The New England Revolution secured a point but flopped as vengeful spoilers against reigning MLS champion Columbus SC.
The Crew recovered from a two-goal deficit in the first half to salvage a 2-2 draw against the Revolution in their debut game at rollicking Lower.com Field on Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio.
The Revolution improved to 7-2-3 and 1-0-1 against the Crew this season in the 76th meeting between the two original MLS franchises. The Crew (4-3-4) beat the Revolution 1-0 in last December’s MLS Eastern Conference title match.
Revolution head coach Bruce Arena will have a short turnaround to prepare for Wednesday night’s match against Toronto FC (7) at Gillette Stadium. Keeper Matt Turner (USA) and forward Tajon Buchanan (Canada) will depart the team for next weekend’s Concacaf Gold Cup tournament
“That was as challenging a game on the road as you would ever see in this league in that stadium with clearly a 12th man for 90 minutes,” said Arena. “To walk off with a point is a plus but I’d say if we don’t concede that goal in the first half, we go home with three points.
The Revs weathered the Crew’s initial adrenaline rush and went up 1-0 in the 13th minute on Buchanan’s third of the season. Defender DeJuan Jones made a deep run down the left flank and launched a service across the penalty area. Buchanan got behind midfielder Lucas Zelarayan and headed the ball under the crossbar ahead of Crew keeper Eloy Room.
The Revolution went up 2-0 on a creative play orchestrated by Buchanan in the 30th minute. Buchanan made a circular move inside the penalty area from the right side that forced Room to commit to the near post. Buchanan made a lateral service that was redirected into the goal by striker Gustavo Bou, who scored his sixth of the season and fifth in the last five games.
“It was a great goal to start and we knew the first half was going to be lopsided,” said Arena. “DeJuan had a good cross and Tajon had a good finish. Tajon gets credit for taking part in two goals.”
Columbus invigorated the crowd back in the with a spectacular goal in the 39th minute. Defender Harrison Afful made a long lateral service to striker Gyasi Zardes at the top of the box. Zardes pivoted and fired a low shot that beat Turner to the far post for his fourth of the season.
Columbus tied the game 2-2 on an unfortunate mishap in the 69th minute. Farrell got turned around on a long clear in that bounced of his head just as Turner was coming out to intercept the ball. The ball skidded on the turf and beat Turner, Farrell and Zardes in a mad dash to the goal line. Farrell was credited with an own goal on a play Arena thought was a foul.
“Gyasi pushed off two players into the goal,” said Arena. “Matt probably could have handled that ball but I thought Farrell was pushed into Turner, which enabled that ball to get across the line.”
Turner preserved the tie with a huge save on Zardes in the 86th minute. Farrell made amends with a huge stop during a Crew deluge in stoppage time.