It’s often said that when a penalty kick situation arrives, the pressure falls on the penalty taker rather than the goalkeeper. But the opposite was true in the final moments of Saturday’s 1-1 draw between the Revolution and Fire.
With the Revolution holding the man-advantage following Quincy Amerikwa’s 73rd-minute dismissal, and the match knotted at one apiece, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth must have felt as if a pair of sandbags had been dropped on his shoulders when Juan Luis Anangono stepped up to take a 91st-minute penalty.
The math was simple: If Anangono scores, the Fire win and the Revolution come away with nothing, despite Amerikwa’s dismissal. However, if Shuttleworth makes the save, the Revolution survive to pocket the point.
So with Anangono awaiting referee Sorin Stoica’s whistle, Shuttleworth simply tried to break down the situation as best as he could to save the game for his teammates.
“I’m just trying to pick up (Anangono’s) body shape and read him a bit,” Shuttleworth told the media after the match. “Hopefully, just (take) an educated guess, spread myself, and try to make the save.”
As Anangono slowly approached it, Shuttleworth leaned to his right. The shot, which was far from confidently stuck, skipped right to the Revolution keeper. But the spotlight wasn’t off Shuttleworth just yet.
Unable to corral the shot completely, the rebound spilled right in front of him to an onrushing Jeff Larentowicz. The Fire captain tried to shove it past Shuttleworth, who could only throw himself into the path of Larentowicz’s shot.
“I made the save and I felt like it took me forever to get up,” Shuttleworth said. “Then I’m just trying to spread myself and (Andy) Dorman does a great job tracking back and finishing out the play.”
Indeed, it wasn’t until Dorman cleared the ball out of harm’s way that Shuttleworth’s work was done. Work that not only stopped the Fire from grabbing the game-winner, but saved his teammates’ hides in the latter stages of the second half.
The Revolution had 17 with the man advantage, and within that span, allowed the Fire too many chances to score a shorthanded goal.
“I think we got a little bit relaxed in the fact that we were up a man,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “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.”
Despite the Revolution’s inability to capitalize from the man-advantage situation, Shuttleworth was ready and able to rescue them from the depths of an embarrassing defeat.
“He came up high on set pieces, and crosses, and he owned the box,” Heaps said. “He didn’t have a ton of work to do, but when he was called upon to make the penalty kick save, he did it right, and that’s a huge one.”