FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps said he has yet to settle on his starting goalkeeper for Saturday's visit from Toronto FC (7:30 pm, TSN2 in Canada/MLS Live in US).
The performance of usual backup Bobby Shuttleworth in Sunday's 2-0 victory over New York has prompted Heaps to leave his options open ahead of the coming game. Shuttleworth could receive his second straight start ahead of veteran Matt Reis after his commanding display against the Red Bulls buttressed his claims for more playing time.
“Last week was a combination of factors,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “We wanted to get Bobby a game. Matt has played a lot of games so far and he has played well. We felt that the mistakes we were making at the back were due to air balls and that happens to be one of Bobby's strengths.
“Bobby got in the game and did a very good job. I think, now, as we get closer to game day, we'll start to think about those hard decisions about who starts in goal.”
Although the dilemma raises some complications for Heaps and the Revs ahead of TFC's visit, it also provides the type of competition required to push the side forward, according to Heaps.
“I'd rather be dealing with hard decisions,” Heaps said. “When you can pick our lineup day in and day out, there's a good thing to that – back when we used to play the same lineup for a period of games, that's great – but I like it when guys are pushing each other. I really do. It increases the intensity in practice and it increases the intensity on the field.”
Moreno continues his recovery
The return of José Moreno would prompt similar selection headaches up front. The Colombian forward has not featured since sustaining a left ankle sprain in the 0-0 draw with Columbus on June 16, but he has returned to the training field in a bid to make his return to the side.
Moreno was listed as questionable on the Tuesday injury report, but Heaps said the striker continues to make strides with each passing day.
“Pepe is someone we want to get back to full fitness and get back on the field,” Heaps said. “Each day, he seems to get better by leaps and bounds. He's showing [well] and he's fighting for his time.”