and he's done it twice. In 2002, he claimed the scoring championship with 23 goals and six assists (52 points), narrowly edging out Golden Boot winner Carlos Ruiz, who had 24 goals and one assist (29 points) - who of course also played the title game that year. Twellman won this year's Golden Boot - now the scoring title - with 17 goals, one more than D.C. United's Jaime Moreno. Three times the winner of the league's Golden Boot (before it designated the MLS scoring champion) has also won the MLS Cup: 1997 (Roy Lassiter, D.C. United), 1999 (Jaime Moreno, D.C. United) and 2002 (Ruiz).
This will be the fourth time the league MVP has played in MLS Cup, and in the last two they have won the Cup. In 1998, MLS MVP Marco Etcheverry saw his D.C. United fall 2-0 to the Chicago Fire, but in 2000, Tony Meola backstopped the Kansas City Wizards to a 1-0 win against the Fire, then in 2002 Carlos Ruiz led the Galaxy to victory against the Revolution.
Twellman also has a chance to pull off a remarkable triple in a season - winning the league MVP honor, the All-Star Game MVP and MLS Cup MVP all in the same year. Two players have won MLS MVP and MLS Cup MVP honors in the same year - Tony Meola in 2000 and Carlos Ruiz two years later. In 1996, the Tampa Bay Mutiny's Carlos Valderrama was named All-Star Game MVP before he was named league MVP, a feat Amado Guevara (MetroStars) also achieved a year ago.
Michael Parkhurst will likely become the fourth Rookie of the Year to start in an MLS Cup Final. In 1998, Ben Olsen became the first, winning the honor then starting for D.C. United in their loss to the Chicago Fire. Two years later, Carlos Bocanegra started in the back for the Chicago Fire against the Kansas City Wizards - who featured another rookie defender Bocanegra narrowly edged in balloting, Nick Garcia. In 2003, Damani Ralph won the Rookie of the Year award then started in the final against San Jose.
Parkhurst would be the 10th rookie-eligible to start in an MLS Cup Final. The complete list through 2004 (regular season stats shown): Greg Vanney, LA 96 (29GP/24GS/4G/1A); Ben Olsen DC 98 (31/24/4/8); Nick Garcia, KC 00 (32/32/0/0); Carlos Bocanegra, CHI 00 (27/27/1/1); Daouda Kante, NE 02 (8/8/1/0); Alejandro Moreno, LA 02 (12/7/0/2); Jamil Walker, SJ 03 (19/0/4/0); Damani Ralph, CHI 03 (25/22/11/6); Khari Stephenson, KC 04 (3/0/0/0)
One of the keys to the Revolution success has been the play of the strike pair of Taylor Twellman and Pat Noonan, with Clint Dempsey providing the drive from midfield. Between national team duty and injury, Steve Nicol was able to start them together just 14 times during the regular season - with remarkable success. In those 14 games, the Revolution are 9-2-3 and scored 30 of their 55 goals on the year - and the trio scored 24 of those. Twellman scored 14 of his 17 goals, while Dempsey scored five of his 10 on the year and Noonan hit for five of his eight. They played together in the first eight games of the year (when the Revs got off to a 6-0-2 start), then just once (July 16) before the final month of the season, when they started together in five consecutive matches from Sept. 10-Oct. 1 (games 26 through 30 in the league campaign).
The game matches two of the hottest strikers over the second half of the season. After the All-Star break, Taylor Twellman hit for eight goals - most in MLS (along with D.C. United's Jaime Moreno). One behind is Herculez Gomez (also level with Youri Djorkaeff of the MetroStars).
In 2002, Matt Reis was the Galaxy's backup goalkeeper as Kevin Hartman posted a shutout against the Revolution in the MLS Cup Final. That was his last match in a Galaxy uniform - in January 2003 he was traded to New England for Alex Pineda Chacon and a draft pick. One other player has been in an MLS Cup Final in both uniforms: Revolution defender Joe Franchino. He was an available substitute for the Galaxy in the 1999 Final against D.C. United, then playing the entire match against his former club three years later after his trade to New England midway through the 2000 season.
A DOMESTIC DOUBLE ...
The Galaxy are trying to become the third team in MLS history to complete the domestic double - winning the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in the same year. D.C. United performed the feat in the inaugural season of 1996, then two years later the Chicago Fire did it in their first season.
Six times a team has been in both domestic finals and failed to win - including each of the last five years. A year ago the Kansas City Wizards won the Open Cup, but lost in the MLS Cup Final, which also happened to the Chicago Fire in 2003. In 2002, the Galaxy won the MLS Cup, but lost to the Columbus Crew in the Open Cup Final, and in 2001 they defeated the Revolution to win the Open Cup, but lost to San Jose in MLS Cup, while in 2000 the Chicago Fire won the Open Cup but lost in MLS Cup. In 1997, D.C. United won their second consecutive MLS Cup, but lost to the then-Dallas Burn in the U.S. Open Cup Final.
The New England Revolution have played for two trophies in club history - both times coming up against the Los Angeles Galaxy. In addition to the MLS Cup 2002 loss, the Galaxy won 2-1 in extra time in the final of the 2001 U.S. Open Cup. Wolde Harris gave the Revs a 30th-minute lead, but Ezra Hendrickson equalized in the 70th minute, then Danny Califf scored the game-winning goal two minutes into the extra period. Just two current members of the Revolution played in that final - Joe Franchino and Jay Heaps (who was sent off in the 88th minute) - while three members of the Galaxy took part: Cobi Jones, Peter Vagenas and Kevin Hartman.