COLUMBUS, Ohio – A pair of defensive lapses either side of halftime and an inability to convert a handful of quality chances late in the first half doomed the New England Revolution in a 2-0 loss to Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium.
Columbus were on the front foot from the opening whistle and turned their bright start into the game’s first goal after just 13 minutes, Ola Kamara getting in behind the Revs’ backline on the counterattack and finishing calmly inside the far post.
“We didn’t have the quality that we can usually have,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Tonight we were a little bit off in the final third, and I thought in the first half there were opportunities, but we gave a ball away and we got punished for it.”
New England were liveliest for a 25-minute period at the end of the first half, highlighted by Lee Nguyen crashing a knuckling drive off the crossbar and both Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez seeing efforts fly just wide of the target.
There were also opportunities throughout the second half, but Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen was up to the task on each occasion to keep the Revs off the board.
“We had our chances to come back,” said Nguyen. “It was one of those nights where we didn’t put them away.”
Hoping to carry their positivity into the second half, New England were caught again on the break in the 53rd minute when Federico Higuain buried a 20-yard shot just under the crossbar to put the visitors in a 2-0 hole that they ultimately couldn’t overcome.
“I thought the one area where we were a little disappointed was how we came out in the second half,” said Heaps. “We made some adjustments, we felt we were right there, and we got played through and we were just a little bit out of position on their second goal.”
Saturday night’s result stretched the Revs’ winless run to five games (0-2-3), but they’ll have a golden opportunity to get themselves back on track the next two weekends, when they’ll welcome both Real Salt Lake and this same Crew SC side to Gillette Stadium.
“It’s on us now to be positive,” said rookie center back Josh Smith, who made his fifth start of the season at MAPFRE Stadium. “[We’ll] do everything we can to get three points at home.”