Bobby Shuttleworth, who was the Revs keeper during their 2014 MLS Cup Final run, is on a bit of a... * looks around * ... hot streak for the Fire, notching two shutouts in three starts since being named the starter.
The Revs have struggled to finish chances of late, and have tinkered with their lineup to replace the injured playmaker Carles Gil in central midfield. Until their defeat to NYCFC in their last match, New England had been on a 7 match unbeaten streak in MLS play including the MLS is back tournament. However, since soccer resumed with the MLS is Back, the Revs have only scored 5 goals and only one multi-goal game in that span against DC United.
So it’s looking like Matt Turner and Bobby Shuttleworth could be inline for shutouts today, though the Fire defense hasn’t been stellar for the bulk of the year. We chat with our friends from Hot Time in Old Town and Patrick McCraney’s expertise on the Fire.
TBM: With two shutouts in his last two games and a 1-1-1 record, is it safe to say our old friend Bobby Shuttleworth is the starting keeper for good in Chicago and have you started printing “Bobby Shutouts” T-shirts in the Fire team store?
PM: Bobby Shutouts has been very good. This is no surprise to Revs fans, but he’s calm and steady in net. He’s probably not as good with his feet as Kenneth Kronholm was, but I think Shuttleworth may actually be a better shot stopper. Even in the one loss he suffered to Columbus, I really don’t think he could have stopped any of the three goals. With the Fire, Bobby’s also teamed up with another former Revs player—goalkeeper coach Adin Brown. Hopefully Bobby’s run of form continues.
TBM: Staying with the defense, the Revs have struggled without Carles Gil in recent games to finish goals. Besides stellar goalkeeping what has worked defensively in the past few games for Chicago.
PM: Yes, the Fire have had two shutouts in the last three matches, but they’ve actually struggled defensively this season. They have a tendency to switch off and allow soft goals, either through poor marking, or poor positioning that leaves gaps or leaves players onside.
TBM: Chicago finds themselves near the bottom of the East and didn’t make it out of the MLS is Back group stages, explain...no, there is too much, sum up the Fire’s troubles so far this year and what about the Revs lineup could trouble Chicago?
PM: The Fire have struggled in two extremely key areas—finishing scoring chances and, like I mentioned above, mental mistakes on defense. (Remember Francisco Calvo’s marking on Adam Buksa in March? That’s what I’m talking about). There will be instances of both against the Revs. If the Revs can capitalize when the Fire make a defensive error, they’ll score—unless Shuttleworth gets in the way.
My prediction? I’ll say it goes the same way as March—a 1-1 draw.