sandwiched around a remarkable save on teammate Ante Razov when he was trying to head clear on a free kick.
"Overall, the better team lost today. We are disappointed. We played five times against Columbus - four times last year and one this year - and they got four free kicks and one PK," United coach Peter Nowak said. "And this is the most frustrating thing I have ever seen. I am really proud of this team. They show character and how to respond. I am happy how they responded tonight.
Nowak made five changes to the team that tied 1-1 with the Chicago Fire the previous Saturday, after an exhausting loss to Pumas UNAM in the CONCACAF Champions Cup at midweek.
Troy Perkins started in goal in place of Nick Rimando, while the other changes were United's main attacking four, as Clyde Simms came into as the driving midfielder and Freddy Adu as the attacking midfielder for Ben Olsen and Christian Gomez, while Santino Quaranta and Jamil Walker were the starting strike pair in place of Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Troy Perkins - David Stokes, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke - Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll (Christian Gomez 70), Clyde Simms, Steve Guppy (Alecko Eskandarian 60) - Freddy Adu - Santino Quaranta, Jamil Walker (Jaime Moreno 46)
"We felt we couldn't play the same guys for 90 minutes. We are very comfortable with our roster and the guys showed tonight that they have great potential," Nowak said.
Despite the multiple changes and the busy schedule that saw United play three games in a week and five matches in 13 days, they nearly escaped Columbus with at least a point.
"Some of the guys are tired and needed the rest, but we came in and gave it everything we had. Jaime [Moreno] came in and played his heart out, Alecko [Eskandarian] came in and played his heart out, [Christian] Gomez came in and played his heart out," Freddy Adu said. "The people who filled in today did a great job. We just wanted to get a result today and we were just unlucky.
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONS
Nowak was sent off in the 81st minute of the match, meaning he is suspended this weekend and will have to watch the match against the Revolution from the stands.
In addition, Bryan Namoff will be out for the next 3-4 weeks as he recovers from an avulsion fracture to a rib, suffered in training before the season began. Namoff has not been available for duty this season.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution return to league play after a week off, their last competitive encounter an impressive 3-0 victory against the Columbus Crew at home on April 9, a win that snapped the Crew's league-record 19-match unbeaten streak. The Revolution have four points from their two matches, tied with three other teams (United, Kansas City and Chicago) for second place, two points behind the Crew.
The match burst into life in the second half when the Revolution finally took advantage of their dominance throughout the match.
Clint Dempsey gave the Revolution a 64th-minute lead when he powered home a diving header, Jay Heaps whipping in a driven cross from the left after Pat Noonan completely changed the field with a long ball over the entire penalty area.
Noonan then doubled New England's lead on 82 minutes when the Crew failed to clear from their own area, Columbus 'keeper Jon Busch parrying Taylor Twellman's shot but only into the path of Noonan who slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Twellman then played provider for New England's third, breaking down the right on a counter before rolling a centering pass that substitute Andy Dorman flicked underneath Busch with a last gasp touch with the outside of his right boot, the ball just crossing the line ahead of Robin Fraser's desperate clearance attempt.
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that tied 2-2 with the San Jose Earthquakes to begin the campaign. Captain Joe Franchino returned to the lineup, coming in at left back for Marshall Leonard, while James Riley made his first MLS start in a wide midfield role in place of the injured Cassio, starting on the right while Steve Ralston switched flanks. Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Joe Franchino - James Riley, Shalrie Joseph, Clint Dempsey, Steve Ralston - Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 82) - Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan
"At halftime, we said that we needed to start as quickly as we did in the first half," said Nicol. "We didn't change anything. We just did things with better quality. We were half a yard too far in the first half. In the second half, we clicked."
After setting out his team in a 3-5-2 scheme almost exclusively, Nicol has gone to three in the back this season. Rookie Michael Parkhurst has anchored the back trio, and the Revs have not allowed a goal in 159 minutes. "We were pretty confident that we were going to keep a clean sheet [against Columbus]," said Nicol. "The defensive effort started up top. Guys fell into the middle and we marked up. The back three picked up the rest."
It has also been helped by the midfield trio of Jose Cancela in a forward role, Clint Dempsey in the driving role and Shalrie Joseph in more of a holding role. "We want to possess the ball through the middle of the field," said Joseph. "I want to get the ball to Clint or Pepe [Cancela] so they can distribute. I want to combine with the wide players to get the ball out there. During preseason, the emphasis was in possessing the ball."
During their off week, the Revolution lost to the University of Connecticut 2-1 in a scrimmage match played on April 14. Taylor Twellman scored a 33rd minute goal for the Revs before the college side scored twice in the second half, the 80th-minute winner coming through an own goal.
Here's the team Nicol sent out: Warren, Leonard, John, Larentowicz, Cassio, Romaneiro, Dorman, Vercollone, Latham, Holmes, Twellman (Noonan 45)
The Revolution have signed Bermuda international forward Khano Smith. The 24-year-old won the league and cup double with Dandy Town Hornets of his native country in 2004; in 2003 he played for the Carolina Dynamo of the USL D3 Pro League. "Khano is a big, strong forward who is also a good soccer player," said Nicol. "He was impressive when we trained with us in Ecuador and he will immediately add another good option for us at striker."