This was the New England Revolution’s first meaningful home game in October in several years. Heading into the game, New England probably need six points from the two games against the Columbus Crew is they were to make the MLS playoffs.
The Crew had a really small chance of making the playoffs, so the pressure was on the Revolution in front of their biggest home crowd of the season (26,428). That was the Revs biggest home crowd in four seasons.
The question ahead of the game was could NE handle the pressure of being expected to win?
The answer was yes as New England won 3-2 in an entertaining game.
In the first half the Crew had no answer for the speed and movement of the young Revolution players. The midfield trio of Caldwell, Rowe and Dorman were able to find the gaps in the Columbus midfield and that created lots of opportunities for the speedy trio of Agudelo, Fagunez and Bengtson.
New England are at their best when Rowe gets room in midfield to create and penetrate and the Revs speed up front is allowed to run behind defenses. For some reason the Crew did not pressure the New England midfielders when they had the ball, and they kept a high line so that there was space behind them for the New England forwards to run into.
After Agudelo and Bengtson spurned early chances to settle the nerves of the fans, AJ Soares scored in the 31st minute to out NE one up, Andy Dorman drew the foul to the right of the Crew goal, and Rowe’s free kick had terrific pace on it and all AJ had to do was direct the ball into the back of the net with his head.
Not sure what happened in the NE dressing room at half-time but they were asleep for the first 15 minutes of the second half and the Crew got a deserved equalizer from Dominic Oduro.
With a draw not good enough Heaps brought on Imbongo for Bengtson and within five minutes New England were ahead. Andy Dorman was brought down in the box and Chris Tierney stepped up and buried the penalty.
But the goal lasted only two minutes as Schoenfeld turned Goncalves inside the box and smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
So once again the pressure was on New England to come back again? And the answer was yes as Dorman’s cross was turned in by Diego in the 76th minute at the back post.
So twice in the second half, New England conceded equalizers to Columbus and twice they battled back to take the lead.
That would not have happened earlier in the season, but the likes of Farrell, Caldwell, Rowe, Diego and even Agudelo have grown up this season and became a little more resilient as the season has progressed. And that has been good to see.
Regardless of what happens in Columbus next week, the Revs are a much better side at the end of the season than they were back in March. And with some many key players under 25, the future is starting to look up in New England. And that is not something that NE fans have been able to say for a while.