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Their goal is gain foothold on trip

Cochrane, Revolution eye success out west

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / May 20, 2011

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When Ryan Cochrane talks, his Revolution teammates should be listening. At least that is the case this week, as the Revolution will play San Jose, one of Cochrane’s former teams, on the road tomorrow night.

“Going across country is tough,’’ said Cochrane. “It’s one of those things, no matter what you do, your legs are dead after a six-hour flight.’’

This will be the fourth trip west for the Revolution this season, including a 3-0 loss to Chivas USA three weeks ago at Carson, Calif.

“This will be a little different after the Chivas loss,’’ Cochrane said. “There is a little extra motivation to make sure that doesn’t happen again. It’s fresh in our memories what happened.

“This is business. We’re not going there to hang out in the California sun and have what happened last time happen again. I’m going to try and emphasize not to forget what happened before. We weren’t competitive and we didn’t fight for everything.’’

Cochrane has started in central defense the last two games, paired with A.J. Soares, as the Revolution (3-3-4) recorded their first two shutouts of the season, compiling a streak of 213 minutes without allowing a goal.

Cochrane believes that Buck Shaw Stadium, which was his home field as a collegiate player and as an Earthquake, should contribute to an attractive game.

Cochrane and Revolution midfielder Stephen McCarthy played for Santa Clara, which constructed the stadium for college football in the early 1960s. After Santa Clara dropped its football program, the stadium became a multisport facility, then was changed to soccer-specific with a $4 million upgrade by Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff in 2008.

“It was basically a baseball stadium and we played in the outfield,’’ said Cochrane, who played 3 1/2 seasons covering two stints with the Earthquakes. “It has been totally redone, and the pitch is one of the best in the league.

“It doesn’t look like much, but when people are packed in, it’s a really good, intimate stadium. It’s a smaller field but they keep the grass so well-maintained.

“It’s going to be a good game. San Jose has been up and down, but they are coming off a really good week and they will be up for us. And they are my former team, so there is a little bit something extra in it for me.’’

The Revolution have struggled with their possession game on both artificial and natural surfaces. But they have produced some of their better passing on grass fields, taking a US Open Cup victory over D.C. United last month.

Cochrane grew up in Portland, Ore., and had not planned on leaving the Pacific Northwest for college, but he found a home at Santa Clara. McCarthy left Santa Clara after three years to transfer to North Carolina “more just to push myself and see if I could play against the top competition.’’

Cochrane had expected to play at the University of Portland, but was not recruited by the school.

“I had played for [US] youth national teams and I was being recruited,’’ Cochrane recalled. “But the one school I probably would have went to didn’t recruit me, which was surprising. But Santa Clara was one of the schools I remembered from high school and I wished I could play there.

“Most of my memories from the stadium are being on the practice field next door and doing a lot of running and fitness drills there, working our tails off.

“One of the craziest memories I have is playing against San Diego and we were shorthanded, so we had to use our goalkeeper, Steve Cronin, as a forward. And he scored a goal from outside the box — this big goalie, in the last 30 seconds, in a total downpour to win the game.’’

McCarthy said Buck Shaw Stadium “is an amazing field for college — palm trees around it, perfect grass.

“I scored my greatest goal ever on that field. We were playing San Francisco, USF. The ball just came and I took a touch and chipped the goalie from outside the box. I don’t know how, but as soon as I hit it I knew it was going in and I just ran into the crowd. I hope I can do something like that again.’’

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

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