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7:30 pm ET (FSW; HDNet; FSN-NE)
Suddenly, this match pairs two teams desperately fighting for their survival. Of the two, the New England Revolution are in more dire straits - even a draw could see them eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs if both D.C. United and the Chicago Fire win. The Dallas Burn find themselves out of the playoffs at the moment only on a tiebreaker after being tied with the San Jose Earthquakes for fourth place in the Western Conference - almost certainly, their pitched battle will go down to the final weekend when they face off at the Cotton Bowl.
REFEREE: Alex Prus. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Nik Bratsis
MLS Career: 79 games; FC/gm: 30.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 18; pens: 29
Games involving Revolution: P20 W7 L12 T1; FC/gm: 31.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 5
Games involving Burn: P13 W6 L5 T2; FC/gm: 30.8; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 3
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Adin Brown (concussion); DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); DF Joe Franchino (R hip strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Steve Howey (R quad strain); PROBABLE: MD Clint Dempsey (L ankle sprain); DF Marshall Leonard (R toe sprain) ... DALLAS BURN - DOUBTFUL: MD Ramon Nuñez (L knee); QUESTIONABLE: MD Ronnie O'Brien (L ankle sprain); MD Eric Quill (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: NE: Clint Dempsey (through Oct. 2)
YELLOW PERIL: NE: Jay Heaps (19 CP) ... DAL: Chris Gbandi (additional 10 CP); Simo Valakari (additional 10 CP)
The clubs meet for the third time this season, the only one at Gillette Stadium. They split their two meetings at Cotton Bowl, the Burn winning the first before the Revolution returned the favor on Aug. 11.
In that meeting, the Revs scored an early goal before surviving to claim two late ones in a 3-0 victory. They scored after just three minutes, Pat Noonan turning home a low ball pulled back from the byeline by Steve Ralston for his eighth goal of the season and third in as many matches.
But then New England was put on the back foot for long stretches, though the Burn couldn't find their way past Revs 'keeper Matt Reis, who was credited with seven saves. The visitors then scored twice late on the break, Taylor Twellman turning home an Andy Dorman pass in the 87th minute before the rookie midfielder scored his first professional goal four minutes into stoppage time.
Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-1-3-2): Jeff Cassar - Milton Reyes (Bobby Rhine 72), Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley (Clarence Goodson 88), Chris Gbandi - Jordan Stone - Ronnie O'Brien, Oscar Pareja, Eric Quill (Ramon Nunez 58) - Eddie Johnson, Jason Kreis.
Here's Steve Nicol's team (4-2-3-1): Matt Reis - Steve Ralston, Rusty Pierce, Avery John, Marshall Leonard - Shalrie Joseph, Joe Franchino (Jay Heaps 46) - Pat Noonan, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 83), Brian Kamler (Felix Brillant 72) - Taylor Twellman
A pair of goals 10 minutes apart in the second half propelled the Burn to a 3-1 victory on June 12 at Fair Park.
Jason Kreis hit home after just 12 minutes when he potted a Simo Valakari cross pumped back into the box from a cleared corner, but the Revolution pulled level just after the halftime break, Clint Dempsey's acrobatic diving header from a slide-rule cross by Steve Ralston evening terms on 52 minutes.
Eddie Johnson headed home a corner to again give the Burn the lead (74), then 10 minutes later substitute Toni Nhleko finished off a quick counter with a short-range tap in for the final margin of victory.
The teams both finished the match a man down after Joe Franchino and Simo Valakari were sent off for violent conduct, after they clashed in a heavy tackle in midfield.
New England won two of three meetings between the teams a year ago. The Revolution won 2-1 at Dragon Stadium on April 26 thanks to a late Taylor Twellman strike (Kreis 72 - J-M Moore 12; Twellman 84), but the Burn rebounded to win 2-1 on July 16 at Gillette Stadium (J-M Moore 44 - Cerritos 4, Thomas 13).
The Revolution then won the final meeting in resounding fashion, 4-1 in Southlake on Oct. 4 (Pareja 20 - Twellman 44, 60; Joseph 53; Noonan 75).
