The New England Revolution lost their eighth consecutive game Saturday night when they fell 2-1 to Columbus Crew at home at Gillette Stadium for a disgruntled crowd of 14,542.
This is the club’s longest losing streak since 2000 and there’s no relief on the horizon. The Revolution’s under-funded roster is staffed mostly with inexpensive domestic draft picks from over the years, most of whom are way too comfortable. Head coach Jay Heaps can fiddle with the line-up all he wants, but it’s basically rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic.
“What are you going to do, complain about it?” said Heaps. “You have to roll up your sleeves and keep going forward.”
With the loss, New England (7-11-2, 23 pts.) fell to sixth in the Eastern Conference and 13th across 19-team MLS. Columbus (6-7-8, 26 pts.) rose to fourth in the East and 10th overall.
Federico Higuain put Columbus ahead with a magnificent free kick just before the break and central defender A.J. Soares equalized early in the second half, assisted by Kelyn Rowe. Ethan Finlay, who’s having a breakout season, scored the game winner in the 84th season. Although New England tied a club record with 15 corner kicks and took 12 shots, its disorganized forwards did not communicate and were easily shut down.
Stalwart Chris Tierney left the field with injury in the 21st minute and was replaced by Darrius Barnes, who has been with this team for way too long. Dimitry Imbongo made his second appearance of the season replacing Patrick Mullins at forward in the 67th minute. Daigo Kobayashi made his fifth substitute appearance of the season, replacing Teal Bunbury in the 81st minute.
“Chris (Tierney) was a big loss for us because he helps us offensively a lot,” said Heaps. “While he works hard defensively, it is his offensive technique that spreads the game for us and helps us get forward. It hurt not having his left foot.”
The Revolution next host the Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, July 30. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet New England
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CLB – Federico Higuain (unassisted) 43
NE – A.J. Soares (Kelyn Rowe) 50
CLB – Ethan Finley (Justin Meram) 84
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney (Darrius Barnes 21), Jose Goncalves ©, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe, Teal Bunbury (Daigo Kobayashi 81), Patrick Mullins (Dimitry Imbongo 67)
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Kevin Alston, Steve Neumann, Charlie Davies
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on target 7, Saves 5, Corner kicks 15, Offsides 4, Fouls 17, Possession 48.7%, Passes 333 (75.1%)
Columbus Crew: Steve Clark, Waylon Francis, Michael Parkhurst ©, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Chad Barson (Eric Gehrig 83), Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 83), Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp, Ethan Finley, Federico Higuain, Adam Bedell (Aaron Schoenfeld 65)
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Lampson, Tyson Wahl, Kevan George, Ben Speas
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on target 7, Saves 6, Corner kicks 15, Offsides 3, Fouls 15, Possession 51.3%, Passes 358 (77.7%)
CLB – Wil Trapp (caution) 41
NE – Scott Caldwell (caution) 52
NE – Lee Nguyen (caution) 90
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn (AR1), Eric Weisbrod (AR2)
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik