FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Dimitry Imbongo scored his first MLS goal early in the second half and goalkeeper Matt Reis notched his second consecutive shutout to help the New England Revolution snap a club-record 10-game winless run with a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.
Imbongo’s game winner arrived in the 53rd minute when he finished from close range after Diego Fagundez’s initial effort struck the post, while the Revs (7-14-7, 28 pts.) got a bit of insurance in the 74th minute when Crew (12-9-6, 42 pts.) captain Chad Marshall headed into his own net.
It was the Revolution’s first victory since a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on July 8 and the result pushed the Revs into eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. For playoff-chasing Columbus, the loss snapped both a four-game winning streak and a six-game unbeaten run.
Without the first-choice forward pairing of Jerry Bengtson (international duty) and Saer Sene (torn ACL), Revolution head coach Jay Heaps handed starts to Fagundez and Imbongo, while Ryan Guy and Kelyn Rowe also came into the lineup after appearing as substitutes last weekend against the Philadelphia Union.
Guy and Imbongo both got involved early as the duo forced Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum into a pair of saves in the 10th minute. Gruenebaum went low to his right to stop Guy’s dipping effort from 25 yards before punching away Imbongo’s swerving long-distance drive just moments later.
Gruenebaum continued to be the more active goalkeeper as the half progressed. The Crew netminder was alert to stop Lee Nguyen’s free kick in the 19th minute, while he recovered after mishandling a long throw-in to make a fantastic save on Fagundez’s acrobatic side volley in the 29th minute.
There was one more important save for Gruenebaum to make before the halftime break as he scrambled to tip Kevin Alston’s heavily deflected shot around the post in the 45th minute, but the Revs finally made the breakthrough eight minutes after the interval.
Fagundez latched onto a long throw-in which bounced into the box and the teenager guided a low shot past Gruenebaum but off the right post. The rebound returned to Fagundez, however, who touched the ball into the middle of the box for Imbongo to drill into the empty net and hand the Revolution a 1-0 lead.
Stephen McCarthy appeared to double New England’s advantage in the 60th minute when he got on the end of Nguyen’s free kick and buried a header, but the center back was adjudged to have done so from an offside position.
Eventually the Revs did get their second with the aid of the Crew captain in the 74th minute. The sequence began with Reis delivering a long ball to Chris Tierney – making his 100th career appearance – who flicked the ball toward goal. With Imbongo pressing behind, Marshall attempted to head the ball back to Gruenebaum but put too much on the effort, looping the ball over his goalkeeper and into the vacant net.
Reis made two remarkable saves in the closing stages to preserve his sixth shutout of the season, pushing Nemanja Vukovic’s close-range shot off the crossbar before diving to parry Jairo Arrieta’s header just moments later.
The Revs will be off this weekend for the international break and won’t return to action until Saturday, Sept. 15, when they’ll visit D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew
September 5, 2012 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
New England Revolution 2, Columbus Crew 0
NE -- Dimitry Imbongo (Diego Fagundez) 53
NE – Own goal (Chad Marshall) 74
New England Revolution: Matt Reis ©, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, Flo Lechner, Lee Nguyen, Clyde Simms, Ryan Guy, Kelyn Rowe (Fernando Cardenas 90+), Diego Fagundez (Chris Tierney 73), Dimitry Imbongo (Blake Brettschneider 79)
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Benny Feilhaber, Michael Roach, A.J. Soares
STATS: Shots 20, Shots on Target 8, Corner Kicks 9, Saves 3, Fouls 10, Offsides 2, Passes Completed (percentage) 278 (69.8%), Possession 45.7%
Columbus Crew: Andy Gruenebaum, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall ©, Danny O’Rourke, Nemanja Vukovic, Chris Birchall (Josh Williams 64), Milovan Mirosevic (Tony Tchani 69), Dilly Duka, Eddie Gaven, Jairo Arrieta, Federico Higuain
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Lampson, Eric Gehrig, Cole Grossman, Justin Meram, Emilio Renteria,
STATS: Shots 7, Shots on Target 3, Corner Kicks 3, Saves 7, Fouls 12, Offsides 8, Passes Completed (percentage) 333 (73.0%), Possession 54.3%
* Note that all statistics are unofficial
NE – Dimitry Imbongo (caution) 53
CLB – Danny O’Rourke (caution) 94+
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Assistant Referees: Bill Dittmar, Scott Kachmarik
Fourth Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 78 degrees
New England Revolution: 7-14-7 (28 pts.)
