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The two I-95 rivals have played three wild matches this season - all decided in the 86th minute or later - and now conclude their league season series this year with the back end of their home-and-home series in New England. A week ago, an incredible see-saw match was won 5-4 by the MetroStars in yet another must-win game, and they are now just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Revolution still haven't yet clinched their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs, which they can do with a victory.
REFEREE: Brian Hall. SAR (bench): George Vergara; JAR (opposite): Rick Eddy; 4th: Alex Prus
MLS Career: 100 games; FC/gm: 29.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 27; pens: 32
Games involving Revolution: P18 W9 L5 T4; FC/gm: 29.8; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 5; pens: 5
Games involving MetroStars: P21 W6 L13 T2; FC/gm: 29.6; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 3; pens: 7
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - QUESTIONABLE: MF Jose Cancela (R toe bruise); MF Daniel Hernandez (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: Shalrie Joseph (R ankle sprain) ... METROSTARS - OUT: GK Mike Ueltschey (L sports hernia); MF Danilo da Silva (R lateral meniscus tear); MF Ramon Bailey (L fifth metacarpal fracture)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
WARNINGS: NE: Shalrie Joseph (10 add'l CP/good behavior); Marshall Leonard (18 CP) ... MET: Michael Bradley (10 add'l CP/good behavior); Amado Guevara (8 add'l CP/good behavior); Carlos Mendes (17 CP); Jeff Parke (19 CP); Tim Regan (18 CP)
HEAD-TO-HEAD The I-95 rivals face off for the fourth of four league meetings this season, the second of two at Gillette Stadium. This is the back end match of a home-and-home series over two weekends (though the Revolution had a game in Columbus in between).
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): Revolution 17 wins (3 shootout), 72 goals ... MetroStars 16 wins (2 shootout), 75 goals ... 5 draws
AT FOXBOROUGH (18 meetings): Revolution 11 wins (1 shootout), 38 goals ... MetroStars 4 wins (2 shootout), 25 goals ... 3 draws
THIS SEASON The teams have played three wild matches this season, with the deciding goal in all three scored in the 86th minute or after. Each team has won once at home, with the first match between the two a draw.
The MetroStars nearly overcame a man disadvantage to end the New England Revolution's unbeaten run, a late goal giving the visitors a 2-2 draw at Giants Stadium on May 21.
The 10-man MetroStars had seemed to have overcome their disadvantage and put an end to the Revolution's undefeated run to start the campaign - until Taylor Twellman again came to the rescue.
Twellman had given the Revolution the lead after just six minutes. Pat Noonan curled in an early cross that Twellman knocked home inside the far post with a sublime first-time strike. But the home side responded just 10 minutes later, a neat bit of juggling from Amado Guevara able to find Tim Ward in the corner, who spun and drove a low cross into the area that Eddie Gaven stabbed home.
MetroStars striker Abbe Ibrahim - making his first MLS start - was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 66th minute. Yet it was the Metros who responded, Mike Magee driving in a low cross from the right corner that John Wolyniec slid to bang home off his knees in the middle of the goal area.
But the Revolution weren't going to let their hot start slip away, and a minute from the end, substitute Khano Smith teased in a cross from the left flank that Twellman lunged forward to power home, heading it off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
On June 25 at Gillette Stadium, the New England Revolution answered a quick second-half double with a three-goal flurry of their own in a 4-2 win.
Jose Cancela gave the Revolution the lead after just 19 seconds, hitting a looping volley over Zach Wells from all of 35 yards - the second-quickest in MLS history, after Dwayne De Rosario's goal for San Jose against Dallas on Sept. 27, 2003, at 11 seconds.
But midway through the second half the MetroStars took the lead with goals within two minutes. First Youri Djorkaeff converted from the penalty spot after Andy Dorman had bowled over Sergio Galvan Rey from behind (67), then Galvan Rey tapped home with a simple finish after Eddie Gaven was set free on the right to drive a low cross into the goalmouth (69).
Yet it took the Revolution just three minutes to respond, Jay Heaps rising up at the near post to pound home a clear header from a corner kick, then four minutes from the end the Revolution took advantage of a dreadful mistake for the match-winner, Steve Ralston dispossessing Metro defender Jeff Parke in his own area before curling a perfectly placed shot inside the far post.
New England sealed the match in stoppage time (91+), a long ball from Avery John finding Pat Noonan running free just the other side of the halfway line, and after one touch he hit a long floater that caught Wells well off his line.
LAST MEETING Last Saturday in E. Rutherford, the MetroStars held a 2-goal lead, saw the Revolution come back to regain the advantage, then scored two late goals for a 5-4 victory.
The Revolution could have secured a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a victory, but instead the MetroStars closed to within a victory of the final spot in the East and extended their unbeaten streak to five games while ending New England's 3-game winning streak.
