FOXBORO, MASS. -- So I'm in Boston with a headcold and a job to do. Every weather forecast I consulted before I came down called for a hazy, but not too hot, afternoon. Welcome news to me since this bug has my body temperature running a few degrees above normal.
Too bad those forecasts were wrong.
By the time the New England Revolution hit the practice field -- with Taylor Twellman but without Kenny Mansally -- the temperature had crept to about 31C. And that's without the humidity and my fever.
I felt a small urge to feel sorry for myself because summer colds really do suck, but then I realized there's nothing to hate about my life. It could be much worse. I could be working for a living but instead I'm in Boston on the company's dime, getting paid to write about a soccer game. I'd rather be sick doing this than be healthy doing a job I hate.
And besides, despite what many of you probably think, journalists don't get paid to complain. In actuality, we make money for keeping you guys informed, so here it goes.
PHELAN'S TENUOUS TORONTO CONNECTION
I chatted briefly with Pat Phelan after practice. If for some reason you don't remember him, Toronto selected him with the ninth pick in this year's MLS Superdraft, one slot after Julius James, then traded him to New England earlier this month.
Caught in a numbers game at central defence, Phelan, 23, rode the bench behind guys like James, Marco Velez and Olivier Tebily, and never saw game action in Toronto.
Since his move to New England, however, he has appeared in three games, starting twice.
When TFC and New England made the trade for Phelan a lot of folks talked about how the move brings him closer to his east coast roots. Phelan, 23, grew up in Enfield, Conn., about 90 minutes from Foxboro, and cheered for the Revolution as a kid.
But it also took him to returning to the Boston area to reveal a tenuous, but still pretty cool connection, to Toronto.
If you follow "American" football then you've probably seen a few hundred replays of the Boston College Hail Mary pass to beat the University of Miami in 1984.
Turns out Phelan was at that game -- sort of.
Students of NCAA football history know the guy hauling in that pass is Gerard Phelan.
Make the connection yet?
It's Pat's dad's cousin.
Dad was in the stands that night and he brought his wife, who was pregnant with Pat at the time.
So what's this got to do with Toronto?
Well if you're familiar with the clip then you know the guy launching that pass is Doug Flutie, who won the Heisman that year, then went on to a 21-year pro career that included a pair of Grey Cups with the Argos.
OH YEAH, THE GAME ... WHAT ABOUT TWELLMAN?
It's been a tough year for New England's high-scoring forward.
Soccer observers on both sides of the Atlantic know the man can score, and so does TFC, who watched him collect two goals the first time the two teams met last season.
In January, Twellman appeared set to move to Danny Dichio's old team, Preston North End, who offered to buy his contract for $2.5 million during the winter transfer period.
Problem was, the Revs weren't selling, so Twellman, disgruntled, remained stateside.
And so far this season Twellman hasn't had a chance to settle back into his starring role with the Revolution, with injuries limiting him to just one game.
Of course, the one time he did manage to play this season, May 11 against Chivas, Twellman scored, but an ankle injury has sidelined him since.
But according to New England coach Steve Nicol, Twellman will dress Saturday night against TFC.
Apparently Twellman's been running for a while but has only been practicing with a ball since Tuesday. You wouldn't have suspected it late in Friday's practice, when he sprinted into the six-yard box, stepped over a low line drive of a corner kick then knocked it into the net with his heel.
So the timing and touch are back, but Nicol says he's still not ready to play 90 minutes.
WHERE IS MANSALLY?
Good question. The 19-year-old has started 10 games for New England this year, but he wasn't at practice Friday. Apparently he's a few days late in returning from a World Cup Qualifying with Gambia's national team. I'll tell you more about it in tomorrow's paper, but for now you should know the Nicol's more than a little peeved -- and not with Mansally.
I'll update you soon.
-- Morgan Campbell