New England Revolution halt 10-game winless streak
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FOXBOROUGH — It took nearly two months, but the Revolution were finally able to earn a victory, snapping a franchise-record 10-game winless streak with a 2-0 decision over the Columbus Crew in front of 10,345 at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night.
A recent rash of injuries forced coach Jay Heaps to pair forwards Dimitry Imbongo and Diego Fagundez, which turned out to be just what the Revolution needed as the duo combined to spark a relentless attack with fresh legs and determination.
“Me and Dimitry talked yesterday about how we need to help out the team,” said Fagundez, who received his fourth start of the season. “We had more energy attacking. Defensively, midfield, and forwards all did very well.”
The pair routinely worked the play into the Columbus box, which paid off in the 53d minute when Imbongo buried his first goal of the season, following up a Fagundez shot that kicked to the center of the box after striking the right post.
“It was a good throw-in by Flo [Lechner], and Dimitry was holding his man very well,” said Fagundez, who picked up his first assist of the season. “I followed behind him and tried volleying it in and I hit the post. I saw Dimitry coming in, so I barely touched it with my toe and he followed through on his first goal.”
Imbongo and Fagundez combined for eight shots.
“Diego played very well and I think he picked up his game defensively,” said Heaps. “I thought Imbongo was excellent tonight. He worked hard and battled Chad Marshall, who is arguably one of the best center backs in the league.”
After subbing in for Fagundez in the 73d minute, Chris Tierney (playing in his 100th MLS match) pushed a long Matt Reis clearing ball toward the Columbus net, where Marshall, in an attempt to head it back to goalie Andy Gruenebaum, missed his target and put the ball into the net, handing New England a two-goal lead.
For the second straight match, the Revolution were backed by a staunch defensive effort and the clutch saves of Reis, who recorded his second straight clean sheet and sixth of the season.
Defenders Lechner and Kevin Alston played key roles, shutting down the Crew on the wings and forcing them to attempt to set up their attack in a congested middle, where they were unable to gain momentum after scoring 10 goals over their last four games.
“Columbus is a rhythm team and we never really let them get in a rhythm,” said Heaps. “It was important that [Jairo] Arrieta and [Federico] Higuain couldn’t get the ball. That was our focus.”
Craig Forde can be reached at email@example.com.