United falls to Revolution on last gasp penalty

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Steve Ralston's 90th-minute penalty kick gave the New England Revolution a 2-1 win against D.C. United at Gillette Stadium.United capped a dominant first half by opening the scoring through Fred in the 36th minute. New England -- boosted by Taylor Twellman's first appearance since last October -- responded in the second half and equalized through Shalrie Joseph in the 55th minute. Twellman then drew a penalty kick in the final minute after Bryan Namoff tugged him down and Ralston converted to snap United's seven-match unbeaten streak.New England boss Steve Nicol included Twellman on the bench with the hopes of handing him his first appearance of 2009. There was also a change in the starting XI from last Saturday's 3-1 loss in Toronto. Wells Thompson dropped to the bench for the first time this season with Sainey Nyassi inserted on the right wing. Chris Albright (knee), Gabriel Badilla (back) and Mauricio Castro (hamstring) remained on the sidelines.United made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 against Real Salt Lake last Saturday. Christian Gomez dropped out after picking up a toe injury, while Jaime Moreno had to settle for a place on the bench. Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius were restored to the side on the flanks while Fred assumed Gomez's playmaking role in the center of the park. Ben Olsen (hamstring) didn't make the trip.The visitors started the better of the two sides and rang the crossbar inside of seven minutes. Clyde Simms' diagonal ball from midfield into the right corner shifted the point of attack and allowed Pontius to curl in his cross. Luciano Emilio popped up to head towards the far post and the effort hit the crossbar before getting cleared out of danger.Fred -- deputizing for Gomez in a central playmaking role -- and Emilio connected for a neat series of passes through the heart of the Revolution midfield, but Emilio could only direct his effort right at New England goalkeeper Matt Reis.Against the run of play, New England should have opened the scoring after 13 minutes. United didn't deal with Darrius Barnes' long throw and let the ball bounce in the middle of the penalty area. It ended up on Chris Tierney's foot at the far post, but Wallace and Fred blocked down multiple efforts before the ball was finally scrambled clear.Wallace went close twice on the other end in the following minutes. The rookie midfielder should have done better after Emannuel Osei flicked on a Pontius cross to the near post, but Wallace directed his header over the bar from inside six yards. Wallace did better from a Santino Quaranta long ball three minutes later, forcing a good, low save from Reis.New England sent Twellman onto the field in the 25th minute after Jeff Larentowicz took a ball off the face and couldn't continue. Twellman took a couple of knocks early, but also directed a couple of headers towards goal shortly after his arrival to show that he was ready to make an impact.Those headers weren't enough to prevent Fred from opening the scoring on 36 minutes. The Brazilian playmaker rang the crossbar in the 35th minute after granted plenty of space by the Revolution defense. He directed his second effort moments later into the upper right corner after Emilio corralled a deflection from a Simms shot.Kevin Alston made an enterprising run up the field shortly before the halftime whistle blew, but Josh Wicks palmed away his effort after the rookie defender sliced through the United defense.Nicol inserted Kenny Mansally at halftime to interject some pace on the left wing and the move paid off with the equalizer 10 minutes after play resumed.Twellman -- now at the focal point of the Revolution attack -- held up a ball at midfield and dished off to Ralston. The Revs captain approached the edge of the box and laid a ball through into Mansally's path. Mansally's cross to the back stick found Joseph at the far post and he converted for his fourth goal of the season.New England carried the momentum of a team boosted by its leading scorer and gradually found itself on equal footing with the once-rampant United.Twellman nearly capped his first appearance with a fairy tale ending after substitute Thompson lofted a ball over the top. The Revs striker got there first, but United 'keeper Wicks rushed off his line to charge down the shot and charge down Twellman at the same time. The contact sparked an exchange between both sides before play resumed.That merely set the stage for the last-minute action, Twellman appealing the foul to referee Hilario Grajeda -- who gave it after communication with his linesman -- and Ralston converting for New England's first win since April 4.SCORING SUMMARY DC: Fred 1 (Emilio 1) 36NE: Shalrie Joseph 4 (Kenny Mansally 1, Steve Ralston 2) 55NE: Steve Ralston 3 (penalty kick)MISCONDUCT SUMMARY DC: Chris Pontius (caution; Reckless Foul) 21DC: Rodney Wallace (caution; Tactical Foul) 46+NE: Jay Heaps (caution; Dissent) 80DC: Josh Wicks (caution; Dissent) 81NE: Darrius Barnes (caution; Dissent) 84DC: Devon McTavish (caution; Dissent) 89Referee: Hilario GrajedaReferee's Assistants: Daniel Belleau, Jason Cullum4th official: Niko BratsisTime of game: 1:55Attendance: 15,271Weather: Sunny, 74 degrees