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Columbus Crew Get Shutout Win on an Important Night

The game had many stories, but ultimately the one that mattered most was three points for the Black and Gold.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

You may have come for the Columbus Crew. You may have come to see the induction of club legend Frankie Hejduk into the Crew's Circle of Honor. Maybe it was to see U.S. World Cup hero Jermaine Jones. But unless you were a New England Revolution fan - and maybe even if you were - you didn't leave disappointed.

Saturday's 1-0 victory for the Black and Gold over the Revolution demonstrated how soccer can be exciting no matter the score. Even before the match kicked off, there was a buzz in the air. Whatever the reason, it translated on the field.

From the opening kickoff, there was a sense that both teams came to play in this six-point swing game between two Eastern Conference rivals only separated by five points in the standings.

Both teams came out attacking, generating six corners in the opening quarter of the match.

The Crew nearly got of the mark first in the 13th minutes when winger Ethan Finlay played a ball down the sideline to forward Aaron Schoenfeld. The striker held off a defender and battled into the box before firing a shot that went just wide of the far post.

Two minutes later, Lee Nguyen attacked the Columbus back line with pace, firing a shot that forced a save from Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark.

Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez thought he'd scored in the 19th minute, as he cut back his dribble in the box and fired a low shot, but it was saved by the back leg of Clark as the end-to-end action continued.

Tony Tchani, who played perhaps his best game of the season, sent a dangerous looping ball into the New England penalty area in the 30th minute. Right back Eric Gehrig, who remained forward from the previous attack, put a head on it, forcing a save from Revs' goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Eight minutes later, Gehrig came even closer to opening his account as he powered a header off the near post on a corner kick.

The halftime festivities were a special one, with Hejduk becoming the second player enshrined in the Crew's Circle of Honor. The celebrations went on too long, as they usually doing with Frankie, and the players waited an extra two minutes after the allotted 15 to begin the second half.

The delay didn't bother Columbus, who earned a free kick outside the Revolution's box just two minutes into the half. Federico Higuain stepped up and curled the set piece into the top corner for a 1-0 Crew lead.

In the 64th minute, second half substitute Jones received a layoff from Nguyen and uncorked a shot from 25 yards out. The effort went over Clark's net, but showed the danger Jones brings.

Four minutes later, New England earned a free kick in a similar position to the Black and Gold's goal. Nguyen stepped up to take it, but couldn't outdo Higuain, firing it into the safe hands of Clark.

As Columbus attempted to close out the game, midfielder Justin Meram provided the perfect opportunity. The winger was taken down in the penalty box in the 84th minute, giving Higuain a chance to seal the deal from the spot. A diving Shuttleworth saved the forward's strike from 12 yards out and the Revs remained alive.

Defender Michael Parkhurst nearly gifted the Revolution a late 87th minute goal when his clearance went right to forward Charlie Davies. New England's number nine plowed towards goal and his curling shot was just touched wide by the fingertips of Clark in what may go down as the save of the year for the Black and Gold as it preserved a big win for the Crew.

Another three points allowed Columbus to gain ground in the Eastern Conference. The Black and Gold play their penultimate home game of the season next week when the Montreal Impact come to town in another battle of the East.