FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Squared at one with time dwindling, the Columbus Crew struck down New England on an Ethan Finlay goal in the 84th minute, sending the Revs to their eighth straight loss behind a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
The fresh-legged Justin Meram, subbed on less than a minute prior, collected the ball at midfield and scuffled a long pass up the center, through to Finlay, who beat Darrius Barnes and then Bobby Shuttleworth with his shot.
It was a dagger for New England who had fought back early in the second half to level the game following a solid first half of play that saw the Crew take the lead on a Federico Higuain free kick. As it is, the Revs' franchise-record losing streak remains in tact, keeping them in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 20 games.
Columbus’ second straight victory, on the heels of a skid of their own that hit seven winless games, moves them into fourth in the East with 26 points from 21 games.
After his left-footed effort was pushed just enough by Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark to miss far post, Kelyn Rowe lined up the ensuing corner kick and beautifully placed it into the box where A.J. Soares leaping header resulted in the early second-half equalizer in the 50th minute.
Then, with the Crew applying heavy pressure, an unlikely source stepped in to keep things knotted up, when Diego Fagundez made two point-blank clearances on the left post off consecutive Columbus corners in the 72nd minute.
New England was not without their first half chances, having dominated much of the early action, which led to 15 corner kick opportunities, none of which materialized into any legitimate threat. The Revs were also dealt a blow in the 21st minute when defender Chris Tierney, who served as team captain last week in Dallas, went down with a left leg injury, replaced by Barnes at left back.
Just when it looked as if the first half would end scoreless, Finlay worked a free kick for the Crew that set them up with an opportunity just outside the top of the box.
Higuain, who minutes earlier had the Crew’s first shot on target, made the second count when he whistled his offering over the wall, finding nothing but the back of the net in the 43rd minute.
New England return to action on Wednesday night when they host the Colorado Rapids, while the Crew get back at it next Saturday when they visit Chicago.
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