The teams traded goals in the first half-hour, setting the stage for the events to come. Mike Magee scored his first of the night, collecting a wonderfully measured cross from Youri Djorkaeff before pounding home from the left side of the area (7), then Shalrie Joseph rising up for a clear header from a Joe Franchino free kick to equalize (29).
Then just after the break, the Metros scored twice within eight minutes. Djorkaeff got behind the Revolution defense despite a claim of offside, collecting an Amado Guevara pass and rounding Matt Reis before slotting home (51). Guevara then made it 3-1 eight minutes later, sliding in at the back post to poke home a Tim Ward cross.
Yet the Revolution hit for a 3-goal blitz in a 14-minute span to recapture the lead. Joseph scored his second just two minutes after the Metro third, heading home from close range after Steve Ralston saw Tony Meola save from him twice from close range. Then 10 minutes later, Clint Dempsey also scored on the rebound, knocking home from the doorstep after Meola saved well from Taylor Twellman.
The Revolution moved back in front in the 74th minute when Twellman finally hit home, his league-leading 15th of the campaign with a angled drive from a wonderful pass from Joseph.
But it took the Metros just two minutes to respond, Magee scoring his second of the game after fighting off Rev center back Michael Parkhurst to run onto a Michael Bradley chip and finish with aplomb, then four minutes from time Djorkaeff won the match with a wonder goal, hammering a drive from an impossible angle on the right that beat Reis inside his near post.
Here's Bob Bradley's team (4-4-2): Tony Meola - Chris Leitch (Ryan Suarez 87), Jeff Agoos, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ward - Eddie Gaven (Mark Lisi 79), Michael Bradley, Amado Guevara, Mike Magee - Youri Djorkaeff, Ante Razov (Sergio Galvan Rey 82).
Here's Nicol's team (3-5-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Joe Franchino - Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey (Ricardo Phillips 87), Daniel Hernandez (Andy Dorman 65), Shalrie Joseph, Marshall Leonard (Khano Smith 64) - Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan
HISTORY A year ago, the teams battled to a pair of 1-1 draws - one at each ground - before they finished off their league series with home victories. The first 1-1 result came April 25 at Giants Stadium (Guevara 14 - Dempsey 12), then they hit the same scoreline on May 22 at New England (Noonan 7 - Glen 55).
The Revolution claimed a 2-1 win on June 26 at home (Brillant 64, Dempsey 67 - Guevara 90 pen), before the MetroStars turned the tables with a 3-2 win at home on Sept. 11 (Magee 31 pen, Gaven 45, Glen 68 - Noonan 5, Twellman 14)
The MetroStars victory in the season series finale last year was their first win against New England in nine league encounters (11 including MLS Cup Playoffs), since a 4-3 victory at home on July 20, 2002. The Revolution then peeled off five wins in the next eight meetings in the series, with three draws.
New England has twice gone through the season series without loss to the Metros - in 1999 (winning two of the four matches by shootout) and in 2003 (winning three of the four meetings with one draw).
As well in 2003, the Revolution eased to victory when the teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals, winning 2-0 at Giants Stadium before sealing advancement with a 1-1 draw at home (winning 3-1 on aggregate). The MetroStars did have a modicum of success, winning a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal 2-1 through a golden-goal winner in Piscataway, N.J.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. MET: P15 W7 L4 D4 ... Bob Bradley v NE: P23 W7 L9 T7
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION The Crew had appeared to have snatched a vital victory from the Eastern Conference-leading Revolution - until Taylor Twellman once again performed his stoppage-time heroics.
The New England Revolution had a midweek game in between the MetroStars set - and came away with another dramatic result, a stoppage-time goal giving them a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday at Crew Stadium. The Revolution now have 52 points from 28 matches, five points ahead of second-place D.C. United, though they now trail the San Jose Earthquakes by four points in the race for the MLS Supporters' Shield.
Needing every possible point to have any chance of qualifying for the postseason, the Crew finally broke through midway through the second half through rookie Knox Cameron. After Kyle Martino was fouled, Simon Elliott served the free kick to a towering Chad Marshall. The defender headed the ball down off the feet of Jay Heaps and Cameron was there to pound home the loose ball for his second goal in as many games and fourth on the season (66).
But once again, the Revolution grabbed a late result. Jay Heaps sent Pat Noonan down the right flank and his pinpoint cross from Twellman in the heart of the six, and he easily headed home for the leveller. It was the sixth goal scored in the 89th minute or later by New England - the third in stoppage time from Twellman alone - that has pulled the Revolution into a tie or given them the full spoils.
