New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman celebrated his return to Gillette Stadium after a long injury layoff with a two-goal performance -- and then an ejection -- as the Revs claimed a 3-1 victory Wednesday night over the Chicago Fire.
Twellman's second and third goals of the season proved enough to send the Revolution to only their fourth victory of the season, as Clint Dempsey also found net for the home side. The Dempsey strike canceled out a beautiful 40th minute strike by Andy Williams to start the scoring.
With familiarity bred by a match between the two sides just three days prior, the Revolution and Fire started off on an even keel. The Fire may have had the edge in the early stages, but both sides struggled to come to grips with the match.
The game shook to life in the 28th minute, as Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph, given time and space 25 yards from goal, let fly with a blast that rattled D.J. Countess's crossbar.
Led by Andy Williams, the Fire made the critical breakthrough in the 40th minute. After racing down the left flank, Beasley found Jamaican international Williams unmarked on the left side of the box, and he curled the ball just inside the near post.
Beasley then passed on a glorious chance to extend their advantage two minutes prior to halftime. Damani Ralph set a ball into space. The on-rushing Beasley beat his mark, leaving a one-on-one with Revolution 'keeper Matt Reis. With time and space, Beasley fired his shot directly at Reis.
The Revolution came out invigorated in the second half, and they changed the complexion by scoring twice within the first six minutes of the second half.
Richie Baker entered the match at halftime for Pat Noonan on the right flank and he had the crucial contribution to the equalizer. Baker curled a masterful ball into Dempsey, who headed home from eight yards past the hopeless Countess to level the proceedings.
Twellman, playing only his second match after returning from a hamstring injury, pushed the Revolution ahead with a scrappy goal. Twellman emerged from a smattering of three Fire defenders, with the aid of a small touch from Dempsey, and fired home to the lower left-hand corner past Countess.
The Fire came closest to an equalizer just two minutes later, as a scrum after a Williams cross saw the ball bounce past everyone onto the foot of Jim Curtin. Dempsey cleared Curtin's goalbound shot off the line.
It was the closest the Fire would come to knotting the scoreline. Twellman put the game out of reach in the 67th minute off a well-taken corner kick. Jose Cancela's corner was flicked on at the near post by Brian Kamler. The headed found its way to Twellman, unmarked at the back post for the simplest of finishes.
Twellman's return ended on a sour note, as he was sent off in the 90th minute for an ill-advised two-footed tackle on Williams. With the ball gone for seconds, Williams was felled by Twellman, drawing the straight red card from referee Alex Prus.
The Fire would only have the man advantage for two minutes, as Scott Buete was dismissed for a second caution in the 92nd minute.
The loss extended the Fire's winless streak to six games, and they now head back home to start another home-and-home series at the weekend, this time against the Eastern Conference-leading MetroStars (7 p.m. CT). The Revolution moved to within two points of the Fire to pull off the foot of the East table, and they travel to Columbus for a key inter-conference match on Saturday evening (7:30 p.m. ET).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
Chicago Fire (4-6-6) vs. New England Revolution (4-8-4)
July 14, 2004 -- Gillette Stadium
CHI -- Andy Williams 1 (DaMarcus Beasley 3) 40
NE -- Clint Dempsey 5 (Richie Baker 2) 47+
NE -- Taylor Twellman 2 (Clint Dempsey 1) 51+
NE -- Taylor Twellman 3 (Brian Kamler 1, Jose Cancela 4) 67+
Chicago Fire -- D.J. Countess, C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Kelly Gray (Leonard Griffin 85), Andy Williams, Scott Buete, DaMarcus Beasley, Orlando Perez (Justin Mapp 75), Chris Armas (Dipsy Selolwane 73), Nate Jaqua, Damani Ralph.
Substitutes Not Used: Logan Pause, Henry Ring.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Andy Williams 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Andy Williams 3); FOULS: 15 (Scott Buete 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Damani Ralph 3); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Scott Buete 3); SAVES: 3 (D.J. Countess 2)
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, Shalrie Joseph (Marshall Leonard 69), Avery John, Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey, Joe Franchino, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 75), Brian Kamler, Pat Noonan (Richie Baker 75), Taylor Twellman.
Substitutes Not Used: Felix Brillant, Daouda Kante, Luke Vercollone, Doug Warren.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Clint Dempsey 3, Taylor Twellman 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Clint Dempsey 3, Taylor Twellman 3); FOULS: 12 (Steve Ralston 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Taylor Twellman 2); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Jose Cancela 7); SAVES: 8 (Matt Reis 6)
CHI -- Scott Buete (caution; Professional Foul) 10
CHI -- C.J. Brown (caution; Tackle from Behind) 45
CHI -- Orlando Perez (caution; Tackle from Behind) 58+
CHI -- Andy Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 60+
NE -- Shalrie Joseph (caution; Tackle from Behind) 63+
NE -- Taylor Twellman (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 90+
CHI -- Scott Buete (ejection; Second Caution) 91+
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Richard Eddy; Bahij Salman
4th Official: Erich Simmons
Time of Game: 1:55
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.