COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — In a conflict between offensively-limited teams, the New England Revolution made another move in the right direction Saturday.
Distancing themselves further from their three-game scoreless start, the Revolution defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-0, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It was the Revolution’s second straight win, following a 2-1 triumph over San Jose on March 28, and it was their first victory in Colorado since 2002.
“It’s a tough place to play; we’ve got some tired guys in there,’’ said coach Jay Heaps, pointing to the locker room. “I was really excited about how we bent but never broke.’’
In a mix of opportunistic offense and quick, smart, well-organized defense, the Revolution scored early in each half and repeatedly stymied desperate attempts by Colorado, which has yet to score a goal this season.
“They were coming with a lot of numbers and I thought they did a good job to push the game,’’ Heaps said.
Revolution goaltender Bobby Shuttleworth made five saves in his second shutout of the season. In his greatest challenge, Shuttleworth prevented the equalizer late in the first half with a powerful jump and arm extension, getting enough of his left hand on a shot by Dillon Powers to tip it over the crossbar.
“That was pretty unbelievable,’’ Heaps said. “Powers was excellent as well as [Colorado’s Gabriel] Torres and [Juan] Ramirez; they pose a lot of problems.’’
As Powers approached, Shuttleworth prepared perfectly.
“I’m just trying to get close to him, set my feet, and spread myself,’’ he said. “I was fortunate enough to get my hand on it.’’
In the past three weeks, Shuttleworth has seen rapid growth by the New England defense.
“If you look at our last three performances, we are much more organized and our communication is better,’’ he said. “We are keeping tighter lines. It is something we work on every week in training, and we need to keep working on it and not get complacent.’’
While the keeper and Heaps praised the back line play of Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Darrius Barnes, and Chris Tierney, compliments from Kelyn Rowe went to his fellow midfielders.
“I credit Scott [Caldwell] and [Andy] Dorman for sitting in that hole and winning second balls and making sure we are clearing our lines,’’ Rowe said.
Rowe, who scored both goals in the victory over San Jose, made the pass to set up the first goal. A few minutes after switching sides with Juan Agudelo, Rowe won a ball near the sideline and lofted a 45-yard cross-field pass to Agudelo. He controlled it with his left foot, then reloaded, lofting a high arching shot just over leaping Rapids keeper Clint Irwin. It hit the crossbar, bouncing down and in. The goal, in the 18th minute, was the first of the season for Agudelo — and the first allowed by the Rapids this season.
“I saw Kelyn pick his head up and I was able to chip it over,’’ Agudelo said. “I wanted to help my team in a tough place to play. It felt good, my celebration was that I screamed. I knew how important it was to the team to get an early goal [on the road].’’
As the ball hung just inside the goal, Agudelo stormed the line and kicked it again just in case the official didn’t realize it was in.
“That early one set the tone; it gave us a leeway to try some things,’’ Rowe said. “It was a good run from Agudelo. He is one of those guys you want to give the ball when he gets in those positions. He has a great touch out of the air. You’ve seen it many times. He’s just a great player who makes amazing plays. It is not going to be the last one.’’
In the 54th minute, Colorado’s Jared Watts was whistled for knocking down the Revolution’s Charlie Davies. On the ensuing penalty kick, Lee Nguyen netted his first goal of the season, burying a shot in the right corner.