The history of the Columbus Crew and the New England Revolution goes way back. All the way back to the beginning. Two original MLS teams. Columbus being THE original MLS team. These two teams have a history. Far from something you would call a rivalry, but history nonetheless. These teams have met 3 times in the playoffs. The first matchup being all the way back in 2002. The Eastern Conference finals.
The First Meeting
Granted, back then there were only eight teams in the playoffs, so it was still the second round of the playoffs. Back then the playoffs were also a three-game series. The winner was determined by whoever got the most amount of points. A win being three points, a draw being one point, and a loss zero. After tying the first game, the Revs won Game 2 with a goal from Jay Heaps in the third minute. The one and only goal. They then tied the third game 2-2 with goals from Steve Ralston and Wolde Harris. They ultimately won the series five points to two points, advancing to their first MLS Cup final. I don't need to mention what happened next.
The two teams met again in the 2004 conference semifinals for a 2 game series. New England took game one with a goal from Avery John and tied game two 1-1 with an 81st-minute goal from wonder boy Taylor Twellman. They won that series 2-1 on aggregate. Their next meeting was ten years later. A conference final series many Revs fans remember vividly.
Revs dominated the series, winning game one on the road 4-2 with goals from Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney, and 2 from Charlie Davies. They then came home and added 3 more goals. Again Lee Nguyen scored, along with Jose Goncalves and Teal Bunbury. Bunbury, and Nguyen, along with, Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Farrell, Scott Caldwell, Brad Knighton, and Diego Fagundez are the only players who remain from that 2014 Revs team. The Revs would win the series on aggregate 7-3. Once again, I don't need to elaborate on how that season ended for the Revs.
Revs Domination in the Playoffs
While the head to head match up favors the Revs based on history, it's no secret that The Columbus Crew have had more success in the playoffs. In 2008 they were able to do what the Revs still to this day haven’t been able to do. Win an MLS Cup. Yes, it's true, the New England Revolution have more Eastern Conference championship trophies than any other team, but that's nothing to brag about. This year, the matchup will be like no other. A New England Revolution team that has spent more money on players than they ever had before, going up against a Columbus Crew team dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. On paper, this is a great matchup, with Lucas Zelarayan going up against Carles Gil. Gyasi Zardes with Gustavo Bou and if he’s healthy, Eloy Room against Matt Turner.
When it comes to the playoffs, The Columbus crew have never been able to defeat the New England Revolution in a playoff series. The recent history however favors the Columbus Crew having one 6 of the last 8 meetings with the Revs. However, The Columbus Crew have yet to face off against the Revs with head coach Bruce Arena in charge, or with forward Gustavo Bou and forward Adam Buksa on the field. 3 huge game-changers for Sunday's meeting. Rev's decision day blunders, however, mean they will play the rest of the season on the road. Both teams have very strong attacks, so it'll be a very interesting match up, and possibly a very high scoring game as well.