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My favorite moment in the New England Revolution's 3-2 defeat of FC Dallas for the 2007 U.S. Open Cup is not unheralded rookie Wells Thompson beating semi-heralded international Adrian Serioux to the ball and slipping it past almost-semi-heralded international Dario Sala for what ends up being the game-winning goal. It is not once-unheralded-rookie Pat Noonan's no-look back-flick into Thompson's trailing run. It is not once-unheralded-rookie Taylor Twellman's pinpoint cross to Noonan's feet. It is before that, as Twellman and Noonan work forward, and Noonan's pass back towards Twellman goes a little wide. As he veers to chase it down, Twellman gives one of his little chugging acceleration moves, a tiny but unmistakable physical manifestation of his personality. I've watched him do this for years. I can recognize him out of the corner of my eye on a tiny TV across a crowded room, just from how he runs. Just from how he steps as he runs.  

This is the Revolution's first trophy, after losing three MLS Cups and one prior Open Cup, all in overtime or worse. They are my team because I live here, that's how sports fandom mainly works. But I care about them, not just support them, because Steve Nicol runs the team with deliberate atavistic moral clarity. The Revs develop players. Of the 12 players who appeared in this victory, 8 were Revolution draft picks, 1 was a Revolution discovery player, 2 of the remaining 3 were acquired in trades before Nicol took over, and the last one (Matt Reis) was acquired in an off-season trade before Nicol's first season even started. Of the 5 other field-players on the bench last night, even, 3 are Nicol draft-picks and other 2 are Revs discoveries. As is Shalrie Joseph, suspended for a red-card picked up in the semi-final during an altercation with, ironically enough, yet another Revolution draft-pick now playing in the USL. Even the Revs' misfortunes are products of their own dedication.  

Arguably other teams, using more opportunistic methods, have acquired better players. Several of them have acquired more trophies. But none of them, I think, are more coherently themselves. None of them can hold up a trophy and know that they earned it, as a self-contained organization, this completely.  

Sometimes, as a sports fan, you get to be happy. Much more rarely, you get to be proud.
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