By Ramon Chavez, MLSNEXTPro.com
Columbus Crew 2 scored four goals in the first half to defeat New England Revolution 2 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Sunday night’s win marks the fifth consecutive victory for Columbus Crew 2 to move into the pole position of the Eastern Conference with 15 points and a record of 5-1-0.
Forward Noah Fuson led the way in scoring, bagging two first-half goals in the 38th and 43rd minutes. Crew 2 captain Marco Micaletto opened up the scoring in the 12th minute with a powerful shot at goal after a corner kick from William Sands. Forward Jacen Russel-Rowe joined in the goal-scoring fun after receiving a perfect through ball that split the Revs 2 defense from Isaiah Parente and getting the ball past the rushing keeper. That goal marked the fourth consecutive game that Russel-Rowe was able to add his name to the score sheet.
New England Revolution 2 came into the game with an undefeated record at 3-0-2 for 12 points.
Revs 2 struggled to control the game and possession from the opening whistle. The Columbus Crew 2 pressing caused a number on their ability to build up plays from the back, and they struggled to prevent dangerous counters from materializing after losing the ball near the middle of the field.
It’s not all bad news for the New England Revolution 2, as they will continue to remain in playoff position and have shown the ability to bounce back from tough spots. Revs 2 will hit the road next week by traveling to Toronto to face TFC II.
The Story: The Offense catches up to the Defense
Crew 2 eked out early-season victories against Chicago Fire II and Philadelphia Union II by managing to only score one goal in each of those games. Their non-stop pressing and steady defense kept the opposition at bay, but for Crew 2 to move into the upper echelon of MLS NEXT Pro, their offense needed to provide more firepower.
Noah Fuson and Jacen Rusell-Rowe, and the rest of the Crew 2 offense have answered the call in a big way by scoring eight goals in their last three games.
Russell-Crowe leads the team with four goals and is doing so by scoring in various ways. He racked up his first goal with a header against Philadelphia Union II, poaching a goal near the 6-yard line against Orlando City B and curling a ball past the keeper against TFC II. Tonight he showed he could also score on the breakaway during his goal in the 43rd minute.
Fuson is not far behind, scoring three times this season. He first scored against Chicago Fire II to give Crew 2 their first win in MLS NEXT Pro history and scored a first-half brace tonight against one of the best defenses in the league in New England Revolution 2.
After keeping New England Revolution 2 scoreless during today’s match, Laurent Courtios’ team now leads the league in Goals Allowed, only giving up three goals the entire season, with two of those goals coming in the first game. Also, Crew 2 now leads the league in Clean Sheets with a total of four, ahead of teams like St Louis CITY2 and MNUFC2.
If those stats were not impressive enough for you, Crew 2 is now second in MLS NEXT Pro in Goal Difference (+7), trailing only NYCFC II (+8).
Columbus Crew 2 will have the opportunity to win six in a row when they battle NYCFC II on the road next week