New England Soccer Today

Shuttleworth endeavors for victory

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The last time the Revolution made a trip to the Pacific Northwest, backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth found himself between the pipes for his first MLS start against the score-happy Seattle Sounders back on June 5, 2010.

Bobby Shuttleworth will get the start tonight against Vancouver. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

As fate would have it, a Cinderella story would not unfold. Rather, a nightmare unraveled. The Sounders, in front of a sonically-imposing 36,344 supporters, took the Revolution to the woodshed.  Before the halftime whistle screeched, the hosts hoarded three goals as a shell-shocked Shuttleworth could only watch Seattle’s strikers slice through the defending third.

Tonight, the Revs return to the region for the first time since that devastating 3-0 defeat to face the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field. And, with starting keeper Matt Reis back in Boston healing his strained adductor, Shuttleworth, who’s been tabbed as tonight’s starting keeper by manager Steve Nicol, is ready for another go between the sticks.

“I always try to stay ready to play,” Shuttleworth told the media after practice yesterday. “That’s the life of a number two (keeper). You always have to be ready to play. So, I’m excited for the opportunity for any chance I can get to play.”

And just as it was last June, Shuttleworth will likely have his mitts full against another dangerous and potent opponent tonight. Through its first three matches, the Whitecaps have already scored seven goals, including a four-spot in its season opener.

But, this time around, the keeper will have an improved defending corps in front of him. So, while he may yet face fewer threats this time around, the keeper also hopes to see his teammates put the onus on the hosts with another early lead.

“I think the past few games, we’ve gotten off to really fast starts,” said Shuttleworth. “That’s kind of helped us throughout the games (we’ve played so far).”

In fact, Shuttleworth believes that beating Vancouver, who feature a lethal strikeforce of Camilo, Atiba Harris, and Eric Hassli, to the scoreboard will be crucial to the Revolution’s success tonight.

“I think that’s a big key for (tonight),” said Shuttleworth. “To start off strong and carry that through.”

If the Revs don’t find that opening goal, Shuttleworth knows that the boisterous Empire Field crowd could quickly swallow up any hopes of the guests getting on the same page. After all, it’s not easy to communicate when 20,000 or so supporters make it their mission to rupture their opponents’ eardrums.

“I think it’s probably going to be pretty loud in here,” said Shuttleworth. “They had a lot of people here at their first game. I think communication is key and whatever we can do to avoid getting ourselves in bad situations –  that’s what we want to do.”

Shuttleworth speaks from experience. After last season’s dreadful defeat at Qwest Field, the third-year keeper has already knows how much trouble zealous home crowd – not to mention a goalthirsty attack – can create for a visiting keeper.

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