The New England Revolution breezed into the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-1 win at home over the Columbus Crew. After winning the first leg in Columbus 4-2, the Revs easily advanced 7-3 on aggregate.
Columbus was down to nine men by the end of the match after Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram were sent off, but neither affected the result as New England had compiled a large aggregate lead.
[ FIRST LEG: Columbus 2-4 New England ]
The Crew had their chances early but failed to capitalize as their season has officially ended.
Already in a massive hole after giving up four away goals in the first leg, Columbus was forced to push offensively, leaving the defense wide open for the counter-attack.
New England capitalized with goals from Lee Nguyen, Jose Goncalves and Teal Bunbury as they will now travel to New York to face a Red Bulls team that advanced to the conference finals over D.C. United.
The game took a turn when Columbus midfielder Ethan Finlay was sent off in the 61st minute. Going for a loose ball, Revs keeper Bobby Shuttleworth came off his line where he caught a knee to the head from the onrushing Finlay. What seemed to be accidental contact was looked at as an intentional attempt to injure as referee Armando Villarreal showed him a perplexing straight red card.
Things went from bad to worse for Columbus as Justin Meram was shown his second yellow in the 85th minute, leaving the Crew to finish up the match with nine players.
After the international break, New England will take on the New York Red Bulls on November 23rd for the first leg of the Eastern Conference finals.
New England: Shuttleworth, Soares, Tierney, Goncalves (Dorman 79′), Alston, Caldwell, Bunbury, Rowe, Jones (Barnes 82′), Nguyen (Kobayashi 75′), Davies
Goals: Nguyen (43′), Goncalves (55′), Bunbury (77′)
Columbus: Clark, Wahl (Bedel 46′), Parkhurst, Francis, Gehrig (Williams 56′), Tchani, Meram, Jimenez, Finlay, Trapp, Arrieta (Speas 74′)
Goal: Tchani (69′)
Red Cards: Finlay (61′), Meram (85′)