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REVOLUTION 0, RAPIDS 0

Twellman returns, but Revolution all tied up

FOXBOROUGH -- Taylor Twellman returned at nearly full speed last night, but his timing suffered after missing 26 days of action, and the Revolution tied the Colorado Rapids, 0-0, at Gillette Stadium.

Twellman missed a 67th-minute penalty kick as the Revolution (7-9-9) squandered a chance to escape the Eastern Conference cellar.

Referee Alex Prus was extremely lenient in the early going, then attempted to gain control. Prus issued his first card in the 43d minute, red-carding three players, issuing four cautions, and awarding a penalty kick. The ejections opened up the field -- The Revolution went 9-on-8 after the fourth minute of overtime -- but neither team could capitalize.

Colorado (11-9-5), which had a 9-1-1 record in its previous 11 MLS games, lost Kyle Beckerman and Pablo Mastroeni to red cards. The Revolution's Brian Kamler was ejected early in the second half.

Twellman was extremely active and effective in the first half. He did not hesitate in going over Robin Fraser to head a shot that was tipped off the crossbar by Scott Garlick in the 18th minute. Two minutes later, Twellman volleyed a shot wide right. In the 31st minute, Twellman's persistence and positioning paid off in two scoring chances. He started the play by checking back to receive a pass, gaining possession with a slide tackle on Fraser. Twellman continued forward and headed over Fraser. The ball was cleared, and Steve Ralston sent Twellman in toward the goal area, but his shot was blocked by Nat Borchers. Three minutes later, Twellman chipped to Richie Kotschau, leaving him open for a 15-yard shot that went wide.

A 38th-minute free kick was headed off the bar by Jose Cancela, but most of the Revolution threats involved Twellman. In the 40th minute, Pat Noonan rolled a pass to Twellman near the goal area, his shot again blocked by Borchers.

Cancela, who set an MLS record by drawing 40 fouls in seven games, was treated roughly in the first half, the Rapids often double-teaming him. In the 43d minute, Beckerman took down Cancela from behind and was red-carded. Cancela left the field briefly.

But the violent play seemed to escalate. John Spencer dropped Rusty Pierce with a forearm. Pierce remained down but no foul was called. In the 45th minute, Pierce and Shalrie Joseph clashed with Spencer, who refused Pierce's handshake, and Pierce was cautioned.

Attention was diverted from Kamler for much of the first half, and Kamler had two excellent opportunities. Kamler's right-footer went inches wide in the ninth minute, and midway through the half he slammed a left-foot drive into the stands with Noonan and Twellman awaiting a rebound.

Twellman received medical clearance to return to action Sunday, nearly a month after suffering a concussion and facial fractures in a 2-1 overtime loss to Los Angeles Aug. 23. Twellman had been training for several days but was not allowed to head the ball until Monday.

The physical intensity resumed in the second half. The half began with some reasonable play, and Twellman hit the side of the net in the 48th minute.

Prus then issued three cards in three minutes. In the 52d minute, Mastroeni was cautioned for a sliding tackle from behind on Cancela. A minute later, Twellman was cautioned for a sliding tackle on Fraser at the halfway line. And another minute later, Kamler was ejected for a cleats-up challenge on Wes Hart. Only Kamler's foul during the three-minute sequence appeared to be neither gratuitous nor intentional.

In the 67th minute, Twellman was sandwiched by Borchers and Hart, Prus ruling a penalty. But Twellman used little guile and did not have enough power on his penalty kick, and Garlick went low to his left to deflect the shot out of bounds. Twellman had connected on four successive penalty kicks for the Revolution in all competitions. The Revolution are now 33 for 42 all-time in all competitions.

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