New England Soccer Today

#CLBvNE Play-off History: Revs Unbeaten

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

The New England Revolution have twice faced the Columbus Crew in the playoffs and came out on top both times. In 2002, the Revolution advanced past the Crew in the then best-of-three Eastern Conference Finals, drawing both home games at Gillette Stadium, but coming up with a huge 1-0 road win, behind a Jay Heaps game winning goal, to advance to their first ever MLS Cup. In 2004, the Revolution snuck into the playoffs as the fourth and last seed in the East, but upset the first seeded Crew 2-1 over a two leg aggregate series to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

The Crew and Revolution of a decade ago may have little similarities to the modern teams, but there’s no doubt the Revolution, unbeaten in five playoff games (2 wins, 3 draws) against the Crew, have had the better of Columbus in the postseason.

Here’s a look at those past series:


The Revolution had never won a playoff series heading into the 2002 postseason, but rode a wave of momentum heading into the playoffs that saw them grab the top spot—despite sitting at 7-14-1 with 6 games to go—with a 5-0-1 run to finish the regular season. Just one less win would’ve seen the club out of the play-offs, yet things fell perfectly for New England to grab the top seed, also thanks in part to besting the second place Crew who were tied with 38 points thanks to a 2-1-1 head-to-head advantage.

New England then defeated the Chicago Fire two wins to one in the first round of the playoffs, winning both home legs, to set-up a match-up with the Crew. Columbus had defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, holders of the second best record in MLS in two games, so they had the extra rest.

Game 1: Revolution 0, Crew 0

New England had home field advantage for the Eastern Conference Final, but essentially gave it up by failing to take advantage in the first leg. The Crew outshot New England 17 to 12 and only seven saves from Adin Brown allowed New England to salvage a 0-0 draw.

Game 2: Revolution 1, Crew 0

New England headed into Columbus having missed an opportunity to take a lead in the first match, but managed to go ahead just three minutes in through then defender and now Head Coach Jay Heaps. New England were outshot 20 to 5 in the match and surrendered 11 corner kicks, but a heroic defensive effort, including five saves from Brown made the early lead stand.

Game 3: Revolution 2, Crew 2

Needing just a draw to advance, the Revolution took a first half lead through Steve Ralston’s 17th minute goal and then doubled their advantage in the second half through a Wolde Harris 47th minute strike. But, the Crew weren’t done yet. Brian McBride gave the visitors some life with an 80th minute goal, finally getting past Brown, who had shut the Crew out for 270 minutes prior and had 10 saves in the match. Dante Washington then knotted the score at 2-2 in the 85th minute, giving New England a scare, but the Revolution would hold on to get a draw, just enough to advance to their first ever MLS Cup, at Gillette Stadium.


Now a two leg aggregate series, the Revolution entered this playoff match-up as significant underdogs. The Crew had won the Supporters Shield, while New England finished tied for the least points in MLS, but snuck into the fourth seed in the East.

Game 1: Revolution 1, Crew 0

A 25th minute goal from the unlikeliest of candidates – defender Avery John – gave the Revolution a surprise lead. New England limited the Crew to just seven shots in the game and three saves from Matt Reis were enough to preserve the shutout and the win at Gillette Stadium.

Game 2: Revolution 1, Crew 1

The Revolution took the slimmest of leads into Crew Stadium for the second leg against a Columbus team that had lost just two home games all year. Undaunted, New England held the Crew at bay with four saves from Reis and then doubled their aggregate advantage in the 81st minute through Taylor Twellman. Much like their previous playoff meeting, the Crew made it interesting late when Edson Buddle halved the deficit with a stoppage time goal, but New England held on to win 2-1 on aggregate and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

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