On the back of a shutout in his side's season opener against his former club, New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis had further reason to be cheerful Tuesday when he was named in Bruce Arena's U.S. national team squad for next week's friendly against Jamaica in Cary, N.C.
Reis, for whom Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Galaxy was the 100th MLS regular season appearance, said that the season opener had been fairly straightforward from his point of view and pointed to the form shown by the new-look Revs defense of Jay Heaps, Daniel Hernandez and James Riley as the main factor for his comfortable evening of work.
"(The Galaxy) didn't play their best game. They weren't that dangerous and didn't create too many chances. That definitely had something to do with our guys. They did a great job in limiting them and they (only) had four shots on goal," said Reis, who added that the stifling of Landon Donovan's offensive threat was also a vital factor.
"We did a good job of stepping with Landon and not letting him turn and run at us. The two times he did, it was definitely dangerous, that's what he is really good at. Daniel reads the game really well and stepped up when he needed to and Andy (Dorman) and Shalrie (Joseph) did a great job patrolling the middle of the park."
On opening day, the Galaxy-Revolution game matchup was in stark contrast to the other five games on the MLS schedule, in which a total 23 goals were scored. Last season, in the three games between the two sides, just five goals were netted. To Reis, the propensity for stalemate is always there when the two sides meet, given the qualities on display.
"I think both teams know that, in these games, mistakes are going to cost them and you don't get too many multi-goal games and the games are really tight," he said. "You saw it in the (MLS Cup) final and in this last game that both teams have good, solid midfields and sometimes they cancel each other out."
Aside from his delight at playing a part in his side's win, Reis was also relieved to make it through 90 minutes with no further tightness in his right hamstring, in which he originally felt a problem during the Revolution's final preseason training camp in Costa Rica. He had been a doubt at the start of last week, but was able to take his place in Steve Nicol's side and felt no further discomfort in the game at The Home Depot Center.
With his side opening the season on the road with a win and with the hamstring problem of no concern to him, Reis is looking forward to this Saturday's game against the New York Red Bulls after which he will report for national team duty along with four other Revs: Taylor Twellman, Clint Dempsey, Steve Ralston and Pat Noonan.
The Californian made his U.S. debut in January and his clean sheet was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring 0-0 tie against Canada. He was slightly unfortunate not to see any action against Norway or Japan, as the Galaxy's Kevin Hartman, behind whom Reis was second in command for five seasons before moving to New England, got the nod from Arena.
Tony Meola has been selected for next week's game and will win his 100th cap. However, Reis' target from the game is more concerned with taking the chance to impress the watching coach and give his World Cup dream the chance to live on a little longer.
"I've just got to make sure I am in the mix. I know I'm on the fringe and, if anything happens to any of the other guys, I'm more than happy to step in," he said. "In terms of getting a chance to play for your country, it's where you want to be and the highest level you can go. To get out and have another chance to play, right before the World Cup, to show what I can do is a great honor."
Andrew Hush is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.