only to see it clank off the outside of the post. Then in the second minute of stoppage time, Twellman received a neat pass from Noonan in the restraining arc and hit a powerful shot on the turn, but United 'keeper Troy Perkins rose up to get a hand on the shot and tip it on to the crossbar.
Here's Steve Nicol's team on the day (4-1-3-2): Matt Reis - Steve Ralston, Rusty Pierce, Steve Howey (Avery John 46), Marshall Leonard - Shalrie Joseph - Richie Baker (Andy Dorman 72), Jose Cancela (Brian Kamler 46), Pat Noonan - Clint Dempsey, Taylor Twellman.
Here's Peter Nowak's team (3-4-2-1): Troy Perkins - Bryan Namoff, Mike Petke (David Stokes 83), Brandon Prideaux - Earnie Stewart, Ben Olsen, Dema Kovalenko, Joshua Gros - Christian Gomez (Brian Carroll 62), Freddy Adu (Nana Kuffour 89) - Jaime Moreno
On Aug. 14 at RFK Stadium, the Revolution came back to grab a 2-2 draw with United. A late Andy Dorman goal gave United and the Revolution a share of the spoils - and blunted the impact of a wonderful Jaime Moreno display.
Steve Ralston gave the visitors the lead in the 38th minute when he skipped through a couple of tackles in the area and hooked a curling shot inside the left-hand post.
But straight off the kickoff, United equalized when Moreno tapped home from close range after the Revs failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box, then after the break, Moreno gave the home side the lead on a wonderful goal, sprung by a terrific through ball from Dema Kovalenko before rounding 'keeper Matt Reis and a defender and sliding the ball home.
Yet the Revolution had one more answer, Dorman hitting home from a corner kick after a tackle landed right at his feet in the area (85) and extending their unbeaten run.
In their first meeting on May 29 at Gillette Stadium, D.C. United claimed a fortunate 1-0 victory. Revolution defender Brian Kamler turned a low cross into his own goal after just five minutes to give his former club the game's only goal as Taylor Twellman endured a rough night, missing a second-half penalty kick before being injured.
Then in the second half, Twellman saw his goal-scoring drought extended when he pushed his penalty wide though United rookie goalkeeper Troy Perkins guessed correctly with his dive, later straining a hamstring which put him out of action for six matches.
A year ago, United won two of the four meetings between the teams, the Revolution winning one with one drawn. They shared the points in a 1-1 contest on June 21 on East Capitol Street (Stoitchkov 31 - Kamler 24), before United claimed a remarkable 4-2 victory on July 27 at Gillette Stadium, scoring three goals in second-half stoppage time (Twellman 26, 31 - Quintanilla 83, 90 pen; Kovalenko 90; Eskandarian 90).
United then won dramatically at home on Aug. 9 through the only goal in added time (Kovalenko 90), before a penalty in extra time allowed the Revolution to return the favor in Foxborough on Oct. 11 (Ralston 92 pen).
Coming into last season, the Revolution had won four of the last five meetings between the two teams, but United has now claimed three of the last six encounters (with two draws). Over the first four years of the rivalry (16 meetings), the Revolution won just twice in regulation time, with three shootout victories among their five triumphs.
The losing team hasn't scored in seven of the last 10 meetings between the clubs.
Taylor Twellman leads the Revolution's career scoring table against United, with 8 goals, while Joe-Max Moore is next with 6 goals, 2 assists. For his career, Steve Ralston has 7 goals, 11 assists v United - but just 2 goals, 5 assists while with New England. Brian Kamler has 2 goals, 3 assists against his former club (2 goals, 2 assists while with the Revs).
Jaime Moreno leads current United players with 6 goals, 7 assists v New England - tied with Marco Etchevery (2 goals, 15 assists) on the club's all-time table against the Revs. Dema Kovalenko has 4 goals, 3 assists v New England, but just 2 goals, 1 assist while in D.C., while Ezra Hendrickson has 4 goals, 4 assists against the Revs for his career - none while with United.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol v DC: P12 W5 L4 T3 ... Peter Nowak v NE: P3 W1 L0 T2
A Freddy Adu goal after 16 minutes was all D.C. United needed to all but ensure a second consecutive trip to the MLS Cup Playoffs after missing out for three consecutive seasons.
Adu's shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection off defender Jeff Parke and left Metro 'keeper Jonny Walker flat-footed on his line, United's defending rarely allowing the home side a chance over the remainder of the match. United can claim a postseason place with just one point over their final two matches of the campaign.
There was also a real edge to the game, typified in the first half when Adu was involved in a fracas with Mike Magee and Chris Leitch of the Metros. "I was walking away and Michael Magee comes out of nowhere and pushes me," Adu said. "What are you doing? They did that (before), trying to intimidate me. I'm not going to stand for that anymore. I don't care how young I am. I'm going to protect myself and my teammates."
United head coach Peter Nowak made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 away to the Columbus Crew the previous weekend. Ezra Hendrickson came in for the suspended Ryan Nelsen in central defense, while with the first-choice strike partnership of Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno out through suspension and injury respectively, he brought Freddy Adu and Earnie Stewart back into the team in their place.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-2-1): Nick Rimando - Bryan Namoff, Ezra Hendrickson, Mike Petke - Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Dema Kovalenko - Freddy Adu (David Stokes 94), Earnie Stewart (Brandon Prideaux 64) - Christian Gomez (Santino Quaranta 67)
"It was a great effort from those guys and I'm proud of them," Nowak said. "They did everything right. We didn't have the offensive firepower like we're supposed to have, but we were very organized. They showed a lot of fight tonight and they found a way to win."
