Revs beat Columbus, clinch playoff berth

Revs beat Columbus, clinch playoff berth
October 27, 2013, 8:15 pm
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The New England Revolution is returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons after earning a 1-0 win against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The victory, coupled with results around the league, enabled them to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"It's a credit all our guys because it wasn't the prettiest game," Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. "They showed a lot more heart than any game I've seen because there were situations we had to fight and dig in deep. We lost the possession battle but every other battle I felt we won."

The Revs will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium in a game that is expected to be played on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Revs are returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009 – Heaps’ final season as a Revs player.

On Sunday, Juan Agudelo put the Revs ahead in the 28th minute, playing a one-two with Lee Nguyen. Andrew Farrell played a ball into Agudelo at the top of the box, and he back-heeled a pass to the streaking Nguyen. Nguyen, who returned after serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation, then played the ball flat across to Agudelo, who slotted his shot past Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

"Having that week off, I was fresh," Nguyen said. "I wanted to contribute as much as I could. Everybody worked so hard to make it happen."

Agudelo has seven goals and one assist in 14 games since being acquired from Chivas USA on May 7. He was proud of how the Revolution was able to preserve the lead.

"It's something we've been doing the last couple of games," he said. "We were confident but not too confident. Our defense played awesome to finish it up. We've got one of the best defenses in the league."

The Revs made the result hold through the second half, limiting the Crew to only shots from distance. Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis made four saves en route to his fifth shutout of the season. He became the first MLS goalkeeper to play 10 or more games and finish the season undefeated, as his regular-season record set at 7-0-4.

New England is one of the league’s hottest teams entering the postseason, going 4-0-2 in its last six games, including a 2-0-1 mark on the road in that stretch.

Major League Soccer will announce the full MLS Cup Playoff schedule in the near future, including matchups, dates, kickoff times and television coverage. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

GAME NOTES

-- With the win, the Revs closed the 2013 regular season with a 14-11-10 mark and 51 points

-- The Revs earned a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009

-- New England will enter the MLS Cup Playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference

-- This is the Revs’ first winning season since 2009, when the Revs went 11-10-9 in the 30-game season

-- With 51 points, they posted their highest point total since 2005, when the Revs accumulated 59 points in the 32-game season

-- The team’s 51 points this season also marks the club’s second-best season point total in club history

-- The Revs enter the postseason riding a 4-0-2 undefeated streak, tied for the best current mark in the league … the Revs went 2-0-1 at home in the stretch, and 2-0-1 on the road

-- With the win, the Revs improved to 19-29-11 all-time against Columbus

-- This was New England’s fourth-straight win against the Crew

-- With three wins in three meetings this year, this is the first time in club history the Revs swept the Crew in a season series

-- This is the Revs’ first win in the Columbus season series since 2005, when New England went 3-0-1 in the four-game set

--  Juan Agudelo scored his seventh goal of the season with the Revolution when he converted his 28th-minute goal … on the season, he has nine goals as two of his goals came while he was with Chivas USA before his trade to New England

-- Juan Agudelo’s goal was his first since scoring two in the team’s 5-1 win over Philadelphia on Aug. 25

-- Lee Nguyen recorded his seventh assist of the season on Juan Agudelo’s 28th-minute goal … he had two assists in 2012, his first season with New England

-- Usual left back Chris Tierney missed today’s match with right ankle irritation … he exited last Saturday’s match against Columbus in the 78th-minute with the injury … Tierney however, made the trip to Columbus and was a non-dressed player on the bench

--  Kevin Alston made his ninth appearance – and sixth start – of the season, in place of Chris Tierney … it was his first start since Aug. 10 in Kansas City

-- This was Kevin Alston’s second start since returning from treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia

-- Andy Dorman started his second consecutive match and his third on the season

-- Scott Caldwell was not in the team’s starting lineup for the first time since July 27 … he had started the team’s last 12 matches in the deeper central midfield role

-- Jose Goncalves became the first Revs field player to start and play every minute of every game since Darrius Barnes started all 30 games and played all 2,700 minutes as a rookie in 2009

-- Matt Reis capped the regular season with a 7-0-4 record, becoming the first goalkeeper in MLS history to go undefeated after playing 10 or more games

-- Matt Reis concluded the regular-season posting a career-best 0.72 goals against average, which will be MLS’ best mark this season

-- This season, the Revolution posted its best road mark (6-6-5) since 2008 when the team went 6-6-3

-- The team’s 49 goals is the team’s highest goal total since 2007, when the team scored 51 goals in 30 games … the Revs were the third-highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference after New York (58) and Montreal (50)

-- The Revs ended the season with their team-record 14th shutout on the year … the club’s previous best was 10 shutouts in 2005, 2006 and 2007 … the team’s 14 shutouts will end the season second in MLS, behind league-leader Portland (15)