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7:30 pm ET (WB)
A welcome sight in the return of Taylor Twellman to the New England Revolution lineup at midweek brought a welcome victory - just their second in seven matches. But after being sent off late, Twellman won't be around for the trip to face the Columbus Crew in Ohio, where the hosts come in with just one victory in their last five games after a four-game winning run.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Chip Reed; JAR (opposite): Jorge de la Bandera; 4th: Mikael Lundqvist
MLS Career: 17 games; FC/gm: 32.5; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 2; pens: 7
Games involving Crew: P3 W2 L1 T0; FC/gm: 38.7; Y/gm: 6.3; R: 1; pens: 3
Games involving Revolution: P2 W1 L0 T1; FC/gm: 30.5; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 0
COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: GK Matt Jordan (L ankle sprain)
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); DF Rusty Pierce (R quadriceps contusion); DOUBTFUL: GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); GK Adin Brown (concussion); PROBABLE: MD Shalrie Joseph (L hip flexor/quadriceps); MD Jose Cancela (R hip strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: NE: Taylor Twellman (through July 17)
YELLOW PERIL: CLB: Eric Denton (17 CP) ... NE: Marshall Leonard (18 CP)
This is the third of four meetings between the clubs this season, with the Crew claiming victories in the first two. They conclude the season series on August 7 at New England.
On June 6 in Foxborough, a penalty kick saved in second-half stoppage time gave the Crew a 2-1 victory in the last meeting. Frankie Hejduk's diving header to pot the rebound of a Matt Reis put the Crew ahead in the second half (53), but Jose Cancela pulled the Revolution level (62) with a cheeky chip from the spot after Hejduk had pulled down Steve Ralston on the edge of the area.
But Jeff Cunningham converted his own penalty six minutes later after he was hacked down by New England defender Avery John, then three minutes into added time, referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot for a third time when Chad Marshall clattered into Shalrie Joseph.
Cancela again tried his chip, but this time Crew 'keeper Jon Busch held his ground and pushed the attempt over the bar to extend the Columbus winning streak to four games and their unbeaten streak to six since losing their first three games of the season.
Here's Steve Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Avery John, Marshall Leonard - Felix Brillant (Richie Baker 78), Shalrie Joseph, Joe Franchino, Steve Ralston - Jose Cancela - Clint Dempsey, Pat Noonan
Here's Greg Andrulis's team (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch - Nelson Akwari, Chad Marshall, Robin Fraser - Frankie Hejduk, Manny Lagos (David Testo 89), Ross Paule, Eric Denton - Kyle Martino (Chris Wingert 82) - Michael Ritch (Edson Buddle 69), Jeff Cunningham.
The Crew won their first match of the year in the first meeting, a 1-0 victory at Crew Stadium on May 15. Edson Buddle found the back of the net with a low shot through a packed penalty area for the game's only goal (41).
A year ago, New England won two of the four meetings between the teams - once at each ground - with Columbus winning one and one draw, both of the Revolution victories coming in dramatic fashion.
The first two meetings were away victories - the Crew winning the first encounter 2-1 on April 19 at Gillette Stadium (Ralston 86 - Denton 12, McBride 53), then the Revs won 3-2 on May 24 in Columbus with a late match-winner (Paule 40, Dunseth 76 - Kamler 36, 70; Twellman 89).
The clubs played to a 1-1 draw on July 23 at Crew Stadium (Matteo 33 - Noonan 55), then New England captured a 3-2 golden goal victory to cap a remarkable comeback on home turf on Sept. 28 (J-M Moore 78, Joseph 81, Franchino 97 - Martino 41, Denton 72).
New England has won the season series each of the last two years, winning two of the four matches while seeing a fourth end in a draw, but Columbus won the series each of the first four years of league play, including winning all four meetings in 1999 (three by shootout).
The lifetime series has also been highlighted by late theatrics: Of the 84 goals scored, 25 have come in the final quarter-hour of regulation time (13 Columbus, 12 New England), and each team has scored one extra-time match-winner.
Jeff Cunningham leads current Columbus Crew players with 7 goals, 5 assists v New England, and is second in the club's all-time scoring charts to Brian McBride. Manny Lagos had 4 goals, 3 assists against the Revs while with San Jose, while Edson Buddle and Frankie Hejduk have 3 goals each and Eric Denton 2 v N.E.
