FOXBORO, MA - JUNE 16: Benny Feilhaber #22 and Fernando Cardenas #80 of the New England Revolution stop Justin Meram #9 of the Columbus Crew in the second half during a game at Gillette Stadium on June 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Nil-nil is not often a fair result, but on a night where the New England Revolution squandered early chances, and the Columbus Crew played a tight defensive formation, 0-0 is a fair result. With each team taking a point away, New England dropped to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, which is just outside of the last spot. While the result may not have been what Revolution supporters were hoping for following the international break, there were some positives that Jay Heaps can take away from the game.
In the first half, New England seemed to clearly be on the front foot. Benny Feilhaber nearly crept on the score sheet early, but his shot went just wide of the far post. Jose Moreno also had an opportunity one-on-one with Andy Gruenebaum, which was saved as Gruenebaum came off his line to stop the play after a poor touch. Later, Saer Sene nearly put a ball into the upper 90 from about 25 yards out. Later, in the 43rd minute, Jose Moreno picked up a yellow card for a shoving match with a Crew defender.
The game, in the first, looked to be open; but, New England's failure to convert any scoring opportunity came back to haunt them in the second half as Columbus slowed the game down. While In the opening half Lee Nguyen and Kevin Alston continually controlled their respective flanks, Columbus responded by coming out after the break and shutting down the wings.
In addition, at half time, it was revealed that Moreno picked up an ankle injury and was subbed off for Blake Brettschnieder. The game became bogged down, until Kelyn Rowe replaced Fernando Cardenas in the 63rd minute. Rowe gave Columbus a hard time in his shift creating a few opportunities that he could not finish.
Despite the disappointment of results, the Revs did obtain their third clean-sheet of the season. The partnership of A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy continues to stay strong as Columbus was onluy allowed 3 shots on target for the entire game. And Kelyn Rowe played well in his substitute role. And there were no set piece goals let up. However, the negatives may actually outweigh the positives. There were several missed Revolution opportunities. There was also a failure to play the ball out of the back, especially in the second half, when New England reverted to long balls instead of playing out of the back. And New England still has no goals coming from free kicks.
Perhaps ironically, as the Revolution defense seems to be tightening up with their second straight clean sheet, the Revolution offense looked somewhat stagnant, specifically in the second half. Overall, missed chances notwithstanding, the result was fair.
New England travels to Toronto for a game against Toronto FC on June 23rd.