COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a game that both the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution needed to win to keep pace with the Eastern Conference playoff contenders, neither team could muster a single goal in front of 19,323 fans in Columbus Crew Stadium until a stoppage time winner from Jose Goncalves earned the win for New England. Diego Fagundez added insult to injury with a second stoppage time goal moments later.
Goncalves stepped up from his defensive position for a corner kick. Lee Nguyen found him on the back post, where he headed it into the goal for the lead in the first minute of stoppage time. Three minutes later, the Crew turned it over in their defensive third and Nguyen slid a pass to Fagundez, who then sealed the win for the Revs.
New England came into the match tied for fewest goals allowed this season, and the Revolution defense did not disappoint. Columbus, meanwhile, was shut out for the fifth time in 2013.
The Crew (6-9-5) were once again without Jairo Arrieta, who has been on international duty with Costa Rica during its CONCACAF Gold Cup run for most of July, and stalwarts Eddie Gaven and Glauber, both lost for the season with ACL tears, but got a boost from the return of goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, who suffered a shoulder injury in the team's July 4 loss to the LA Galaxy. Other than Gruenebaum, the team's starting lineup matched that of the team's last league match, a victory over the Portland Timbers.
The New England (7-7-6) lineup saw no such consistency, as the team's mid-week match against the Colorado Rapids necessitated six changes from the team that suffered a 2-1 loss in Colorado. Among the fresh faces were Dimitry Imbongo, Clyde Simms and A.J. Soares, none of whom had seen a start in over a month.
In a match that, for 90 minutes, seemed to be a story of missed opportunities, New England's Chris Tierney stood out among the rest. In the 23rd minute, the midfielder found himself with a wide open chance on goal from an Imbongo cross, but could not hit the frame, serving as a microcosm of a sloppy, wasteful play of most of the match.
The majority of the second half played out similarly. Midway through the half, both teams seemed content to finish the evening with a point, and neither showed any ability or desire to put men in the opposing box. Though odd chances for the likes of Dominic Oduro, who soared a point-blank attempt high of goal in the 70th minute, or Fagundez, who hit a 75th minute shot directly at Gruenebaum, provided even more opportunities, neither team seemed able to find a goal until the stoppage time stunners from New England.
The result brought New England within four points of the Houston Dynamo for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot, while the Crew remain six points behind the Dynamo, who have a game in hand.
Columbus plays the second of five straight Eastern Conference matches next Saturday against Trillium Cup foes Toronto FC, while New England will look to avenge a 3-1 loss against D.C. United in the nation's capitol next Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jose Goncalves||His physicality frustrated Columbus on the offensive end, and he stepped up to head in the winner in stoppage time.|
|2||Andrew Farrell||New England's rookie defender had a great two-way match, stopping a number of Crew chances and whipping in a number of crosses too.|
|3||Dominic Oduro||Though the Crew did not put one in, the striker created several opportunities.|