The Revolution have won five of the last seven matches between the two clubs. The Burn had won four consecutive matches in 1999 and 2000, before the Revs began their winning run in the final meeting in the 2001 series. The Revs won six consecutive matches (one by shootout) from 1996-97.
The Burn have won just three times in 11 home meetings with the Revolution. The Burn win in the first meeting this year snapped a three-game winning streak by the Revs in games between the two teams in Texas.
Jason Kreis is the Burn's all-time leader against the Revolution with 7 goals, 7 assists. Carey Talley has 3 goals, 1 assist for his career v New England while Steve Jolley has 2 goals, 5 assists - none while with the Burn. Eddie Johnson and Oscar Pareja are the only other current Dallas players with multiple goals v the Revolution, with two each.
Taylor Twellman has 8 goals, 0 assists v Dallas to lead the Revolution, while Joe-Max Moore leads the club in all-time points v the Burn with 6 goals, 4 assists. Steve Ralston has 2 goals, 11 assists for his career against Dallas - only 4 assists while in New England - while Pat Noonan has 2 goals, 2 assists. Joe Franchino also has 5 assists (0 goals) - just 2 assists while in New England.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. DAL: P6 W4 L2 D0 ... Colin Clarke v NE: P3 W1 L2 T0
ALL-TIME (22 meetings): Revolution 13 wins (1 shootout), 42 goals ... Burn 8 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals ... 1 draw
AT FOXBOROUGH (10 meetings): Revolution 5 wins, 20 goals ... Burn 5 wins, 17 goals ... 0 draws
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
New signing Andy Herron hit for two goals as the Fire pulled five points ahead of the Revolution at the foot of the Eastern Conference table, both teams with just three matches remaining on the season.
Fire captain Chris Armas - in his first league action after returning from knee surgery - twice played provider as Chicago moved to within a point of third place in the East.
Andy Williams first sent Armas in nearly alone, the longtime Fire campaigner sliding a square pass for Herron to tap into the wide-open goal after just seven minutes. Then Armas picked out the Costa Rica international with a wonderful cross to the back post from the right flank, Herron sidefooting home from close range to put the match away.
"Is the season over? I don't think so,'' said Rusty Pierce. "But now we have to rely on other people and that's the frustrating thing. But in the end, we can't look anywhere else. We've thrown away points the whole year. We've thrown away leads of two goals or more, and now you look back and say, gosh, what if we had those points?''
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made no changes to the team that struck for a club league record with six goals in a 6-1 drubbing of the Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium the previous Saturday.
Here's Nicol's team (4-1-3-2): Matt Reis - Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Rusty Pierce, Marshall Leonard - Shalrie Joseph - Richie Baker (Felix Brillant 66), Clint Dempsey, Brian Kamler - Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman
"You don't put the ball in the net, you don't win games,'' said Nicol. "That was the difference tonight between the teams. They put the ball in the net. Plus, we didn't use the ball as well as we needed to. The cutting edge wasn't there. We just got to be better with the ball.''
Equally as frustrating for the Revolution as their drive for a late-season charge hasn't gotten untracked is the lack of goalscoring. Although they hit for six goals against the Rapids, they've been shutout in three of the last five games.
"We are down at the bottom looking up but that doesn't mean it's over,'' Marshall Leonard said. "We've got to just keep playing the best we can, keep pressuring the ball, and pass it better from the back. Getting the ball off to the frontrunners, laying the ball off, and getting it wide. We've just got to do it a little bit better. It's the only way we are going to give ourselves a chance."
The New England Revolution lost for the third time in four matches, their playoff hopes taking a severe blow last Saturday with a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. The Revolution are now five points behind the Fire in the battle for the last playoff place in the Eastern Conference, with 27 points from 27 matches, and the best possible finish for the team is now third place.
The MetroStars defense stood firm, Jonny Walker called upon to make only a single save as John Wolyniec and Cornell Glen scored goals.