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made one change to the team that lost 5-4 to the MetroStars the previous Saturday. Andy Dorman came into the center of midfield, replacing the injured Daniel Hernandez.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Joe Franchino - Steve Ralston, Andy Dorman (Ricardo Phillips 84), Shalrie Joseph, Marshall Leonard (Khano Smith 70) - Clint Dempsey - Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan
"We deserved to get something at the end of the game; there was no way we deserved to lose that game. I don't think we deserved a draw either. We had some chances; we could have scored four that we could have scored. We delayed to get a goal at the last gasp, but it was no more than we deserved," Nicol said. "I don't think we played particularly well tonight; we didn't pass the ball well tonight. We just didn't defend well last week; we played some good stuff last week. We still created a real load of chances."
TEAM NEWS The most notable misses were a pair of misfires by the normally clinical Twellman, the current MLS leader with 16 goals scored. Twellman lamented both of these missed opportunities. "We're just not stopping. We are playing 90 minutes," said the fourth-year striker."Unfortunately, I let the team down tonight, I should have had a couple more. It's on me - we should have won."
Still, Twellman's 16 goals lead MLS, his most since he hit for 23 to tie for the league lead in 2002. He could be the first player in league history to score at least 20 goals in two different seasons. Six of Twellman's 16 goals have come in the 89th minute or later, and all but one have ensured that New England would get at least a point out of the match.
"I made up for some mistakes tonight. I should have scored about three minutes earlier. I was trying to get on the end of something, and obviously [Pat] Noonan played a good ball," Twellman said.
Fully one-third of the Revolution's league-leading 51 goals have come in the final quarter-hour of the game. Six have come in actual stoppage time - a figure that rises to eight when adding the 90th minute, the final minute of normal time.
"It's nice when you're on the road, to at least get a point out of it. We felt like we should have gotten three points tonight. As bad as we played, we still created enough chances to win the game," Steve Ralston said. "We have to do a better job of passing the ball, we were a little sloppy. At the end of the day, when you're down 1-0 in the 92nd minute, and you can get a point out of it, we'll take it."
Two regular in the Revolution midfield in recent weeks - José Cancela and Daniel Hernandez - missed the game through toe and ankle injuries respectively. That paved the way for Andy Dorman to start in midfield. ''It has been hard on [Dorman] because he was doing well," Nicol said to The Boston Globe. ''This is a tough place to get a game. But things happen and he has gotten back in the lineup."
For Ralston, it was his 100th game with the Revolution. His 277 league appearances rank third on the all-time MLS list, behind Chris Henderson and Mark Chung (tied with 281). "I feel like I'm a Rev. I love being a Rev. I had no idea it was my 100th game for the Revs. Something to be proud of. Hopefully I can get 100 more," Ralston said.
METROSTARS MetroStars coach Bob Bradley made one change to the team that defeated the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 at Arrowhead Stadium the previous weekend. Chris Leitch came in at right back for the suspended Tim Regan.
The MetroStars lengthened their unbeaten run to five matches, winning for the second consecutive week in a wild 5-4 victory against the Revolution at Giants Stadium. Now with 40 points from 27 matches, the Metros are still in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but now just three points behind the Kansas City Wizards for the final playoff spot as the top five places in the East are separated by just 12 points.
"There's games to be played. You have got to try to go out every night and win three points," Bradley said." We still have head-to-head games with teams that are in the mix with us."
While Matt Reis would have felt he should have done better with it, Djorkaeff's 86th-minute goal against the Revolution was a wonder, and answered strikes from Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman late in the match the first two times the teams played.
"I know in this position the goalkeeper will anticipate. I shot very, very hard," Djorkaeff said. "I'm tired. It's a long day. We played what? Three hours? It looked like we played three hours."
Added Bradley: "That's the reason why we brought him (here), because we felt that he can bring those types of special qualities to our team. ... I think it's been great to see."
It was a tour-de-force performance by Djorkaeff, a FIFA World Cup champion with France in 1998 who has finally started to show that sort of form.
"The first 18 games he was frustrated because he couldn't do the things he wanted to do because he was going through injuries," Bradley said. "But once he started to feel better, then the joy of playing and the feeling of taking responsibility and trying to make a difference every night comes out."
Added Eddie Gaven: "He's such a great passer of the ball, such a great finisher, he's able to score late goals for us. The goal he scored today was just huge and not many players can do that. His positive energy on the field helps and that's something you don't see."
It was another victory in a seemingly endless string of must-win games - or close to it - for the MetroStars. But the road hasn't yet come to an end.
"It was a huge win. The hope is that this propels our season and that we take this momentum from this game and we get the results we need during these last few games and go into the playoffs," said Michael Bradley. "We fought together when we had our backs against the wall."
Although he was ready, newly-signed midfielder Daniel Garipe didn't make his MLS debut against the Revolution. "The wait hasn't done anything to my confidence," Garipe said to the North Jersey Herald-News. "On the contrary, it has made me hungrier to get on the field and prove to the coaches that I deserve to play. When that time comes I will be happy with whatever the coaches decide because I am here to fight for this jersey, which is what I have done everywhere I've been."