FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Just 18 minutes into Saturday’s match against Chivas USA, New England Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was presented with the first of a four-part test, only this one was a bit of a pop quiz.
With his back to goal, Chivas USA forward Felix Borja battled hard with Scott Caldwell before turning and blasting a shot between two Revs defenders. As quickly as the shot was taken, Shuttleworth reacted with a full extension to his left, pushing the effort aside for the first of four big saves he would make in helping the Revolution to a 1-0 victory.
“I’m not really sure how it kind of landed to him, but he did well to turn his hips and take a shot,” said Shuttleworth after the match. “I think it was either A.J. [Soares] or Jose [Goncalves] was tight and kind of took away the right side, so I knew he could only kind of throw his hips and shoot to the left. Lucky enough, I was able to be in the right spot.”
Shuttleworth had enough answers for any test on Saturday, securing his sixth shutout of the season and second in the club’s last four matches. It was an impressive outing from the goalkeeper, who will need to continue to lead the back line as New England tries to overcome its mid-season slump and chase a playoff spot.
“Those are the types of games where, especially at home, we've got to grind it out, get three points,” said Shuttleworth. “It definitely wasn’t our best stuff, but it’s three points in the bank, and we can look forward to Toronto next week.”
Shuttleworth's numbers (8-11-3, 1.36 goals-against-average, 67 saves) currently stand very similar to his 2013 totals (7-11-5, 1.31, 64 saves), when he was replaced in the lineup by Matt Reis and the Revolution went 4-0-2 down the stretch to finish third in the Eastern Conference.
This year, Shuttleworth is expected to continue as the starter, and the Revolution will require complete performances like Saturday's, when Shuttleworth was called on to make four saves despite New England controlling possession much of the night.
With the game scoreless, Shuttleworth made another diving stop to his left in the 51st minute on Agustin Pelletieri, opening the door for Lee Nugyen's winner five minutes later. The sixth-year goalkeeper also had to dea with a header from recent Mexico call-up Erick 'Cubo' Torres in the 71st minute, and Shuttleworth pawed the ball aside once more, preserving the 1-0 lead.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps said Shuttleworth's steady hands helped inspire New England as they held on for the win.
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“In the second half, that save that he made looked a lot easier than [it was], but he positioned himself perfectly,” Heaps said of the save on Torres. “That save gave us the spark to go for a little bit more. When you have your keeper, he makes two huge saves and you want to go forward.”