Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Brilliance of Taylor Twellman

(*Forgive me for being about four days late on this point - I've been tardier - but I think that it's still worth some space here.)

All of us are smart enough to know that Taylor Twellman is one a heckuva soccer player. In fact, I've even gone so far as to say that he's the greatest footballer New England's seen since Billy Gonsalves. And I understand that he isn't an exquisite passer, speed demon, or spellbinding dribbler. If he were, he'd be sipping cocktails with Fergie on the other side of the pond. But despite that, he simply does exactly what his position demands of him: score goals. Bottom line. End of story.

But it's not the end of the story.

No, there's a sequel. A good sequel. You see, Twellman does more than that. And anyone who saw his season debut last Saturday night can tell you that. After the 26th minute of a match that the Revs were beyond lucky to still remain competitive in, Taylor Twellman's second act appeared: that of the catalyst.

While I don't have the exact stats in front of me, I'm fairly certain that within the first ten minutes on the pitch, he either put the ball on net or crashed the area. Three times in ten minutes. The first ten minutes he's played all season.*

(*I refuse to give into the urge to use the rust metaphor here. Won' it..!)

Considering the Revs as a whole may have been lucky to do that like three times all season, I'd hazard a guess and say that Twellman's presence alone was the deciding factor of that match. Yeah, so he didn't hit the career century mark, or record an assist. But it was fairly obvious that DC was getting itself in a tizzy - yeah, a tizzy - trying to mark the potent striker all night. Three guys, four guys. Red fish, blue fish. The only thing they didn't do was hire a helicopter to drop a large weighted net on him, a tactic which may or may not have been employed by Dr. Claw (hint: it was) back in the 80's.

Whatever they did didn't work. Look at Shalrie's equalizer. He's got a single mark, near the far post. Here comes Kenny Mansally opposite. I wonder what Kenny's going to do? Hmmm. Maybe he'll - GOAL. Just like that. Boom, boom, shhhhhhhh.* 1-1, Revs against a very good DC club.

(*The "shhhhhhh" being the sound of the ball grazing the netting. But you already knew that.)

Where were the defenders? Oh, they were behind the play kicking and elbowing Twellman. Scoring nearly a hundred goals will give you that kind of attention. At least on the pitch.

And that's all Twellman really had to do to influence the results. Of course, that dubious penalty in the final minute was luckier (for the Revs, of course) than, I don't know, Kris Allen winning American Idol a few weeks ago. But, even without the penalty, it was the first time all season the Revs had owned a half. Even Steve Nicol said that was the best half they've played thus far. Not coincidentally, that was also Twellman's first full half of action this year.

So yeah, he's a goalscorer and all. We all knew that. But with him on the pitch, the octane in the Revolution engine suddenly jumps to 116. The midfield morphs into a cohesive unit. The crosses get steered on frame far more often. And quite simply, the ball finds the net with far greater frequency.

We also got to see that on reputation alone, Taylor Twellman is a dangerous man. See how many guys he had on his tail during aforementioned Shalrie goal. See how many Shalrie had. Case closed.

All told, Saturday was proof of how great a player Taylor Twellman was - and still is today.


Minuteman11 said...

I was at the game. I couldn't agree more. We were pinned back until TNT came in. When he cam in, everything changed.

Anonymous said...

no mention of the awful flop he took at the end of the game though? or the 5 minutes he lay motionless on the ground from brushing jersey's against an opposing player?
i hope he doesnt fall into that method of play in this, his twilight years on a consistent basis. i mean he's always been a flopper, but the other night was rough.

Hank said...

Flopper nothing - that was no flop - that was perfect gamesmanship. Namoff had his arm and gave him a tug - Taylor draws the penalty. It should be noted that (according to Taylor) that was the FIRST penalty in his 8 years in the league that he has drawn.

Brian - I love this piece. Let's do lunch.

BrianTheOC said...


Definitely- we'll have to catch up before a match.

Roger said...

Twellman's the best player New England's seen since Gonsalves? Better than Eusebio?

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