After falling in frustrating fashion to the Galaxy last weekend, the Revolution (3-5-4, 13 pts.) travel south this week to Frisco, Texas to face FC Dallas (6-3-4, 22 pts.) at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday night.
The game will start at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet New England. The game will also be broadcast on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Saturday’s match will give the Revs back-to-back ballgames against the two best clubs in MLS, as Dallas currently sports the second-best record behind Los Angeles.
Although it’ll be a tough test for the offensively-challenged Revs, they received some much-needed good news on Tuesday when club captain and leading scorer Shalrie Joseph, who initially accepted the invitation to play for the Grenadian National Team during the month-long CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, announced his intentions to stay with the Revs instead.
Yet, the news isn’t all good for New England. On Saturday, midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who also received a call for Gold Cup action and was expected to play for the United States on Saturday against Spain at Gillette Stadium, sprained his right ankle when he landed awkwardly on it near the end of the L.A. match. On Tuesday, the Revs injury report listed Feilhaber as “out” for Saturday night’s match. Additionally, center back Ryan Cochrane, who suffered a concussion during the first half of the L.A. match, is also listed as “out” on the injury report.
Despite the injuries to key players, the Revs can look back to their last match against Dallas for inspiration. In the final game of a tiring, three-game road set, the Revs took a 2-1 lead at Dallas into stoppage time and came within seconds of upsetting the hosts before Jeff Cunningham scored the equalizer in the 93rd minute. Although it was one of many heartbreaks the Revs suffered last season, it also signaled that the Revs could match wits against the best, as Dallas would go on to play in the MLS Cup final months later.
Here are some other notable facts as the Revs embark on their second and final regular season trip to the state of Texas in 2011:
-- Despite their differences in the MLS standings, the Revs have enjoyed considerable success against their original MLS counterpart over the years. New England boasts a 22-10-3 record against the Dallas franchise (formerly the Dallas Burn), and an astonishing 11-5-2 road record against the club.
-- However, the Revs have run into a recent dry spell against Dallas. Their last win against the Hoops came on April 9, 2009 at Gillette Stadium when the Revs took a 2-1 victory.
-- Shalrie Joseph leads all active players on the Revs roster with three goals against Dallas in his career.
-- Matt Reis has a sterling 9-3-1 record against the Hoops as a member of the Revs, and has blanked them five times in those 13 games.
-- The trip to Pizza Hut Park pitch must bring mixed emotions for Revolution manager Steve Nicol. As the host site for the 2005 and 2006 MLS Cup finals, the Revs fell short of the league title against the L.A. Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo, respectively. However, a year later, the Revs secured a serious piece of hardware at The Hut after they beat Dallas 3-2 in the U.S. Open Cup Championship and brought the Open Cup Trophy back to New England for the first time in 60 years.
The Revolution’s May 31st Injury Report lists the following players’ availability for the Dallas match:
QUESTIONABLE: Ousmane Dabo (R adductor strain)
OUT: Ryan Cochrane (concussion), Benny Feilhaber (R ankle sprain), Marko Perovic (L knee sprain)
Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.