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Revolution-FC Dallas Preview

FC Dallas was pretty successful under coach Oscar Pareja, but it wasn't enough for him to keep his job.

Luchi Gonzalez is now tasked with getting Dallas back to the MLS Cup, beginning Saturday when the New England Revolution visit Toyota Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

Pareja coached Dallas for five seasons before reaching a mutual agreement with the team to part ways this offseason. The club reached the playoffs four times under Pareja, including last year when it went 16-9-9 before losing at home to Portland in the knockout round.

Pareja led Dallas to its second U.S. Open Cup title in 2016, when it beat New England in the final, but he was unable to get the franchise back to the MLS Cup after it made its only appearance in 2010 and lost to Colorado on an own goal in extra time.

In steps Gonzalez, who at 38 is the second-youngest head coach in MLS history behind 37-year-old Anthony Hudson of Colorado in 2002. Gonzalez joined Dallas' academy in 2012 as the under-18 coach, became academy director in 2015 and then coached the under-16 team for the past four years.

Dallas has signed 15 homegrown players coached by Gonzalez, and some of them will likely need to make a big impact with Maximiliano Urruti and Roland Lamah - who tied for the team lead with eight goals last season - no longer on the club.

Urruti's 30 goals since joining FC Dallas in 2016 led the team, while Lamah's 19 over the last two seasons ranked second.

"Moving forward, this is a club that has a clear model and a philosophy that we want to develop stars and not necessarily purchase or buy them," Gonzalez said. "... That's what we are doing and we feel at the same time we can compete for championships."

Dallas did add Honduran midfielder Bryan Acosta as a designated player and signed Czech forward Zdenek Ondrasek. Acosta comes over from Spanish second-division team Tenerife after registering five goals in 47 games over the last two seasons, while Ondrasek had 20 goals in 66 matches in the Polish league since 2016.

New England has its top three scorers back in Cristian Penilla (12), Teal Bunbury (11) and Diego Fagundez (9) as it begins its second season under coach Brad Friedel. The former U.S. national team goalkeeper led the Revolution to a 10-13-11 record last year, when they missed the playoffs for a franchise high-tying third straight season.

The Revs signed speedy attacking midfielder Carles Gil as a designated player from Spanish second-division side Deportivo La Coruna and signed Juan Fernando Caicedo on loan from Colombia's Independiente Medellin after the forward scored 42 goals in 150 league appearances.

"We missed an incredible amount of chances inside the box (last year) and it was just something that we as a staff, and collectively as a team, we've spoken about a lot and we want to improve on," Friedel told the Revolution's official website. "Hopefully with people that we've brought in, people that we currently have ... we'll rectify that problem."

Dallas has won eight straight in this series, including the 2016 U.S. Open Cup final, by a combined 18-5 score.

Updated February 28, 2019

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