Last week FC Dallas debuted their “new era” at home against a Bob Bradley-led Toronto FC team. The “new era” highlighted cause for optimism but certainly left something to be desired. It was, however, the first game of the season. Chemistry will improve, fitness levels will rise and the team we saw last week will not be the team we see in every game.
So what exactly did we see? The addition of Paul Arriola was immediately noticeable. If nothing else, the guy looked to be an absolute workhorse and sent in the only assist of the game for FC Dallas. His partner on the opposite wing, Obrian, scored the goal but also had more than a couple of attacking opportunities called back for offsides; a reoccurring trend that can be traced back to last season. Jesus Ferreria was noticeable up top but whiffed on one or two chances that should have found the back of the net. Behind them, the midfield proved that playing the kids may turn out to be a great investment while the backline showed the expected talent but early chemistry issues as well.
How does all that make us feel going into a game against the Revolution in New England?
Well, I wouldn’t advise you to go and bet your paycheck on FC Dallas. The Revs are coming off a season in which they reset the MLS single-season points record. Despite their early departure from the playoffs, this is a very good team and they arguably only got better over the transfer window. One of New England’s larger weaknesses last year was their inability to control the midfield. However, the addition of Sebastian Lletget from LA Galaxy gives their midfield a USMNT level threat while making them an even greater attacking side than before.
The Rev’s first game against the Portland Timbers showed that, while very talented, they have flaws just like everyone else. Despite going ahead twice, New England gave up two goals to allow Portland to draw. If FC Dallas wants any chance at three points, the frontline is going to have to shake off the rust and start putting away goals. The game against Toronto showed that adding Arriola allows FC Dallas to switch the ball back and forth a bit easier than last year. Adding Paxton into the midfield, opened up some scoring opportunities in the middle as well. The opportunities will be there, someone must put them away. As much as the backline appeared to be solid in one-on-one situations, it is not going to get perfect chemistry overnight and the Revolution will score a goal. Ferreria is going to need to put away the perfect setups, or Obrian is going to have to stay onsides, or Paxton is going to have to take more shots on goal.
The bottom line is New England is far too talented to drop this one if FC Dallas’ top line isn’t sharp.
I want to be optimistic and call this a draw but the realist in me just won’t allow it. FC Dallas needs time to gel and build up to a winning form. The Revolution are a very good team playing at home after a game in which they were inches away from winning in Portland. The Revs are going to want their first season to win, and this seems like a great opportunity for them to get it.
Prediction: New England Revolution 2-1 FC Dallas
How to Watch:
Venue: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA
Kickoff Time: Saturday, March 5. 12:30 PM CST
Available TV: TXA 21 Dallas
Available Streaming: FCDallas.com, ESPN+
Available Radio: 1270AM