FC Dallas puts unblemished record on the line on national TV

Almost a month into the MLS season, FC Dallas remains the league's only undefeated team.

Dallas looks to maintain that status as it tries to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the visiting New England Revolution on Thursday night.

Behind the strong play of veteran forward Kenny Cooper, Dallas (2-0-2) sits alone atop the Western Conference standings, two points ahead of Colorado, as it looks to close out April with a third straight victory.

Still, the payout is decent for the home squad at +125. The draw is set at +220, while New England is a +265 underdog in the nationally televised affair that will appear on ESPN2.

"I think as each game has gone on through the start of the season we've started to move the ball a little better," Dallas coach Steve Morrow said. "We're definitely starting to see things come together a bit more. It's still early in the season, it's still early days, I still think there's room for improvement with the team."

Cooper scored in his third straight match as Dallas won 2-0 at Chivas USA on Sunday. He has four goals on the season - all in the last three games - and is one behind MLS leader Landon Donovan of Los Angeles.

Dallas, 15-0-3 when Cooper scores, is tied with Columbus for the MLS lead with eight goals.

"I have so much confidence in everyone on the squad," said Cooper, who has nine goals in 12 career games in April. "Hopefully we can take this positive start and get better and better."

To do that Dallas will try to beat New England (2-2-1) for the first time since a 4-0 victory at home on May 20, 2006. New England outscored Dallas 5-2 in winning both meetings in 2007, including a 1-0 victory in Texas on April 29.

Cooper did not have a goal last year versus New England, which lost in the MLS Cup for the third consecutive season.

The Revolution head to Dallas coming off a 1-1 tie at New York on Saturday and will try to avoid going winless in a third straight match.

Despite being a man down after midfielder Mauricio Castro received a red card early in the second half against the Red Bulls, midfielder Jeff Larentowicz scored on a free kick in the 56th minute to even the score and ultimately secure a point for New England, which lost 1-0 to Colorado on April 12.

"The guys showed what they are all about. Only 10 men and one-nil down, we get a point," Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. "It shows you the character of the club."

New England will again be without forward Taylor Twellman, who has yet to play this season as he recovers from right knee surgery. Twellman finished third in MLS with 16 goals in 2007.

The Revolution have enjoyed good balance in Twellman's absence, however, as six players have scored the team's seven goals.

New England leads 19-9-1 in the all-time series with Dallas.

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