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During their long winless run and losing streak, scoring has been a major issue for the New England Revolution. On Saturday night against the Columbus Crew, the Revs attack came to life and put three goals on the board, but unfortunately the defense conceded four as New England were defeated for the fifth consecutive game.
The Revs opened the scoring in the 16th minute through Ryan Guy. The Guam international ran onto a quick layoff and blasted his shot on goal. It took a lucky deflection that wrong-footed Andy Gruenebaum before bulging the net.
Seven minutes later, Benny Feilhaber played an excellent through ball to put Jerry Bengtson in alone on goal. The Honduran forward rounded Gruenebaum and fired into an empty net for his second goal of the season, putting the Revs firmly in the driver's seat with a 2-0 lead.
That's when everything came unglued and Federico Higuain took over. A silly foul just outside the box put the Crew's new designated player over the ball, and he placed a breathtaking free kick into the top corner to bring the Crew back into the match in the 26th minute.
Then, in the 32nd minute, Jairo Arrieta brought the Crew level again. A quick Crew counterattack put Arrieta in on goal, although replays suggested he may have been offside. Regardless, his shot was vicious, and Matt Reis had no chance on it.
Columbus wrapped up the second half with another phenomenal Higuain effort. Stephen McCarthy committed another foul outside the box on the 43rd minute. Higuain stepped up, and this time chose the other side of the goal to beat a despairing Matt Reis and put the Crew ahead 3-2.
The action in the second half slowed until the 81st minute, when Diego Fagundez won a penalty off of Julius James. Lee Nguyen, brought on in the second half for Clyde Simms, stepped to the spot and buried his attempt to tie it up at 3-3.
Concentration on set pieces and throw-ins has been an issue for the Revs all season, and once again they allowed a scoring play to be created from a throw. A simple toss from midfield got to Tony Tchani, who dinked a little ball over the top to Arrieta. The Crew's lethal new striker faced down Matt Reis and calmly chipped it past the veteran keeper for the Crew's fourth goal of the match and the eventual winner.
Jerry Bengtson nearly tied it up for the Revs in stoppage time with a drive from the top of the box, but substitute goalkeeper Lampson parried it away.
The New England Revolution are desperate not to lose and extend their losing streak, and against the Columbus Crew on Saturday night Lee Nguyen did his part to try and keep that from happening. After a mistake from Julius James, the tricky winger buried a penalty in the 81st minute to draw the sides level at 3-3.
Substitute Diego Fagundez tried to turn James and then took the ball into the box. As he attempted to shield the ball from the center-back, Diego found himself dragged to the ground by James, and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. Nguyen, brought on in the second half in place of Clyde Simms, stepped to the spot and coolly sent Crew substitute goalkeeper Lampson the wrong way as he buried the ball in the lower right corner.
James and the other Crew defenders protested the call, but the referee was unimpressed. The goal was slightly against the run of play as well, as the Revs had struggled to create chances in the second half.
The New England Revolution, after jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, have watched it slip away as the Columbus Crew came roaring back to take the lead. Federico Higuain's second goal of the game - another free kick - made it 3-2 before halftime.
Higuain's first goal was set up by a Stephen McCarthy foul just outside the box; this second goal was no different. McCarthy took down Eddie Gaven about 25 yards away from goal in a very dangerous spot. Higuain stepped up, picked the opposite corner of the goal from his first strike, and curled it past a despairing Matt Reis for his brace.
Since giving up the Crew's second goal, the Revs have appeared deflated and are struggling to get the chances that they created earlier in the match. Columbus, meanwhile, has retaken control of the match in their home stadium, and Federico Higuain is proving himself to be a scoring and playmaking machine.
The first half of the match between the New England Revolution and the Columbus Crew has been nothing if not eventful. After Ryan Guy opened the scoring in the 16th minute, three more goals were scored in the course of the next 16 minutes, as Jerry Bengtson, Federico Higuain, and Jairo Arrieta conspired to bring the match to 2-2.
Bengtson's goal came at 23 minutes. The Crew defense was in shambles as Benny Feilhaber played a brilliant through-ball to put Bengtson free and clear on goal. Andy Gruenebaum raced out to smother, but Bengtson got their first, rounded him, and fired into the open net, hitting it off the post just so it wouldn't look too easy.
Just three minutes later, the Crew answered. A questionable foul call about 22 yards out from goal set Federico Higuain up, and he did not disappoint, placing the direct free kick out of Matt Reis' reach and into the top corner of the goal.
Columbus was not done, however. In the 32nd minute, Jairo Arrieta uncorked an absolute blast from a tough angle on the left, beating Reis and slamming it home off the underside of the crossbar.
New England has squandered two or three very good chances, including one great opportunity from Kelyn Rowe right after Higuain's goal.
The New England Revolution have had a long run of hard luck in the league, but their quest to change that against the Columbus Crew got off to a great start. Ryan Guy's first goal of the season fired the Revs into the lead at Crew Stadium, giving them something they haven't had in weeks: a good start.
In the 16th minute, a throw-in was flicked around near the box and found its way to Guy, who was cutting across the top of the box. The newly-minted Guam international let fly with a left-footed rip and, thanks to a fortuitous deflection, wrong-footed Andy Gruenebaum and bulged the back of the net.
The goal came as something of a surprise. Despite the fact that Saer Sene had already snapped a header on frame, the game wasn't looking full of chances and it appeared that both sides were settling in for a slugfest.
New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps has been forced to continue shuffling his lineup as he prepares for Saturday night's match against the Columbus Crew. Injuries and international breaks have made it nearly impossible for Heaps to put a string of games together with his best lineup, and injuries have struck again here.
Notably, Lee Nguyen has moved to the bench for this match, presumably due to the ankle issues he has been dealing with for the last week. His replacement, Kelyn Rowe, makes a return to the starting lineup for the first time in several weeks.
Benny Feilhaber also gets the start after finding himself on the bench last week. Fernando Cardenas has moved back to the bench, where some would argue he is best utilized as a super sub. Jerry Bengtson is also starting alongside Saer Sene after getting his first full week of training in with the team since before the Olympics.
Bench: Murray, Lechner, Fagundez, Nguyen, Cardenas, Barnes, Imbongo
Bench: Lampson, James, Tchani, Birchall, Grossman, Meram, Renteria
The New England Revolution have traveled to Crew Stadium to take on the Columbus Crew amid a season-worst seven game winless run. A loss would extend their losing streak to five games as well. (TV/Radio: CSN/98.5)