Crew 2 falls to New England Revolution II 2-0

Columbus Crew 2 took on New England Revolution II in the first of two games on the road in a four-day span. New England got revenge for an early season loss to Crew 2 with a 2-0 win on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, just the Black & Gold’s second loss of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season.

This was the final meeting between the two teams this year. Columbus and Revolution II split the series 1-1 after Crew 2 won the first matchup 3-0.

After being involved in the first team’s 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, midfielders Taha Habroune, and Thomas Roberts and forward Gibran Rayo all were available for the Black & Gold off the bench on Thursday night.

The opening 10 minutes of the game was a midfield battle, with neither team able to create much in the way of chances. However, New England got the first good opportunity of the game, with a shot from just outside the six-yard box by forward Jordan Adebayo-Smith went wide of the goal.

A minute later, Revolution II had another opportunity to take an early lead, but the header went wide of the mark.

The first Columbus chance came 17 minutes into the match off the foot of attacker Noah Fusion. The forward, however, dragged his shot just wide of the post.

Fifteen minutes later, Crew 2 created back-to-back opportunities to open the scoring. The first was a header from defender Jacob Erlandson that was saved. Then Fuson had a shot blocked, but an ensuing cross found the head of Erlandson who this time headed wide.

About a minute later, Revolution II took the lead off the foot of Adebayo-Smith. Crew 2 goalkeeper Brady Scott failed to reach a through ball after coming far off his line, leading to a wide open goal for the New England forward.

Crew 2 again had an opportunity to level the score before the halftime whistle, but a shit from midfielder Giorgio De Libra went wide.

Revolution II had the final two chances of the first half. This first came on shot from 35 yards out that went wide. On the second, Scott saved Adebayo-Smith’s shot to close out the first half.

Roberts and Rayo both came on at halftime, along with defender Jordan Knight.

Columbus started the second half on the front foot, earning the first good chance of the opening 45 minutes. Fuson had his shot saved and parried out for a corner kick. The ensuing corner found the head of Erlandson once again, but it was also saved.

Momentum then shifted to the home side. New England found a little bit of possession, leading to a good chance. In the 57th minute, midfielder Ben Awashie had his shot saved by Scott, leading to a corner.

Ten minutes later, Revolution II doubled the lead. After the initial free kick found the head of an attacker, New England players reacted quickly, playing a ball across the goal for a tap in for Awashie.

Crew Academy product Taha Habroune, who made his first-team debut against the Riverhounds, entered the game as a sub in the 73rd minute.

Roberts had a chance to cut into the deficit in the 80th minute, but his shot was high. A minute later, Revolution II had the chance to add a third, but Scott was equal to the task and made the save.

Crew 2 had the final chance of the match in stoppage time when captain Marco Micaletto saw his shot go wide of the post.

Possession doesn’t always lead to goals

Like the first team the night before, the Black & Gold had a majority of the possession in the game against New England. But Crew 2 lacked quality in the final third to put the ball in the back of the net. Columbus had its fair share of chances, but just could not put the finishing touches on the end of passes. “Everybody put in a shift, and tried to execute what we asked,” head coach Laurent Courtois said postgame.

Mistakes were to blame

Two mistakes led to the two goals fo Revolution II. Postgame, Courtois talked about those two goals, saying “At the end of the day, we conceded on a miscommunication between (Scott) and (Erlandson), and then a set piece where we should have defended a little differently in terms of man-marking. But those are things that are easy to fix.”

These types of mistakes are expected from a young team, which the Black & Gold are this year, and the key will be to learn from them.

What’s next

Crew 2 is once again on the road, traveling to Subaru Park for a match against Philadelphia Union II on Sunday. The Black & Gold lead the all-time series 2-1-0. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

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