September 5, 2012
Revs snap skid with dominating 2-0 win over Columbus
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.--Dimitry Imbongo notched his first MLS goal and then forced a Chad Marshall own goal as the New England Revolution snapped a ten-game winless streak to claim their first victory since July 8, and put a dent in the Columbus Crew’s playoff hopes with a 2-0 victory Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.
|Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis made three saves to post his sixth shutout of the season, 2-0 over the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Crew (12-9-6, 42 points) entered the match riding a four-game winning streak and battling for a playoff spot in the closely packed Eastern Conference table behind leaders Sporting KC, but New England (7-14-7, 28 points) was finally able to put together a solid home performance on both sides of the ball from start to finish.
The first half more closely resembled the tightly-marked scoreless draw between the two sides in Foxborough on June 16th than the wild and wide-open 4-3 Crew win in Columbus on August 25th.
Although neither side could grab hold of the game, New England assumed the role of aggressor and put more shots on target.
Attempts from distance by Imbongo, Diego Fagundez, and Ryan Guy challenged Crew ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum, and Fagundez nearly broke through with an acrobatic scissor kick after a Flo Lechner throw-in, but the Revolution’s best chance came in the 45th minute when Kevin Alston, advancing into the box from the left, forced a leaping double-parry save from Gruenebaum off a deflected shot.
The Revolution came out strongly after the break.
In the 52nd minute, Lee Nguyen, attacking left to right, penetrated the Crew defense, but his right-footed drive rose over the bar.
Less than a minute later the Revolution broke through.
New England has been victimized off throw-ins on three occasions during their winless stretch, including Jairo Arrieta’s late game-winner for the Crew eleven days ago, but tonight the Revolution turned the table.
Fagundez corralled a long throw-in from Lechner into the box, rolling a shot off the post that Imbongo pounced on off the bounce, beating Crew defender Danny O’Rourke to the ball and slamming it into the vacated net.
The Revolution kept up the attack and a minute later Nguyen forced another save from Gruenebaum on a rocket from distance.
At the hour mark, Stephen McCarthy appeared to double the lead with a header back across the goal mouth off a Nguyen free kick, but the assistant referee ruled the New England defender offside.
The Revolution earned their second goal in the 74th minute, on a Marshall blunder.
After Chris Tierney, coming off the bench for his 100th MLS appearance, delivered into a dangerous spot, Marshall, under pressure from Imbongo, tried to head back to Gruenebaum. But the former MLS defender-of-the-year instead put it into the net as the Crew keeper came off his line.
The Crew pressed late, but Matt Reis came up with a pair of saves off efforts by Nemanja Vokovich and Arietta in the 87th minute to preserve the well-earned shutout.
The Revolution back line was unchanged from the one that produced a clean sheet against Philadelphia on Saturday, with Darrius Barnes and McCarthy in central defense, Lechner on the right and Alston again making the switch to the left.
Guy was back alongside Clyde Simms in deep midfield with Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe on the flanks, as Revolution coach Jay Heaps elected to keep Benny Feilhaber on the bench.
And with Saer Sene out for the season with an ACL tear and Jerry Bengtson away once again on international duty for Honduras, Heaps tried a new pairing up top as target man Imbongo and opportunistic poacher Fagundez made their second and third starts of the season.
Though a product of circumstance, the decision turned out to be inspired.