Another game, another tie. So it goes. But this one, a 2-2 result against the New England Revolution, was an utterly different experience than the pair of scoreless draws that preceded it. The Crew created exciting chance after exciting chance, and they actually converted some of them. They were particularly impressive in the first half when Ricardo Virtuoso still had gas in him. Dude was the spark that pushed the offense over the edge, dominating the left side with killer moves and passes that once again had Jay Heaps spun around, at least for the first 45 minutes. Along with Virtuoso, the rest of the offense, including Joseph Ngwenya and Andy Herron, seemed to kick into higher gear. And it was fitting that the Crew's first goal of the year was a combination between instant spark Virtuoso and Ned Grabavoy, the team's rock so far this year.

But alas, just as the offense finally kicked into gear, the defense showed cracks. After the match, Sigi Schmid implied that both New England goals, each scored against the run of play, were the result of the Revolution getting away with dirty tricks. I'll vouch that the second goal shouldn't have happened; Taylor Twellman got away with a handball before turning, driving and launching his off-kilter, long-distance blast. However, Sigi knows as well as anybody that you have to play through shoddy calls, and the defense crumbled twice. I didn't see who let Andy Dorman get free for the first Revs goal, but it was likely Rusty Pierce, whose play in the back (and up front, for that matter) was less than satisfactory all night. On the second goal, "Dandy" Andy Gruenebaum should have been more alert when Twellman's shot came in, though you could also argue that somebody like Danny O'Rourke needed to step up on Twellman. Whoever was at fault, it was disappointing to see the scales tip that way. If only this team could find the right balance. I do believe it's coming, but for now, they're out of playoff range. They've dug themselves a minor hole already, and the only way out is to record some wins.

Forgot to mention this in my running diary: They were handing out free T-shirts at the game commemorating Primetime Thursday, ESPN2's weekly MLS showcase. Every time I saw one of the shirts, I thought it said "Primatech Paper." Think I'm ready for Heroes to come back this Monday?

On to this match's honorable and dishonorable mentions:

Another game, another tie. So it goes. But this one, a 2-2 result against the New England Revolution, was an utterly different experience than the pair of scoreless draws that preceded it. The Crew created exciting chance after exciting chance, and they actually converted some of them. They were particularly impressive in the first half when Ricardo Virtuoso still had gas in him. Dude was the spark that pushed the offense over the edge, dominating the left side with killer moves and passes that once again had Jay Heaps spun around, at least for the first 45 minutes. Along with Virtuoso, the rest of the offense, including Joseph Ngwenya and Andy Herron, seemed to kick into higher gear. And it was fitting that the Crew's first goal of the year was a combination between instant spark Virtuoso and Ned Grabavoy, the team's rock so far this year.

But alas, just as the offense finally kicked into gear, the defense showed cracks. After the match, Sigi Schmid implied that both New England goals, each scored against the run of play, were the result of the Revolution getting away with dirty tricks. I'll vouch that the second goal shouldn't have happened; Taylor Twellman got away with a handball before turning, driving and launching his off-kilter, long-distance blast. However, Sigi knows as well as anybody that you have to play through shoddy calls, and the defense crumbled twice. I didn't see who let Andy Dorman get free for the first Revs goal, but it was likely Rusty Pierce, whose play in the back (and up front, for that matter) was less than satisfactory all night. On the second goal, "Dandy" Andy Gruenebaum should have been more alert when Twellman's shot came in, though you could also argue that somebody like Danny O'Rourke needed to step up on Twellman. Whoever was at fault, it was disappointing to see the scales tip that way. If only this team could find the right balance. I do believe it's coming, but for now, they're out of playoff range. They've dug themselves a minor hole already, and the only way out is to record some wins.

Forgot to mention this in my running diary: They were handing out free T-shirts at the game commemorating Primetime Thursday, ESPN2's weekly MLS showcase. Every time I saw one of the shirts, I thought it said "Primatech Paper." Think I'm ready for Heroes to come back this Monday?

On to this match's honorable and dishonorable mentions:

Man of the Match: Virtuoso was killer in the first half—so killer that I'm giving him this award despite his near disappearance in the second half. The Crew should count itself lucky to have him on the road back to 100 percent health.

(Runners up: Kei Kamara came in and did what a forward needs to do: He scored a goal. But just as importantly, Frankie Hejduk fed him with a great assist, the culmination of a solid day for Frankie on both sides of the ball.)

Most disappointing: Pierce was a liability in the back and looked helpless on the offensive side of the ball.

Most formidable foe: New England played poorly and got away with a tie. Why? Great opportunism by the attackers. That's why Twellman, who set a league record for forwards with his 36th consecutive start, gets this honor.

Least surprising: The Crew surrenders its first goal immediately after the tension release of scoring for the first time this year.

Most surprising: Twellman's goal. After such a dominant performance from the Crew, to see them down a goal going into halftime was quite a shock.

Toss-up: Joseph Ngwenya and Andy Herron. In three games, the attackers have looked dangerous, especially in the two most recent matches, but they haven't contributed any points yet. I know it's still early, but I think it's time to see some production from these two where it counts: On the scoreboard. See also: Eddie Gaven, one of the true mysteries of this season so far.