Steve Ralston leads the New England lifetime scoring charts against Columbus with 4 goals, 2 assists - and for his personal career against the Crew, he has 10 goals, 10 assists. Joe-Max Moore has 2 goals, 3 assists, while Brian Kamler has 2 goals, 6 assists v Columbus for his career (2 goals, 2 assists while in New England). Taylor Twellman has 3 goals, 1 assist.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. CLB: P9 W3 D4 L2 ... Greg Andrulis v NE: P11 W5 D4 L2
ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Crew 20 wins (4 shootout), 52 goals ... Revolution 9 wins (1 shootout), 36 goals ... 3 draws
IN COLUMBUS (16 meetings): Crew 11 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals ... Revolution 3 wins (1 shootout), 17 goals ... 2 draws
Both 'keepers made remarkable saves to keep their opponents off the scoreboard: the Burn's Jeff Cassar diving for a stunning stop to keep out Jeff Cunningham's point-blank first-timer in the first half, then the Crew's Jon Busch nearly beaten by a Toni Nhleko flick header only to sweep his leg behind to clear.
"It hit my right heel. To be honest, I don't know a lot about it," Busch said. "I was lucky. You've got to have luck on your side."
Columbus coach Greg Andrulis made one change to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 at home the weekend before, though it did bring about a reshuffle of the alignment. Chad Marshall came into the back three for Nelson Akwari, while Duncan Oughton also moved back there, Eric Denton resuming his role on the left flank.
"You shouldn't lose your starting position because of injury, especially for one game," Andrulis said. "Nellie did a very good job, but Chad's been very good every game he's played for us."
Here's Andrulis's team (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch - Duncan Oughton, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall - Chris Wingert (Frankie Hejduk 69), Simon Elliott, Ross Paule, Eric Denton - Kyle Martino (Nelson Akwari 88) - Edson Buddle, Jeff Cunningham (Manny Lagos 79)
The Crew now have another senior international slot available, after Simon Elliott was given his green card.
Striker Erick Scott has been included in Costa Rica's Olympic team, and will leave the Crew after the New England match. Costa Rica begins play in the Athens Games on Aug. 15 against Iraq; in Group D, they will also face Morocco and Portugal.
The Columbus Crew played to a scoreless draw with the Dallas Burn for the second time this season, this time going to Texas to settle for a share of the points. Still, the Crew remained in third place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from 14 matches, just three points out of first place (held by the MetroStars) and just a point behind D.C. United.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Twellman ended the longest personal goalless drought of his career, but then was sent off at the end of the match to again force him to the sidelines this weekend.
Andy Williams gave the Fire the lead just before the half with a wonderful strike from just inside the penalty area, but the Revolution took control with a three-goal blitz after the break. Clint Dempsey headed home a pinpoint cross from Richie Baker two minutes into the half to equalize, then four minutes later Twellman played a neat 1-2 with Dempsey before lashing home a cross shot from the right side of the area.
Then Twellman had the easiest of finishes on a corner after Brian Kamler's flick-on from the near post found the striker all alone at the back stick.
But he was sent off in the 90th minute by referee Alex Prus for a hard tackle from behind in midfield on Williams. The Fire were left a man down themselves barely a minute later when rookie Scott Buete was booked for the second time.
"It was a stupid play on my part,'' Twellman said. "I'm disappointed because I wanted to use this weekend's game to get some fitness back and obviously that's not going to happen now.''
Revs boss Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with the Fire on Sunday at Soldier Field. Shalrie Joseph returned to the lineup as Joe Franchino moved to left back to make room in midfield, while Jose Cancela also returned from injury, coming in for Richie Baker as Pat Noonan moved to a wide right role.
Here's Nicol's team (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Avery John, Joe Franchino - Pat Noonan (Richie Baker 75), Shalrie Joseph (Marshall Leonard 69), Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 75), Brian Kamler - Clint Dempsey, Taylor Twellman
"We wanted to go at them and we did, but to tell you the truth, it wasn't positive enough,'' Nicol said. "We always talk about not allowing a goal at the wrong time. But we turned it around in the second half and put away the chances.''
Dempsey was preferred to Noonan as Twellman's strike partner, as Noonan lasted just 45 minutes on the flank. "I don't know what to say about Clint," Nicol said. "Everything he does, he does to such a high standard. He acts like he's been here before."
Twellman snapped a career-long drought of 702 minutes without a goal. Prior to his slump, Twellman recorded 39 goals in his first 52 MLS matches.
"In all honesty, I knew it was going to happen," Twellman said. "I've hit the goalie in the face like four times this year and each goalie has gotten player of the week. I knew my job was to be a target up front and when I get a chance to put it hard on goal and if it goes in great, if not so be it."
The New England Revolution got Taylor Twellman back and pulled themselves right back into the heart of the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in Foxborough in the return match of their home-and-home series. The Revs are now on 16 points from 16 matches, just two behind the Fire for fourth place and now just six out of first place.