FOXBOROUGH — Working out with the reserve team at the end of practice Friday, Revolution coach Jay Heaps decided to step in and handle the goalkeeping duties.
All 5 feet 8 inches of him.
Then, he took a scorcher off the arm from Jose Moreno.
“Pepe decided to break my arm and watch all in one shot,” Heaps joked.
After switching goalkeepers Sunday in the Revolution’s 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, Heaps said he’s still up in the air about which one he’ll start Saturday against Toronto FC.
He chose to sit the team’s captain and longtime cog Matt Reis Sunday to give Bobby Shuttleworth his first start of the season.
The reward was Shuttleworth’s second career shutout and the Revolution’s third clean sheet in five games.
The dilemma now, though, for Heaps is deciding which direction to choose.
It’s a decision he said he still hadn’t made after Friday’s practice session.
Having to choose between the 37-year-old who earlier in the season surpassed the 100-win plateau and the 25-year-old who came through in a game that was not so quietly considered a must-win among players around the locker room, Heaps was playfully evasive.
“We’re getting there,” he said. “I think we’ve made a decision and I think with our lineup there are a couple different pieces.’’
Then, he grinned and added, “And that’s why practice was closed today.”
Explaining the decision after Sunday’s win, Heaps said Reis, who had started all 16 games this season, needed a rest.
Shuttleworth looked good in reserve matches and Heaps saw Shuttleworth’s height (6 feet 2 inches) and athleticism as assets against the Red Bulls’ aerial attack. He made three saves and the Revolution cruised to their sixth win behind goals from Lee Nguyen and Jerry Bengtson.
The Revolution haven’t lost since May 26, riding a five-game unbeaten streak, their longest wave of success since 2008.
In their past five, they’re 2-0-3, finding ways to come off the field with points, even if it takes last-minute goals, which it has twice, one in their matchup with Toronto FC June 23, when Chris Tierney saved them with a 94th-minute score.
Against Seattle June 30, the Revolution needed another bailout, that time from Diego Fagundez (again in the 94th minute).
When he looks at the run, Heaps says he loves the fight his team has showed down to the last seconds of games, but he was still bothered by some of the goals they allowed to get into those holes.
“To be honest, I’m more disappointed with some of the games within there where we should have had more points,” Heaps said. “There are times during the season when we’re going to get absolutely beat by a team. I just don’t feel like that’s happened yet. I feel like we’ve been in every game. That’s the positive for me.’’
Reis has given up 22 goals this season ( tied for sixth highest in the league), and two each in his past two games before sitting out last week against New York, and even Heaps acknowledged some frustration with the goals allowed and that “we wanted to have a little more.’’
Throughout the season, Heaps has not been afraid to experiment, using a different lineup for almost every game (partially because of injuries). But the recent success has created momentum.
“I think it’s just the attitude of the team,” Tierney said. “We know that we’re good enough that we’re never out of games. I think last year, over the last two years, we’ve gone down and heads have sort of dropped because we weren’t confident that we had the ability to get back and score goals, but this year we know we’re a quality enough side where we can play with anyone and outplay anyone. So it’s just that confidence that’s given us that momentum.”