Lees-McRae College Bobcats soccer alumni Khano Smith '02 and his New England Revolution teammates battled through 90 minutes of scoreless soccer with Houston Dynamo this past weekend in the Major League Soccer Championship. Each team would score in the 30 minute overtime period, before the Dynamo would squeeze out a 4-3 edge in penalty kick's to win their first MLS Cup.
Smith assisted on the Revolution's only goal, sending a great ball through a pair of Dynamo defenders to a streaking Taylor Twellman. Twellman would use his speed to get past the Dynamo defenders and bury a shot past Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad in the 113th minute. Just one minute later Brian Ching would net the equalizer for Houston to force the decisive penalty kicks. Brian Mullan's cross was deflected to Ching who was able to place a header behind Rev's goalkeeper Matt Reis.
The trip to MLS Cup was New England's third in the last five seasons, and second in a row after also playing for the championship last season. Twellman's goal was the Revolution's first-ever goal in MLS Cup final play, and pushed his postseason scoring totals to a team-best seven goals, which ties him for 10th in MLS postseason history.
The scoreless first half was just the third in MLS Cup history, and all three times the games involved the New England Revolution. The other games with scoreless first halves were MLS Cup 2002 and MLS Cup 2005, which both featured the Revolution and Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Revolution concluded the 2006 season with a 12-8-12 regular season record and advanced to MLS Cup for the third time in club history. After surging into the postseason with a 5-0-2 unbeaten run and clinching second place in the Eastern Conference, the Revs defeated the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series, advancing behind a 4-3 win in penalties. In the Eastern Conference Championship, the Revs went on the road and defeated 2006 Supporters Shield winner D.C. United at RFK Stadium in Washington, 1-0, to punch their ticket to MLS Cup 2006.