FC DALLAS (8-12-6) vs. NEW ENGLAND (10-8-7), 7 p.m. ET, Direct Kick
The loss of Steve Ralston to a knee injury offers FC Dallas a chance to exploit its strength in midfield: the quickness of Dax McCarty and the savvy of Dave van den Bergh supplying David Ferreira's dribbles and through balls and Jeff Cunningham's powerful runs and finishes. Rather than deploy Shalrie Joseph up top, Revs coach Steve Nicol may also drop him into midfield to slow down the cavalry charge, battle with former Rev Daniel Hernandez, and rely on defense to grind out a result.
It's a sound strategy, one that the Revs have used for much of this decade when Nicol is short of bodies and options, but it may not work. Dallas has scored 22 goals in its last eight games, and while its own defense is no great shakes, the Revs are very limited in attack. New England is the better team, Dallas is healthier.
Prediction: FCD 2, Revs 1.
RIDGE MAHONEY'S 2009 PREDICTION RECORD
Last weekend: 1-6. Season: 92-106.