After scraping around the edges of post season play for over two months, the playoff chase is over. The Crew dropped a 3-2 decision against New England on Saturday evening. The loss ended any chance of post season play.
The start was ominous as Columbus struggled throughout the first half with the absence of Federico Higuain, the New England defense, and the rock hard Gillette Stadium turf. The home side would fire off eight shots to the visitors three in the first 45.
One of those shots would turn into a first strike. The Revs set up a free kick from the far left side. Kelyn Rowe drove in a free kick that A.J. Soares nodded past Matt Lampson to give New England the lead in the 32nd minute and put the Crew's playoff chances on life support.
New England would take their well deserved lead into the locker room, but the game would open up as the Crew shuffled around the lineup by bringing in a big body just after halftime. Aaron Schoenfeld replaced Ethan Finlay. The move shifted Dominic Oduro back to right wing and gave the Crew a player able to hold up the ball. The change would pay almost immediate dividends.
Schoenfeld was able to hold up the ball better than Jairo Arrieta and Oduro had throughout the first half as the game was played direct. He also was able to spur the Crew offense to their first comeback on the night.
A Lampson long ball would fall to Arrieta who played Oduro to the right. The ball ricochetted to Wil Trapp then was played into Schoenfeld. The substitute would draw in three Revolution defenders and then play a simple ball back to Oduro. Oduro would rip a right footed shot into the top of the net to tie the game up with just over 30 minutes to play.
The defense would slump again and give up a golden chance for the Revs. After repelling an initial New England offensive charge in the 68th minute, including a point blank Rowe shot, Tony Tchani can barreling in and chopped down Andy Dorman for a penalty. Chris Tierney would slip the shot by Lampson and give the home side the lead again in the 69th minute.
Schoenfeld would again be the man of the moment just seconds later. Schoenfeld would nod a header to Arrieta who then fired a shot that was blocked. The ball kicked out to Oduro who slipped a pass back into Schoenfeld. Holding off José Gonçalves, Schoenfeld turned and rifled a left footed shot to tie up the game.
Unfortunately the Crew defense would slip up again in the 76th minute. A long Matt Reis goal kick was flicked on by Juan Agudelo. After pinging the ball around it would come wide left to Dorman who found a wide open Diego Fagundez who tapped home what ended being the game winning goal.
The loss drops the Crew to 12-16-5. The team face off against the Revs again next Sunday, but the 2013 season is essentially over. Like last year, Columbus will miss the playoffs, but they finished the season strong under interim head coach Brian Bliss. The Crew can still play spoilers. A win next week could bump the Revs out of the playoffs.