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Highlights and context: Streaks end in New England

Florian Lechner, Federico Higuain

After clearing the ball, New England Revolution defender Florian Lechner (2) falls over the leg of Columbus Crew forward Federico Higuain during an MLS soccer match in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)


We’ve already gone over the nuts and bolts. Now let’s get to the bigger picture issues.

For New England, a team looking squarely at 2013, you’d think one match’s outcome wouldn’t be that important, but for a team with a first-year coach that hadn’t won since July 8, they needed this result. Desperately. This give The Jay Heaps Project some forward momentum.

It was also a banner night for Diego Fagundez. The 17-year-old Uruguayan is a much-heralded home grown player, and with Saer Sene’s season ending prematurely due to injury, Fagundez is going to get a chance to show he can be a major contributor in 2013. On Wednesday, he did just that, splitting the space between Chris Birchall and Milovan Mirosevic to ease New England’s transition into their final third.

For Columbus, a team that had carried a four-game winning streak into Foxboro, it’s all about now. That’s the big reason last night’s performance was so disappointing. Perhaps you could point to a stretch of seven games in 21 days as Columbus’s downfall, but going into the game 4-0-2 over that stretch, nobody was talking about fatigue when the Crew took the field. Fixture congestion’s only a problem when you lose.

But Columbus did lose (badly, at that), and it’s hard not to think the team wasn’t a little out on their feet. Start with goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and move forward through forward Jairo Arrieta and you won’t kind anybody who gave a better-than-average performance. New England deserves credit for taking advantage of it, but for Columbus, it was just one of those nights. Nothing worked.

And here are the results: