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DALLAS BURN vs COLUMBUS CREW
7:30 pm CT (UPN)
A pair of teams who ended three-match winless runs with victories in their last match come together in a matchup dominated in recent years by the Columbus Crew. The Dallas Burn rebounded from their worst defeat of the season to go to San Jose and come away with a rare road victory against the Earthquakes - in dramatic fashion. But the Crew come to the Lone Star State having defeated the other MLS Cup Finalist from last year in their last match, righting their own ship and also shoring up a recently leaky defense.
REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Adam Garner; JAR (opposite): David Bragg; 4th: Troy Travis
MLS Career: 38 games; FC/gm: 31.8; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 12 pens: 11
Games involving Burn: P5 W0 L4 T1; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 2; pens: 5
Games involving Crew: P7 W4 L2 T1; FC/gm: 33.9; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 3; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: DALLAS BURN - OUT: FW Bobby Rhine (R knee MCL sprain); GK Scott Garlick (R ankle sprain); FW Eddie Johnson (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: MD Oscar Pareja (groin strain) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: GK Matt Jordan (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: DF Frankie Hejduk (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Chad Marshall (L knee strain); PROBABLE: DF Stephen Herdsman (R knee sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DAL: Cory Gibbs (USA; July 11 v Poland)
SUSPENDED: DAL: Simo Valakari (through July 10)
YELLOW PERIL: CLB: Eric Denton (17 CP)
The teams meet on the second of three occasions this season, the only one at the Cotton Bowl. The final meeting between the teams will be in less than three weeks, back at Crew Stadium.
The teams played to a scoreless draw on May 1 in Columbus, as Crew 'keeper Jon Busch twice snatched balls off his own goal line to protect the scoreless draw and earn the Crew their first point of the season. Burn 'keeper Scott Garlick was credited with six saves of his own, posting a third consecutive clean sheet.
Busch was almost beaten just before the break but Eddie Johnson's header hit the Crew's Kyle Martino on the line, rebounded off the underside of the bar and back off Martino before Busch was able to grab it just before it crossed the line. In the second half, Busch parried a Steve Jolley off the inside of the post before falling on it as it fell onto the goal line.
Here's Greg Andrulis's team on the night (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch - Steven Herdsman, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall - Brian Maisonneuve (Chris Wingert 57), Ross Paule (Duncan Oughton 76), Simon Elliott, Frankie Hejduk - Kyle Martino - Edson Buddle, Jeff Cunningham.
Here's the side Colin Clarke ran out (4-4-2): Scott Garlick - Philip Salyer, Matt Behncke, Steve Jolley (Carey Talley 80), Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien, Brad Davis, Simo Valakari, Eric Quill - Eddie Johnson, Toni Nhleko (Bobby Rhine 75).
The Crew didn't lose in the three meetings between the teams last year, the only two clubs not to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs. They played to a scoreless draw on July 5 in Columbus, then the Crew won 2-1 in Southlake on Aug. 23 (Rhine 75 - Buddle 43, Paule 62). Columbus then won 3-2 at home on Sept. 13 (Buddle 28, 81; McBride 39 - Dunseth 15, Johnson 52).
The Burn have won just once in the last nine meetings between the two teams. Dallas won in the final of the two meetings in 2002, which followed a string of two Crew victories and two draws.
The road team has won just twice in the last 16 encounters in the series since the 1998 season. Before last year, the only other time in those five seasons also came in a Columbus win at Dallas in 2001.
Manny Lagos leads current Crew players with 5 goals, 2 assists v Dallas, but none of those came with Columbus. Jeff Cunningham is next in points with 2 goals, 6 assists - fourth on the all-time club leaders list - while Edson Buddle has 4 goals, 0 assists.
Jason Kreis is the Burn's all-time leader against Columbus with 6 goals, 9 assists. Among current Dallas players only Eric Quill (3 goals, 1 assist) and Oscar Pareja (2 goals, 2 assists) have more than one goal.
Coaches record: Greg Andrulis v DAL: P9 W4 L1 T4 ... Colin Clarke vs. CLB: P1 W0 L0 T1
ALL-TIME (21 meetings): Burn 11 wins (1 shootout), 36 goals ... Crew 8 wins (1 shootout), 31 goals ... 5 draws
The defending MLS Cup Champions fell for the first time at Spartan Stadium in the 2004 season - the last team to lose at home this season - but only after a remarkable sequence in the game's final minutes.
Eric Quill gave the Burn a sixth-minute lead when he coolly rounded a defender and beat Pat Onstad from inside the area after his side took advantage of a giveaway. But just four minutes later Ramiro Corrales headed home cleanly on a corner kick to pull the home side level.
