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'Retro' Revs visit Cotton Bowl
by Ridge Mahoney, September 30th, 2009 7AM



[MLS PREDICTION] MLS left the Cotton Bowl more than four years ago, yet that's where New England and FC Dallas play their league match Wednesday as a preliminary to a Mexico-Colombia friendly. As one of the league's founding members, the Dallas Burn used the Cotton Bowl as its primary home from 1996 to 2002, and again starting in 2004 until Pizza Hut Park opened in early August, 2005. Its large, smooth surface was regarded as among the league's best to play on. New England was 6-3-1 against Dallas at the Cotton Bowl and won when it last played there, 3-0, in August of 2004.

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.

Last weekend:
1-6. Season: 92-106.

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