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Revolution notebook

Goalie Reis has a point to prove

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / February 9, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution’s commitment to change started on the back line. Of last year’s opening day starters, only right back Kevin Alston is projected to be in the lineup when the team visits Los Angeles March 20.

“Any time you give up the most goals in the league, a lot of things are going to have to change,’’ said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “We made some changes, got rid of some players, brought some players in. Hopefully, it will help us in the long run. The more options you have the better off you are.’’

Reis got off to a late start last year while recovering from offseason surgery. Just when he was ready to return, Preston Burpo sustained a season-ending lower leg injury.

“Last year was a tough year and one I’d like to soon forget, although I did learn quite a bit,’’ said Reis. “Each new situation, you learn a lot, and it kind of opened my eyes back up to the fun that it is being a professional soccer player and being able to do all this.

“I’m excited to prove a lot of people wrong. What they’ve been saying, ‘The oft-injured Matt Reis . . .’ I don’t really believe that, and I’m looking forward to proving them wrong.’’

Reis will have a new central defensive pairing in front of him, with veterans Darrius Barnes and Ryan Cochrane being challenged by A.J. Soares and possibly an international recruit.

Last year, the Revolution’s defensive performance was spectacularly inconsistent. The team compiled a total of nine shutouts (six in MLS games, three in SuperLiga) and had a 365-consecutive-minutes shutout streak in all competitions. But the Revolution surrendered 50 goals, more than any other MLS team, and had a minus-18 goal differential, second worst in the league.

“Basically, we’re starting pretty much anew,’’ Reis said. “There isn’t the connection with the old guard, the teams that went to three straight championships. So it’s important to lay a good foundation of hard work.’’

Bring it on Midfielder Pat Phelan on the impending arrival of former Lazio midfielder Ousmane Dabo: “Competition is good. I’m up to the challenge. I knew all offseason they were going to look to replace me, as well as some other guys. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and this team historically the last few years had trouble staying healthy, so there’s always an opportunity out there. Competition is good — you don’t want to just have your spot handed to you. It makes you keep that hunger and develop in training. Any time you have a chance to upgrade, it’s in the best interest of the team and I’m going to go out there and make things as difficult as I can for coach Nicol.’’ The Revolution announced the re-signing of Phelan earlier this week. “The dynamics have changed quite a bit,’’ Phelan said. “Last year is behind us, and the new faces mix things up and everyone is pretty open to that. We’re looking forward to integrating everyone and being a team as soon as possible.’’ . . . Alston (illness) and Kheli Dube (medical tests) missed practice, and Chris Tierney (quadriceps) worked out separately yesterday morning . . . Goalkeeper Clint Irwin has joined the team on trial.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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