FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth understands why some people might look at the final three games of the Revolution's season and deem them fairly irrelevant.
He just doesn't buy into the concept that the Revolution's inability to qualify for the playoffs strips away all of the meaning from this final trio of games.
“I don't think, as a team, we can look at it like that,” Shuttleworth told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “We're professional soccer players. We're paid to come out here, play every day, work our tails off and try to get a result. At the end of the day, we're playing for this club and we have to represent the club in the best way.”
While results have not often fallen the Revs' way this season, they have usually played for the shirt and toiled earnestly for the cause. This uncomfortable scenario – and the corresponding challenge issued to a player's pride and professionalism – should not alter that well-established method of approaching matches, according to New England coach Steve Nicol.
“We want to win games,” Nicol said. “It's all about pride now. We need to step on the field Saturday [and win]. If people are going to come and watch us, then we need to give them some [heart].”
The fans represent one inspiration for the Revs at this juncture, but there are also future considerations at stake.
Job security remains an elusive and tenuous prospect at this point for almost everyone involved with the side – most notably Nicol and soon-to-be out-of-contract captain Shalrie Joseph – given how the season has progressed.
The next step toward securing a berth in next year's squad – or sealing a move to another MLS club – likely starts with submitting a decent performance or two over the next trio of games.
Collective needs, however, still carry the day as the Revs attempt to partially salve the wounds of missing out on the postseason by wrapping up the campaign on a positive note.
“The guys are more frustrated than anything else, knowing that we lost our chance to get into the playoffs,” Joseph said. “But the important thing is that we try to stay healthy, finish the season right and get a couple of wins.”