Tag Archive | "Taylor Twellman"

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Two new additions for the Union, Esky is one

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Only days after signing La Liga veteran Veljko Paunovic for depth in the strike force, the Union brought former #1 SuperDraft pick, Alecko Eskandarian, and 2004 MLS Cup winner under Piotr Nowak into the fold. Eskandarian just finished up his degree at the University of Virginia and spent the fall of 2010 as an assistant coach at his alma mater. The former MLS star will report to John Hackworth as youth technical director, where he will oversee the development of the Union’s academy. We had seen Alecko around PPL Park quite a bit recently and were hoping that this would be the outcome.

At only 27, Eskandarian was forced into retirement (“indefinite leave”) last year (much like Taylor Twellman) after repeated concussions – suffered over the course of his young career – left him battling symptoms daily and at further risk for permanent damage if he continued to play. Making the best of the adversity, he went back to school at the University of Virginia and finished up his degree and took in as much as he could serving as assistant coach to one of the best collegiate coaches in all of NCAA soccer, George Gelnovatch. At only 28, he joins former DC United teammate and current Union team coordinator Josh Gros (also forced to retire to due to concussions) in Philadelphia.

Paunovic, a veteran through and through – most notably with Atletico Madrid, will end a two and a half year retirement in order to suit up for the Union. Having been on trial for more than a month now, the 33-year old joined on Monday and will be available to travel to Vancouver for this Saturday’s match vs. the Whitecaps.

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All eyes on Convey in opener

Posted on 18 March 2009 by mdiamond

The post-expansion San Jose Earthquakes open their second season of the new era at home facing the New England Revolution Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. With their first year under their belt, the Quakes have heavily focused on shoring up last year’s weaknesses, primarily their offense. (See Quakes season preview Quakes Management Makes Big Bets.)

The strength of last year’s team was their back line, which was stingy giving up goals. San Jose lost outside defender James Riley to Seattle in this year’s expansion draft, but acquired a veteran in Chris Leitch from the Red Bulls to shore up the back corner. The Quakes are the third MLS team for the well-traveled Leitch after flip-flopping dual stints with Columbus and the Metrostars/Red Bulls.

A big unknown will be the impact of Bobby Convey, acquired from England’s Championship side Reading. The American played five years there and was a starter when Reading won the League Championship that earned the team a promotion to the Premier League. Convey also saw international competition playing for the US National squad in all three 2006 World Cup games.

Expectations are high for Convey as his experience playing against the world’s best in arguably the best football league should prove invaluable. The Quake’s fans got a taste of thrilling football when Darren Huckerby arrived from Norwich City midseason last year. Huckerby, too, has both Champions and Premier League experience—14 years worth—and at almost 33 years old, is still in his prime. Every time Huckerby touches the ball, he puts defenders on their heels and turns them around, such is his impact. If Convey, who’s only 25, can bring that kind of penetrating skill, the adversary’s defenses will be overmatched. However, Convey joined the team late and has had limited exhibition minutes. In addition, Coach Frank Yallop has penciled him to play central midfield, a change from his left wing spot that he played with Reading.

The Revs field a formidable side anchored by Shalrie Joseph and Steve Ralston in the midfield and the ever-dangerous Taylor Twellman at forward.

Joseph was voted to the MLS Best XI last year, the third time he’s received the honor. His skill at gaining and controlling the ball makes him the team’s focal point and playmaker.

A hard tackle by the Wizard’s Hercules Gomez ended Steve Ralston’s season with a broken leg last October and his potential contribution to the Revs playoff run. Ralston is the career MLS leader in minutes played (31,600), starts (355) and appearances (358). His contribution to the team goes well beyond his experience and leadership. As a winger in 2008 he tied Twellman for the team lead in goals at eight. Ralston, the team captain, was named the team’s MVP for the season.

Twellman has consistently been among the top scorers in MLS. He needs only one more goal to become the youngest player to reach the 100-goal mark in MLS history. His output would be even higher had he not suffered various injuries throughout his career.

New England advanced as far the Conference semifinals in last year’s playoffs and were eliminated by the Chicago Fire as both Ralston and Twellman were sidelined with injuries. It was the first time in seven years that the Revs had not reached the Conference finals. The Revs are probably the most successful team to never have won a MLS Cup.

On the defensive end, Michael Parkhurst left to play in Denmark’s First Division. Parkhurst had played four years with New England winning multiple honors including the 2005 MLS rookie of the year award and 2007 MLS defender of the year award. He had also earned his first cap with the US National Team just after the Revs 2008 season ended.

The back line still has the solid Chris Albright and Jay Heaps, but with the loss of Parkhurst, big questions remain. Costa Rican national Gabriel Badilla will have to step up in central defense, but he’s unproven. Given that the Revs had the league’s second-worst goals-against record at home last year, their prospects seem to have slipped rather than improved. If the Quake’s revamped offense is going to make an impact this year, the Revs are the right team to open against.

After three MLS Cup final appearances and six straight Eastern Conference Championships this decade, New England look to rebuild this year. Much hinges on whether Twellman, Ralston and the rest of the squad can stay healthy. In their last preseason warm up against the Carolina RailHawks this past Saturday, Twellman, Ralston, Badilla, and Mauricio Castro nursed injuries and didn’t suit up. Presumably they were being particularly cautious and will all be available for the opener. If the Revs come with their full-fledged offense, they will be an early test for the Quake’s begrudging defense.

More interesting will be San Jose’s overhauled attack against New England’s reorganized defenders. With the acquisition of Convey and forward Cam Weaver, expectations for the Quake’s offense are high. Their success or lack of it will set the tone for the side as the season gets underway.

