2001 Club by Club
The Burn finished the 2001 regular season with a record of 10-11-5, and kept intact its impressive record of being only one of two teams, the other being the Los Angeles Galaxy, to qualify for the playoffs all six years of MLS play. Dallas struggled uncharacteristically at home early in the year, going just 2-4-0 through their first six home games. While they were struggling at home, however, they were getting the results on the road, compiling a 3-1-2 record in their first six road games. The Burn seemed to straighten out their home woes the last half of the season, recording a 4-1-2 home record over their last seven home games, including a four-game unbeaten streak at the Cotton Bowl to end the season. Over that four-game unbeaten span, Dallas posted a 3-0-1 record and outscored the opposition at home, 10-1. Unfortunately, during that impressive home streak, the Burn struggled on the road. The team suffered through a five-game road losing streak from July 14-Aug. 29. However, in their last two road games, Dallas posted a 1-0-1 record.
Unlike past years, when the Burn relied heavily on one or two key players to contribute the majority of the scoring, the 2001 Burn attack was spread among several players.
Dallas had five players end the season with 15 or more points, the most players in Burn history to amass that great of a point production in a season. While the usual suspects led the list, with Ariel Graziani and Jason Kreis finishing first and second, respectively, in scoring, three others contributed greatly to the Burn's offensive attack in 2001. Forward Bobby Rhine finished the year with a career-high 17 points, defender Jorge Rodriguez tallied 17 points, while midfielder Oscar Pareja chipped in with 16 points.
Perhaps the biggest surprise offensively for the Burn in 2001 was the play of third-year forward Bobby Rhine. In an attack that featured Ariel Graziani and Jason Kreis, nobody could have predicted the impact Rhine would have on the offense. Despite starting the season on the bench, Rhine made the most of his minutes early in the season, coming on as a substitute and making an immediate impact in the games. Rhine made so much of an impact that the Burn changed to a three- forward lineup on May 12 in order to get him on the field as a starter. And he didn't disappoint. Through 14 games, Rhine was the team's leading scorer with four goals and six assists for 14 points. Unfortunately, on Jul. 4, Rhine suffered a high ankle sprain that would force him to miss the next five games. In just his second game back from the injury, he re-aggravated the ankle and would subsequently miss the next three games. Upon recovering yet again, he picked up right where he left off, recording a goal and an assist in the final two games of the season to finish the year third on the team in scoring with five goals and seven assists for a career-high 17 points.
Dallas Burn forward Jason Kreis, who, in 1999, became the first player in league history to amass 15 goals and 15 assists in a season, achieved another historic milestone in 2001. With an assist on Apr. 28 at the MetroStars, Kreis became only the second player in league history to amass 50 goals and 50 assists in his career, a feat accomplished by Preki in 2000. For his career, Kreis has 66 goals and 57 assists for 189 points in his six years with the Burn, making him only three assists shy of becoming the first 60-60 player in league history. Dallas defender Ryan Suarez, drafted in the first round (7th overall) in the 2001 draft, was one of three finalists for the Kellogg's Rookie of the Year award. After not starting the first game of the season, Suarez solidified his role in the starting eleven and started 16 straight matches for the Burn prior to missing three games midway through the season due to a quad injury. In addition to scoring two goals and assisting three others, Suarez was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week four times, the most of any other rookie in the league.
With the regular season shortened by one home game due to the incidents on Sept. 11, the Burn's regular season average attendance finished at 12,574, while total attendance, which includes regular season and playoffs, increased to 12,901 from 12,776. The increase marks the fourth consecutive year of attendance growth for the team. Overall average attendance has increased 34% since 1997.
Additionally in 2001, the Burn set a team playoff attendance record of 17,149 and also registered their highest non-doubleheader crowd since 1996 with a crowd of 21,343 on July 4. Additionally, the Burn set a franchise record for season tickets sales by eclipsing the 2000 season figure by 45%
The Burn's midfield maestro, Oscar Pareja took his game to another level in 2001 and won the sides MVP award. Pareja finished the season with 12 assists in only 26 games, just three assists shy of the Burn record of 15 assists, set by Jason Kreis in a 32-game schedule in 1999. Pareja, who was named team captain for the last month of the season, had a team- high four game-winning assists on the year.
A key element in what is considered one of the most lethal scoring tandems in the league, Graziani went on a late-season surge to beat out line-mate Jason Kreis for the team's top scoring honors. He finished the year with 11 goals and eight assists for 30 points. In addition to his usual finishing prowess, which saw him string together a six-game scoring streak in July and August, Graziani proved that he is just as skilled at setting others up for goals. After compiling just four assists combined over the last two years, Graziani finished fourth on the team in assists in 2001 with eight.
For the third time in the last four years, "Zarco" was voted the team's top defensive player. In addition to anchoring a back line that tied for the league-lead in shutouts with nine, Rodriguez contributed greatly to the offensive attack as well. He finished the season fourth on the team in scoring with 16 points on six goals and four assists, with two of his goals proving to be game-winners. He has also become the Burn's penalty kick specialist, connecting on all three attempts this year. Including playoffs, Rodriguez is a perfect 6-6 for his career from the penalty spot.