On a night that began with so much promise, the New England Revolution found a way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Given an early two goal lead, the Revs squandered their opportunity for an impressive result on the road, and dropped the decision on Saturday night, 4-3 to the Columbus Crew.
Opening goals from Ryan Guy and Jerry Bengtson were quickly cancelled out, and while most observers will point out that the two free kick goals from Federico Higuain were of the world-class variety, the lack of defensive solidarity clearly showed in tonight's match. The Revs let a two-goal lead slip, and once again failed to hold after Lee Nguyen had tied the match from the penalty spot in the 81st, when Jairo Arrieta completed his brace in the 86th, giving the Crew the lead for good.
The loss marks New England's fifth straight, and runs their winless streak to eight matches. With a home date on Wednesday night with Chivas USA (a match which also happens to be the return of Shalrie Joseph to Foxboro), the Revs will look to regroup once again and find a way to cure what has been ailing them through the summer months.
After a brief feeling out period, it was Arrieta who got the game off to it's start, when he was nabbed for an offside call in the 9th minute much to the relief of the Revs back four, as Arrieta was alone in goal with nothing but grass ahead of him.
The quick start from Columbus seemed to awaken the Revs, and it didn't take long for them to respond. Benny Feilhaber found space down the left flank and played an inch-perfect cross to a streaking Ryan Guy, who had found space in the box, but the resulting header from the midfielder was fire wide.
The opener came just minutes later, when it was once again Ryan Guy at the forefront of the attack. After a brief scramble, the ball fell to Guy at the top of the box who rifled a shot on frame that took a deflection, and caught Gruenebaum going the wrong way, giving the Revs a well-deserved 1-0 advantage.
It was all smiles five minutes later, when Honduran DP striker, Jerry Bengtson slotted home a long breakaway attempt, after tearing away from the Columbus defense. With the ball so far out in front, Gruenebaum actually came well off his line in an attempt to cut off the chance, but the skilled Bengtson proved his worth, slotting home the match's second goal.
As if the match weren't interesting enough, the opener for Columbus came three minutes later off of a world class free kick from the foot of Federico Higuain. After earning a free kick outside the top of the box, the Argentine skillfully found the top corner, beating Revolution keeper Matt Reis with his curling effort.
New England responded well, when Ryan Guy found himself in more space down the left flank, but Gruenebaum did well to cut off the angle on the breakaway, and Guy's left-footed shot skittered across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
The Revs were made to rue their missed chance, as it was Columbus who created the next opportunity, only they wouldn't squander their shot. Jairo Arrieta found himself some room down the left side of the Revs defense, took down the incoming pass, and the fire an absolute scorcher past Reis, tying the match in the 33rd minute.
Just before the break, it was Columbus who took control of the match, when once again it was Higuain putting on a free kick clinic, beating Reis, and the Revs wall, with another superb effort. The goal came just moments before halftime, clearly impacting the Revolution side, who, to be fair, had played rather well for long stretches in the first half.
With the second half proving to be much tamer than the first, the Revolution refused to go quietly into the night, when second-half substitute Diego Fagundez won the Revs a penalty kick in the 81st minute. Fagundez found possession in the box, and was taken down with some force, giving the visitors a massive opportunity.
With their usual penalty taker currently residing with Chivas USA, the Revs sent Lee Nguyen to the spot, and the first-year Rev calmly, and coolly deposited the ball into the back of the net, putting the Revs in prime position to steal a point on the road.
It was a point, however, that would slip away five minutes later, when Jairo Arrieta found his brace. The Revolution defense, in particular Stephen MCCarthy, were caught ball watching, and Tony Tchani skillfully lobbed a pass over the defender, and it fell perfectly to Arrieta, who found more than enough space at the top of the box to take his chance well, and beat Reis to the far post.
New England managed a few late flurries, but after a final corner kick was cleared away, the whistle blew, sending New England to another defeat on the road in 2012.