Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By KEVIN KOCZWARA
It was a tough way to be introduced to a game.
Bobby Shuttleworth’s first action when he came on for New England Revolution on Sunday night was to try and stop a penalty, after Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis had just been given a red card for bringing down Montreal Impact forward Marco Di Vaio in the penalty area. Shuttleworth was unable to stop the ensuing penalty and New England was never able to recover after going a man-down and a goal-down in just the fifth minute. The Revs eventually lost to the Impact, 4-2.
Shuttleworth will have a better chance this weekend to help the Revolution get back on their winning ways as he returns to the team as a starter this weekend when the Revolution head to Chicago to take on the Fire because Reis’s suspension.
The 26-year-old shot stopper has made 21 starts for the Revolution this season, posting a 7-10-5 record and a 1.23 goals against average, with nine shutouts. The only reason he lost the starting job to Reis, New England’s long-time No.1 goalkeeper, was because coach jay Heaps felt the team needed a boost after its Aug. 10 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Now it’s his turn to try and claim it again.
“It was a competition when Matt (Reis) jumped in and Bobby (Shuttleworth) never really fell off. It was we just needed an uptick and Matt brought it,” said Heaps after practice on Tuesday. “And now Bobby gets another chance.”
Here are some more notes from this week’s Revolution training:
AGUDELO INJURY UPDATE
Juan Agudelo quickly became an important part of what Heaps was trying to do with the Revolution. after being traded to New England earlier this year.
The former Chivas USA and New York Red Bulls forward started strong since being traded to New England and looked like the goal-scoring forward the Revs have been missing since Taylor Twellman was forced to retire, but injuries have hampered Agudelo’s season and his latest, hamstring-related, forced him to miss last weekend’s game against Montreal. But, according to Heaps, Agudelo could be an option come Saturday if he progresses well during the week and is able to recover.
According to Heaps, the big question will be how the team decides to use Agudelo — rush him back into the starting line-up, use him off the bench or leave him back in Boston — it will be sorted out by the medical staff before Saturday’s game.
Nothing seems to be phasing Kelyn Rowe right now. The Revolution midfielder is in the midst of the best form of his short career.
The second-year midfielder has scored four goals in the Revolution’s last four games and has now either recorded an assist or a goal in as many games. Rowe has scored six goals and added seven assists to his tally this season.
This season’s totals are already a higher increase than his final output last season, when he played 30 games but only scored three times and dished out five assists.
HELP RECEIVED FROM AROUND THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
Losing to Montreal could have been a huge blow to the Revolution’s playoff hopes, but the side was lucky last weekend as other teams failed to move up the standings.
Both Houston, who is tied on points with the Revs, and Chicago, which are two points behind New England and Houston with 35 points, both lost last weekend as well. Currently, the Revs are two points back of fourth place Philadelphia Union.
If the Revolution can beat the Fire on Saturday they will find themselves with a bit of breathing room in fifth place and on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season.
Do you see Shuttleworth continuing his solid form? Do you see Agudelo starting this weekend? Do you believe Rowe can keep playing well the rest of the season?
Share your thoughts below.