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REVOLUTION 4, BURN 1

On the road to success

SOUTHLAKE, Texas -- Revolution road games have seldom provided such comfort.

But the team found cause to feel more at ease last night as the Revolution's playoff chances improved after a 4-1 win over the Dallas Burn before 8,917 at Dragon Stadium.

The victory gave the Revolution added breathing room over Columbus, which could only muster a tie against D.C. United. The win solidified the Revolution's hold on the fourth and final playoff spot keeps the Revolution in position for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, giving them a 4-point lead over the Crew.

"We're not there yet," said Revolution coach Steve Nicol, whose team was 1-5-3 in its previous nine road games. "It's another good win and it puts us in a better position, but we still have to keep our feet on the ground."

But pulling further ahead of Columbus wasn't the only good news for the Revolution.

Perhaps no one left the game feeling more reassured than striker Taylor Twellman, who scored for the first time in more than a month. In his third game since coming back from a broken nose and facial fractures suffered Aug. 23, Twellman punched in two goals on five shots.

They were the first goals since Aug. 16 for Twellman, who recaptured his league lead in goals with 15. His 34 points is second only to Kansas City's Preki, who has 38.

"It might have been my first goal in however long, but I don't really look at it that way," said Twellman, who posted his first two-goal game since July 27 against D.C. "It's only the third game I've played in a few months. But to go in and come back after being down a goal was very encouraging."

While Twellman was rediscovering his comfort level on offense, Revolution defender Rusty Pierce was just feeling downright comfortable during a rare chance to play in front of hometown friends and family. Pierce, a native of the Houston area, helped lock down the Burn after Dallas started fast.

Pierce and Daouda Kante were the Revolution's starting central defenders for the first time since April. It looked as though that might have been a problem in the early stages, especially when the Burn took a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute on a goal by former Revolution forward Oscar Pareja.

But Twellman made sure the focus would soon shift back to the Revolution's offense. His first goal came off a pass from Brian Kamler, who slithered a feed between two Burn defenders from just outside the box to set up Twellman and tie the game in the 44th minute.

After an unmarked Shalrie Joseph gave the Revolution their first lead on a header in the 53d minute, Twellman struck again seven minutes later on an assist from Jose Cancela, his second of the game. Pat Noonan capped the scoring with an unassisted goal in the 75th minute.

The Revolution (9-9-9) have three games left, at home Saturday against D.C. United before a home-and-home with the MetroStars. The Revolution trail both of those teams by 2 points.

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