It was the United's first victory on the road since a 1-0 victory in New England on May 29, and just their second of the season on their travels.
"For a while I think we had a feeling like, 'Oh, great, we're on the road. Chances are we're going to lose,' " midfielder Ben Olsen said. "And now we've gotten rid of that and we know now that we can win on the road. We have that confidence, especially with the playoffs coming around."
It was a second goal in two matches at Giants Stadium for Adu - where he scored in first professional goal on April 17 in a 3-2 United loss. "It's the greatest feeling in the world when you score a game-winner," Adu said. "Whenever you have the ball in front of the goal and there's chaos in front, hit the ball hard and put it on goal."
Santino Quaranta made his first league appearance since the final match of the 2003 season - which came after missing a stretch of 17 games through injury. Since making his last MLS start on July 27, Quaranta has played just 39 minutes in league competition.
D.C. United returned to their winning ways, claiming the full points for the third time in four matches in a 1-0 victory away to the MetroStars on Saturday night. United remained in third place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points from 28 matches, now just three points behind the MetroStars as the two teams seem destined to face off in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs - after they meet on the season's final day.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Revolution kept alive their playoff dreams while dealing the Burn a blow in a battle of the two fifth-place teams in their respective conferences.
The home side scored goals on either side of halftime, Marshall Leonard giving New England the lead on 42 minutes as he hit an inch-perfect for Taylor Twellman to power home past Dallas 'keeper Scott Garlick.
The Revolution then doubled the lead two minutes after the break, Jose Cancela and Pat Noonan playing a neat one-two before Cancela served a delicate chip from the left side that found Steve Ralston racing at the near post, who tucked home a glancing header just inside the stick.
"All we have to do is keep winning games and hope someone else likes us somewhere," Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. "If we play the way we did [last night], we fancy our chances against any team. We were solid in back, solid going forward, it was a solid team performance from the start. The quality was better, we did things better, whether it was defensively or going forward, or simple passing. We were better all around. We have to do that with more consistency and that's why we are where we are."
Nicol made two changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field the previous weekend. Avery John came back into central defense as Jay Heaps returned to right back, Steve Ralston moving forward into midfield as Richie Baker was the odd man out. Jose Cancela also made his first start since Aug. 28, coming into central midfield for the suspended Clint Dempsey.
Here's Nicol's team (4-1-3-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Rusty Pierce, Avery John, Marshall Leonard - Shalrie Joseph - Steve Ralston, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 80), Brian Kamler - Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan
"Pepe's always going to be effective for us offensively as long as he keeps the ball and gets it off quickly,'' Pierce said of Cancela. "He's never going to be a tackler and win balls defensively. But tonight, he was on his game and keeping the ball.''
New England's playoff hopes were given a real boost by the Columbus victory in Chicago on Wednesday. That left the Revolution knowing that a victory in D.C. would leave them tied with the Fire - which would necessitate needing just a draw when the two play in the season finale at Gillette Stadium.
"Two wins and we're in,'' said Ralston. "It doesn't get much clearer than that. It won't be easy. We've got to go to D.C. next Saturday, and they are a very good team at home. They make it hard on you. They buzz around and get a lot of guys around the ball.''
The New England Revolution kept their postseason hopes alive, pulling to within three points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-0 victory at home against the Dallas Burn on Saturday night. The Revolution have amassed 30 points from 28 matches, trailing the Chicago Fire by three points though they have a match in hand for the moment, the best possible finish for the team now third place.
D.C. United clinched a playoff spot with the Columbus Crew's victory against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday.
The New England Revolution are still on the outside looking in, but with a victory against D.C. United, would pull into a tie with the Chicago Fire. That would mean they would need just a draw in the season finale against the Fire at Gillette Stadium.
Following are the tiebreaking procedures if teams are level in the standings:
a. Head-to-head competition against all other teams equal in points, based on highest points-per-game average.
b. Overall team goal differential.
c. Total goals scored.
d-f. Tiebreakers a-c are applied to each team's regular-season road games only.
g-i. Tiebreakers a-c are applied to each team's regular-season home games only.
j. Fewest disciplinary points
k. Coin flip.
As of Oct. 6, here is how the MLS Cup playoffs would have looked:
SERIES A: (E1) Columbus vs. (E4) Chicago
SERIES B: (E2) MetroStars vs. (E3) D.C. United
SERIES C: (W1) Kansas City vs. (W4) San Jose
SERIES D: (W2) Los Angeles vs. (W3) Colorado
EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Winner of CLB/CHI vs. Winner of MET/DC
WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Winner of KC/SJ vs. Winner of COL/LA
MLS CUP 2004: Winners of Conference Championship Games
Series A - D played under home-and-home, total goals format ... If teams tied on aggregate, 30-minute, golden-goal overtime period follows, then followed by penalty kicks (if necessary) to determine Series winner ... Higher seed holds home-field advantage for Game 2 of Series ... Conference Championship Games and MLS Cup, if tied after 90 minutes, determined by 30-minute, golden-goal overtime ... If neither team scores during that time, the series will be decided via penalty kick shootout held according to FIFA regulations
Series A-D - Game One
Weekend of Friday, October 22 - Sunday, October 24 @ LOWER-SEED home site
Series A-D - Game Two (+ 30-minute golden-goal period, if tied on aggregate goals)
Weekend of Friday, October 29 - Friday, October 31 @ HIGHER-SEED home site
Eastern Conference Championship / Nov. 5 / 6 / 7
Western Conference Championship / Nov. 5 / 6 / 7
MLS Cup 2004 / Sun., Nov. 14 - ABC / 3:30 PM ET - The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.