The Columbus Crew defeated the New England Revolution in its third match of the 2011 MLS Reserve League. Crew forward Justin Meram scored in the 88th minute to give the Columbus Crew its second consecutive win. Crew defender Shaun Francis started his first game of 2011 after being sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in preseason.
New England traveled to Columbus with several younger players including four academy players – three of which started -- and its first Homegrown signing, midfielder Diego Fagundez.
The match was a fairly one-sided affair as the Crew started attacking heavily in the first half challenging Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth several times. A Tommy Heinemann shot in the 11th minute was followed with shots by midfielders Emmanuel Ekpo and Josh Gardner soon after.
New England was forced to break up the tempo and rhythm with clearances and quick fouls to slow down the match. The only clear opportunities for New England in the first half, came in the 28th minute when forward Alan Koger ripped a shot deflected by Crew ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum, and in the 35th when defender Ryan Kinne shot a free kick into the box only to see the ball deftly grabbed by an overarched Gruenebaum.
The half ended scoreless but not before a Heinemann header into the crossbar and a rocket by Ekpo from 30 yards out deflected by Shuttleworth.
The Revolution came out a little stronger in the second half relying on Fagundez’s speed and agility to create chances. The tactic almost paid dividends in the 59th minute when Fagundez sprung Kheli Dube and Koger on a breakaway only to see Gruenebaum and the Crew defense clear the ball to the sidelines.
With a scoreless draw looming both teams showed determination, not letting up their attacks and in the 88th minute the Crew was able to capitalize on a melee in the box and tally the game-winner. After a free kick in the box challenged Revolution goalkeeper Tim Murray to go to his right, the ball rebounded to Meram’s feet who knocked it into the back of an empty net for the Crew lone goal.
The Columbus Crew returns to Reserve League action on Monday, May 30, as it travels to New York to face the Red Bulls. The Revolution travels to DC to face DC United on June 7 at 10:30 a.m. for its third Reserve League match of the season.
Columbus Crew 1, New England Revolution 0
Reserve League Match
Crew Stadium, Columbus, OH
Monday, May 9, 2011
CLB – Justin Meram (unassisted) 88
New England Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth (Tim Murray, 63), Ryan Kinne, Darrius Barnes (Sainey Nyassi, 68), Mitch Taintor, Michael Augustine, Kheli Dube, Andrew Sousa, Cole Denormandie, Alan Koger, Diego Fagundez
Substitutes Not Used: Jack Kilger, Dominik Machado,
Columbus Crew – Andy Gruenebaum, Korey Veeder, Eric Gehrig, Andy Iro, Shaun Francis (Justin Meram 46), Leandre Griffit, Cole Grossman, Emmanuel Ekpo (Bernardo Anor 46), Josh Gardner, Jeff Cunningham (Santiago Prim 63, Andy Adlard 87), Tommy Heinemann (Arnhold Rivas 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Riggs, Ben Sippola,
CLB – Andy Iro (Caution: Dissent) 56
NE – Mitch Taintor (Caution: reckless tackle) 84
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Referee's Assistants: Andrey Castel, Ryan Slack
Fourth Official: Brandon Artis