Revolution Fail to Make Chances Count in Loss to Columbus
Photo Credit - @NERevolution Twitter
Coming off an exciting performance in Dallas last weekend that led to a 1-1 draw, the Revolution returned to Foxborough for their Major League Soccer home opener. New England hosted longtime rival Columbus Crew, who drew their first MLS game against the New York Red Bulls 1-1 on March 2.
The game saw Revolution captain Michael Mancienne return after missing the side’s first game of the season with an injury.
The Revolution came out with energy and dominated possession early, but were unable to put any pressure on soon to be Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen. It seemed as if the Crew wasn’t going to challenge the Revolution at all until the 25th minute, where Pedro Santos played a low-curling ball into the box, perfectly placed for Gyasi Zardes to head home and take the 1-0 lead over the Revolution.
The energy seemed to disappear for some time following the Columbus goal, but a Cristian Penilla attempt on goal in the 43rd minute would spark some life into New England. The chances wouldn’t fall for the Revolution though, as they would head into the locker room down 1-0 at the half.
Out of the half, head coach Brad Friedel made two substitutions, as Diego Fagundez replaced Penilla and Justin Rennicks replaced Juan Agudelo. The team would win a free-kick in dangerous territory early, but a great bending effort towards goal from Fagundez was unable to trouble Steffen as he punched away the save.
The Revolution would have several attempts on goal but were unable to make anything happen until Wilfried Zahibo drew a penalty from Gastón Sauro in the area. The penalty was taken by Fagundez, but Steffen was able to easily save the poor attempt at the bottom left corner.
Each side continued to trade chances throughout the game but the teams were able to handle the pressure from each other with no challenge. Friedel would make his final substitution in the 81st minute, bringing on Tajon Buchanan for his debut for Scott Caldwell. Buchanan was able to bring life to the Revolution’s attack, as they constantly pressured the Crew defense.
A game full of rash challenges without any calls from the referee saw the Video Assistant Referee come into play late in the game as Brandon Bye was shown a straight red card for a challenge that didn’t seem to warrant the sending off. After a short delay in play, VAR was able to determine that Bye only deserved a yellow for the challenge.
The all-out attack from New England would eventually go against them, as Steffen was able to play substitute Héctor Jimenez over the top of the Revolution defense. Jimenez would put the ball at the feet of Zardes, and the American international would have no problem putting the ball past Brad Knighton to take a 2-0 lead.
The game would come to a disappointing end for the Revolution, as they now sit at ninth in the Eastern Conference with a single point after two games. New England finished the game with nearly twice as many shots as their opponents, 11 to the Crews six, but only three were on target.
New England heads to Toronto, Canada to take on Toronto FC next weekend on Sunday, March 17 with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Friedel will hope to grab the team’s first three points over the northern border before returning home to take on newly formed FC Cincinnati the following week.