FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol has no fresh injury doubts for this weekend's top of the table encounter with FC Dallas. However, the Revolution still have Clint Dempsey, Steve Ralston, and Pat Noonan on duty with the United States national team, leaving the starting 11 at less than full strength.
With the United States facing Jamaica on Saturday afternoon directly preceding the Revs-FC Dallas game, Nicol is hoping that his team can work an arrangement to allow some of the Revs to suit up in the nightcap.
"We don't know," said Nicol. "Obviously, we're hoping. It's out of our control. If the game is in Seattle, the answer is no. With the game in Foxborough, it makes it possible."
Nicol will have the services of All-Star goalkeeper Matt Reis for the game, but it remains to be seen whether or not U.S. national team manager Bruce Arena will release any of the other Revolution players. Ralston is penciled in as the starter at right midfield for the national team, while Dempsey figures to be a key substitute for Arena.
Of the three, Pat Noonan, who started for the United States against Costa Rica, would be the most likely to suit up for the home side, but the U.S. is facing a severe striker shortage with the injury to Conor Casey.
"We'll have the same game plan either way," said Nicol. "We won't be trying to do things differently is someone else is in the lineup. It keeps us on an even keel for the guys who are stepping [into the lineup]."
FC Dallas will benefit from the return of Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz. His national team was soundly dispatched in the first round of the Gold Cup.
"It helps them," said Nicol. "Good players on the field make them stronger."
Nicol believes that his side must put last week's tepid performance in a 1-0 loss in Chicago behind them in order to focus on obtaining a result on Saturday night.
"We didn't play well. It happens, but we're not satisfied with it," said Nicol. "It's not a coincidence that this is happening when the internationals start. We aren't quite as fluid. It's not rocket science. It happens to everyone. It just so happens that it is more obvious because of how we started."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.