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Thursday, March 8, 2012
Revs open season at San Jose

By Brian O'Connell

In what's become an annual rite of spring, the Revolution kick off their regular season campaign in California on Mar. 10 when they face the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Saturday's match will mark the fourth consecutive year, and seventh time in the last nine years, in which the Revs have pushed the start button on their season in the Golden State. The last time the Revolution opened the season outside of California was in 2008, when they hosted Houston on Mar. 29.

The game will kick off at 10:30pm ET, and will be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet New England. Listeners can tune into to 98.5 The Sports Hub for a radio broadcast of the match.

Last year, the 'Quakes swept the regular season series with a pair of 2-1 victories (May 21 at San Jose, and Oct. 8 in New England) over the Revolution. However, the last time New England opened its season at Buck Shaw, they beat their hosts 1-0 on Apr. 21, 2009.


REVS NOTES:

-- The season opener will mark Jay Heaps' head coaching debut after he was hired by the Revolution last November. During the preseason, Heaps' team finished with a 6-0-1 record, with wins against Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles, and New York. They outscored their opponents 14-5, and blanked the opposition on three occasions.

-- Saturday's matchup will pit a pair of clubs that underperformed in 2011 and missed the MLS playoffs. The Revolution finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 5-16-13 (28 pts.) record, while the Earthquakes sank to seventh place in the western table with an 8-12-14 (38 pts.).

-- The Revolution's newest No. 9 -- Colombian forward Jose Moreno -- will not be available for the opener. On Tuesday, General Manager Michael Burns advised that the 30-year-old striker, who signed with the team in February, is in the process of obtaining his P-1 visa. Moreno is expected to join the squad next week.

-- The Revolution will open the season with 26 players on its roster, one short of the total the team finished with last year. However, the team is expected to sign two additional players within the next two weeks and will likely carry 28 rostered players during the season. The team opens with 11 new players on the roster, with 15 returnees.

-- First-round pick Kelyn Rowe is in position to make his MLS debut on Saturday. The 20-year-old Revolution midfielder was a force in the preseason, racking up four goals and four assists during the winter.

-- Ten-year club veteran Shalrie Joseph will play his first game with the Revolution as a Designated Player. Joseph, a perennial MLS All-Star, signed the lucrative deal in December and became the Revolution's second designated player in team history. In August 2011, Argentine forward Milton Caraglio became the club’s first Designated Player, but had his option declined in after the season.

-- Midfielder/defender Chris Tierney will miss the match due to a red card suspension. In last year's season finale at Toronto, the versatile veteran was ejected after picking up two yellow cards in the 2-2 draw at BMO Field.

- Injury reports (as of Mar. 6)

SAN JOSE -- OUT: MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); FW Alan Gordon (R hip surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); QUESTIONABLE: DF Victor Bernardez (R ankle sprain); MF Jacob Hustedt (L ankle surgery)

NEW ENGLAND -- OUT: FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); MF Sainey Nyassi (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Saer Sėne (L knee swelling)

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.