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Dallas Burn 2003
2003 Club by Club
The Burn finished the 2003 season with a record of 6-19-5, marking the worst season in team history and the first time in team history that the Burn failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Dallas got out the gates slowly to start the season, posting just three points in their first six games and six in their first nine. Dallas struggled uncharacteristically at home as they went winless in their first five home games of 2003 and ended with a 4-8-2 record at home.
The road did not treat the Burn much better as they registered just one victory away from home and finished with a 1-11-3 road record. Any hopes the Burn had of making a playoff push were dashed as the team compiled a six- game road losing streak from Jul. 26-Sept. 27.
The Burn set several unwanted team records during their difficult 2003 campaign. With just 35 total goals scored on the year, the Burn finished tied for last in the league in that category and set a team record-low. The previous team record for fewest goals in a season was 43, set in 1998. The Burn scored one goal or less in 22 of their 30 games on the year.
Dallas conceded a team record 64 goals in 2003, finishing last in the league in goals-against with an average of 2.13 conceded per game. The previous team record was 59 goals conceded, set in 1998. The Burn finished the 2003 season without registering points in consecutive games for the entire year. Only one other time in league history since the end of the shootout era has a team not registered consecutive wins or ties for an entire season as the Tampa Bay Mutiny accomplished that feat in 2001.
Despite the difficult start to the 2003 season, the lone bright spot during the team's initial struggles was the play of forward Jason Kreis. While the Burn was struggling to score goals Kreis took the team on his shoulders and accounted for seven of the team's 14 goals through the first 12 games of the season. But on Aug. 13 vs. the San Jose Earthquakes, Kreis suffered a torn ACL and a tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee just one minute into the match.
At the time of his injury, Kreis was eighth in the league in scoring with 16 points and was just two goals shy of tying the all-time league goal-scoring record of 88. Despite missing the final 11 games of the season, he was still named the team's MVP for the sixth time in his eight-year career.
Another bright spot on the 2003 Burn roster was snuffed out early in the season as midfielder Ronnie O'Brien suffered a fractured right tibia on May 3 in a match at DC United. O'Brien, who joined the Burn late in the 2002 season, had been impressive in the first two matches of the season, netting one goal, before the injury in just the third game of the year. An apparent season-ending injury, O'Brien battled back and made his return to the lineup on Oct. 11 at the MetroStars.
One youngster was taking the Texas club by storm as second year MLS star Brad Davis became only the third player in team history other than Kreis to lead the Burn in scoring. Despite missing the final three games of the year with a pelvic bone stress injury, Davis finished the season with six goals and a team-high five assists for 17 points. Davis finished the 2002 with the MetroStars with four goals and three assists for 11 points and was a finalist for Rookie of the Year.
In only his first year as a starter for Dallas, D.J. Countess finished the year fourth in the league in saves with 115, despite playing six fewer games than the goalkeepers ranked above him in that category. Countess also tied three-league records on the season. He saved two penalty kicks in a 0-0 draw at the MetroStars (a feat only accomplished on one other occasion) and was named MLS Player of the Week following that performance. Additionally, he saved a league-record-tying four penalty kicks on the year while facing a league-record-tying ten penalty kicks.