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Saturday, July 26, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Crew 2, Revs 1

By Brian O'Connell

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- An all-too-familiar theme played itself out at Gillette Stadium on Saturday after the New England Revolution conceded an early goal and fell short at the end in a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew.

For the eighth straight game, the Revolution allowed the first goal of the game, with Federico Higuain doing the honors in the 44th minute. A.J. Soares leveled it in the 50th minute, but Ethan Finlay’s 84th-minute goal kept the Revolution from getting the win.

The loss extended the Revolution’s losing streak to eight, while the Crew collected their second straight win.

Scoreboard watch: The draw dropped the Revolution (7-11-2, 23 points) to sixth in conference, while the Crew (6-7-8, 26 points) jumped to the fifth spot.

What it means: Higuain’s goal before the interval was further proof of how cruel the game can be. The Revolution came out of the gate with guns blazing and pressed the issue early. By the 22nd minute, they’d already earned nine corner kicks and were carrying the better of play in the final third. Shots from Teal Bunbury and Diego Fagundez offered early hope to the Foxborough faithful, who hadn’t witnessed their team claim three points in more than two months. But the hosts’ first-half efforts simply weren’t enough when Higuain drilled a 25-yard free kick into the upper 90 to kill any hope the Revolution harbored of going into the half on level terms.

Whatever coach Jay Heaps said at halftime seemed to work as Soares’ header tied the match in the 50th minute. Yet the Crew responded with a flourish in the waning stages, and Finlay exploited a hole in the Revolution defense when he tallied the game-winner late. At this juncture of the season, the Revolution must find a way to put forth a complete effort on both ends of the pitch, lest the postseason race pass them by.

Stat of the match: Soares’ equalizer was the first goal the Revolution scored off a corner kick this season.

Parkhurst returns to Foxborough: Former Revolution center back Michael Parkhurst made his first appearance at Gillette Stadium in six years as a member of the Crew. The Providence, Rhode Island native was drafted by the Revolution in 2005 and earned Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the season. Two years later, he picked up Defender of the Year, the first Revolution player to win the award. Following the 2008 season, he signed with Danish side Nordsjślland.

Caldwell gets nod at six spot: Scott Caldwell earned a second straight start at holding midfielder on Saturday. Last week, Caldwell claimed the spot with A.J. Soares serving a one-game ban for the red card received in the Revolution’s 5-1 loss to Los Angeles on July 16. Soares returned to his usual spot at center back.

Tierney exits early with injury: Chris Tierney’s night came to a premature end near the 20th minute after he suffered a left knee injury. The knock forced coach Jay Heaps to send in Darrius Barnes to replace the veteran left back.

Imbongo makes rare cameo: Rarely used striker Dimitry Imbongo made only his second appearance of the season when he came on for Patrick Mullins in the 68th minute. Imbongo’s last action in league play came in a 0-0 draw vs. Vancouver on March 22.

Short turnaround ahead: The Revolution will get a brief break before they return to the field on Wednesday when they face the Colorado Rapids at Gillette. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Last year, the Rapids claimed a 2-1 win over the Revolution on July 17 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.