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BSJ Match Report: Revolution 1, FC Dallas 1 – First point taken in Dallas since 2010

(RevolutionSoccer.net)

All you need to know about the Revolution’s 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday in quickie form, complete with BSJ insight and analysis:

HEADLINES

Stronger second half helps Revs take a point: After a first half which felt like New England was playing with 10 men and saw FC Dallas take a 1-0 lead through Michael Barrios after 13 minutes, the Revolution came out of the break with a touch more verve. And despite not getting a lot of the possession (68-32 percent), The Boys In Blue managed to get an equalizer via Carles Gil to claim a road point in the season opener, and to snap an 8-match losing skid (including the 2016 US Open Cup Final loss). It was New England’s first point won in Dallas since 2010.

Gil opens his account: A solid goal by the Spaniard to get the Revolution to level terms just before the hour mark. Scott Caldwell had fed Jalil Anibaba with a pass down the left side, and even though Dallas wanted him flagged for offside, the Davis, Calif. native sent a high, booming volley toward the back post. Antonio Delamea nodded it into space, and Gil sniped hard with his left peg to bury home the goal.

Barrios puts Dallas up 1-0 early: An offline Brandon Bye pass led to a counterattack, which saw Barrios taking Delamea on one-on-one. Delamea’s positioning was fine, but Jalil Anibaba couldn’t get back in time to support. Barrios slotted home to put the hosts out on the front foot.

Knighton, Zahibo get starting nods, Fagundez on bench: Thirteen-year pro, Brad Knighton, who had never started a season opener before Saturday, got the start guarding the onion bag for the Revolution, with Cody Cropper as his understudy. Wilfried Zahibo, who underwhelmed in the second half of the season last year, started in place of Luis Caicedo. Also, Diego Fagundez started the game on the bench, with Brad Friedel utilizing an attacking foursome of Carles Gil, Cristian Penilla, and Teal Bunbury in the midfield, with Juan Agudelo up top.

Mancienne hurt in warm-ups: Just before 4 p.m., word came out of Toyota Stadium that Revolution defender Michael Mancienne was helped off the pitch during warm-ups with a lower back injury. That moved Anibaba into the XI in his place, leaving Luis Caicedo — who isn’t 90 minutes yet — as the lone defensive option on the bench.

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THREE UP

Scott Caldwell: The Braintree native had himself an afternoon deep in the heart of Texas. 26 completed passes, cracking back to help the back line in a few critical spots, and he comes up with the pass to start a sequence leading to the goal, which unfortunately won’t get on the scoresheet.

Jalil Anibaba: He wasn’t even supposed to start. But in true professional fashion, Anibaba stepped up into Michael Mancienne’s role Saturday afternoon. We had him for one critical block early in the game, and he had the big assist on Carles Gil’s leveler. Outside of overplaying Dominique Badji on Barrios’ goal and arriving just late to help Delamea (#hustle), we have to tip the cap to Anibaba. Standout performance.

Brandon Bye: Say what you will about his performance against Orlando City in the preseason — and yes, it’s all deserved — but the second-year pro out of Western Michigan, outside of one miscue, had a rather solid outing out on the right back position in place of Andrew Farrell, who looks like he’ll be out until April, according to Brad Feldman. I had Bye for five takeaways, including four in the first half which saw him make some rather smart tackles.

TWO DOWN

Wilfried Zahibo: The big Frenchman, who slid into the No. 8 role with Luis Caicedo not at 90-minute fitness yet, had a couple of takeaways in the first few minutes of the game. But once he found his name taken into referee Ismail Elfath’s book, Zahibo turned invisible for most of the rest of the game. Not to be forgotten, but the Revs had a late counterattack fizzle out thanks to a weak kick by Zahibo toward Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Really wasn’t a good look.

Edgar Castillo: The new Revolution left back got beat quite a few times in the game, and he was, of course, playing up when Dominique Badji won a header to Barrios. He had four takeaways in the second half by my count, but it doesn’t outweigh getting beaten. Dallas also picked on him quite a bit, seeing as 47 percent of its attacks (WhoScored.com) saw the ball go toward Castillo’s side.

TAKE THAT SWEENS MAY REGRET LATER

Might want to get that center back depth into the squad sooner rather than later. We obviously don’t know if Mancienne will be out for long, but there’s a reason clubs need more depth in certain areas. Seriously, New England has enough attacking players. With Andrew Farrell out for a while, it’s time to get depth in the back.

QUOTABLE QUOTES

“You can’t really replace a player like Mancienne, you can’t replace his leadership, what he does for us, keeping us calm, and also keeping us strong. I tried to piggyback off some of the performances I had last year. Toni and I are comfortable together, so we did what we did last year.” — Jalil Anibaba

UP NEXT

The Revolution will start the home part of the campaign next Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. when New England hosts the Columbus Crew at Gillette Stadium; much like the Revs, Columbus had a 1-1 draw against the Red Bulls in the Crew’s home opener Saturday. See you all from Blue Level; I’ll be under the second N in Union Point, middle row.

Until then, cheers.