Columbus Crew (12-9-6, 42 pts.)
- Tonight’s match was the 57th all-time regular season meeting, and the 63rd overall meeting, between the two clubs … the overall total also includes five MLS Cup playoff meetings and one U.S. Open Cup contest
- With the win, the Revs are 17-29-11 against Columbus in the all-time regular-season series between the two teams… the Revs are 11-13-5 at home against Columbus, including a 7-7-4 mark at Gillette Stadium since its opening in 2002
- New England and Columbus split the 2012 regular-season series between the two teams, 1-1-1 … the two teams played to a 0-0 draw in the first meeting on June 16 at Gillette Stadium and the Crew defeated the Revs, 4-3, on August 25, in Columbus
- With the win, the Revs picked up their third win in the last 15 meetings with Columbus dating back to the 2007 season … the Revs are 3-8-4 in that stretch
- The win snapped the Revs’ 10-game winless streak (0-7-3) that dated back to July 14 against Toronto … the 10-game winless streak was a club record and the second longest in MLS this season behind a 13-game winless from FC Dallas
- Tonight’s win also snapped the Revs’ five-game winless streak at home (0-3-2) which dated back to July 14 against Toronto … the Revs are now 6-4-5 at Gillette Stadium this season
- The Revs are also unbeaten (1-0-2) in their last three matches – all at home – dating back to August 29 … the Revs played to a 3-3 draw against Chivas USA on August 29 and a 0-0 finish against Philadelphia on September 1
- Dimitry Imbongo recorded his first career goal in the 53rd minute to give the Revs a 1-0 lead … with his goal, Imbongo becomes the 14th Revolution player to score a goal this season
- Diego Fagundez recorded his first assist of the season and first since September 25, 2011 at Chicago … it was Fagundez’s second career assist … Fagundez has one goal and one assist in 14 appearances this year
- Diego Fagundez made his second consecutive start – and third overall – of the season … tonight marks Fagundez’s first back-to-back starts since starting three straight games last season from October 8 to October 22
- The Revs earned an own goal in the 74th minute from Columbus’ Chad Marshall … it is the second own goal in three games for the Revs … Chivas USA’s Rauwshan McKenzie suffered an own goal against the Revs on August 29
- The two-goal performance was the Revs 12th multiple-goal game this season … it is the team’s third multiple-goal game in four matches dating back to 4-3 loss at Columbus on August 25
- The Revs recorded a season-high 20 shots tonight … the previous season-high was 19, set on April 14 against D.C. United
- In 15 home games this year (6-4-5), the Revs have shut out their opponents six times … the Revs have seven total shutouts this season behind six shutouts from Matt Reis and one from Bobby Shuttleworth
- Matt Reis recorded his sixth shutout of the season tonight … 2012 marks his first season with six shutouts since 2009, when he recorded eight
- Reis’ shutout was his 70th career shutout and his 61st shutout as a member of the Revolution … with 70 shutouts in 280 appearances, Reis is ranked fifth on the all-time list for shutouts behind Kevin Hartman (111)
- Matt Reis now has back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season … Reis shut out Chicago (2-0) on June 2 and Columbus (0-0) on June 16
- Matt Reis shut out Columbus twice this season and now has seven career shutouts in 30 appearances against the Crew
- Chris Tierney made his 100th career appearance tonight becoming the 18th player in club history to record 100 appearances for the Revolution ... Tierney -- who has made 93 career starts -- is only player from the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft currently playing in the league.