Playoffs Scoreboard

Recap
Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
RECAP
Recap
Leg 2
11/30 9:00pm
SEA
LA
ESPN
Western Conference Championship
Recap
Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1NY
2NE
RECAP
Recap
Leg 2
11/29 3:00pm
NE
NY
NBCSN
Eastern Conference Championship

Fire, Burn battle for Brimstone Cup

the Earthquakes wore 'throwback' uniforms resembling those of the NASL Earthquakes of the '70s and '80s, while taking the field carrying a banner reading 'Keep Us in San Jose!!!' -- the current-day defending champion eased to victory in a second consecutive shutout.

  • A searing blast on the run from Ramiro Corrales from the left corner of the penalty area gave the Quakes a lead after just four minutes.
  • Corrales was then involved again as the lead was doubled through an own goal (24), Burn defender Cory Gibbs unfortunately turning a Corrales cross from a tight angle past 'keeper Scott Garlick, a 12th-minute substitute for starter Jeff Cassar after he was hit in the face on the full from a blast by Ronnie Ekelund.
  • The Earthquakes then capped the scoring seven minutes after the break with some wonderful stuff, Richard Mulrooney chipping the ball forward to Brian Ching, who chested down a pass to Landon Donovan before spinning to collect the return on the one-two, hammering home from inside the area for his joint league-leading 11th goal of the season.
  • Burn head coach Colin Clarke made one change to the team that defeated the MetroStars 1-0 the previous Sunday at the Meadowlands. Cory Gibbs returned from injury, replacing Matt Behncke in central defense.
  • Here's Clarke's team (4-4-1-1): Jeff Cassar (Scott Garlick 12) - Carey Talley, Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Brad Davis, Bobby Rhine (Oscar Pareja 68) - Jason Kreis (Toni Nhleko 68) - Eddie Johnson
  • With the change of the club's name next season, whither the future of the Brimstone Cup, created by supporters groups of the Fire and Burn beginning in 2001 and is awarded to the winner of the head-to-head competition. Next year, the Burn will be known as FC Dallas.
  • Chicago won the first Brimstone Cup series in 2001, the Burn won it in 2002 and then retained it in 2003. Should the Burn win or tie Saturday, they will win the Brimstone Cup outright. Should Chicago win Saturday's match, then the Burn would retain the Cup. Dallas retained it last year after the two teams split the season series, as in the event of a tie, the previous winner retains possession of the cup.

    CHICAGO FIRE

    The Chicago Fire again failed to grab the full three points, a late goal snatching a 1-1 draw for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Steve Sampson's debut on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Despite just one victory in their last 12 league matches, the Fire are still just tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 22 matches, three behind D.C. United.

  • A late Carlos Ruiz goal gave the Galaxy the 1-1 draw in a nervous debut in Sampson's first game in charge and saved it from ruin, after he took over for Sigi Schmid at the start of the week. The home side had to come back to secure a share of the points against a Chicago Fire side that carried the majority of the play.
  • Damani Ralph finally gave the visitors the advantage midway through the second half, collecting a pass on the right flank after a dreadful giveaway and ripping a low angled drive through a defender's legs that settled inside Kevin Hartman's right-hand post (67).
  • But after seemingly weathering a heavy storm over the final quarter of the match, the Fire conceded the equalizer when Cobi Jones sent Arturo Torres into the right corner, and his cross into the mixer was meant by Ruiz, who saw his header just bound over the line past Chicago 'keeper Henry Ring for a tie for the league lead with 11 goals.
  • Fire coach Dave Sarachan made three changes to the team that responded to a first league victory in more than two months with a 3-0 home loss to the Colorado Rapids. Evan Whitfield made his first start in eight matches, coming in for Orlando Perez, while Logan Pause returned from suspension to come in for Craig Capano. Nate Jaqua also returned to partner Damani Ralph in attack, coming in for Dipsy Selolwane.
  • Here's Sarachan's team (4-4-2): Henry Ring - Evan Whitfield, Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown, Kelly Gray - Andy Williams, Chris Armas, Logan Pause, Justin Mapp (Orlando Perez 87) - Damani Ralph, Nate Jaqua (Alexandre Boucicaut 67).
  • After not appearing last weekend, Jesse Marsch could become the club's all-time league appearance leader on Saturday. It would be his 163rd MLS match in a Fire uniform, surpassing Zach Thornton's mark.
  • Alexandre Boucicaut made his Fire debut against the Galaxy, coming on in the 67th minute. Last with Violette AC, where he scored 22 goals in his last four seasons, Boucicaut has also made eight national team appearances for Haiti, scoring eight goals. He scored Haiti's goal in a 1-1 draw with the USA on Feb. 18 in Miami, which put him on the radar of the Fire.
  • "We are very excited to add Alex to the roster," Sarachan said. "We identified him a few months ago when he played for the Haitian national team against the United States, and after his trial period, we felt he would be a very good addition to the Fire. He's a guy we feel can add a real dimension with his pace and flank play on the right side of the field."
  • U.S. Open Cup holders Fire earned a place in the Open Cup Final for the fourth time in club history, surviving a valiant effort from the A-League Charleston Battery to advance 1-0 in a semifinal decided by a Dipsy Selolwane golden goal on Wednesday at Benedetti-Wehrli (formerly Cardinal) Stadium in Naperville, Ill.
  • In a match delayed by 1 ½ hours at halftime due to a violent thunderstorm, the Botswanan international sent the Fire through when he headed home an Orlando Perez cross in the 107th minute - the same combination that gave Chicago their quarterfinal golden goal victory against the A-League Richmond Kickers.
  • The Fire have never lost when they've reached the Open Cup Final, defeating the MetroStars 1-0 at Giants Stadium last year. They will again play away this year, facing the Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 22.
  • Here's Sarachan's team: Henry Ring, Evan Whitfield (Craig Capano 107), C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Orlando Perez, Andy Williams, Kelly Gray, Logan Pause, Justin Mapp, Damani Ralph, Nate Jaqua (Dipsy Selolwane 79).

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