New England Revolution manager Steve Nicol will welcome back forward Taylor Twellman for Monday's Independence Day encounter with the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.
Twellman was sidelined for a month with a hamstring strain. After practicing for the past two weeks, Twellman is likely to feature from the outset against the Galaxy. The striker tallied a hat trick in last Monday's friendly with PDL side Cape Cod Crusaders on the Gillette Stadium training fields.
Looking sharp and harboring no ill effects in Friday's training session, Twellman even attempted a bicycle kick during a training match.
"He has felt no ill effects from anything," said Nicol. "He just needs to watch what he's doing. If he's doing something stupid, we know that things are back to normal."
Still, Nicol has some doubts as to Twellman's match fitness after a month on the sidelines. Connally Edozien is held in reserve if Twellman cannot complete the full shift.
"We really don't know," said Nicol. "Games are entirely different than training. If he's fine, he's fine. We're talking no chances."
One face that Nicol will not have at his disposal is Gilberto Flores. The former MetroStars midfielder is on the verge of joining the Revolution after being rendered surplus to requirements, but loose ends leave the deal unconsummated. Flores attended training on Friday, but did not practice.
"There are a couple of things we need to get done before it's done," said Nicol.
Nicol was focused on Monday's traditional encounter against the Galaxy. Los Angeles has struggled on the road this season, but formidable home form leaves the Revolution with a difficult task, especially without the services of U.S. national team members Clint Dempsey, Steve Ralston, and Pat Noonan.
"They're undefeated at home," said Nicol. "It's a tough place to get points. We're concerned about what we put on the field. We need to take our chances and be strong at the back."
With a festive holiday atmosphere and post-match fireworks scheduled, Nicol hopes that his side rises to the occasion.
"The atmosphere will be great, with a full house and fireworks," said Nicol. "Big crowds and big games are what you play for."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.