It’s difficult to take a penalty because the pressure escalates when you’re one-on-one with the goalkeeper. This statement is especially true when you’re facing a former teammate.
On Saturday, the New England Revolution received two penalties while playing Minnesota United FC. On both occasions, the Revs had to face former teammate Bobby Shuttleworth, who spent eight seasons playing at Gillette Stadium.
The first person to step up was Lee Nguyen, who’s no stranger to taking penalties. In fact, he’s done it plenty of times against Shuttleworth during practices.
“It’s always a mind game but it’s just more of a mind game now that it’s Bobby because we’ve done it so many times in training,” Nguyen said. “But in those situations I always feel like I’ll have the advantage.”
If Nguyen had any nerves, it wasn’t obvious, as he slotted his attempt past a diving Shuttleworth. The goal gave the home side a 3-1 lead.
In the 53rd minute, the Revs returned to the spot, though Nguyen handed off the duties to Chris Tierney. The local product, now in his 10th season with the Revs, was celebrating his 200th start. As such, it only seemed appropriate that he would get a goal of his own.
Tierney finished the opportunity, putting a fitting cap on a special night.
“We can’t draw it up,” head coach Jay Heaps noted. “That was really Lee [Nguyen] being a leader, in saying, ‘I think that Chris, if he’s confident, Chris is good at penalty kicks. Why don’t you take it?’ I think it was a nod from Lee and the team, for Chris.”