Dallas Burn 2002
2002 Club by Club
The Burn finished the 2002 regular season with a record of 12-9-7, keeping alive its impressive streak of being only one of two MLS teams (Los Angeles Galaxy) to qualify for the playoffs all seven years of MLS play. The Burn's record placed them third overall in the league table and was their second best record after going 19-13 in 1999. Additionally, the nine losses tied Los Angeles for the lowest loss total in the league. Dallas put together the two longest unbeaten streaks in MLS play in 2002, posting two five-game unbeaten streaks (4/6 - 5/11 and 5/18 - 6/22). Additionally, the team had a four- game unbeaten streak from June 29 - July 20.
After struggling uncharacteristically at home in 2001, the Burn posted an 8-4-2 record at the Cotton Bowl this year despite dropping the last two home games of the season. Dallas reeled off five straight home wins from May 18 - July 31 and also registered an eight-game home unbeaten streak (4/6 - 7/31). The Burn also posted the second-best winning percentage on the road, going 4-5-5 for a .464 road winning percentage and were third in road scoring, averaging 1.57 goals per game.
After finishing the 2001 campaign seventh in the league in goals allowed at 1.81 per game, the Burn spent the off-season revamping the back line. Dallas added Premier League veteran Steve Morrow and the ever-solid Tenywa Bonseu to the center of a backline that already included a proven Ryan Suarez on the right. Additionally, the team moved Paul Broome from his usual midfield position to a spot on the left side of the defense. The result was a defense that conceded 1.54 goals per game and conceded more than two goals on only six occasions through 28 matches.
The combination of Antonio Martinez and midfield maestro Oscar Pareja in the midfield proved to be a winning combination for the Burn in 2002. The Burn was 12-5-6 with Pareja in the starting lineup and just 0-4-0 in games in which he missed. The team was 11-5-2 when Martinez started and 1-3-5 in games in which he did not start. Additionally, the Burn was 9-3-4 when Martinez played 60-plus minutes and 2-4-4 in games in which he did not. With both Pareja and Martinez starting, the Burn was 11-3-1. Martinez ended the season third on the team in scoring with 18 points (4 goals, 10 assists) while Pareja registered one goal and six assists, with four of those six assists proving to be game-winners.
Just one year removed from becoming the second player in league history to amass 50 goals and 50 assists for his career, forward Jason Kreis attained two more statistical milestones in 2002. With an assist on August 10 at Chicago, Kreis joined Preki as the only two players in league history to register 60 goals and 60 assists in a career. Additionally, with his three-point performance at the MetroStars on May 4, Kreis became the third player in league history to amass 200 career points.
With 17,652 fans in attendance at the Burn's final regular season home game, the highest home attendance since July 4, 2001, the team's final attendance average was 13,122. The 13,122 average was the highest attendance average since 1996 and was 4% higher than the 2001 season average. Average attendance at Burn games has increased 36% since 1997.
For the second consecutive year, Pareja was voted the most valuable player for the Burn. While his numbers weren't quite as impressive as they were during his MVP season of 2001, the Burn captain's importance is not necessarily reflected in the statistics. With Pareja in the starting lineup, the team was 12-5-6 and 0-4-0 in games in which he did not start. Pareja finished the season with one goal and six assists, with four of those assists proving to be game-winners. In addition to being named the team MVP, Pareja was also voted to the MLS Pepsi Best XI.
For the fifth time in his seven-year career, striker Jason Kreis captured the scoring crown for the Burn. Kreis finished the season with 13 goals and four assists for 30 points, his fourth highest output in his seven years in the league. Kreis carried tire team throughout the first half of the season, netting 12 goals of the team's 23 goals in the first 15 games of the year. Of his 13 goals on the year, five were game-winners which ranked tied for third in the league in that category.
Tenywa Bonseu was acquired by the Burn in the off-season to help shore up a backline that finished seventh in the league in goals-against in 2001, and he won the defender of the year award. Bonseu, always reliable and steady in the back, started 27 of the Burn's 28 matches in 2002, missing just one game to injury. The Burn defense finished the season fifth in the league with a goals- against average of 1.54.