During the offseason, the New England Revolution brass appeared content to let Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton battle for the spot that steady veteran Matt Reis held for nearly a decade. But on Friday, a wild card entered the fray.
Matt Pickens, who’s collected 154 career starts during his 10-year MLS career, was acquired by the Revolution via the Waiver Draft a day after the Western Conference side cut ties with its longtime keeper.
Pickens, 31, was the Rapids starter from 2009 to the early part of the 2013 before broken arm sidelined him and allowed former Revolution trialist Clint Irwin to take over between the sticks. During his time in Colorado (2009-2014), Pickens became the standard bearer, setting club goalkeeping records for games (116), wins (41) and clean sheets (29). He also helped Colorado claim its first MLS championship in 2010.
In a strange twist of fate, Pickens was the opposing keeper the night Reis clinched his 100th career victory – a 2-1 win over the Rapids at Gillette Stadium - on May 2, 2012.
With Pickens in the mix, the Revolution now boast three goalkeepers with starting experience. But unlike Shuttleworth and Knighton, Pickens has a proven track record of sustained success. Over the course of 10 seasons in MLS, he’s collected 154 career starts, 40 clean sheets, while recording a 1.25 GAA. In 2008, he spent a brief spell with Queens Park Rangers before returning to MLS in 2009.
But after suffering a broken arm at the start of the 2013 season, Pickens has only played in two games since the injury. He was not among the gameday 18 during the Rapids’ season-opening 1-1 draw at New York last week.
In addition to second-year keeper Luis Soffner, who was loaned to USL-PRO affiliate Rochester, the Revolution currently carry four goalkeepers, the most the club has carried in recent memory.
With Pickens in the fold, the Revolution roster stands at 28, two shy of the maximum.