New England Revolution fall to Columbus Crew SC 1-0 in Eastern Conference Final
Columbus — less than one year after changing owners and thwarting a proposed relocation to Austin, Texas — will now face either Minnesota United or Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS Cup on December 12 and vie for their second title.
The Revolution, who are still looking for their first championship trophy, will go back to the drawing board after a thrilling run that included last-second winner against the Montreal Impact in round one, upsetting the first-seeded Philadelphia Union in round two, and earning their first ever win at Exploria Stadium against Orlando City SC in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
“On the day, Columbus is the better team,” Revolution head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena said. “I think they deserved to win the game…better at anticipating plays than we were. On the day, in the middle third of the field, they were good.”
Columbus put pressure on New England in midfield
While New England came into Sunday’s match with momentum and with players all over the field in good form, Columbus stifled the rhythm early, particularly in midfield.
Revolution striker Adam Buksa hit the post off a breakaway in the 27th minute, but that was the team’s last true chance on goal until after Artur opened the scoring early in the second half.
Columbus pressed high and forced a slew of Revolution giveaways and miscues, which made playing through playmakers Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou challenging.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner kept busy, too.
He was called to action early. First came Luis Diaz, who rounded DeJuan Jones on the right side of the box and fired to the near post, where Turner went left to make the (6th minute).
Turner then halted a bid by Lucas Zelarayan from the top of the box (30th) and sprawled right to block Pedro Santos right off a breakaway (39th). Zelarayan also crossed for an open Gyasi Zardes in the 58th minute, with Turner dropping low to parry the flick.
Artur opens scoring for Columbus
The floodgates opened for the Crew just one minute later.
Following a freekick, Zelarayan cut past Carles Gil and played defender Jonathan Mensah, who advanced into the penalty area and settled the ball for Artur with a swing of his left foot. Artur then ran onto the feed and tucked it into the lower right corner of the net with a swift, first-time shot.
“It was a great finish, so you tip your cap, but at the same time we created a set piece, didn’t get close enough to the ball, and they crossed it,” Turner said.
“Ball-watching, layoff, nobody’s there to block the shot. Credit to Artur, he put it in the bottom corner. I thought I read it well, though I saw it well, but at the end of the day couldn’t get there.”
Arena added attackers introduced Tommy McNamara, Justin Rennicks and Kelyn Rowe after Columbus scored, and though the Revolution pressed for an equalizer, none came.
Bou corkscrewed a shot from the top of the box (82nd) and Matt Polster lobbed a weak shot at Crew goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell off a freekick on the final play of the game.
Now the Revolution look forward to what promises to be a short offseason and look toward another title run in 2021. After Sunday’s game, defender Andrew Farrell said the team has embraced Arena’s winning mentality.
“You know as well as I do Bruce is not happy with losing,” Farrell said. “He loves to win. His winning mentality has been contagious with the organization and the Krafts also love to win.”
“It’s a great run and we’re happy we made it this far, but Bruce isn’t here to lose in the Eastern Conference final. You know he’s here to win cups.”