez is coaching, or possibly isn’t coaching this club. I commend the idea of trying to switch looks to go up against your opponents in the best possible way, but I think Gonzalez has out-kicked his coverage here so to speak, the way he is constantly tinkering with his formations and lineups this season. At this point, he is literally trying anything he can to get his attack jump-started in a way that produces goals on a consistent basis.

TBM: FCD is still unbeaten at home in 2021 (and went unbeaten in 2020 as well), but only have 1 win and 4 draws. What does Dallas need to do at home in particular to start putting wins on the board?

DE: It still comes down to the attack. Jara isn’t scoring goals where HGP forward Ricardo Pepi is. Jesus Ferreria is just now coming into form after missing the first seven games with a shoulder injury. Paxton Pomykal is also seeing limited minutes as he continues to get back into form from his 2020 injury. Andres Ricarute has his moments where he looks like a game-changing #10 but he disappears too often. Really, their best bet has been to defend well, possess the ball out of the back in a way to lull the other side into sleep and then counter quickly. When that has worked for them in the past, they do well to score. But things just aren’t clicking the same for them right now, so a different approach is probably needed now.

TBM: Let’s end on a positive note, who has been a standout so far in 2021 or a young player you’re excited to see get more minutes this year?

As most know, FCD is full of young players. One that we’re all particularly excited about at the moment is defender Justin Che. He got his first start on Wednesday night after being in Germany with Bayern Munich’s second team for much of the spring. While we all fully expect a transfer deal to get worked out this summer between FCD and their German partners, seeing Che get more minutes may be the shot in the arm that the defense needs to return to their stout selves.

Lineup/Injuries/Predictions/Etc

Lineup: Maurer, Hollingshead, Bressan, Martinez, Che, Pomykal, Quignon, Acosta, Obrian, Ricarute, Ferreria

Injuries: Hedges, Redzic

Prediction: FCD 1, NE 1