The New England Revolution fought hard to earn a 0-0 draw away at the Portland Timbers on Thursday night, extending their shutout and unbeaten streak to two games. Darrius Barnes and Bilal Duckett made their first starts of the season, filling in admirably on the left and right flanks, to combine with Jose Goncalves and Stephen McCarthy in ushering the Revolution defense to yet another positive result.
Also in form was Bobby Shuttleworth, quickly establishing himself as the Revolution’s first-choice goalkeeper, who made nine saves. The Revolution may have had only 30 percent of the possession and needed to rely on Shuttleworth and their defense, but they did have plenty of opportunities score.
New England’s attacks came in spells, while Portland were more consistent offensively throughout the game.
Darlington Nagbe had the game’s first chance, forcing a diving save by Shuttleworth at the near post in the 12th minute. Shuttleworth came up big again in the 15th minute when Diego Chara played Nagbe in behind the defense. Nagbe ran onto the pass and fired toward goal, though Shuttleworth knocked the shot away to keep the game level.
The Revolution’s defense, which proved it can remain solid no matter which player features on the back line, seemed to have Chara’s number all night. Chara entered the game with three assists–the league leader–but was prevented from scoring or connecting with any of his Timbers teammates. Shutting down Chara handed the Timbers their first result in which they’ve been shutout in 2013.
New England’s offense flexed its muscles for the first time in the 33rd minute when Jerry Bengston forced a save out of Donovan Ricketts. Though the Revolution had minimal chances in the first half, they competed in midfield enough to frustrate the Timbers.
In hopes of taking some midfield control, Jay Heaps brought on Scott Caldwell for Kalifa Cisse at the start of the second half. But Caldwell wouldn’t be enough to slow down the Timbers, who called the shots for most of the second half.
Shuttleworth had to make saves on a volley from Ryan Johnson (53rd), a curling shot from the right side of the penalty area by Diego Valeri (59th), and a low drive by Frederic Piquionne (70th).
His best save came in the 84th minute when Chara entered the penalty area and curled a shot to the far post. Shuttleworth tipped the ball away, which sprung the Revolution’s best scoring chance. Saer Sene, who came on midway through the second half, ran onto a loose ball in the Portland penalty area and shot low, forcing a diving save out of Ricketts.
Though Jair Marufo called five minutes of extra stoppage time, Portland was unable to convert. The Revolution frustrated the Timbers at the end of the game with offensive pressure, racking up four late corner kicks to keep possession out of their end of the field.
The Revolution’s next game is Wednesday against Real Salt Lake at Gillette Stadium.