After opening the regular season on the road, the Revolution (0-2-0, 0 points) returns home on Saturday when they host the Portland Timbers (1-0-1, 4 points) at Gillette Stadium.
The game will kick off at 4 p.m. ET, and will be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet New England. The Sports Hub 98.5 will provide a radio broadcast of the match.
Saturday’s encounter will mark the only time the inter-conference foes face off against each during the 2012 regular season. Last year, the Revolution and Timbers met twice, with Portland getting the best of New England by going unbeaten (1-0-1) in the regular season series.
-- Due to the red card he picked up during Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, center back Stephen McCarthy will be forced to sit out the game against Portland. The one-game suspension to McCarthy leaves the Revolution extraordinarily thin at center back, with A.J. Soares the only healthy center back on the squad. Recently-signed defender Flo Lechner, who can play anywhere along the back four, has not arrived as he awaits approval of his P-1 visa. Should Lechner not arrive before Saturday, midfielder/defender Chris Tierney may pair with Soares inside the back line.
-- Speaking of McCarthy, the second-year midfielder-turned-center back is the only Revolution player to score against Portland. In last season’s Apr. 2 match, his 22nd minute strike helped New England salvage a point against the expansion Timbers.
-- The Revolution’s two-game losing streak to start the season is only the fifth time in club history that its started the season without claiming a point in its first two. The other four occasions came in 1998 (0-3), 2001 (0-6-0), 2002 (0-2-0) and 2004 (0-2-0).
-- Through its first two games, nine players have already made their Revolution debuts: Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas, John Lozano, Lee Nguyen, Tyler Polak, Kelyn Rowe, Saer Sène, Clyde Simms and Jeremiah White. Of the nine, seven have made their MLS debuts (Cardenas, Lozano, Nguyen, Polak, Rowe, Sene and White), while Brettschneider and Simms played for Eastern Conference rival D.C. United last season.
-- Veteran Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis is only three saves away from the 1,000 save club. The 15-year veteran has 997 saves in 256 career games. Only five other MLS keepers have scaled the 1,000 save plateau: Kevin Hartman (1,379), Joe Cannon (1,235), Tony Meola (1,136), Nick Rimando (1,068) and Scott Garlick (1,021). Hartman, Cannon and Rimando remain active.
-- Another Revolution veteran on the brink of a milestone is Shalrie Joseph, who is 54 minutes away from becoming the Revolution leader in all-time minutes (21,619 minutes) played. The current record holder? You guessed it: former defender/current head coach Jay Heaps.
-- For those who can’t get enough soccer on Saturday afternoon, the women’s national teams of Brazil and Canada will take to the Gillette Stadium field for an international friendly prior to the Revolution-Timbers game. The Brazil-Canada tilt will kick off at 1pm and will feature five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta, who helped lead Brazil to the 2011 Women’s World Cup semi-finals in Germany.
INJURY REPORTS (as of Mar. 20):
New England Revolution -- OUT: DF Darrius Barnes (L calf strain); FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); DF John Lozano (R hip flexor strain); MF Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Benny Feilhaber (L peroneal strain); PROBABLE: MF Shalrie Joseph (R calf tightness); GK Matt Reis (L adductor soreness)
Portland Timbers -- OUT: DF Futty Danso (L foot fracture); DF David Horst (R hip surgery); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Sal Zizzo (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF James Marcelin (L hamstring strain); DF Steve Purdy (L hamstring strain); MF Franck Songo’o (R knee sprain); PROBABLE: FW Jorge Perlaza (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Lovel Palmer (illness)
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.