After losing Andy Dorman and Pat Noonan to transfers, Steve Nicol knew he was going to need to rely heavily on Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman this season. What he did not know was that both would be sidelined for more than a month to start the season, Twellman with knee issues and Ralston with a broken collar bone.
Without all four of its top scorers the previous season, NER has relied on gritty defense and quick counter attacks to hover around .500 this season. Due to fast starts by the new Gambians, Mansally and Naissey, NER and Nicol were remarkably still in the hunt despite its egregious losses.
Both Twellman and Raslton are back now though, and their contribution could be said to have immediately turned one point into three on Saturday. Ralston, the MLS all-time leader in assists, added one more to his ever growing tally by setting Twellman up for the game winner in the second half against the Goats.
Surely, opponents must now fear NER. The team plays tough as nails defense with Albright, Heaps and Parkhurst, and its midfield is as fast as any in the league. When the dirty D and the quick mids are combined with Twellman and Ralston’s experience, there are likely few teams in MLS who can compete with the Revs.