FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sainey Nyassi came off the bench to score the game’s lone goal as the New England Revolution Reserves defeated the Columbus Crew Reserves, 1-0, on Sunday morning in front of about 30 spectators at the Lower Practice Field at Gillette Stadium.
Nyassi, making just his second reserves appearance of the season while recovering from a hamstring injury, came in as a substitute and two minutes later was there to tap-in a rebound off a John Lozano header to give the Revs a 1-0 lead. Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and the Revs defense held on from there, picking up the team’s second shutout in five reserve games.
“[Shuttleworth’s performance] was big time,” said Revs assistant coach Jay Miller. “Bobby’s solid. No question there. In the goalkeeping department, we feel good.”
The win pushed the Revs (2-2-1, 7 points) into a tie with the Montreal Impact for second place in the MLS Reserves Eastern Division, while handing the first place Crew (4-2-0, 12 points) just their second loss of the season. The Revs Reserves had lost to the Crew in Columbus a week ago by the same 1-0 scoreline.
Both teams struggled to break down the opposition’s defense in the first half before Bernardo Anor threatened for the Crew just after the half hour mark. The Venezuelan midfielder first sent a shot just high from 25 yards on a free kick in the 31st minute and then forced Shuttleworth into a save with a low shot from the top of the box just a minute later.
It was the Crew again on the attack in the 34th minute. This time after a Revs turnover a quick build-up led to an Olman Vargas shot from the top of the box that he curled just wide of the net.
The Revs finally threatened the Crew’s net in the 39th minute. Guest play Dimitry Imbongo sent a low cross towards goal that the Crew defense failed to clear. The ball fell to rookie Alec Purdie, but he sent his shot high from close range.
Anor, who was the offensive catalyst for the Crew all morning until being subbed out in the 67th minute, created another opportunity for his team a minute before halftime. The 24-year-old got the ball in space in the left side of the box and sent a pass back to Cole Grossman. Grossman attempted a quick shot that went through Purdie’s legs and forced Shuttleworth into a difficult save.
Four minutes into the second half it was Anor yet again forcing Shuttleworth into a save with a long shot and later shooting just wide in the 51st minute on a quick counter attack.
The Revs then began to take control on the attack. Blake Brettscheinder combined with Kelyn Rowe down the middle of the field in the 53rd minute, eventually playing Rowe behind the defense. The rookie midfielder was forced into a quick shot by an onrushing Matt Lampson and saw his effort blocked by the ‘keeper.
Brettschneider had a chance of his own three minutes later, but couldn’t direct the ball on frame from close range after Imbongo got to the end line and sent a square pass in front of goal.
The break finally came for the Revs in the 62nd minute after Diego Fagundez sent in a free kick from the left side of the field that found John Lozano. The Colombian center back headed an effort on frame that Lampson saved, but could do nothing about the rebound as Nyassi tapped it in.
“It was a free kick and I was at the far post,” said Nyassi. “I ran in front of the defenders and then turned inside expecting it to drop in front and it happened. The goalie punched it out and I pounced on it.”
The Crew pushed more numbers forward as the match went on, but struggled to break down the Revs defense as Lozano and Darrius Barnes held strong in the center and fullbacks Florian Lechner and Tyler Polak did their parts. Only an 89th minute header from Aaron Horton from about 10 yards looked dangerous, but went just high of the net.
The Revs Reserves return to action on Sunday, July 8, against New York Red Bulls Reserves at Gillette Stadium immediately after the two clubs’ first teams face off.