In my preview of the Crew’s matchup with the New England Revolution, I said they must do what no other team had done this season. They did just that in getting a thrilling and oh-so-very-important 2-1 win on the road over a team who had not lost at home in 2023. Here are five things about that win.
Making a statement
Although they had struggled on the road for most of the season, the Crew’s form has improved in recent games. Not only did this game show they can win on the road, they showed they can win on the road against a quality team. This is something they will have to do in the playoffs if they are to make a deep run. The Crew made a statement with this win and put the Eastern Conference on notice that they will not be a pushover on the road.
Déjà vu all over again
When these two teams met back in April, the Revs led 1-0 as the clock ticked well past the allotted stoppage time of five minutes. In the 98th minute, Lucas Zelarayan chipped a pass into the 18-yard box that Sean Zawadzki, who had entered the game just a few minutes prior, headed past New England goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to give the Crew a thrilling tie. Fast forward nearly six months to Wednesday night with the Crew and Revs battling in a tie game. In the 86th minute, Diego Rossi lofted a beautiful corner that a closely-marked Malte Amundsen somehow managed to get a foot on. His chip got under the crossbar, enough that when the ball ricocheted down, it landed just over the goal line to give the Crew a 2-1 win. Déjà vu all over again for New England.
All the right moves
With the game tied in the second half and New England continually putting on pressure and creating chances, Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy sent on Christian Ramirez for Alex Matan in the 69th minute. Diego Rossi then moved out wide. This forced the Revs’ right back, DeJuan Jones to stay home and not push forward. The move by Nancy swung the game back in the Crew’s favor and we began to see them get more and more scoring chances. The other Nancy move I really liked was substituting Rudy Camacho for Yaw Yeboah, who was turning the ball over too much and struggling greatly on defense. This move definitely strengthened the Crew’s defense.
Night of the living role player
Although Diego Rossi had a goal, Cucho nearly had one, and Aidan Morris was all over midfield, this game belonged to the Crew’s role players. Besides the game-winning goal, Malte Amundsen had what I thought was one of his better games from his left back position. When Camacho entered the game for Yeboah, Amundsen showed his versatility and moved up to the wing. Mo Farsi made his first start since the Houston game and was far, far better than he played on that night. Sean Zawadzki started the game at center back and held down the back line until moving over to the left when Camacho came on. When Christian Ramirez enters a game, things just seem to happen and this one was no different. I thought the Crew’s role players really stood out Wednesday night.
It may not have been a clean sheet, but I thought Patrick Schulte played very well. He was confident, decisive, aggressive, and his set piece organization was very good. Schulte attacked the ball when he had to and had no bobbles-once the ball touched his hands, he had it firmly in his possession. This is the Schulte we need to see heading into the playoffs.
The win over New England boosts the Crew into fourth, just ahead of the Revs, in the Eastern Conference race for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Crew doesn’t control their own destiny when it comes to a top-four finish. They sit a point behind Philadelphia, and although they are in front of New England, the Revs have played one less game. The Crew is going to need some help to secure home field in the first round.