who had controlled possession at home against Dallas the week before -- waited until the 21st minute to get their first shot on goal, but goalkeeper Matt Reis reacted well to stop Ross Paule's 20-yard freekick.
In the 24th, Shalrie Joseph's big ball over the top broke Pat Noonan free and the striker looked sure to notch his sixth goal of the season, but once again the 5-foot-10 Busch showed catlike reflexes to produce a leaping save of the second-year forward's strike.
But the Crew's porous defense and lack of possession meant it was only a matter of time, and in the 31st minute Baker again found space on the right to send a cross to Dempsey, who took on his chest and fired past Busch from four yards for his sixth goal of the year.
The Crew fought back and managed to score against the run of play just minutes before halftime, as Jeff Cunningham threaded a through ball to Martino, who placed a low shot past the outstretched hand of Reis.
Columbus twice almost took the lead five minutes after the break, as Frankie Hejduk's strike forced a diving leap from Reis, and Cunningham saw his shot roll across the goalmouth just seconds later.
But like the rain that had soaked the field in the hours before kickoff, the scoring chances also dried up, the match drifting aimlessly to a draw that neither team seemed to have the invention to overcome.
Both teams hit the road next weekend in their next league matches, the Crew heading to Denver to face the Colorado Rapids (5 p.m. ET; ESPN2), while the Revolution face the San Jose Earthquakes (10 p.m. ET). But first on Tuesday, both teams have tests in the round-of-16 of the U.S. Open Cup, the Revs taking on perennial A-League danger side Rochester Raging Rhinos, while the Crew play host to the Chicago Fire.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Richie Baker (New England Revolution)
New England Revolution (4-8-5) vs. Columbus Crew (5-5-5)
July 17, 2004 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
NE -- Clint Dempsey 6 (Richie Baker 3, Steve Ralston 4) 31
CLB -- Kyle Martino 2 (Jeff Cunningham 2, Chad Marshall 1) 45
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Avery John, Joe Franchino, Richie Baker (Felix Brillant 54), Jose Cancela (Marshall Leonard 71), Shalrie Joseph, Brian Kamler, Pat Noonan, Clint Dempsey.
Substitutes Not Used: Andy Dorman, Luke Vercollone, Doug Warren.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Brian Kamler 3, Pat Noonan 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Pat Noonan 2); FOULS: 15 (6 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (3 tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Jose Cancela 3); SAVES: 5 (Matt Reis 5)
Columbus Crew -- Jon Busch, Duncan Oughton, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Frankie Hejduk, Simon Elliott, Kyle Martino, Ross Paule, Eric Denton (Chris Wingert 28), Edson Buddle (Michael Ritch 87), Jeff Cunningham (Manny Lagos 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Nelson Akwari, Clint Baumstark, Stephen Herdsman, Brian Maisonneuve, Erick Scott, David Testo.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Edson Buddle 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (6 tied with 1); FOULS: 19 (Ross Paule 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Edson Buddle 1, Eric Denton 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Simon Elliott 2); SAVES: 3 (Jon Busch 3)
NE -- Richie Baker (caution; Professional Foul) 42
CLB -- Chris Wingert (caution; Persistent Infringement) 56
CLB -- Simon Elliott (caution; Pushing, Holding) 58
NE -- Avery John (caution; Professional Foul) 64
CLB -- Edson Buddle (caution; Pushing, Holding) 70
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: -Chip Reed; Jorge De la Bandera
4th Official: Mikael Lundqvist
Time of Game: 1:52
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.