Recap: Mendoza double sends Crew past NE, into playoffs
Andres Mendoza scored twice and Dilly Duka added his first career MLS goal to seal Columbus' postseason berth with a 3-0 victory over New England.
Mendoza opened the scoring by slotting home Emilio Renteria's flick on after 31 minutes. Duka collected a failed Revolution clearance to double the advantage after 59 minutes with a low left-footed finish, while Mendoza boosted his chances in the Golden Boot race by collecting his 13th goal of the season to seal the points.
Columbus tied a club record by making the postseason for the fourth consecutive season (1996-1999), while the Revs are now assured of setting a new franchise-low for victories in a campaign.
Neither side really captured the imagination in the opening stages, but New England pushed ample numbers forward and produced several half-chances on goal. Diego Fagundez, Monsef Zerka and Shalrie Joseph all offered various attempts on goal during the early stages, but Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer didn't find himself particularly tested as the Revs ramped up the pressure.
New England's commitment to push numbers forward offered Columbus plenty of room to operate on the counter. Renteria forced Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to push away his low cross after he carved out some space in the penalty area as the Crew started to pose some problems with more direct play toward goal.
Renteria and Mendoza soon combined for the opener with a typically straightforward and tidy piece of buildup play. Renteria once again served as the provider by flicking the ball over the top and into the Revolution penalty area. Mendoza waited out the bounce and the retreating Revolution defender Darrius Barnes before using his preferred left foot to slot home his team-leading 12th goal of the campaign.
The sides continued to spar in the early stages of the second half, but Duka gave the Crew a critical second goal after 59 minutes to create a cushion heading into the final half-hour. The goal came off yet another Revolution mistake as Barnes failed to clear and the ball fell to Duka on the left side of the penalty area. Duka created a yard of space and fired home his first career MLS goal to double the advantage.
Mendoza sealed the Crew's playoff place and the points by finishing off a tidy piece of direct play with some panache four minutes later. Sebastian Miranda started the move with a long ball down the right flank for Renteria. After collecting the feed, Renteria drove a cross to the back post for Mendoza to thump home for his 13th goal of the season and conclude the scoring in style.
CLB -- Andres Mendoza 12 (Emilio Renteria 1) 31
CLB -- Dilly Duka 1 (unassisted) 59
CLB -- Andres Mendoza 13 (Emilio Renteria 2) 63
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Josh Gardner, Sebastian Miranda, Julius James, Chad Marshall, Emmanuel Ekpo, Eddie Gaven, Danny O'Rourke, Andres Mendoza (Bernardo Anor 80), Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 78), Dilly Duka (Jeff Cunningham 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Rich Balchan, Kevin Burns, Shaun Francis, Andy Gruenebaum.
New England Revolution -- Bobby Shuttleworth, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Franco Coria, Chris Tierney, Ryan Guy, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Monsef Zerka (Zack Schilawski 68), Diego Fagundez (Kheli Dube 80), Milton Caraglio (Rajko Lekic 68).
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Otto Loewy, Pat Phelan, Tim Murray.
CLB -- Andres Mendoza (caution; Dissent) 41
CLB -- Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; Reckless Foul) 57
NE -- Shalrie Joseph (caution; Reckless Foul) 90
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: -Anthony Vasoli; Chris Strickland
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:46
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-58-degrees