FOXBORO, MA - MAY 1: Brek Shea #20 of FC Dallas presses goalie Preston Burpo #24 of the New England Revolution, who makes a save late in the second half, at Gillette Stadium on May 1, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Two teams headed in different directions play at FC Dallas Stadium tonight as New England Revolution, winners to two in a row, face FC Dallas who have not won since opening day, a span of three games. The Revs come into Dallas on a really nice two-game win streak with their 3-1 win at LA raising a ton of eyebrows around the league. Kickoff is set for 7:30 on Fox Sports Southwest Plus with Mark Followill and Ian Joy on the call.
Return to fitness Dallas should have Fabian Castillo back in the starting XI(for real this time) while Brek Shea and Carlos Rodriguez are playing just one game in a week for the first time in awhile so there's no real excuses for poor play from them. The Revolution will still be without Benny Feilhaber, Sainey Nyassi and likely Kevin Alston as well who is doubtful with left hamstring tightness.
What will the lineup be? There's some major questions about who will replace Daniel Hernandez and Jair Benitez who are both suspended for this one. Will FCD sub in Warshaw for Hernandez and Rodriguez for Benitez or move to a 4-4-2? Perhaps it's why they closed practice yesterday to conceal their plans. Watch the lineup very closely because it will tell us a lot about how FCD will play this one.
Goals in this one Dallas and New England are in the top half of the league in goals allowed so there should certainly be some goals in this one. With Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Row on the wings, there's a ton of offensive flair but not a whole lot of defending so there could be a lot of space for Shea and Castillo to operate if things go to plan.
International Flavor Don't forget that tonight's game will be packed with teams from around the globe here for Dallas Cup. If you happen to see one, welcome them to Dallas and talk to them for a bit, you'll be surprised what you can learn from these kids.
Keys to the game
Work Work Work Schellas said it to me yesterday, the Galaxy threw away the game against New England because they didn't want to match the Revolution's work rate. Young and hungry players like Ryan Guy, Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe are going to work their tails off around the field, even if they're not defensively talented players, while Shalrie Joseph and Clyde Simms provide a ton of veteran leadership right down the spine of the midfield. Whoever works the hardest in this game off the ball is probably going to win it.
Un Otro Goleador As happy as everyone is with Blas Perez and his early season play, someone else has to step up and take some pressure off the Panamanian. That guy has to be either Brek Shea or Fabian Castillo. Neither has had much of an impact since last summer and it's time to step up and be counted. Florian Lechner will likely make his first start tonight at right back for New England, is he familiar with Brek or Fabian's game? Unlikely. Attack, attack, attack.
Defending as a unit How much have I talked in the past week about how the defending as a unit needs to get better...it's not just one player stepping up it's communicating with one another and getting back to the level you were at early last year. It shouldn't be too hard to find.
FC Dallas - 4-1 L at DC United, 2-1 L at Sporting KC, 1-1 draw vs Portland Timbers, 2-1 W vs New York
DC United - 3-1 win at Los Angeles,1-0 win vs Portland, 3-0 L at Sporting KC, 1-0 L at San Jose
REFEREE: Juan Guzman(Former Toronto Blue Jays great?)
SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Adam Garner;
4th: Baldomero Toledo
Prediction(3-1 on the season)
This is actually a very fascinating game when you dig a little deeper into everything going on between the two teams surrounding this one. Dallas was very focused in practice this week and I think they all know that last week's game was unacceptable. It seems like about this time, a month into the season, every year that they start to find their feet. I think they do it tonight against a Revolution team that has been on the road for a couple weeks. Shea gets his first, Perez ices things late.
2-0 FC Dallas