South American forwards Andres Mendoza and Emilio Renteria connected for two goals on Saturday night for the Crew in a 3-0 victory over the New England Revolution. A crowd of 16,285 was on hand in Gillette Stadium to see Columbus clinch their fourth consecutive playoff berth.
The win for the Crew not only secured a playoff spot, but it also moved them back into third place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points (13-12-8). The Revolution’s horrendous season continues to go down hill. They are in last place in the entire league with only 27 points (5-16-12).
Mendoza opened up the scoring in the 31st minute. Renteria flicked a long ball on toward goal. Mendoza out-positioned New England defender Darrius Barnes on his way to hitting the ball into the net on a half-volley from his magical left foot. Mendoza celebrated by pulling a pacifier out from his pants and taunting the home crowd while he ran down the sideline with it in his mouth. As long as he keeps scoring, I don’t care how he celebrates.
New Jersey native Dilly Duka scored his first ever MLS goal in the 59th minute, doubling the lead for Columbus. Duka collected the ball near the top of the box, where he proceeded to dribble past defender Kevin Alston before unleashing a low, left-footed shot that skidded past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth on it’s way into the net. Crew fans the world over fist pumped.
Mendoza tallied his 13th MLS goal of the season four minutes later. Crew right back Sebastian Miranda sent a long ball down the right flank for Renteria. Renteria dribbled toward the endline and sent in a bouncing ball across the box. Mendoza rocketed another left-footed half-volley into the top left corner of the net, giving Columbus a 3-0 advantage and a spot in the postseason.
The Crew travel to Chicago on Saturday in what will be their final regular season game, while New England heads to Toronto for their season finale.
Columbus Crew – William Hesmer, Josh Gardner, Sebastian Miranda, Julius James, Chad Marshall, Emmanuel Ekpo, Eddie Gaven, Danny O’Rourke, Andres Mendoza (Bernardo Anor 80), Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 78), Dilly Duka (Jeff Cunningham 89).
New England Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Franco Coria, Chris Tierney, Ryan Guy, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Monsef Zerka (Zack Schilawski 68), Diego Fagundez (Kheli Dube 80), Milton Caraglio (Rajko Lekic 68).
On Sunday morning, the Crew reserves continued their dominance. They defeated the Revolution 5-1, by way of a Tommy Heinemann hat-trick, and goals by Kevin Burns and Justin Meram. Columbus is now 8-1-0 in the MLS Reserve League and are in first place in the East with only one game against D.C. United remaining.