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The New England Revolution rode Taylor Twellman's bicycle kick into the MLS championship game and closer to a destination that may be tougher to reach.
A prominent place on Boston's sports pages.
Twellman's acrobatic goal in the 38th minute gave the Revolution a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference final on Thursday night and sent them to their fourth MLS Cup game in six years and third in a row. They haven't won any of them.
"The only way we'll get mentioned in Boston is if we won one,'' he said with a laugh. "The Celtics have played three games and we can't even get a lick.''
The Revolution's win came 11 days after the Red Sox won the World Series, four days after the New England Patriots improved to 9-0 and one day after the Celtics went to 3-0. Boston College is 8-1 and ranked eighth going into Saturday's football game at Maryland.
The Revolution advanced to the MLS Cup on Nov. 18 in Washington, D.C. They'll play the winner of Saturday night's Western Conference final at Houston between the defending champion Dynamo and the Kansas City Wizards.
New England lost the past two title games, 1-0 to Los Angeles in overtime then to Houston 4-3 on penalty kicks when defender Jay Heaps missed on the last shot. The Revolution also lost the title game in 2002 to Los Angeles.
"That gut-wrenching feeling of last year's final hurt,'' Twellman said. "In the locker room tonight we celebrated for about two minutes and then we said, 'you know, let's get on with this.' "
Is it possible to beat Boston in any sport?
"I certainly hope not,'' New England coach Steve Nicol said.
The Revolution, of course, play a far less popular sport among Boston-area spectators. Only 10,317 fans showed up on a chilly night, many bundled in parkas and hats as the temperature dipped into the 20s.
But they stood and shouted when Twellman scored in Gillette Stadium, where the Revolution improved to 6-0 against Chicago in playoff games.
Nicol said it was the first time his team won on a bicycle kick. Chicago coach Juan Carlos Osorio said he never lost a game that way.
"Taylor is a very good finisher,'' Osorio said. "He had one chance and he scored.''
Twellman, who is third among the league's career goal scorers, converted the kick between two defenders. It was his third winning goal in his past six playoff games and ended Chicago's 10-game unbeaten streak (4-0-6).
But he chastised himself for missing other chances.
"I was frustrated,'' Twellman said. "I should have scored the head ball right before that.''
Wells Thompson started the scoring play with a crossing pass from the right corner. Twellman, standing between Dasan Robinson and Logan Pause, won the ball after it popped high in the air off one of them.
With his back to the net, he left the ground and kicked it to the left of goalkeeper Matt Pickens from 12 yards.
"It was the only way I could get a shot off,'' Twellman said.
Osorio was upset with the defense.
"We should have defended the cross better and especially the second ball,'' Osorio said. "We can't turn our backs like that.''
But the Fire pressed the attack. Calen Carr headed the ball from short range into goalkeeper Matt Reis' hands in the 90th minute. And in extra time, Reis caught Wilman Conde's hard shot seconds before the game ended.
"You know he's going to make the save for you,'' Revolution defender Avery John said. "Any time you're in trouble, you know he's going to be there.''
The Fire also threatened in the 65th minute when Paulo Wanchope and John went up for a ball to the left of Reis. All three collided and Reis fell to the ground, clutching the ball. One minute later, Wanchope headed the ball from about 12 yards but Reis saved it.
The Revolution managed to control star playmaker Cuauhtemoc Blanco throughout the game.
The 34-year-old Blanco, the Mexican League MVP in 2004 and 2005, joined the Fire on July 29 with a three-year contract that guarantees him $2.7 million this year. Three weeks earlier, Osorio replaced fired coach Dave Sarachan.
Since Osorio and Blanco had been together, the Fire went 7-2-7 after going 4-8-4 and clinched a playoff spot in their last regular-season game. That roll ended Thursday.
The Revolution eliminated the Fire for the third straight season, having beaten them in the conference final in 2005 and the conference semifinal in 2006.
Now they have nine days between games instead of the usual six-day break.
"This is something that I think is going to benefit all of us,'' Twellman said. "We've gone into that final with nicks and bruises here and there and it's going to be the first final where we're going in guns blazing and feeling 100 percent.''
This program aired on November 9, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.
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