Taylor Twellman and the New England Revolution will get a second chance at a MLS Cup title on Sunday. They’ll also get another shot at the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beaten in extra time 1-0 by Carlos Ruiz’s left-footed shot three years ago in the championship game, the Revolution disappointed a home crowd of 61,316, especially after Winston Griffiths hit the crossbar for New England a minute before Ruiz’s goal. Now the Revs have an opportunity to get even.

“To be playing LA, in a rematch from 02, there’s a little more excitement from the guys who’ve been around,” said Twellman, who led the league with 17 goals this season.

Five players on each team remain from the 2002 MLS Cup, as well as New England’s Marshall Leonard, who was on the bench, and Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis, who was on the Galaxy bench.

Ruiz has moved to Dallas, replaced by U.S. national team forward Landon Donovan, who has scored four goals in three playoff games.

“New England has two factors to get them ready to play,” said Donovan, who won titles with San Jose in 2001 and 2003. “They’ve consistently been, if not the best, the second best team all year and they’re playing confidently. And a lot of those guys were on field when they lost to LA. They’ll take motivation in that.”

This year’s head-to-head matchups provide little insight. Both games between the teams ended in 1-1 draws.

Sunday’s game in Frisco, Texas (ABC, 3:30 EST), the new home FC Dallas opened this year, has major differences from three years ago.

Unlike 2002, New England enters as the favorite, having finished with the second-best record in the league, while many expected the Galaxy to be eliminated by San Jose in the first round of the playoffs, after losing 3-1 to the Earthquakes at home in their regular-season finale.

New England had to rally with three goals in the final 22 minutes in the second leg of their opening round playoff series against the MetroStars, then beat Chicago in the conference final. The Galaxy rode two goals by Donovan for a 3-1 playoff opening victory over the Earthquakes, drew the second leg 1-1, then got two more from Donovan for a 2-0 victory over Colorado in the conference final for their first three-game unbeaten streak since June.

“There are some similarities,” said Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones, who will be playing in his fifth final and is the only man to play in all 10 years of MLS with the same team. “In 02, their players were not as strong as they are now. With New England coming as favorite, I don’t think you can compare it to then.”

Jones returns from the 2002 title team with defenders Tyrone Marshall and Chris Albright, fellow midfielder Pete Vagenas and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. To remember the game, Twellman has defenders Joey Franchino and Jay Heaps and midfielders Steve Ralson and Daniel Hernandez, recently returned from a stint with Mexico’s Necaxa.

“A lot has changed,” Twellman said. “With it being one game, them obviously playing well of late, I don’t think we’re the favorite.”


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