Marshall scores as Crew remain red hotSep 28, 2008 - 2:50 AM FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- The Columbus Crew took a big step toward clinching the Eastern Conference regular-season title.
Chad Marshall netted the lone goal late in the first half as the Crew ran their unbeaten streak to seven games with a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday.
William Hesmer made two saves to record his eighth shutout of the season for first-place Columbus (15-6-5), which extended its lead over New England (12-8-6) in the East to eight points.
"It is huge for us. Now that we have clinched (a playoff spot), we want to win that Supporter's Shield," Marshall said of the team's quest to finish with the best record. "We want the best for the club, so that is what we are pushing for, and getting these wins on the road is a great thing."
The Crew improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven games and need to win two of their four remaining contests to clinch the conference title.
Through a steady rain, Columbus scored the game's lone goal in the 35th minute. Robbie Rogers sent a corner kick toward the back goalpost, and Marshall easily headed the ball past goalkeeper Matt Reis for his fourth tally of the season.
"Their defenders seemed to be just sitting in there waiting for us to make the run in, so I just held out far post and Robbie hit in a great ball and got lucky with a couple of picks or screens and was there to knock it in," Marshall said.
New England caught a break in the 65th minute, when Columbus defender Frankie Hejduk was sent off with his second yellow card.
But despite fielding only 10 players, the Crew were able to hold on as the Revolution failed to generate any quality chances.
"We have done it before," Hesmer said about playing a man down. "We did it in Colorado a couple of months ago, but in that game, we managed to find another goal. New England did a really good job of pressing us and making sure we did not get anything on the counter.
"They put a lot of guys forward, and it was a handful, but we have a resilient group, a strong group, and we are determined."
In the 80th minute, Jay Heaps attempted a long shot that sailed wide, and Khelie Dube's blast from outside the penalty area four minutes later easily was corralled by Hesmer.
New England, which was outshot, 13-9, has just one win in its last eight contests.
"We just weren't smart and we were going about it the wrong way, and we didn't change it," Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. "We have to realize it when we do one thing and it is not working, then we have to change it. If you keep banging on the door and no one opens it, then you have to find another way of getting in."
NEW ENGLAND 0 FINAL
Sep 27 9:31 PM
NEW ENGLAND 0 HALFTIME
Sep 27 8:30 PM
- MLS UPDATE
NEW ENGLAND 0
COLUMBUS GOAL: Chad Marshall in the 35th minute
Crew SC 1, Revolution 0 1st - 35'Sep 27 8:13 PM
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