COLUMBUS – The best second-half team in MLS proved their merit again Saturday night, as the Columbus Crew overcame a goal by Benny Feilhaber just before the break with a resounding 3-1 win over New England in Crew Stadium.
Columbus (10-7-7, 37 points) remained atop the Eastern Conference with the win, and improved to an impressive 2-0-4 when trailing at the half this season.
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The loss was the second straight for the Revolution (4-11-9), who coughed up an own goal early in the second half and never recovered while the Crew offense caught fire.
The crucial miscue came off the foot of New England defender Kevin Alston in the 54th minute, and Julius James (75th) and a healthy Emilio Rentería (81st) each scored to help Columbus pull away.
James got his first goal of the season on a header that he blasted a header into the net after a corner kick from Josh Gardner. Renteria easily scored his fifth of the year on an unmarked finish from six years out after midfielder Robbie Rogers set up the goal.
The equalizer came when Alston stuck out a foot to prevent a chip from Andrés Mendoza reaching fellow forward Tommy Heinemann, but the ball flew over the head of onrushing goalkeeper Matt Reis.
The Revs came close to regaining the lead in the 62nd minute but a shot by A.J Soares hit underneath the crossbar and came out.
Feilhaber stunned the Crew with his second goal of the season just before the break after the Revs were dominated for much of the half. They took the lead when Pat Phelan shirked Sebastian Miranda in the penalty area and sent a roller across to Feilhaber, who got away from Kevin Burns for a well-placed, 18-yard strike past William Hesmer.
The Crew, who 26 minutes into the game had 71.3 percent of the possession on a passing accuracy of 82 percent, would have taken the lead in the 39th minute if not for the brilliance of Reis.
He lunged to his right to get a hand on a header from eight yards by Chad Marshall after Miranda sent an untouched service from the left side into the box. The ball bounced to the head of Marshall off the hard surface and his flick was targeted for the upper left corner before Reis parried it wide.
Mendoza left in the 70th minute with a left leg injury and was replaced by midfielder Dilly Duka in his first appearance since June 4.
Both teams had to deal with the loss of starters from their last matches. New England played without midfielder Sainey Nyassi (sprained right MCL) while Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven (right leg contusion) missed his first game of the season.
New England host Houston on Aug. 17, while the Crew are home to Philadelphia on Aug. 20.
NE -- Benny Feilhaber 2 (Pat Phelan 3) 45
CLB -- own goal (Kevin Alston) 54
CLB -- Julius James 1 (Josh Gardner 2) 75
CLB -- Emilio Renteria 5 (Robbie Rogers 4, Dilly Duka 3) 81
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney, Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Diego Fagundez 79), Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 68), Milton Caraglio (Zak Boggs 79), Benny Feilhaber.
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Ryan Guy, Andrew Sousa, Bobby Shuttleworth.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Milton Caraglio 2, A.J. Soares 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 4 (4 tied with 1); OFFSIDES: 3 (Milton Caraglio 2); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Chris Tierney 2); SAVES: 7 (Matt Reis 7)
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner, Justin Meram (Bernardo Anor 71), Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers, Andres Mendoza (Dilly Duka 66), Tommy Heinemann (Emilio Renteria 58).
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Gehrig, Cole Grossman, Korey Veeder, Andy Gruenebaum.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Andres Mendoza 3, Emilio Renteria 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Emilio Renteria 3); FOULS: 13 (Sebastian Miranda 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (3 tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Sebastian Miranda 4); SAVES: 3 (William Hesmer 3)
CLB -- Sebastian Miranda (caution; Reckless Foul) 60
CLB -- Justin Meram (caution; Reckless Foul) 61
CLB -- Bernardo Anor (caution; Reckless Foul) 90
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: -Greg Barkey; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: John McCloskey
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-83-degrees