Wolyniec put the visitors ahead on the half-hour, Amado Guevara picking out Craig Ziadie on the right before he raced to the byeline, pulling back a sharp ball for Wolyniec to smash into the roof of the goal.
Glen then sealed matters two minutes into second-half stoppage time, wheeling away from a defender at the midfield stripe and racing in alone on goal, slotting home past Burn 'keeper Jeff Cassar from right on the edge of the area.
"It's very disappointing," Burn midfielder Oscar Pareja said. "Tonight was one of those days where you don't have many explanations for it. Soccer is just about playing hard and putting everything on the field, and we couldn't step up and get a game that was very important for us. So it's very disappointing."
Dallas Burn coach Colin Clarke made two changes to the team that knocked off the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 at the Cotton Bowl the previous Saturday. Ronnie O'Brien and Eric Quill were both carrying knocks that kept them out of the match, Bobby Rhine coming in on the right side of midfield and Oscar Pareja returning to the central midfield role, Brad Davis moving to the left side of the midfield four.
Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Jeff Cassar - Carey Talley (Clarence Goodson 83), Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Milton Reyes - Bobby Rhine, Simo Valakari, Oscar Pareja, Brad Davis (Toni Nhleko 71) - Eddie Johnson, Jason Kreis
The Burn had just one shot on goal for the entire match - none in the second half after chasing a one-goal deficit. "We didn't do enough to throw our bodies around and get on the end of some of those balls," said Clarke. "And that's disappointing."
The Dallas Burn saw their playoff hopes dented a bit with their third loss in four matches, falling 2-0 at home to the MetroStars on Saturday evening at the Cotton Bowl. The Burn fell into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with the San Jose Earthquakes with 35 points from 27 matches, but are currently out of the playoff reckoning on tiebreakers.
Both the Revolution and the Burn find themselves on the outside looking in at the MLS Cup Playoff picture with three weeks left in the league calendar. The Revolution trail fourth-place Chicago Fire by five points with three matches left to play, while the Burn are tied for fourth place with the San Jose Earthquakes, but currently trail on the teams head-to-head competition (SJ 2 wins, DAL 1 win)
Following are the tiebreaking procedures if teams are level in the standings:
a. Head-to-head competition against all other teams equal in points, based on highest points-per-game average.
b. Overall team goal differential.
c. Total goals scored.
d-f. Tiebreakers a-c are applied to each team's regular-season road games only.
g-i. Tiebreakers a-c are applied to each team's regular-season home games only.
j. Fewest disciplinary points
k. Coin flip
As of Sept. 25, here is how the MLS Cup playoffs would have looked:
SERIES A: (E1) Columbus vs. (E4) Chicago
SERIES B: (E2) MetroStars vs. (E3) D.C. United
SERIES C: (W1) Kansas City vs. (W4) San Jose
SERIES D: (W2) Los Angeles vs. (W3) Colorado
EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Winner of CLB/CHI vs. Winner of MET/DC
WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Winner of KC/SJ vs. Winner of COL/LA
MLS CUP 2004: Winners of Conference Championship Games
Series A - D played under home-and-home, total goals format ... If teams tied on aggregate, 30-minute, golden-goal overtime period follows, then followed by penalty kicks (if necessary) to determine Series winner ... Higher seed holds home-field advantage for Game 2 of Series ... Conference Championship Games and MLS Cup, if tied after 90 minutes, determined by 30-minute, golden-goal overtime ... If neither team scores during that time, the series will be decided via penalty kick shootout held according to FIFA regulations
Series A-D - Game One
Weekend of Friday, Oct. 22 - Sunday, October 24 @ LOWER-SEED home site
Series A-D - Game Two (+ 30-minute golden-goal period, if tied on aggregate goals)
Weekend of Friday, Oct. 29 - Friday, October 31 @ HIGHER-SEED home site
Eastern Conference Championship / Nov. 5 / 6 / 7
Western Conference Championship / Nov. 5 / 6 / 7
MLS Cup 2004 / Sun., Nov. 14 - ABC / 3:30 PM ET - The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.