FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After stemming the tide of four road games in the first five weeks of the season, the New England Revolution are settling into a nice routine on the home front, where they have staunchly battled to protect the integrity of their turf.
The Revs have played three games at Gillette Stadium so far this season and have yet to allow a goal. Being difficult to play against at home is a point of pride for the club, and something they set out to do since the beginning of the campaign.
“We’ve talked about this a lot this year, how we wanted to improve our home record,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth following Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Sporting Kansas City. “We wanted to make this place into a fortress. I think we’ve done that so far this year and it’s something that we need to continue to do.”
New England’s netminder stands as the backbone of the efforts to protect the house, and in the face of an ever-shifting lineup across the pitch, he has provided a comfortable consistency in defending their grounds.
In the heat of a very physical battle with Sporting KC this past weekend, Shuttleworth played a key part in helping the Revolution pick up a late victory. He made one save, pushing aside a solid effort from Sporting’s Alex Martinez in the 59th minute, and came up big in defending crosses and eight corner kick opportunities.
“Kansas City has some big boys that bang bodies on set pieces,” said Chris Tierney. “Bobby was really strong in coming out and dealing with those. He was obviously a huge part in the win and has been really good for us all year.”
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Andrew Farrell added to MLSsoccer.com: “All season [Shuttleworth’s] been great. He’s very vocal. It’s huge, especially for a center back, letting you know when a guy is coming, talking to you every minute of the game.”
Quick to put a 4-0 season-opening loss to Houston aside, Shuttleworth has yielded only five goals in his last seven games. But the only stats that matter to him and his teammates are points, especially those that come with a proper protection of their fortress.
“Something we need to continue to do is grab three points at home,” said Shuttleworth. “Hopefully that translates into us being in the playoffs.”