USMNT: Bobby Shuttleworth Deserves Consideration


The name on Major League Soccer and U.S. National Team fans lips now is Lee Nguyen, but after another dominant performance last night against the Columbus Crew, Bobby Shuttleworth deserves to be in the conversation for a future U.S. Men’s National Team call-up.

Jurgen Klinsmann struggles with finding a balance between players from Europe and from Major League Soccer for the USMNT. If there is one place where the USMNT has depth, it is goalkeeper. Tim Howard and Brad Guzan own the starting spot for all major international competitions, for the time being.

While a call-up for Shuttleworth is incredibly unlikely, his 2014 campaign gives him solid ground to make an argument for inclusion over Real Salt Lake and FIFA World Cup veteran Nick Rimando. Chicago Fire and DC United goalkeepers Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid also see action on the international stage for time to time.

All three previously listed goalkeepers lacked what it takes to keep their respective clubs in the 2014 MLS Playoffs. Johnson and the Fire never made it, but his poor play, mixed with offensive issues in Chicago, gave the team no chance at being a true playoff contender.

More from New England Revolution

Rimando and Hamid each saw their respective teams crash out of the 2014 MLS Playoffs. RSL always finds a way to challenge for the Cup, but their hopes were destroyed by Landon Donovan’s hat-trick performance for the LA Galaxy last night.

Hamid needed to stop Bradley Wright-Phillips and the Red Bulls’ explosive attack, but never came to the aid of his failing club. Thus, United, the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, bowed out early and left many fans wondering what went wrong.

While all three of these goalkeepers from Major League Soccer are in the USMNT system, all three gave Klinsmann reason to look elsewhere for the upcoming friendlies in January and the 2016 Copa America. Shuttleworth is that answer and is a better goalkeeper than those previously listed.

The door for MLS goalkeepers to join the USMNT is open, but crowded. Shuttleworth finished the 2014 regular season with 94 saves, 40 goals against and a 1.25 goals against average. During the 2014 MLS Playoffs, Shuttleworth has allowed only three goals in two games, made 10 saves and helped lead New England to a 7-3 aggregate win over Columbus. More than once this season, Shuttleworth bailed out the Revolution back-line, continually proving just how invaluable he is to his club and potentially his country.

New England faces a difficult slate of games against the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship, starting on November 23. Aside from players like Jermaine Jones and Nguyen stepping up for the Revs, Shuttleworth needs to continue to prove his worth to the club and show just how dangerous he is in-goal.

If New England wins the 2014 MLS Cup, it will come from Shuttleworth stepping-up and making marquee saves at crucial points in the remaining matches.