FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The ghosts of the midweek draw in Dallas came back to haunt New England for a second consecutive match.
For the second time in as many games, the Revs raced out to a two-goal lead and subsequently threw it away in the second half to draw 2-2 with Eastern Conference leaders Columbus on Saturday night.
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This effort mirrored the showing against FC Dallas, though it lacked the late drama of Jeff Cunningham's last-gasp equalizer. New England midfielder Pat Phelan poked home his second goal of the season from Marko Perovic's free kick to give the Revs the lead after just two minutes as the home side tried to erase Wednesday night from their memory.
Phelan's early tally – the second early goal in as many matches – laid the foundation for the Revs to push forward. While they didn't perform as well as they did in Dallas, they were able to secure a second goal from their first penalty kick of the season when Shalrie Joseph doubled the advantage after 56 minutes.
“[The first goal] definitely takes a lot of pressure off of us,” Phelan said. “We didn't play particularly well after that, but we kept them off the board. We were able to get the second goal. Then we're saying OK, Dallas, and then it all fell apart.”
Doubts started to creep in once Crew forward Steven Lenhart grabbed a goal back six minutes later with his near-post header. Columbus finally engineered their opening strike after wasting several earlier chances and grew in confidence once Lenhart nodded home his sixth goal of the season.
“We didn't stay concentrated or focused for 90 minutes,” Joseph said. “We gave up a goal like that, out of nothing. It was just a cross and we got beat to the ball. After that, I thought we defended too much and we gave them way too much time and space on the ball. It came back to hurt us.”
Guillermo Barros Schelotto plunged the dagger into the Revs' hopes with 10 minutes to play. Joseph gave away a penalty kick after he handled a Shaun Francis shot, though New England coach Steve Nicol complained bitterly about a potential foul on Phelan prior to the penalty kick award.
All of those complaints yielded to other concerns once Schelotto converted his spot kick to draw the Crew level. New England attempted to secure a late winner, but it didn't arrive, and left the Revs to somehow focus on the silver linings after an infuriating end to a frustrating week.
“We just have to take the positives out of it,” Revolution defender Darrius Barnes said. “We came out and we played well. We got the early goal.
“We have to come out against Salt Lake next week – one of the better teams in the league – and try to get three points. That'd be huge for this young team to go out and play with a quality side like that.”