The New England Revolution ended the Columbus Crew's 19-match regular season unbeaten streak in emphatic fashion, claiming their first victory of the season with a 3-0 victory on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Clint Dempsey, Pat Noonan, and Andy Dorman tallied for Steve Nicol's side in a well-earned victory against a Crew side that rarely threatened. The Revolution controlled the ball along the ground at times on the sandy Gillette surface, and was rewarded for their commitment to attack and dominance of play with three goals and three points largely due to the inspiration of the hard-driving Dempsey.
The home side started pouring numbers forward from the opening whistle. Dempsey provided much of the impetus in the opening five minutes, with a shot on goal and a darting run on the end line challenging the Crew defense in the early stages.
Columbus struggled to work their way into the game in the first 20 minutes, failing to hold possession or work the ball through midfield cogs Simon Elliot and Kyle Martino. Ante Razov provided a temporary respite on 11 minutes, but his volley was well over the target.
Taylor Twellman spurned the best chance of the first stanza after 23 minutes. Slipping between defenders Mark Schulte and Robin Fraser, Twellman shaped to shoot. After a moment's hesitation by Twellman, a brave dive by Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch snuffed out the danger.
Joey Franchino, back in the starting 11 after missing last week's season opener in San Jose, used his left peg to send Pat Noonan down the left side of the box in the 27th minute. A dangerous cross from Noonan was almost met by a late Twellman run before slipping over the end line.
The Revolution had a shot at a penalty in the 37th minute. Bustling rookie James Riley, in first start after a productive substitute's role in San Jose last weekend, crossed into the box. Shouts for a handball rose as the ball met the arm of David Testo. Referee Terry Vaughn dismissed the enquiries, as it looked like the ball played Testo.
After the break, the Revolution commenced with more attacking play, with Columbus pinned back and frustrated by the suffocating Revolution midfield.
A swirling ball from Cancela in the 48th minute found Noonan 12 yards from goal, but his effort was well saved by Busch as the effort was headed for the lower left hand corner. Then Dempsey went close again after 54 minutes as his left footed drive just flashed wide of the right post.
Razov nearly had an unjust opener for the visitors two minutes later. His snap shot on the turn just missed wide of the lower right corner of the Revolution net.
The Crew were made to pay for their profligacy as Dempsey was rewarded for his attacking verve with a 63rd-minute goal. After moving the ball from flank to flank, Revolution right defender Jay Heaps ended up on the left flank. Switching to his right foot, Heaps' curling cross was met by the powerful diving header of Dempsey from eight yards to put the Revolution ahead.
With the Crew committing numbers forward, it was always likely for the Revolution to find a second or third goal. Two would follow to bury the Crew and seal the victory.
Dempsey provided the impetus for the second in the 82nd, with his shot caroming off the head of the beleaguered Robin Fraser. The deflection fell to Noonan, who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Andy Dorman added the final dagger in the 85th minute, as another counter caught the Crew out at the back. Twellman's cross from the right along the ground looked too far for Dorman, but he stuck out the outside of the right foot to slip it through the legs of Busch. Fraser's desperate goal line clearance was an instant too late to prevent the final addition to the scoreline.
New England plays at D.C. United on Saturday, April 23 (7:30 p.m. ET, HDNet), while the Crew host United on Friday night on MLS Primetime (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution)
Columbus Crew (1-1-0) vs. New England Revolution (1-0-1)
April 9, 2005 -- Gillette Stadium
NE -- Clint Dempsey 1 (Jay Heaps 1) 64
NE -- Pat Noonan 1 (unassisted) 82
NE -- Andy Dorman 1 (Taylor Twellman 1) 85
Columbus Crew -- Jon Busch, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Mark Schulte (Ryan Kelly 89), Simon Elliott, Manny Lagos (Frankie Hejduk 62), Danny Szetela, Edson Buddle, Ante Razov, David Testo (Domenic Mediate 62), Kyle Martino.
Substitutes Not Used: Knox Cameron, Matt Jordan.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Edson Buddle 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Edson Buddle 2); FOULS: 16 (Danny Szetela 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Edson Buddle 1, Ante Razov 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Simon Elliott 3); SAVES: 4 (Jon Busch 4)
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, James Riley, Joe Franchino, Clint Dempsey, Steve Ralston, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 82), Shalrie Joseph, Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan.
Substitutes Not Used: Connally Edozien, Jamie Holmes, Avery John, Jeff Larentowicz, Ryan Latham, Marshall Leonard, Luke Vercollone, Doug Warren.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Clint Dempsey 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Clint Dempsey 3); FOULS: 14 (James Riley 5); OFFSIDES: 4 (Pat Noonan 2, Taylor Twellman 2); CORNER KICKS: 9 (Jose Cancela 9); SAVES: 3 (Matt Reis 3)
CLB -- Simon Elliott (caution; Persistent Infringement) 45
CLB -- Danny Szetela (caution; Pushing, Holding) 57
CLB -- Manny Lagos (caution; Pushing, Holding) 61
NE -- James Riley (caution; Pushing, Holding) 80
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Richard Eddy; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Gus St. Silva
Time of Game: 1:55
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.