FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez picked up the New England Revolution team MVP award in a pre-match ceremony. He then showed why he warranted the honor by scoring a precious winner in the final quarter of an hour to dash Columbus' postseason hopes and hand the Revolution a 3-2 victory at Gillette Stadium.
Fagundez capped a frenetic second half by turning home at the far post to give the Revs all three points. His composed finish settled a compelling game when the Revs twice took the lead only for the desperate Crew to respond in kind.
A.J. Soares headed home to stake the Revs to a halftime lead, but Dominic Oduro responded after the break to level the proceedings. Chris Tierney claimed the lead again from the penalty spot only for influential second-half substitute Aaron Schoenfeld to fire home to restore parity.
The late winner from Fagundez bolstered the Revs' playoff hopes – they will enter the final match with a chance to procure a playoff berth in Columbus next Sunday – and eliminated the Crew with one match remaining.
New England started brightly in a bid to claim the victory required to bolster its postseason hopes. Juan Agudelo spurned a sumptuous Kelyn Rowe diagonal inside the first 10 minutes, while Andy Dorman's persistence at the far post forced Matt Lampson to rush out to block his effort moments later.
Oduro dragged a half-chance wide to provide a modest respite, but the Revolution continued to apply most of the pressure. Chad Barson hacked clear a Jerry Bengtson square pass shortly before the half-hour mark to stem the tide, but the Crew eventually broke after 32 minutes.
The sequence started when Rowe tempted Ethan Finlay into a rash tackle on the left wing. Rowe brushed himself off and then drove an inviting set piece toward the near post. Soares made a determined run to meet it and glanced it home for his first goal of the season.
Soares' opener constituted the Revolution's lead at the interval, but a tactical switch at halftime by Crew interim coach Brian Bliss and the urgency for both sides sparked a back-and-forth second half.
Columbus improved considerably in the opening moments after Schoenfeld replaced Finlay and supplied a genuine target up front alongside Jairo Arrieta. Schoenfeld justified his inclusion shortly before the hour with prototypical hold-up work to play Oduro behind the line. Oduro then smashed home the equalizer with a rasping near post drive.
Parity held for 10 minutes or so before Tierney restored the lead from the spot. Tony Tchani hauled down Dorman on the right side of the penalty area to cap a furious sequence inside the Crew penalty area. Tierney assumed the responsibility with Lee Nguyen suspended and coolly dispatched his effort inside the far post.
Schoenfeld then pegged the Revs back for a second time with his first MLS goal. Oduro turned provider on this occasion with a perfectly placed feed on the edge of the penalty area. Schoenfeld settled well, turned onto his foot and walloped his effort past Matt Reis to draw the Crew level after 71 minutes.
Both teams committed numbers into the attacking third with a draw meaning relatively little to both teams in the final accounting. The ambitious deportment yielded a furious closing quarter of an hour and a winner through Fagundez.
Fagundez spurned a glorious opportunity to double the Revs lead moments before Oduro made it 1-1, but he made no mistake to cap off this sweeping Revolution move. The sequence started with a long Reis boot up field and proceeded with a flick, a couple of neat passes inside the Crew penalty area and a precise square from Dorman toward the far post.
Fagundez moved deftly into the proper area and then polished off the move appropriately with his 13th goal of the campaign to hand the Revs all three points and scupper the Crew's postseason hopes.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Kelyn Rowe||A complete performance in midfield from the young talent. Drew and delviered the free kick for the opener, made a number of decisive passes and defended well|
|2||Dominic Oduro||Carried the Crew's attack on his shoulders with Federico Higuaín out. Gave the Revs fits with his speed, grabbed a goal and assist, and even delivered some key passes|
|3||Diego Fagundez||Showed composure beyond his years, driving the Revs' attack forward and getting the all-important winning goal|