FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For what may have been the first time in his life, center back Michael Parkhurst had no choice but to root against the New England Revolution on Saturday.
Parkhurst, who grew up Cranston, Rhode Island, supporting the Revolution, went on to play for his hometown club from 2005 to 2008. But on Saturday, the script was entirely different for the 29-year-old defender, who returned to Gillette Stadium for the first time in six-plus years -- but as a member of the Columbus Crew.
"It's good to be back," Parkhurst said after Saturday's 2-1 win for the Crew. "I've got a lot of family and friends here and a lot of good memories here for four good years, so it was nice to get back and see some people."
It was a warm homecoming to be certain for Parkhurst. According to the Crew captain, between 30 and 40 friends and family were on hand to watch him play his first game in Foxborough in nearly seven years.
But there was no time for reminiscing for Parkhurst on Saturday. In a match that both teams needed points from, the Crew captain was called upon to strengthen the backline, which was called upon to step up after the Revolution collected nine first-half corner kicks.
Not only did the Crew defense hold firm during the first half, but Parkhurst nearly factored into the scoring in the 65th minute. A corner kick from Federico Higuain -- who scored the Crew's first goal in the 44th minute -- found Parkhurst, who quickly played it to Chad Barson. Using a nifty back heel, Barson nearly slid it through before Lee Nguyen ushered it away from the line to keep it a 1-1 match.
"I just reacted and I think I got a knee on it," Parkhurst said. "Chad did well on it to get a back heel because he was facing away from the goal, but yeah, it's unlucky I guess."
Unlucky or not, the Crew eventually claimed the game winner in the 84th minute when Justin Meram found Ethan Finlay on a well-timed run into the box, where he slotted it through. The win was the Crew's second straight after stumbling through a seven-game winless streak during the early part of the summer.
"It was a big game," Parkhurst said. "[It was] two teams that have been struggling as of late, so it was an important three points for us."
Even though Parkhurst wasn't the only one in the Crew locker room savoring the road win, the former Revolution supporter and player couldn't help but harbor some empathy for the team across the hall.
"I feel for New England and what they're going through right now because we just went through it as well; it's tough," Parkhurst said. "But for us it's great, we've got to build some momentum and we're starting to do that."