FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There was almost too much action to properly process what went down in the final five minutes of Saturday afternoon’s 1-1 draw between the New England Revolution and Chicago Fire.
In the 87th minute, Chris Tierney had a golden chance to put the Revs in front when Teal Bunbury’s low cross found him at the back post, but his shot was blocked by fallen teammate Daigo Kobayashi. Three minutes later, Kevin Alston was red-carded for a handball on the line and Chicago was awarded a penalty kick. That set the stage for Bobby Shuttleworth to stop Juan Luis Anangono’s spot-kick and Andy Dorman to clear the follow-up.
There was hardly time to breathe during the hectic sequence, and although Revolution head coach Jay Heaps was disappointed his side hadn’t done more to capitalize after Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa was ejected in the 73rd minute, he was nevertheless happy to leave Toyota Park with a point in hand.
“Right away, we started to move the ball pretty quickly and it looked like we were going to really get something from that and get them tired,” Heaps said. “Then I think we got a little bit relaxed in the fact that we were up a man, so we were trying to probe and find it rather than playing the way we know how to play, and really get the ball moving and play it quicker. We were taking that first pass and looking for the wrong ball at the wrong time.
“But in the end, the way it was going, we went from having a goal on Tierney’s chance, to Bobby making a huge save on a chance for them to win the game. So back and forth, and in the end, we’ll take the draw.”
Shuttleworth secured the draw with his first career penalty save on his fifth try. Anangono – who had never before taken a penalty in MLS – stepped to the spot and hit his effort to Shuttleworth’s right, but the Revolution ‘keeper guessed correctly and got his body behind the shot. Shuttleworth was then alert to recover and get a piece of Jeff Larentowicz’s follow-up attempt before Dorman cleared the ball from danger.
“I made the save and I felt like it took me forever to get up,” Shuttleworth said with a laugh. “Then I’m just trying to spread myself and Dorman does a great job tracking back and finishing out the play.”
In context, Saturday’s road draw will be viewed as a positive result for the Revs, particularly on the back of last weekend’s 2-0 home victory over the Houston Dynamo. Now they’ll look to continue that run of form next weekend when defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City visits Gillette Stadium for a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.
“If you can come on the road in this league and get a point, and then win your games at home, you should be in good shape come playoff time,” said Shuttleworth. “At the end of the day, we’ll take our point and we’ll go home.”