COLUMBUS, OH - The Revolution knew that they were in for a physical game against the top of the east Crew, and a physical game is just what they got. Benny Feilhaber's goal just before the half was encouraging, but not enough to keep the Revs on pace to defend the lead and take the 3 points back home to Foxborogh.
The Crew showed precisely why they lead the eastern conference with some great attacking plays, controlled passing, and (most importantly) capitalization on their opponent's misakes. And plentiful mistakes there were. The Revolution created several chances for themselves as well, but had a few too many slip away. The Revs will remain at the bottom of the table and dig an even deeper hole for themselves to crawl out of if they are even thinking about a potential playoff berth.
The Revs hit the ground running. Benny Feilhaber got fouled 14 seconds into the match leading to a free kick and some ball work that gets a ball in to William Hesner without much behind it. The physicality of the match only continued from there as the first 20 minutes played out with both teams doing work in their respective attacking thirds.
Around the 11th minute was when the Revolution experienced their first true panic of the evening. Forward Robbie Rogers showed skill and pose as he beat Kevin Alston to the attacking corner, giving his teammates enough to time to position themselves for the ensuing attack. Luckily, the Revs managed to clear it out after a scramble without any damage done.
Most of the first half was more of the same old story that has been the Revolution's season this year; giveaways were abundant from many culprits including rookie Stephen McCarthy, Pat Phelan, and Kevin Alston (among others). Set pieces continue to be New England's stronger talents, but William Hesner managed to keep the Revs in check.
In the 24th minute Milton Caraglio, the new designated player in his 2nd start in as many games with the team, drew the Revs a free kick which Chris Tierney launches to the far post which curves wonderfully but the on-rushing blue shirts were unable to get anything on it.
Shortly after that Columbus responded with its own attempt as some skillful play in the box manages to get a shot out of Andres Mendoza but Matt Reis handles it tactfully.
More giveaways ensure until a ray of light comes from a promising run out of Alston up the right of the field looking very Sainey Nyassi-esque. The ball beats Alston but the Revs get a corner out of it. Chris Tierney tries to set up the attack again but the Revs are once more denied by Hesmer.
In the 40th minute the Crew continue their possession and onslaught, panicking New England defenders in front of the net until Matt Reis makes perhaps one of his best saves of the year and denies what would otherwise have been an defnite goal from a header by Chad Marshall.
Shortly after getting shaken up and subsequently looked at on the sidelines by the Revolution staff, Pat Phelan re-enters the game and makes a fantastic physical play in the corner of the box. With determination and great foresight, Phelan presents a ball at the top of the box for Benny Feilhaber who launches an absolute bullet into the far corner of the net. The Revs end the first half up with one goal to nil despite having only 35% possession.
Right from the get go, the second half was more physical action. Milton Caraglio and Benny Feilhaber double up on an unsuspecting Crew defender. With possession of the ball and playing 2 on 1, Feilhaber takes just a bit too much time trying to get the ball in for Caraglio and the Columbus defense reads it easily and sends the ball out.
in the 48th minute Soares continues his streak of being our most valuable and smartest defenders as he stays on an approaching Tom Heinemann to deflect his shot and make it easily manageable by Reis.
Feilhaber looked like the leader for much of this game and continued that approach well through the second half--calling for the ball often, barking at defenders, and earning the team free kicks. The Revs respond well and manage to keep it together for a bit until Columbus settles and gets into attack-mode.
Andres Mendoz manages a great volley in to Heinemann who has Alston on him the whole way in. As a result, Alston tries to clear the ball in but instead scores a disappointing own goal, equalizing the game at 1-1.
Some hard fouls follow in the 60th and 62nd minute with hard challenges from Sebastian Miranda on Benny Feilhaber and Justin Meram on Shalrie Joseph. New England try to make the most of their opportunities from there. Service in from Chris Tierney meets McCarthy's head right in front of the goal. Soares is in front of it and gives it his best effort but the ball hits the crossbar, ricochets out, and is eventually cleared out. After a replay it becomes clear that, had Soares not attempted the shot himself, the ball would have easily been headed in by Caraglio.
Momentum continued to switch between the two clubs and Schilawski is eventually replaced by Kenny Mansally at 67'.
At 75' the Crew get the lead after Julius James heads in a Columbus corner kick. The Revs begin to look a bit deflated and continue to grow frustrated with the physical nature of the game. The Revolution's next two subs happen simultaneously as Zak Boggs and 16-year-old DIego Fagundez come in to replace McCarthy and Caraglio.
The Crew follow up their 75th minute goal with another at 81'. Chad Marshall plays a ball in to Robbie Rogers who crosses right in front of the net to a wide open Emilio Renteria who finishes effortlessly.
The match played out at this score with only one notable shot coming from Soares at the beginning of stoppage time, but nothing is uite good enough to get any magic flowing for the Revs. With that, the Crew preserve their seat at the top of the Eastern Conference table and the Revolution fall to 4-11-9.