CHESTER, Pa. — Bobby Shuttleworth’s first turn as the Revolution’s goalkeeper in 2013 didn’t change New England’s luck against the Philadelphia Union at a very chilly PPL Park Saturday.
A game-time temperature of 36 degrees along with a stiff breeze off the Delaware Riverfront and persistent light rain and snow greeted Shuttleworth and the Revolution, who never warmed up offensively during a 1-0 setback to the Union.
Jack McInerney’s goal in the 76th minute, his fourth career marker against the Revolution, proved to be the difference as the Union stayed unbeaten against New England. The Revolution have never beaten Philadelphia in MLS play, falling to 0-5-3.
“We are disappointed,” said New England coach Jay Heaps. “We gave up the goal in the end. It’s a tough way to lose a game. I thought we played well enough to earn a point.”
Veteran Matt Reis and Shuttleworth have spent the past 2½ months jockeying for the starting spot after entering training camp on level terms.
Reis, the established fixture between the pipes, earned the nod for the season opener in Chicago a week ago and delivered with a clean sheet as the Revolution earned a 1-0 win.
Shuttleworth, the rising backup with an eye on regular play after finishing last year’s disappointing season with five consecutive starts, certainly wasn’t overmatched but couldn’t deliver the same results.
“He played well,” Heaps said. “We put a lot of work and effort in to get prepared and have an opportunity to win games. This is one that came down to a set piece goal.”
Dangerous Union striker Sebastien Le Toux lofted that perfect set piece off a corner kick into the area and McInerney headed toward the net. Shuttleworth did well to fend it off but couldn’t corral the rebound and McInerney was able to deposit it from point-blank range.
Shuttleworth had kept the Revolution in it moments earlier, making a brilliant diving stop off a Michael Lahoud try from inside the area.
“The conditions were tough out there,” said Union coach John Hackworth. “I’m so proud of our guys who found a way to win. Jack just finds a way; it’s great to see him get a second straight game-winner.”
The Union dominated possession throughout and really began pressing in the second half. Philadelphia didn’t muster a single corner kick in the opening 45 minutes of play but generated four in short order before the Revolution finally wilted on the last attempt.
The Revolution’s best chance to even it came in stoppage time when Jerry Bengtson, coming off the winning tally in Chicago during the season opener, ripped a shot from the center of the box that flew over the top left corner of the goal.
New England finished with 11 attempts on goal, two of which found the target compared with nine attempts on goal by Philadelphia and four on net. The Union were also the far busier team.
The Revolution’s best scoring chances came early in the contest. A foul just outside the box by Philadelphia defender Raymon Gaddis gave the Revolution a golden opportunity early but Lee Nguyen’s free kick in the fourth minute was blocked by Union midfielder Danny Cruz, who was struck in the face and forced to leave.
Hackworth didn’t want to surrender momentum early and wasn’t a man down for long, quickly burning a substitution by inserting Lahoud in the eighth minute of play.
Bengtson got his first good look in the 35th minute when Nguyen slipped it to him in back of the Union defense on the left side of the box. Bengtson was able to get off a solid right-footed shot but Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath made a nice save with his left leg extended.
Juan Carlos Toja earned a phantom tripping call off the Union’s Amobi Okugo in the 43d minute, giving Nguyen another free kick from just outside the area. It was blocked again, however, and the sides went to the locker room scoreless.