New England Soccer Today

Talking Points: #CLBvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The New England Revolution overpowered the Columbus Crew 4-2 in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday at Crew Stadium. Here’s a look at some of the talking points surrounding the contest.

Offense Explodes in Victory

For the first time since May 17, the Revolution found the back of the of the net four times or more in their 4-2 victory over the Crew in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Three different New England players recorded goals, which were Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney, and Charlie Davies, who struck twice in the winning effort. The scoring was opened by Davies in the 34th minute, followed by a Chris Tierney free kick in the 51st. Nguyen got his turn in the 70th minute, making a fantastic solo effort into the box before putting it past Columbus goalie Steve Clark.

Davies Leads Offensive Effort

As mentioned above, it was a memorable day for Charlie Davies offensively. His first of two goals came on a free kick by midfielder Kelyn Rowe. Rowe’s free kick sailed into the box, with Davies finding space and putting a diving header into the net to give the Revolution the 1-0 lead. The second goal from the forward was a spectacular one, giving New England it’s fourth goal after a screamer from outside the 18 could not be stopped by Clark. Davies’ opening goal was his first goal since Sept. 7, when he scored a game winner versus the Chicago Fire.

Revs Continue Playoff Dominance over Columbus

With the victory, the Revolution have now faced the Crew six times in the MLS playoffs and have yet to lose. The four goals New England scored in Saturday’s affair was the highest goal total in a playoff game between these two teams. Back in 2002, the clubs met in the Eastern Conference Finals in a best-of-three series, with the Revs tying twice and winning once to advance to the MLS Cup. They later met in 2004, upsetting Columbus 2-1, which was the top seed that season, on aggregate.

Away Goal Rule in Revs favor

With the MLS deciding to put an away-goal rule into effect for this year’s playoffs, a win today in Columbus puts New England in a very comfortable spot heading into next week’s second leg. Scoring four goals away from home was crucial for the Revs as they wish to advance back to the Eastern Conference Finals. Used as a tie-breaking method, New England would now have to lose in the second leg of this series by at least three goals at home, which is a very tall task for the Crew especially with the recent successes the Revs have had at Gillette Stadium.

A Look to Leg 2

The second leg of the conference semifinals will take place on Nov. 9 at Gillette Stadium. New England hasn’t lost at home since July 26, losing a tight 2-1 battle to Columbus. With a two-goal lead on aggregate and four away goals in their back pocket, the Revs have the potential to go with one of two options. One is to try and run up the aggregate even more, while the other is to play a conservative style and preserve their lead on aggregate. Whichever they decide to go with, it is very hard to imagine a scenario where New England doesn’t advance.

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