Defense has been the Rev’s Achilles heel, and there’s no reason to believe they’ve solved that dilemma. The Quake’s have the aptitude to score, but they may lack the teamwork that only playing time can provide. It will be the untested versus the unproven at one end of the pitch and big guns versus the entrenched at the other.

Defender Chris Albright will be unavailable for the opener as he was red-carded in the final game of the postseason on November 6 when he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Chicago’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

San Jose injury status:
Probable – Bobby Convey (R – quadriceps strain); Ryan Cochrane (L – ankle tendinitis); Ramiro Corrales (flu-like symptoms); Jason Hernandez (L – calf strain); Ryan Johnson (L – Achilles tendinitis); Chris Leitch (R – knee contusion)

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Score draw at BMO

Posted on 26 August 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC needed a second-half fightback to draw New England Revolution 1-1 on Saturday, keeping the Canadian club’s playoff hopes alive, but only just.

New England have shown away from home this season, while Toronto, although experiencing patchy form of late, have counted on BMO Field for the majority of their points this season. Both those trends, along with memories of last season’s final-day 2-2 draw in Toronto, ensured that the fans at Toronto’s lake shore were guaranteed an exciting game.John Carver lined up his charges in a 5-3-2 formation due to injuries and the recent loss of midfield Maurice Edu to Rangers in Scotland, with wingbacks Jim Brennan and Marvell Wynne getting forward to help the attack as much as possible.

Kevin Harmse and Carl Robinson supported Amado Guevara in the midfield, while Rohan Ricketts deputized alongside Chad Barrett in attack while the club waited on new arrival Carlos Ruiz to report to duty in Toronto. Ricketts’ four goals in all competitions so far this season made him the preferred option over 16-year-old Abdus Ibrahim up front.

Toronto had the better of the first half but couldn’t find the killer pass to set up either of their forwards, with the patchwork squad struggling to develop an understanding.

New England made them pay for that profligacy when Chris Tierney sent in a left-wing cross 10 minutes before the half. Taylor Twellman rose highest to head the ball past Chris Sutton, who had stayed on his line in a vain attempt to keep Twellman from scoring yet again against Toronto. The American striker and his teammates have enjoyed their clashes against the Reds, with Twellman scoring 3 of the 11 that the Revs had bagged in their previous four games against TFC.

Photo by Chris Hazard

Toronto continued creating chances, but couldn’t convert, and the best chances were falling to Kevin Harmse. The South African-born midfielder has found first team action hard to come by this season but looked strong on Saturday.

Both sides came out strongly in the second half with the 20 000+ strong at BMO urging them on in the cool summer night, determined not to see their Red-clad militia fall at home for the second straight match. Chad Barrett took heed and came close twice before breaking coming up big in the 66th minute.

Ricketts’ cross found Barrett at the edge of the box, who had to take a controlling touch that took the ball a yard behind him. He tracked back, turned and fired a left-footed volley that sailed past Revs keeper Doug Warren and brought the capacity crowd to their feet.

Energized and with a new fighting spirit embodied by Barrett’s tireless running, Toronto had their tails up and nearly grabbed a winner. Julius James had a header go just over, while minutes later, Amado Guevara controlled the ball with teammates catching up and eventually picked out Ricketts. The winger-turned-striker took aim and lashed a low shot just past the outside of the far post, cueing groans across the stadium.

Photo by Chris Hazard

By the time the game wound down, New England looked as though they could steal the game, reminding Toronto that a draw is a fair result against the league-leading Revolution. Both sides had to be happy with a point, but Carver will be acutely aware that home advantage is at a premium in the remainder of the season, with just four of the remaining 10 games set to be played at BMO Field.

Photo by Chris Hazard

The Reds have a chance to move back into the playoff spots with a home-and-away series in league play against Chivas USA starting on Saturday Los Angeles. For their part, New England are off to Trinidad for a Champions League qualifier with Joe Public.

{democracy:16}

Match Facts

New England Revolution (11-6-4) vs. Toronto FC (7-9-5)
Aug. 23, 2008 — BMO Field

Scoring Summary:
NE — Taylor Twellman 4 (Chris Tierney 1) 35
TOR — Chad Barrett 7 (Rohan Ricketts 2) 66

Lineups

New England Revolution — Doug Warren, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Chris Albright, Chris Tierney, Steve Ralston, Shalrie Joseph, Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Taylor Twellman, Khano Smith.

Substitutes Not Used: Mauricio Castro, Joe Germanese, Amaechi Igwe, Brad Knighton, Pat Phelan, Matt Reis, Rob Valentino

Toronto FC — Greg Sutton, Tyrone Marshall, Julius James, Marco Velez, Marvell Wynne, Jim Brennan, Amado Guevara, Kevin Harmse (Tyler Rosenlund 62), Carl Robinson, Rohan Ricketts (Johann Smith 88), Chad Barrett (Abdus Ibrahim 78),

Substitutes Not Used: Danny Dichio, Brian Edwards, Tyler Hemming, Jarrod Smith

Statistics:
Toronto FC / New England Revolution
total shots: 13 (Chad Barrett 4) / 12 (Taylor Twellman 5)
shots on goal: 4 (Chad Barrett 2) /5(Taylor Twellman 3)
fouls: 3 (3 tied with 1) / 4 (4 tied with 1)
offsides: 6 (Jim Brennan 2) / 2 (Steve Ralston 1, Twellman 1)
corner kicks: 2 (Amado Guevara 2) / 8 (Steve Ralston 8)
saves: 4 (Greg Sutton 4) / 3 (Doug Warren 3)

Misconduct Summary:
None

Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee’s Assistants: Amato DeLuca; Thomas Supple
4th official: Carol-Anne Chenard
time of game: 1:50
attendance: 20,461
weather: Clear -and- 78 degrees

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