FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – By this stage of his MLS career, Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth understands the frustrating rhythms to his work week.
He attacks his usual duties during training and takes as many reps as possible to keep himself sharp. Then he watches from the bench as veteran No. 1 Matt Reis assumes his usual spot between the sticks when the game starts.
Every so often, Shuttleworth will feature in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup game (he played all 120 minutes in the wild defeat at Harrisburg earlier this year) or a Reserve League match. Most of the time Shuttleworth just practices with his teammates and waits patiently for a chance to show what he can do against MLS foes.
“It's been a long season for me so far, not being able to get into a MLS game yet this year,” Shuttleworth told MLSsoccer.com after he made his first league start of the season in Sunday's 2-0 victory over New York. “So when they told me, I was anxious for Sunday to get in the game and get to playing.”
There were plenty of motivating factors for Shuttleworth as he took over for Reis in the win over New York. He felt the need to help his teammates in whatever way he could as they tried to extend their season-best unbeaten run to five games. He hoped to break his personal winless drought of eight matches and notch his first victory in MLS play since Oct. 16, 2010. And he really, really wanted to step out onto the field and show well in a competitive league match.
“I'm working every week to try to play,” Shuttleworth said. “Any opportunity I can get, I'm going to try to take it.”
Revolution coach Jay Heaps said he inserted Shuttleworth into the lineup for a number of reasons, but he noted that his regular backup accomplished one of his primary tasks – taking control of the penalty area – particularly well.
“I thought Bobby did an excellent job [against New York],” Heaps said. “He communicated. He did well on crosses. Quite frankly, Bobby's been playing really well in training and in the reserve games. I put a hard focus on reserve games and Bobby's had a good run in those.”
Shuttleworth credited his teammates – including the supportive Reis – for ensuring his first step into the starting role this season went smoothly and permitting him to perhaps push forward in his quest to disrupt his usual routine as the campaign progresses.
“I can't say enough about what the guys did [against New York],” Shuttleworth said. “We kept a tight line. They didn't really have that many chances. The one where [Kenny] Cooper hits the post, other than that, I can't think of a chance they had, really. We kept everything in front of us and stayed sharp.”