Sunday, August 24, 2008

Twellman, Revs Net Draw

The Revolution still left Canada without their first win within the borders of our northern neighbor, but did manage to get a point against Toronto FC on Saturday night.

Taylor Twellman scored the 95th MLS regular season goal of his career to give the Revs a first half lead, but Chad Barrett struck back for Toronto in the second half and the Revs left Canada with a 1-1 draw.

On the road against one of the best home teams in the league, Revs’ coach Steve Nicol opted to revert back to a 4-4-2 formation that may have looked closer to a 4-5-1 instead of using the 3-5-2 that broke the Revs out of their slump last Saturday.

Chris Tierney slotted into the backline at left back and Steve Ralston pushed up to forward. Wells Thompson filled in for the suspended Sainey Nyassi at right midfield and Doug Warren again got the start in goal for the injured Matt Reis.

Click here to read the full story at Soccer New England.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Report: Twellman to start Tuesday

In his column today in the Boston Globe, Frank Dell'Apa has a quote from head coach Steve Nicol that he plans to start Taylor Twellman in Tuesday's US Open Cup match in New Britain, Connecticut against the Richmond Kickers (USL-2). It would mark the first time the Revs all-time leading scorer, who missed about a quarter of the season with a knee injury only to suffer an ankle injury in his first game back, has appeared in the starting line-up since preseason. Twellman was jogging around the field during the reserve match yesterday, but did not enter the game. He entered Saturday's first team match in the 79th minute for his first minutes for the Revs since May 11th.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Twellman could be available Saturday

Taylor Twellman has been back in full training the past two days and could potentially be available as a substitute this weekend. Though he may not be back at full speed after only two days, he certainly showed some good signs, attempting a bicycle kick in a scrimmage between the first team and reserve team and later scoring on a diving header in a drill.

"Obviously he hasn't been training properly for three months," said head coach Steve Nicol. "I think we can maybe get something out of him on Saturday, whether it's 10, 15, or 20 minutes. We might be lucky. Again, we'll see how he reacts. He's had two days training and hopefully he'll come in tomorrow with no reaction. We'll keep along the same lines day in and day out and see how it goes."

Mauricio Castro was also participating fully in practice and looked back to full speed after a right oblique strain kept him out of last weekend's match.

Check Soccer New England tomorrow for a full preview of Saturday's match against Toronto.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From the Stands: Early Injury Bug

So the calendar has just hit April and already I am reading about Twellman being out for at least a month and a half and Ralston out at least 3 weeks. At first I thought, it was an April Fool's joke, but alas it wasn't just a horribly mean gag played on me. Eventually I got around to thinking about this and the result may not be all that bad. Yes a knee injury is never what you want to hear for a professional athlete like Twellman' torn meniscus. However, if he manages to get through the surgery and is able to make a full recovery by mid-May, he would miss approximately 8 games, however, they would all be early season MLS regular season matches. The joy of the MLS season, as long as you aren't hoping for the Supporter's Shield, an early season tough run would not hurt the Revs too much. It might have been nice to see Mansally and Twellman build up a relationship, but it will benefit the entire strike force in the long run. Having Fernandez, Dube, Mansally and Cristman all battling it out for 2 spots up top should lead to some interesting competition in training which should just improve them all even more.

The Ralston shoulder injury in a way could have a very similar effect, it might force Nicol to see how Castro looks in the center which is where I thought he would be the most dangerous. With Khano coming back from national team duty it would make perfect sense to slot him on the left and move Castro to the center. After Nicol has admitted speaking to the Honduran national team manager, this does seem a possible move. Castro might benefit having the pace of Smith and Nyassi on the wings, and Joseph and Larentowicz protecting his back side. With all those options, Castro trying a few of those sneaky passes or ball tricks in the middle would not be as fatal as if it gets stolen on the wing.

I hate to try and find a silver lining in any injury, we all understand in the short term having Twellman and Ralston would be very good for our squad, but it is a long season. Having them come back in a few weeks fully healthy while the new players get integrated into the squad so quickly will only help as the SuperLiga, the Olympics, World Cup Qualifying, the Champion's League, US Open Cup or the MLS Playoffs gear up later in the season. Injuries are a big part of any campaign, it will be interesting to see how the Revs cope so early in the season, but more importantly it will be interesting to see how the time will be utilized by young players and players returning to the lineup like a Joe Franchino.

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Twellman and Ralston Injury Updates

It appears the injury that scratched Taylor Twellman from the Revolution starting line-up 15 minutes before the game on Saturday was actually pretty serious. According to a press release today, Twellman apparently suffered a tear of his medial meniscus in training and will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday. His recovery time is expected to be at least 6 weeks, but will be better known after the surgery.

What training session this injury occurred in is unclear. On Saturday, Adam Cristman, who filled in for Twellman against Houston, stated he had been playing with the first team at the Revs final training session on the Friday before the match because of Twellman’s injury. The extent of the injury at the time must have been unclear if the team had still thought he’d be ready to go up until near kick off.

Ralston, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the match, will undergo tests on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury. He had said on Saturday that he hoped to be back in 3 weeks.

With both out at least for the near future, Steve Nicol will have some more line-up changes to make. Khano Smith should return to the Revs after helping Bermuda on Sunday successfully make it to stage 2 of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. He may return to his spot on the left wing with Honduran Mauricio Castro slotting into the middle. If the Revs stick with a 3-5-2 this is probably the most likely scenario, though a 4-4-2 on the road is a possibility, if unlikely due to the Revs success against Houston.

As for Twellman’s spot, Cristman and Kenny Mansally filled in very well on Saturday and will likely retain their places in the line-up on Thursday. However, with Costa Rican Argenis Fernandez arriving, and Zimbabwean Kheli Dube making his debut last weekend, if either starter fails to produce, there will certainly be some competition for their spots.

Frank Dell'Apa of the Boston Globe had more on the possible line-up changes, including this quote from Nicol:

"There is no point in making major changes," Nicol said. "We'll take our time in making a decision.

"We want to make as few changes as we can. Going 4-4-2 means a lot of changes, so it depends if we want to make a lot of changes or a few. I've never seen Castro play [in central midfield], but the Honduras manager says he can play there, so it's an option."

For the full story from the Globe, click here.

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