New England Soccer Today

Game Over

Benny Feilhaber gave the New England Revolution a first half lead, but the Revs suffered a second half collapse, falling 3-1 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Saturday night.

Benny Feilhaber's goal wasn't enough for the Revs on Saturday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

The loss sends the Revs (4-11-9, 21 points) to eighth place in the nine team Eastern Conference and 16th overall in the 18 team Major League Soccer. Columbus (10-7-7, 37 points), meanwhile, extended their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with their win.

The Revs took the lead against the run of play just before halftime. Chris Tierney found Feilhaber on the wing off a throw-in and the U.S. International played a quick pass to Pat Phelan. Phelan laid it back to Feilhaber, who was making a run into the box, and the 26-year-old powered a shot just inside the far post.

But less than ten minutes into the second half the Crew would even things up. A chip from Andres Mendoza over the defense looking for Tommy Heineman was misplayed by Kevin Alston. Alston’s attempt to direct it away instead floated high over Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis and entered the net for an own goal.

Columbus then took the lead in the 75th minute when Julius James rose above A.J. Soares and an onrushing Reis to head a Bernando Anor corner kick into the empty net.

Six minutes later the Crew would double their lead and put the game out of reach after substitue Dilly Duka found Robbie Rogers on the right flank. Rogers outpaced Kenny Mansally and sent a low cross into the box where a wide open Emilio Renteria easily directed it into the net.

The Revs changed two players and the formation from the line-up that fell 3-2 to Chivas USA last weekend. A.J. Soares returned from suspension to replace Ryan Cochrane in the center of the defense and Phelan replaced the injured Sainey Nyassi in midfield as the Revs switch to a 4-5-1 from the 4-4-2 of the previous weekend.

Columbus would have the better of the play in the first half as the visitors struggled to keep possession. The Crew had their first decent chance in 25th minute when Phelan couldn’t clear a cross out of the box with a header.  Andres Mendoza volleyed Phelan’s header towards goal, but goalkeeper Matt Reis was there to deny the Peruvian with a diving save.

Reis kept the match scoreless in the 40th minute after the Revs allowed a cross to bounce through the box. Chad Marshall rose up to head it towards the far post, but Reis managed to tip it wide with a diving save.

It would be the Revs who struck first through Feilhaber, but the half time statistics told a worrying story. The Crew had maintained 65% of the possession and held the better of the chances.

Yet the Revs play began to look a bit better after the break and the fluky goal that tied up the game came off a counterattack. And with better luck the Revs could have retaken the lead in the 62nd minute after earning a free kick just outside the box on the left flank.

Feilhaber sent a cross to the far post where Stephen McCarthy headed it back across goal. Soares, just inches from goal, stabbed at the ball, but saw his effort denied by the crossbar and collected by goalkeeper Will Hesmer after an attempted bicycle kick by Designated Player Milton Caraglio. Had Soares let the initial ball from McCarthy go, Caraglio was waiting at the far post for an easy tap-in.

Reis temporarily preserved the draw for the Revs  in the 70th minute, denying a long range effort from Emmanuel Ekpo.

Renterina, a substitute, had a chance for his second goal of the night just five minutes after his first in the 81st minute. With the Revs pushed forward, Renteria broke free of the defense and dribbled in on goal. His eventual shot was denied by a well-positioned Reis. Reis would deny Renteria again on another break deep into stoppage time.

The Revs had a late chance to pull one back, when a long free kick found Soares behind the defense. Soares’ quick shot was right at Hesmer, ending the Revs hope of getting anything from the match.

The Revs return home to face the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. With ten games remaining, New England sits 9 points out of the tenth and final playoff spot, meaning they likely need at least 23 of a possible 30 remaining points to make the playoffs.

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