Crew-Revolution Preview


The wins keep getting more dramatic for the Columbus Crew, who have climbed into playoff position following four consecutive victories.

The New England Revolution have already witnessed the Crew's late-game heroics.

Columbus looks to extend its unbeaten streak to seven Wednesday night when it visits the lowly Revolution, who haven't won in nearly two months.

Another win in Foxborough would vault the Crew (12-8-6) all the way to third place in the Eastern Conference - and within a point of second - after they were tied for sixth entering this past weekend.

Their hot streak looked like it was about to end Saturday against Montreal as the Impact took a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute, but Chad Marshall equalized seven minutes later and Emilio Renteria netted the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time.

Eddie Gaven's stoppage-time goal gave the Crew a 2-1 win over Philadelphia in their previous match, and they beat New England 4-3 on Aug. 25 on Jairo Arrieta's 86th-minute tally five minutes after Lee Nguyen had tied the game for the Revs.

"I think we have been playing until the last minute," Columbus coach Robert Warzycha said. "Like I said, we showed character. ... I think everybody is working hard. You're not going to be rewarded every time for the hard work, but the guys understand each other and it was just great."

It's hardly a coincidence that the improved results have coincided with the arrival of Federico Higuain, who set up both goals Saturday. The Argentine playmaker has three goals and six assists in his first five MLS games, with Columbus scoring at least twice in each.

The Crew, 4-0-2 over the past three weeks, had 21 goals in 21 games before Higuain's debut.

"Federico is a quality player. He's a player that the Crew needed in the midfield," Renteria said. "People like myself, Arrieta and all the forwards here, need a player like him who plays balls where they are needed, who is always ready to give assistance from the midfield."

Higuain scored two goals last month against New England as the Crew improved to 7-1-2 in the last 10 meetings.

The Revs (6-14-7) are 0-7-3 in their last 10 matches overall, dating to a July 8 win over New York, to record the longest winless streak in franchise history.

"I think Wednesday is a must-win for us," defender Darrius Barnes said. "We keep saying that, but we definitely have to try and get three points by whatever means necessary, whether it's pretty or ugly."

New England has drawn its last two matches, and will now try to combine the offensive effort from last Wednesday's 3-all tie against Chivas USA with the defensive performance from its scoreless stalemate with Philadelphia on Saturday.

It's proving difficult, though, to replace Saer Sene's production. The standout rookie leads the team with 11 goals, and the Revs haven't scored in 115 minutes since he went down for the season with a torn ACL.