Minnesota United made a less-expected roster announcement Tuesday, sending Bobby Shuttleworth on loan to USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC. The move is under the standard USL loan agreement, meaning that Shuttleworth is eligible to be recalled at Minnesota’s discretion at any point during the loan. Per a team statement, he’ll remain with the Loons through Saturday’s game at FC Dallas before joining the Republic.
Acquired via trade from New England, Shuttleworth made 58 league appearances for the Loons, making 32 straight starts after relieving an injured John Alvbage in the team’s 2017 home opener. His 116 saves put him second in the league that season and included a pair of penalty spots; he also became a cult hero as he played through a broken nose sustained in a May match against Sporting Kansas City. After suffering vertigo symptoms during preseason in 2018, Shuttleworth re-emerged as the team’s starter after Matt Lampson started the first six games, ultimately notching two clean sheets in 25 appearances before missing the final three matches of the year with concussion symptoms.
Shuttleworth found playing time scarce in 2019 following the addition of Vito Mannone, appearing 15 times on the bench between league and U.S. Open Cup play. After his run-out in July 17’s friendly against Aston Villa, the 32-year old admitted his frustration about not getting more chances. “I like it here in Minnesota, but obviously I want to play games,” Shuttleworth said. “I don’t think I’m at a point in my career where I’m comfortable being a No. 2. I’m here to push Vito and Dayne as much as I can and try to play. If I’m not going to play here, then ultimately I’m going to have to take it somewhere else where I can play. I’m not ready in my career yet to take a backseat.”
Moving Shuttleworth on loan signals that the Loons have been impressed enough with 2019 SuperDraftee Dayne St. Clair to keep him with the first team. The 22-year old has played in four matches for MNUFC’s affiliate Forward Madison FC (including last Wednesday’s trip to face his hometown club Toronto FC II), allowing only three goals in that time. St. Clair has made the bench for the Loons eleven times in all competitions and started in the team’s 1-0 friendly loss against Hertha Berlin on May 22.
Shuttleworth will join a Sacramento club that is level on points with OKC Energy FC for the final spot in the USLC’s Western Conference after a 3-2 win last Saturday away to San Antonio FC. The Republic transferred starter Joshua Cohen to Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League on July 19, leaving former New York Red Bull Rafael Diaz and 16-year old academy product Diego Ramos as the team’s only goalkeepers.