|The Crew’s Eddie Gaven (left) and Kevin Alston of the Revolution compete for a header. (Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)|
Inconsistent Revolution fall to Columbus
FOXBOROUGH - The Revolution looked like a team in preseason form during a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew last night. Unfortunately for the Revolution, the regular season is almost over.
There were hints of what could be a dangerous attack, but also inconsistent defending, which has been part of the reason for the Revolution’s lowest win total since Major League Soccer began in 1996.
Andres Mendoza capitalized on a defensive error for the opening goal in the 31st minute as the Crew performed like a team gearing up for the postseason. The Crew (13-12-8, 47 points) put the match away with goals by Dilly Duka and Mendoza in a four-minute span early in the second half.
The Revolution (5-16-12, 27 points), who visit Toronto FC for their final game next Saturday, concluded their home season with a losing record (4-7-6) for the first time since the opening of Gillette Stadium in 2002.
“It’s disappointing,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “We wanted to at least go out and give the fans something to cheer about. It’s been a tough one for them, as well. We appreciate them coming to every home game and supporting, which they have done.’’
Columbus played for counterattacks and was content to launch long balls in an attempt to catch the Revolution back line out of position. The tactic paid off following a series of close calls, including a diving save by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and a clearance by Chris Tierney on an Emilio Renteria cross in the 26th minute.
The Crew then scored off what appeared to be an innocuous long ball, Mendoza finishing a half-volley after Darrius Barnes misplayed a Renteria flick-on.
“I’ll throw the blame on myself,’’ Barnes said. “It’s a ball played over the top, my intention was to head it back to Bobby. But it took a funny bounce and by the time I turned around [Mendoza] was taking a crack at it and he put it in a great spot where Bobby couldn’t get to it. So it’s one of those things that happen.
“I’ve never seen the ball take such weird bounces on the turf like it did. I’ve never seen a long ball like that have backspin instead of bouncing forward. It’s one of those things, you’ve got to deal with it and I’ll try and do a better job next time.’’
The Revolution regrouped after the first goal, and a deflected Milton Caraglio shot appeared to be bound for the goal. But goalkeeper William Hesmer recovered with a kick save.
Columbus scored again as Barnes failed to clear a long ball, Duka finishing with a left-footer off the far post in the 59th minute. Four minutes later, Mendoza scored again, crushing a half-volley off a Renteria cross at the back post.
The Revolution added Rajko Lekic and Zack Schilawski in the 68th minute in an attempt to complement the Caraglio-Diego Fagundez forward line. Fagundez clashed with Chad Marshall on a free kick, Fagundez recovering after a brief walk to the bench, Marshall returning to action wearing a black headband. Fagundez then was replaced by Kheli Dube in the 80th minute.
“The last home game, it doesn’t feel great leaving the fans with a sour note there,’’ Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph said. “Even though we’re out of the playoffs, we should have done better. It just doesn’t feel good ending the season like that, especially being at home and losing like that.
“We need to come in and practice and work hard and still try to do the necessary things to be a better team, and then we’ll take it from there. It’s going to be an interesting offseason. I love playing here, I love the fans, I love being here. It’s definitely frustrating in terms of what we weren’t able to do.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.