Saturday, April 28, 2007

Revs @ Dallas Preview

After an exciting Saturday morning of football from across the pond and the Sox heating up, my only request to the Revolution is don't bring me down.

The assertion that there is a jinx for the Revs at Pizza Hut Park is quite ludicrous. We beat them less than two years ago. The people suggesting that should know the jinx word wasn't even an original thought in New England until after the 1975 Series, so they should know better. However, the pitch can't bring back a heck of a lot of fond memories from Twellman & company. After all, a 4-0 spanking from the home side was sandwiched between two MLS Cup losses in extra time and on penalties respectively.

The Revs come into this one fresh with Pat Noonan looking to make his first start of the season. Micheal Parkhurst is also back to full strength. The warm afternoon game time will have it's toll on the two players yet to gain their legs, so I wouldn't expect 90 minutes from that duo. Jay Heaps is looking to start after sustaining a concussion ten days earlier in Columbus. If Parkhurst does come on, I'd expect Riley to move into the right back spot for Heaps.

Dallas will be playing their sixth game of the season and their third in a week. The Revs need to press their advantage early and test their will. New England played the possession game to perfection in 2005 and look to regain that form. The problem is, they don't have Clint Dempsey drawing fouls to help maintain control of the ball anymore. The likely successor to Dempsey in the pest role is Wells Thompson, but Khano Smith appears to be the first choice at left midfield. Khano looked bad in the last outing and Thompson needs to step up if he wants that job.

FC Dallas poses a mismatch for the Revs with large striker Kenny Cooper playing up top or slightly withdrawn to the right. The good news is our normal left defender, Avery John, is also our most physical and can match him. The bad news is Cooper has been known to roam and could be a problem for James Riley in the middle. Ramon Nunez has been hot as of late at attacking mid and Carlos Ruiz is always dangerous.

So the Revs have their work cut out for them. Dallas is coming off a dreadfully boring loss on Thursday night and will be looking to break out like they did in their 2-1 defeat of Colorado last Sunday. Hopefully this is a high scoring affair, but I have a bad feeling it'll be a grind.

Probable Revs Lineup: