The New England Revolution returned to their winning ways with a 3-1 victory against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Wednesday evening. The visitors used a goal by Clint Dempsey late in the first half to break the deadlock and overcame an early strike by the Crew's Edson Buddle, while Pat Noonan scored goals in each half.
"It was a big win for us against a conference opponent. After going down early on the road, it was great to come back for a 3-1 victory," said Noonan. "Although it wasn't the prettiest of games, we got the job done."
Noonan's goal off a give and goal with Dempsey in the 24th minute leveled the match for the visitors. Revolution coach Steve Nicol was not happy with the goal his squad gave up to Buddle.
"The first one was a bad goal," said Nicol. "If we had just taken one more step up, Buddle would have been offside."
Buddle collected a shot by Simon Elliott right in front of Matt Reis and quickly slotted the ball home to give the Crew an early lead. It was Buddle's fifth goal of the season, the same number that Noonan and Dempsey had going into the match.
With his two goals, Noonan passed injured teammate Taylor Twellman to move into a tie with Carlos Ruiz for second place in the league scoring charts. Meanwhile, Dempsey tallied his sixth goal of the season just before halftime to break the back of the home side, jumping over a Crew defender to head home a corner kick two minutes into stoppage time.
"I think we deserved it. We were taking the game to them," said Nicol. "I thought we deserved to win today."
The Dempsey goal gave the Revolution the lead only because captain Joe Franchino twice cleared shots by Mario Rodriguez and Buddle off the goal line earlier in the first half.
"Joey was just doing his job. He was in good position to cover," said Nicol.
Just as in the first half, New England weathered an early barrage of attacks from the Crew early in the second half.
"They came out and created some good opportunities. They had some poor crossing," said Dempsey. "They had us on our heels with corner after corner."
The Revolution finished off the Crew's chances of victory with Noonan's second goal of the match in the 68th minute.
"The third goal put the nail in the coffin," Dempsey said. "Hopefully, we can continue doing the things we have been doing and continue to ride this wave."
Following Saturday's 2-0 loss to D.C. United, the Revolution were happy to make a quick return to the pitch in order to make amends for their only blemish of the season.
"It was good to get the win coming off the loss against D.C.," said Dempsey.
Added Noonan: "We didn't have as much time to think about how we played on Saturday. We didn't play well, but we got it out of our heads."
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major league Soccer or its clubs.