That was it until the 89th minute, when Simo Valakari scored his first MLS goal, leaving Onstad rooted to his line with a curling effort from outside the area.
But deep in added time, Milton Reyes was adjudged to have fouled Dwayne DeRosario while jockeying for a corner - and referee Hector Tobon awarded the penalty. Yet Jeff Cassar dove to his left to parry Landon Donovan's spot kick and preserve his side's victory.
"You go through the emotions. We'd worked hard, we'd gotten the second goal, which we deserved, and your emotions go from that goal to a penalty kick a few minutes later," Burn coach Colin Clarke said. "And then Cassar came up with an unbelievable save, which he's been doing since he's been starting. I think it was justice. I think we deserved to get the result."
Clarke made two changes to the team that lost 5-1 to Kansas City the previous Saturday - the second consecutive 5-1 loss in Kansas City in two seasons. With Jason Kreis sent off in that game, that left Clarke very short of out-and-out strikers, and he went with a 4-5-1 scheme with Toni Nhleko foraging along up top.
Milton Reyes made his first start of the season and first Burn league appearance as the addition to the midfield in Kreis's place; Brad Davis also returned to the lineup in midfield, coming in for Carey Talley.
Here's Clarke's side (4-1-4-1): Jeff Cassar - Philip Salyer, Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi - Simo Valakari - Milton Reyes, Brad Davis (Carey Talley 89), Ronnie O'Brien, Eric Quill (Matt Behncke 89) - Toni Nhleko
"We talked a lot before the game, obviously, about the result last Saturday in Kansas City. We weren't happy with our performance, we weren't happy with how we started and we knew if we started like that or played like that here we'd get beaten," Clarke said.
It was the first victory for the Burn against the Earthquakes in eight matches, dating back to the 2002 season, and just their second v San Jose in 11 games.
"We laid a challenge down to them and they responded magnificently. That's the best performance this year especially because of where it was and who it was against. This is a place where we haven't done very well in a long time," Clarke said.
Dallas defender Cory Gibbs traveled to Chicago following the San Jose match to join the U.S. national team for the friendly against Poland on Sunday evening.
The Dallas Burn rebounded from their heaviest defeat of the season in dramatic fashion, scoring a late winner then surviving an even later penalty to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at Spartan Stadium on Wednesday night. With the victory, the Burn leapfrogged the Earthquakes into fourth place in the Western Conference, now with 19 points from 14 matches, two ahead of San Jose and eight points behind the West-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.
Last year's Eastern Conference champion fell to fourth place in the division after the loss to the Crew, Edson Buddle and Jeff Cunningham scoring goals a minute apart just before halftime.
Buddle ran on to a Ross Paule chip over the Fire back line, expertly chipping over 'keeper Henry Ring as the flag stayed down (43), then barely a minute later Cunningham's blast from inside the box took a wicked deflection before flying high past Ring inside his right-hand post.
"The best way to play a team like Chicago that attacks so well and has so many attacking players is to make them defend. We wanted to attack with numbers," Crew coach Greg Andrulis said.
Andrulis made three changes to the team that had lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids in their last league match a week earlier, though they had advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup in between with a 2-1 win against the A-League Syracuse Salty Dogs.
Chad Marshall failed a late fitness test as Chris Wingert came at one wingback, Eric Denton moving to the back three. Duncan Oughton came in for the injured Frankie Hejduk on the flank, while Edson Buddle made his first start in seven matches, coming in for David Testo to partner Jeff Cunningham in attack.
Here's Andrulis's team (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch - Nelson Akwari, Robin Fraser, Eric Denton - Chris Wingert (Jake Traeger 87), Simon Elliott, Ross Paule, Duncan Oughton - Kyle Martino - Edson Buddle (Michael Ritch 89), Jeff Cunningham (Erick Scott 89).
The trio of defenders - Hejduk, Marshall and Herdsman - all failed late fitness tests which led to a first MLS start for Chris Wingert, and Eric Denton playing in the back three after spending the entire season as a wingback. "It doesn't happen a lot," Andrulis said. "You're doing it to give the guys who earned a start a chance to start. If they're not fit to go, we've got a deep enough bench."
Striker Erick Scott has been included in Costa Rica's Olympic team, and will leave the Crew after the Dallas match. Costa Rica begins play in the Athens Games on Aug. 15 against Iraq; in Group D, they will also face Morocco and Portugal.
The Columbus Crew rebounded from a two-game losing streak and moved into third place in the Eastern Conference, scoring twice in short order in the first half to claim a 2-0 victory at home against the Chicago Fire last weekend. The Crew leapfrogged the Fire into third with 18 points from 13 matches, now just two points behind East leaders D.C. United.