After going through a busy stretch in May with an unbeaten mark, FC Dallas wants to use June to maintain its momentum.
Article continues below ...
The club will try to extend its streak to nine straight matches without a loss when it hosts the New England Revolution on Saturday night.
FC Dallas (6-3-4) is 5-0-3 in its last eight, with seven of those matches coming in May. The June slate is more forgiving with four matches – one on the road.
"I think the month of June is really a good month for us when you look at the schedule," coach Schellas Hyndman told FC Dallas’ official website. "We want to use this month as more of a training month because we don’t have to travel as much."
There’s room for improvement after Dallas’ 531-minute shutout streak ended during last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Houston. Before that contest, goalkeeper Kevin Hartman had not allowed a goal since May 1.
"We need to continue to push ourselves," Hartman said. "I think that we had some great results in May and now we can just challenge ourselves to just play better and better soccer."
New England (3-5-4) is 0-3-2 on the road, although it owns a history of success in Dallas with an 11-5-2 all-time record.
The club will be without midfielder Benny Feilhaber, slated to join the United States national team for the Gold Cup tournament. Feilhaber, though, won’t be playing for anyone after suffering an ankle injury in last Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Los Angeles.
The Revolution received good news, though, with captain Shalrie Joseph remaining available after the midfielder declined an invitation to play for Grenada in the Gold Cup.
"Obviously we’re delighted we’re going to have him," coach Steve Nicol told the Revolution’s official website. "I think any team in the league wants Shalrie stepping on the field for them, and we’re certainly no different."
New England also could get a boost if defender Ryan Cochrane is available. Cochrane’s condition has improved since he left last week’s match with a concussion.
Nicol needs to decide who will replace Feilhaber, and Pat Phelan is a prime candidate. Feilhaber’s ability to possess the ball will be missed in humid conditions with the temperature expected to reach the high 90s.
"You can’t be chasing," Phelan said. "It’s important to go out there and make the field as big as you can, do your work off the ball and get in good spots to maintain possession, because if you’re just chasing around, they’ll pick you apart."
Both 2010 matches between these teams ended in draws, although Dallas’ ability to hold on to the ball helped result in totals of eight yellow cards and two red cards for New England in those contests.
"They’re a dynamic team," Phelan said. "They’ve got a lot of guys that can hurt you off the dribble. They keep possession well, they’re solid in the back."