New England Soccer Today

Streak Breakers

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

The New England Revolution’s five game winning streak came to an end on Saturday at the hands of the Columbus Crew, who grabbed a 1-0 win with a strong performance at Crew Stadium. The Revolution survived a poor first half performance with the match tied at 0-0, but the Crew scored the winner just three minutes into the second period through a Federico Higuaín free kick.

Higuaín had a chance to double the lead with an 85th minute penalty kick, but Bobby Shuttleworth saved it to keep the deficit at one. Crew ‘keeper Steve Clark then came up huge in the 87th minute to deny Charlie Davies on New England’s best chance of the match and the Crew hung on from there.

The Revolution (13-13-3, 42 points) remains in third in the East despite the loss, but missed an opportunity to move into second. The Crew (10-9-10, 40 points) solidifies their position in the fifth and final playoff spot in the East.

Head coach Jay Heaps made two changes to the Revolution line-up that won 2-1 against the Montreal Impact last weekend. Diego Fagundez started in place of the suspended Teal Bunbury, while Scott Caldwell got the start over Jermaine Jones who was injured in last weekend’s match, but recovered enough to make the game day 18.

The Crew held the better of the early possession, but struggled to really test Revolution ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth early. An Aaron Schoenfeld shot in the 13th minute from the right flank towards the far post beat Shuttleworth, but was just wide.

Two minutes later Lee Nguyen threatened from distance with a long range shot, but Crew ‘keeper Steve Clark tipped it wide for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner Clark misjudged Kelyn Rowe’s service and the ball fell to AJ Soares with Clark out of position, but Soares effort was blocked by one of several defenders in front of goal.

Diego Fagundez then had a chance on the counterattack after getting into the left side of the box. Fagundez ran towards the endline then sent a low shot towards the far post that Clark did just enough to tip it wide for a corner.

Shuttleworth kept the game scoreless in the 30th minute when Tony Tchani found an unmarked Eric Gehrig in the right side of the box. Gehrig powered a diving header on frame, but Shuttleworth made an impressive save.

A tricky set piece by the Crew caused the Revolution some issues in the 34th minute when Higuaín faked a shot off a free kick and instead played Aaron Schoenfeld at the top of the box. Schoenfeld turned and shot, just missing wide of the post.

The crossbar then kept the Crew off the scoreboard in the 38th minute after Eric Gehrig powered a header off the crossbar from a Higuaín corner.

Again the Revolution needed some desperate defending to keep the match tied in the 44th minute when Ethan Finlay got the ball in the right side of the box, cut back and attempted a shot to the far post. Soares managed to get back to deflect the ball wide.

With the Revolution perhaps fortunate to remain tied at halftime, Heaps brought Jermaine Jones off the bench for Daigo Kobayashi at the break.

The Crew finally got the opener in the 48th minute when Darrius Barnes gave up a dangerous free kick for a foul on Ethan Finlay just outside the box. Higuaín stepped up and hit a perfect free kick over the wall and inside the post to give the home side a 1-0 advantage.

Fagundez looked to equalize in the 55th minute after getting into the box, but his effort went just wide of the near post.

The Crew had a chance to put the game out of reach in the 85th minute after a late tackle by Soares took out Justin Meram for a clear penalty kick. Higuaín took the penalty, but hit it close to Shuttleworth, who dove to his left and made the save.

New England then nearly capitalized on that miss in the 87th minute when a mistake by the Crew defense allowed Charlie Davies to run in on goal. Davis attempted to curl a shot inside the far post from the top of the box, but Clark made an incredible diving save to preserve the shutout.

The Revolution return to action on Friday in Kansas City with a nationally televised match-up at 8 p.m.  on NBC Sports against the defending MLS Cup champions Sporting.

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