New England hasn’t worked out all the offensive kinks – not by a long shot. But Jay Heaps’ team has mostly sorted out its defense.
The Revs still needed a bunch of good work from goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, but the bottom line was a 0-0 draw Thursday in Oregon with a Portland Timbers side that knows how to attack.
The Revolution has allowed just six goals in eight matches this year. That kind of stinginess will keep Heaps’ team in a lot of game until they find a better crop of strikers to work with a midfield that looks fairly potent on the attack, mostly due to Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe.
This was New England’s third scoreless draw this year. It’s not dynamic, but it works for now – especially for a team that last made the playoffs in 2009. It’s certainly a formula that works well enough on the road, where New England has collected five of a possible 15 points while allowing just five goals.
Also deserving of consideration here was a depleted Revolution back line; injuries and the suspension of Chris Tierney had left New England with just three healthy, veteran defenders plus one call-up.
Again, though, Shuttleworth’s great work highlighted this one. He had nine saves while keeping the starting assignment in favor of veteran Matt Reis.
(And for all of Shuttleworth’s outstanding work, Donovan Ricketts’ 85th minute save on a seeing-eyed Saer Sene shot headed toward the lower right corner may have been the game’s best. These were two ‘keepers on their game Thursday.)