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They have a score to settle

Taylor Twellman is not himself these days. This is understandable, since Twellman was kicked in the head in Los Angeles Aug. 23, and has barely recovered from broken cheekbones, a broken nose, and a concussion.

Twellman seemed like his old self, buzzing and gyrating all over the field during the Revolution-Colorado game Thursday night. But Twellman failed to convert a goal in a scoreless tie, despite having several chances, including a 67th-minute penalty kick, indicating something was missing.

The Revolution drew inspiration from Twellman. They dominated the action, keeping the Rapids under pressure. But if Twellman couldn't score, could anyone else be expected to?

"Having Taylor out there is good for us," defender Jay Heaps said. "And next week he is going to be a monster out there. He played great, but he can't score every time he shoots it.

"He was facing something [the injuries] none of us have ever faced and he went out and put his heart into it. The coaches had to hold him back during training. He isn't going to just go out there and jog around and not slide and tackle."

The Revolution (30 points) are in a four-team battle for three Eastern Conference playoff spots, behind the MetroStars (34), D.C. United (33), and Columbus (31). Conference-leading Chicago (43) is 3 points from clinching a berth. The Revolution's playoff fate could be decided by the MetroStars-Crew match tonight and the Crew's visit to Gillette Stadium Sept. 28.

"The game against Columbus is going to be enormous for us," Heaps said. "It's all on the line, and until the final whistle blows, you are going to see guys dying out there.

"We are preparing for a big week and we are pretty good at that. They are going to be coming into a lion's den."

The Revolution created many opportunities against the Rapids, from the opening minutes until Heaps's sharp header off a corner, saved at the back post by Scott Garlick two minutes into overtime.

Twellman's finishing touch was ersatz, but most every other move was substantial. In the 31st minute, Twellman checked back to receive the ball in the center circle; went into a slide tackle to gain possession from defender Robin Fraser; advanced into the penalty area to leap over Fraser for a header; then, after Colorado failed to clear, Twellman again advanced to the goal area, taking a pass from Steve Ralston, only to have his shot blocked by Nat Borchers.

But after Twellman was sandwiched in the penalty area by Borchers and Wes Hart, then had his penalty kick deflected by Garlick, it was clear he was not all there. Twellman arose from the collision holding his jaw, later saying his teeth felt numb. But Twellman was committed to taking the penalty and none of his teammates felt compelled to dissuade him.

The Revolution were on the verge of a victory that would have placed them ahead of Columbus and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. It was the Revolution's third shutout of the season and first since a 3-0 victory over Chicago May 17. But just when they required only the minimum of offensive production, the Revolution's scoring touch disappeared. . . .

Defender Rusty Pierce was cautioned in the final minute of the first half and will be suspended for the Columbus game . . . Colorado is 9-1-2 with eight shutouts since June 28. . . . The New England Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled at 1 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Riviera Inn Restaurant in East Providence.

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