FOXBOROUGH, Mass – The Revolution used two second half goals to down the Columbus Crew and snap their 10-game winless streak – their longest since 1999. Striker Dimitry Imbongo slotted home his first MLS goal and Chad Marshall scored an own goal as the Revolution won for the first time since July 8th.
“Well, it was a good result for us,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “It was nice to end this [winless] streak to be honest with you. Just a tough road, but I think the guys came out tonight and played really well. Showed a lot of heart. Had a lot of guys getting opportunities tonight and I thought a lot of them did well to earn more time.”
The win for New England snapped Columbus’ four game win streak and six game unbeaten streak. It was the Revolution’s first win against Columbus since 2009 and their first win at Gillette Stadium against the Crew since 2006.
“It was all the little things tonight” Heaps added. “That’s what I’m really most proud of. Even at the end of the game, Fernando (Cardenas) drawing that foul and taking it, and then the guys rallying around each other when Kevin (Alston) got kicked at the end. Those are really important things, and things we’re getting better at and things we need to continue to get better at.”
The Revolution had six shots on target in the first half, but were robbed on a couple occasions by Crew goalie Andy Gruenebaum. They did not allow single shot on frame by the Crew in the first half.
In the second half, the Revs came out pressing and saw a positive result from it.
Just 7 minutes into the second half, midfielder Lee Nguyen beat a defender and then split through two more before rocketing his attempt above the bar. But seconds later, a long throw from defender Flo Lechner helped to give the Revs the lead.
Lechner’s long throw targeted Imbongo, who leapt in, getting the slightest flick for the ball to fall behind him. Striker Diego Fagundez ran onto the ball and beat Gruenebaum low to the right as the forward fell, only see to see his shot clank off the post. As Fagundez was getting up, the rebound deflected off his left foot into the middle of the area in front of a wide open net, where a streaking Imbongo buried it.
“I thought (Dimitry) Imbongo was excellent tonight,” Heaps said of the game-winning goal scorer. “He worked hard. He battled Chad Marshall, who is arguably one of the best center backs in the league and the best player in the air. And I thought Dimitry absolutely met him challenge for challenge, and step for step, and it was a really good game for Imbongo.”
It looked as though the Revolution had taken a two goal lead just minutes later as Stephen McCarthy headed home Nguyen’s free kick, but it was deemed McCarthy started in an offside position.
New England scored again in the 74’ minute, and this one counted. Revolution goalie Matt Reis sent a long ball that was flicked on by Chris Tierney – a 73rd minute substitution making his 100th Revolution appearance – towards the Crew’s 18-yard box. As Imbongo chased after the ball, Crew captain Chad Marshall tracked it down and headed it back towards goal.
Only one problem – Gruenebaum was charging out for the ball himself. The ball sailed over Gruenebaum and bounced into the net, giving the Revs a 2-0 lead.
It’s the second straight shutout for Reis and a new-look Revolution defense. Kevin Alston played his second straight game at left back while Lechner made his second straight start at right back. Darrius Barnes started at left center back.
“I think [Stephen McCarthy and Darrius Barnes] read the game well together,” Heaps said of the new center back duo. “I think McCarthy is playing with a lot of confidence right now. He making the right reads, he’s stepping up andunfortunately had a goal called back tonight. And I think Darrius has been waiting for his chance. He’s stepped up and done really well.”
Reis was able to help preserve the shutout win with a candidate for Save of the Week. First, Reis got a paw to Federico Hiquain’s blast from the corner of the six yard box to deflect it up and off the cross bar. Seconds later, Marshall’s bicycle attempt was redirected by a Jairo Arrieta header from just yards out, but again Reis got a glove to it to push it wide.
“With the help of all the guys around me and Matt (Reis), we’ve been able to come up with a couple of shutouts,” Barnes said. “It feels like we’re getting into a little bit of a flow right now.”
After finishing their three-game home stand unbeaten, the Revs will now have a weekend off before resuming play on September 15th, when they travel to play D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
“It’s unfortunate that we have an off week this week because we’ve been playing well these past two games defensively, but I think the rest this week is much needed and I think we’ll be ready to go in D.C. in two weeks,” Barnes added.