Highlights and context: Streaks end in New England

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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: