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Red-hot Revolution thrash Crew on road to take control of series

Crew Revs Playoffs 1 (USA Today Sports)

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The New England Revolution continued their red-hot form on a bitterly cold afternoon at Crew Stadium.

The visiting Revolution routed the Columbus Crew, 4-2, to take a commanding lead of their Eastern Conference semifinals series in the MLS Cup playoffs. Charlie Davies scored a pair of goals for the Revolution, sandwiched by a thrilling free kick goal from Chris Tierney and a crafty goal from Lee Nguyen.

“It’s always difficult to play on the road and I thought we did a nice job tonight and it was a battle all the way through,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “A lot of goals and a lot of chances. I thought we probably could have had more and we’ve got to tighten ourselves up a little bit, but in the end, you want to get goals and points on the road so that was good from us tonight.”

Justin Meram and Federico Higuain scored for the Crew in the defeat.

After a frenetic start that saw both teams threaten to score, the Revolution went up 1-0 through a Kelyn Rowe free kick that was sent past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark with a diving header from Davies in the 34th minute.

“It’s definitely something to be very happy about with my performance today,” Davies said as he scored his first career MLS playoff goals.

Early in the second half, the Revolution extended their lead. The visitors won a free kick from just outside the box and six minutes into the second half, Tierney beautifully bent a free kick around the wall and away from the outstretched hands of Clark.

The Crew hit one back in the 64th minute when Meram found himself open in the box, slotting home and making up partially for his first half miss when he was one-on-one with Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

“I felt at that time we were getting momentum,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “I was looking more for the 2-2 [score] than 2-1 or 3-1. That’s what we were looking to go for. That probably was our strong stretch of the match when we really started taking momentum in the game, and I felt like give this group another time period to keep that momentum going.”

It didn’t take long though for the Revolution to re-take momentum away from the hosts for good. MVP candidate Lee Nguyen raced forward after being played a ball from Jermaine Jones and dribbled for more than 50 yards at the Crew defense.

After faking a pass, Nguyen slotted home calmly in the 70th minute to put the Revolution up, 3-1.

“Jermaine played me a great ball and I just tried to take the space,” Nguyen said. “Charlie opened up wide left to give me an option, and then I saw Jermaine streaking down too so I was waiting for him to open up that lane. I looked back and he wasn’t there, I think he got knocked down. I just kind of realized I needed to take it on, took a touch, took it past (my defender) and was able to slot it in the opposite corner.”

Davies added the Revolution’s fourth with a tremendous curling effort from around 30 yards out, taking the space given to him by the Crew centerbacks before whacking the ball past Clark.

“Charlie was excellent. I thought he worked hard, I think he could have had more,” Heaps said. “He was close to putting away a couple of other chances. I kind of was on Charlie this week, it wasn’t his best week of training. I thought it was kind of interesting because he said that to me, sometimes when he doesn’t train his best he usually performs on the weekend and that is what he did.”

The Crew gave the home fans one final moment to cheer about when Jose Goncalves was whistled for a handball in second half stoppage time. Higuain stepped up to take the penalty kick and sent a cheeky panenka past Shuttleworth to cut the deficit in half.

“Leading up to the game, we were training well and we were pretty sharp,” Crew centerback Tyson Wahl said. “But I think we showed all around, top to bottom, a little bit of immaturity. They came in and set the tone and physically outplayed us. They deserved to win.”

Following the match, Heaps called some of the officiating decisions, “strange,” as tensions looked to be boiling over in the opening 30 minutes. However, the opening goal from Davies seemed to settle both sides down and make them focus solely on soccer and not engaging in rough play.

“It was a pretty intense start,” Heaps commented. “To be honest with you, there were a couple that we got I thought was for them, and a couple of calls they got that I thought was for us. It was actually the exact opposite call that I thought was going to be made. That was strange and I think that Gregg felt the same way. I don’t want to talk for him but I think that both sides felt like it was intense, but I don’t think that the players brought it there. It got there a little bit on it’s own.

“In the end, I thought ‘damn you just hate to see it get crazy at the end’ and you’ve got to turn around and play the same team, so you’ve got to be smart.”


  1. BTW Lee fans – when Lee was asked in an interview by the Boston Globe … Has Klinsmann contacted him recently?

    Lee replyed

    “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say,” he said, “but you’ll find out, I guess.”…guy-offense/rcmSVB2oClUp20UqZSEPTO/story.html

    I think that is a great sign for those of us that want to see Lee in a NAT uniform again

  2. “Open Letter to Heaps”>
    Congratulations on the outcome. It shows that more than 2 players on the team can make goals, which will frustrate future playoff opponents and prevent them from focusing on shutting down Nguyen and Jones.

    BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH JONES!?? He was muted tonight, and couldn’t be used to best effect. He needs to be in the center middle, reading the game and directing things. I didn’t see that. This guy, when given the freedom to work the pitch, can turn 4 goals into 6. And pull them out of tight, tight spots. You’re going to need that badly when you progress thru the playoffs.

    And curiously, his goal shooting percentage is almost 100% when he’s playing center midfield and running around as he does. Even though that’s not his job in that position. It was not good tonight. Before, he had strong, straight shots that whizzed right past the ‘keeper from just the right pitch position. And won every one. Tonight? Balloon shots. They almost never work, as you saw.

    Call to action, Mr. Heaps: USE Jones. Where he is best.

    • MS,

      Revs won the game,.no? What is the Revs records with Jermaine Jones in the team? What,…9-1-1 or something like that. And your are saying that Jay Heaps is not using JJ properly?

      Seems to me he is using JJ perfectly.

    • Jones is allowed to roam and does all the time. There are 2 lining up at DM and Jones is the one that goes forward the most,

      Yes the Revs have a great record while Jones has been there but they are far more than just Jones and Lee. Everybody contributes on the attack…. everybody. Lee doesnt even try to shoot that much so shutting him down would not really matter and would just open things for somebody else. Jones was just the missing piece for a team ready to break out. Can the Revs go all the way? I think they could go far but the weak center defense will hold them back in the end. Fix that and the sky’s the limit

      • RevsRule,

        For what it is worth,…I didn’t say that it was all about JJ and Nguyen. Revs have a fine, balanced team. In response to MS,…I was pointing out that Heaps is doing something right with JJ in the Revs lineup. The record speaks for itself.

      • Completely spot on! Soares has been perfect this year. But Goncalves has stepped back from the great year he had last year. I think the Revs should look for another CB during the off season to put pressure on Goncalves. Right now the only other options are McCarthy (a converted midfielder), Barnes (versatile but not a pure CB) and Farrell (not enough leadership yet). An experienced CB who can lead the back line is something I’m sure they have on their radar.

    • You assume that Heaps has any say or control over what JJJ does on the field. Jones does what he wants, when he sees the opportunity. He is probably the best in MLS as far as able to read the game and put himself in the best place to secure the outcome. In the last game he was the player which pressed the midfield and fed the attack. Next game he might push higher or drop back to release Tierney and Farrell. And he’ll shift modes several times during the game. Very unpredictable and very dangerous player.

  3. No need to be bummed about the result. Crew was not on any persons radar this year and playoffs came one year early for this team. Next year will be even better, hold head high for a great year even under transition.

  4. Crew fan.


    Bad fouls. Poor defending. Poor shape. Poor effort. Chivas-like crowd.

    I honestly wonder if Berhalter’s inexperience didn’t cost us a bit. When you cut it to 2-1, it’s not a result you want, but it’s a result you can live with. No need to press for an equalizer.

    And, yes, Wahl was terrible. Why not use Pogatetz? Again, down 2-1, put in an experienced defender who will understand the situation.

    Then again, I think getting the 3 seed and losing in the conference semis might be a better result than the Crew deserve on talent alone.

    As you can see, I’m all over the map. Emotions getting me.

    • Crew is the only team to come into Foxboro and take 3 points since.. well I can’t remember the last time. I have respect for the team and hope the fans in Columbus start to appreciate what they have. Here’s hoping for a good match on Sunday no matter who advances.

  5. What the Tyson was Wahl doing back there!! Oh, I’ll just give CD9 and the potential MLS MVP all the time they need, and then I’ll back up another 10 feet to let them tee up a shot on the 18. WHAT!?!?! Man, I wish Pogatatz had arrived a few weeks earlier. We better not be protecting Wahl in the expansion draft!!!

    • Don’t blame Wahl too much. Lee has beat a lot better defenders in the same way. The dude probably scores once for every 3 shots taken.

      Wahl was luck to be in the game after the cheap, 2 footed scissors tackle he made on Rowe. Francis will most likely be suspended for punching down Jones, off the ball, on a break.

  6. This game was WILD! There could have been even more goals and probably quite a few more yellow cards. Some of the tackles were just plain reckless and Heaps patrolled the sideline like he was Diego Simeone’s little brother. Exciting and tense but also a bit sloppy.

    Big ups to CD9! Dude was getting after it. Is a Could a January re-call in his future?


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