The Columbus Crew put forth a massive effort, but still fell to the New England Revolution 1-0 on Sunday. The win gave the visitors a berth in the playoffs after knocking the Crew out of the postseason a little over a week ago.
“When you are down a goal, make a couple of subs, and move some guys around the field, you lose your continuity,” Crew Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss commented. “The game was very sporadic, choppy in terms of flow. There was no rhythm.”
Things started well for Columbus with a 3rd minute shot from Dominic Oduro, the team leader in goals with 13. Revolution keeper Matt Reis was there to stop the attempt, starting a solid night in goal.
There was a lot of back and forth until Juan Agudelo struck for the Revs in the 28th minute. The play started with some intricate passes and combination play with Lee Nguyen, ending in a give-and-go and a goal.
The Crew’s Bernardo Anor got involved with an acrobatic play of his own about 15 minutes later, executing a scissor kick that sent the shot just over the crossbar. Things began to fizzle out as the Revs carried their 1-0 lead into halftime.
The home side didn’t take long to get started on the attack. Agustin Viana was set up nicely by Jairo Arrieta a few minutes into the second half, but his shot was off the mark.
Ryan Finley took on Reis in a 1v1 situation in the 78th minute, but the veteran netminder made yet another fine stop.
The Crew were unable to find the equalizer as the finishing was a bit off on the night. Even eight minutes of stoppage was of no help, especially after a red card to Oduro left the Crew a man down for the final minutes of the match.
The match was very physical with Aaron Schoenfeld (head injury) and Bernardo Anor (illness) both leaving the match after leaving everything on the pitch. The Columbus substitutes failed to make much of an impact despite a lot of effort on the part of all the players.
“It’s not an easy feeling,” Crew defender Josh Williams stated. “We fought hard for Brian. I hope he knows that. It’s important we left it out on the field. We showed whoever is coming in and the new ownership that we fought hard.”
Williams and Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum both made solid contributions on the pitch after missing long stretches due to injury.
“You don’t know how good this game is and how much you appreciate it until it is taken away from you,” Williams added. “Not being able to play really gave me new energy; it really made me appreciate the game. It felt awesome to come out and play in front of the fans.”
The Crew face an uncertain offseason where they may find themselves with a new head coach and a lot of difficult personnel decisions. Momentum is certainly on the side of Columbus, a team that has made strides in many areas. A strong crowd of 17,505 was on hand for the finale, giving the organization a bright spot to work from.