Minnesota United FC might be new to MLS, but they could lean on a familiar face when they visit Gillette Stadium this weekend.
Bobby Shuttleworth, who was a member of the New England Revolution from 2009-2017, started for his new club last Saturday. The netminder made his debut a week earlier, replacing John Alvbage. Alvbage is recovering well since suffering a knee laceration, but head coach Adrian Heath believes it might be a "bit too early" to stick him between the pipes. This could mean that the Revs will be facing a former teammate.
"It’ll be certainly strange," Revs coach Jay Heaps told media. "Most of his career, [he] was coached by Remi Roy. Our coaching staff really liked Bobby. We’re excited to have him get the opportunity he’s getting in Minnesota and I think it’s something that he was really itching to get."
Shuttleworth joined the Revs in 2009 but didn't become a full-time starter until Matt Reis retired in 2013. The New York native lost his first-choice status towards the end of 2016, as he was replaced by Brad Knighton.
The Revs kept their options open heading into this season with Shuttleworth, Knighton, Cody Cropper, and Matt Turner all vying for the top spot. In the end, Cropper was named the starter with Shuttleworth being traded to Minnesota in exchange for Femi Hollinger-Janzen.
One month after the trade, the Revolution could be in line to play against Shuttleworth. Facing a former teammate can be difficult but the Revs believe they'll be able to sneak a shot or two past Shuttleworth.
"Playing against your friends is usually not easy, or playing against old teammates, because you kind of know each other’s strengths and weaknesses a little bit," Kei Kamara said. "The one thing I know is all the goalkeepers I’ve played with, I never try to show them everything that I can do. So, definitely going to have some little things here and there for Bobby, but he’s going to be sharp."