Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
By DAN KARELL
For the second consecutive week, Jermaine Jones came up big for his new club.
The New England Revolution kept pace in second place in the Eastern Conference on Saturday evening when they took down the Columbus Crew, 2-1, on a rainy and windy night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Lee Nguyen scored the opener for the Revolution and Jones scored his second goal of the season off a header in the second half to ensure the victory for his side.
The loss keeps the Crew in fifth place with 43 points, though sixth place Toronto FC have two games in hand and are only three points behind the Crew for the final playoff position.
Nearly the entire match was played in a heavy downpour on the artificial turf at Gillette Stadium, allowing for a slick and fast surface. The field conditions nearly paid dividends inside 30 seconds for the Crew, as Ethan Finlay slipped into the box but put an outside-of-the-boot strike wide.
The Crew had the better of the chances early on, with Finlay and left back Waylon Francis playing a big role in the opening stages.
In the 18th minute, Finlay marauded forward down the left wing and crossed into the middle. Finlay flicked the ball on with a no-look pass that split the Revolution defense, putting Aaron Schoenfeld in on goal inside the six-yard box. Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made the first of six outstanding saves, and it set up an opportunity for the Revolution to convert at the other end.
Two minutes later, a cross from Revolution forward Teal Bunbury fell to Nguyen, who was wide open in the box. Nguyen controlled the ball perfectly on the slick surface and calmly dispatched a goal to put the home team in front.
It didn’t take long for the Crew to hit back though. Five minutes later, Tony Tchani played a stunning through ball to Finlay, who took a perfect first touch to get past Jose Goncalves before slotting a shot low and hard to tie the score.
In the 39th minute, Francis picked up a silly yellow card when he knocked over Andrew Farrell on the Revolution end line, foreshadowing what would be a tumultuous day for the Costa Rican left back. Goncalves picked up a yellow card himself minutes later for taking out Finlay just out of bounds, becoming the second of seven yellow cards shown on the night by referee Jose Carlos Rivero.
Although the Revolution began to command the midfield more in the second half, the Crew were still dangerous on the counter attack, and Shuttleworth came up with another strong save in the 52nd minute after Tchani played Finlay into the box.
Ten minutes later, Shuttleworth made a nearly-impossible save off a training ground style corner kick taken by the Crew, stoning a shot by Crew substitute Hector Jimenez that went through a tangle of legs on the way through towards goal.
In the 67th minute, the Revolution went up for good in somewhat controversial fashion. A free kick taken by Chris Tierney found its way through the box, with four Revs players beating the Crew’s offside trap. Jones found himself open at the far post and headed past Steve Clark for his second goal in as many games, proving his worth to the club that acquired him in a blind draw on Aug. 24.
Crew players appealed to the referee and linesman that one of the players involved had been offside, but Rivero waved away the complaints.
Three minutes later, the Crew began to truly capitulate in the miserable New England conditions. After Clark had come out of the box to clear away a long ball, Francis tried to block an ensuing throw-in by Charlie Davies with his hand, knocking over Davies in the process and earning an early shower, as Francis was shown a second yellow card.
With the Crew struggling to counter down to ten men, frustration continued to build, and it boiled over for Designated Player Federico Higuain, who was shown a yellow card in the third minute of stoppage time for smashing away the ball after conceding a free kick on the edge of his own box.
Higuain’s yellow card was his fifth of the season, meaning he’ll join Francis in missing the Crew’s next match next Saturday at the Philadelphia Union.
The Revolution held on at the end to earn all three points, winning their second game in a row and their seventh win in eight games. The loss ended the Crew’s four-game unbeaten run, which included three wins.
Here are the match highlights: