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Last year's MLS Cup Finalists meet for the second time this season, having earlier played to a scoreless draw in San Jose. But the teams will look somewhat different from the first meeting - and last November's - as international duty again affects the squads. The Chicago Fire will again be missing five players to World Cup qualifying, but the San Jose Earthquakes have their Canadian internationals after they finish their preliminary series at midweek, though Landon Donovan will be with the USA (along with Chicago's DaMarcus Beasley and Chris Armas).
REFEREE: Alex Prus. SAR (bench): Tom Supple; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Abbey Okulaja
MLS Career: 74 games; FC/gm: 30.8; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 1 pens: 4
Games involving Fire: P9 W5 L3 T1; FC/gm: 33.6; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 1; pens: 4
Games involving Earthquakes: P7 W4 L0 T3; FC/gm: 29.9; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 0; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: CHICAGO FIRE - OUT: MD Jesse Marsch (R ankle cartilage damage); QUESTIONABLE: FW Nate Jaqua (R foot injury); PROBABLE: FW Ante Razov (lower back strain) ... SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Chris Roner (R ankle surgery); DF Eddie Robinson (L hamstring rupture); DOUBTFUL: DF Troy Dayak (upper back sprain); FW Jamil Walker (R ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley (USA; June 20 v Grenada); Damani Ralph, Andy Williams (Jamaica; June 20 v Haiti); Dipsy Selolwane (Botswana; June 19 v Malawi) ... SJ: Landon Donovan (USA; June 20 v Grenada)
YELLOW PERIL: SJ: Wes Hart (10 CP in 2 gms)
This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season, the first of two at Soldier Field. The final meeting between the clubs will be Aug. 18.
The teams played to a scoreless draw in their first meeting, April 10 at Spartan Stadium. Pat Onstad was credited with five saves in recording the clean sheet, including a fine save on Ante Razov just five minutes from time to salvage the point. San Jose finished short-handed, Ramiro Corrales sent off after a harsh tackle on the Fire's Andy Williams at the midfield stripe.
Here's the team put out by Dominic Kinnear (4-4-2): Pat Onstad - Wes Hart, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Jeff Agoos - Brian Mullan, Ronnie Ekelund, Richard Mulrooney, Ramiro Corrales - Landon Donovan, Dwayne De Rosario (Brian Ching 71).
Here's Dave Sarachan's team on the day (3-4-1-2): Henry Ring - Evan Whitfield, Kelly Gray, Jim Curtin - Leonard Griffin (Justin Mapp 74), Chris Armas, Andy Williams, Nate Jaqua - DaMarcus Beasley - Ante Razov (Dipsy Selolwane 89), Damani Ralph.
During league play a year ago, Chicago won the only game in San Jose with a dominating 4-1 performance (Beasley 28, 90; Ralph 47; Razov 81 - Roner 59), while the teams played to a pair of scoreless draws at Cardinal Stadium.
Then in the MLS Cup Final, the Quakes got their revenge with a 4-2 victory at The Home Depot Center behind a pair of goals from Landon Donovan, the first player to hit for multiple goals in the nine MLS championship games (Ekelund 6; Donovan 38, 71; Mulrooney 50 - Beasley 49; own goal (Roner) 54)
Only once in the last nine league meetings has either team hit for more than one goal (dating back to the 2000 season) - the 4-1 Fire victory in San Jose last year. Six of those meetings have ended in draws.
But Chicago has had some success at Spartan Stadium, winning twice there (last season and 1-0 on Aug. 18, 2001). Those are the only two regulation road victories in series history - the only victory by a visiting team came when San Jose won by shootout on July 23, 1999 at Soldier Field after a 2-2 draw.
No active Earthquakes players has more than one goal against the Fire - only Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie Ekelund, Chris Roner and Ian Russell have a goal against Chicago. The club's all-time leader against Chicago is Ronald Cerritos (4 goals, 2 assists) - now with D.C. United.
Ante Razov is the Fire's all-time leader in matches against San Jose with 6 goals, 4 assists. Among active Fire players, only DaMarcus Beasley has more than one goal (2 goals, 0 assists).
Coaches record: Dave Sarachan vs. SJ: P4 W1 L0 D3 ... Dominic Kinnear v CHI: P1 W0 L0 D1
ALL-TIME (18 meetings): Fire 7 wins (0 shootout), 26 goals ... Earthquakes 5 wins (1 shootout), 18 goals ... 6 draws
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Earthquakes 5 wins (1 shootout), 18 goals ... Fire 7 wins (0 shootout), 26 goals ... 5 draws
The Galaxy scored two goals over the final 10 minutes - the match-winner a goal deep in stoppage time - to come back and claim a 3-2 victory against a Chicago Fire side missing four regular starters to national team duty.
A long-range blast from Andreas Herzog after a nifty backheel from rookie Joseph Ngwenya gave the Galaxy the lead (10), but Ante Razov finished off a long run out of midfield with a long-range strike of his own (28) to pull the Fire level at the break.
Razov then gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after Justin Mapp was pulled down in the box (67), but Ngwenya headed home a pinpoint cross from Chris Albright in the 81st minute to bring the Galaxy back to level terms. Albright then turned hero three minutes into added time, his flying header on a Sasha Victorine cross from the right keeping the Galaxy with the best overall record in the league.
Fire coach Dave Sarachan made five changes to the team that crushed D.C. United 3-0 the previous weekend at Soldier Field. Four players - Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Andy Williams and Damani Ralph - were on international duty, while Nate Jaqua was lost to a foot injury.
"I thought we were a little naive," Sarachan said. "You need some veteran experience to dig in at the end, get your points and go home."
Sarachan reformed his side in a 4-4-2, Orlando Perez coming in on the right flank and C.J. Brown in central defense. Craig Capano and Logan Pause took the central midfield roles, Justin Mapp moving to the left side of midfield.
Here's Sarachan's team (4-4-2): Henry Ring - Orlando Perez (Denny Clanton 88), Jim Curtin, C.J. Brown, Kelly Gray - Evan Whitfield, Craig Capano (Leonard Griffin 55), Logan Pause, Justin Mapp (Scott Buete 80) - Dipsy Selolwane, Ante Razov.
"We just did a poor job of keeping the ball and killing the game," Razov said. "When you're up, 2-1, on the road in the 70th minute ... our passing was very poor at the end of the game. We just didn't manage it well. That's the bottom line. We knew they were the home team and they were going to come at us, but we just couldn't string two, three passes together at all, so we didn't help our cause."
DaMarcus Beasley scored two goals for the USA in their 3-0 first leg victory against Grenada in their World Cup qualifying series. "DaMarcus is a load on both sides of the ball,'' U.S. manager Bruce Arena said. "He has proven that he can play a full schedule in Major League Soccer and rarely misses a national-team game. I've always said that DaMarcus is about the best defensive player we have, and he finished off two chances [against Grenada]. He gets it done.''
Jamaica had a terrific opportunity to claim victory in the 88th minute, but Haiti goalkeeper Gerard Fenelon snatched a ball off the feet of Damani Ralph in the area, and the teams settled for a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying series Ralph came on in the 76th minute for King, while Fire teammate Andy Williams was an unused substitute. The return match is set for June 20 at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Striker Dipsy Selolwane will also be away on national team duty, joining Botswana for their qualifier against Malawi. Selolwane the goal for the Zebras in their 4-1 defeat by Tunisia in their World Cup opener June 5.
Craig Capano has been called into the U.S. under-20 national team for its friendly against Brazil on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale.
A depleted Chicago Fire saw their modest two-game winning streak come to an end in a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday afternoon, the home side scoring twice in the final 10 minutes. Still, the Fire remain atop the Eastern Conference by one point ahead of the Columbus Crew, with 16 points from 11 matches.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
There were none of the fireworks of the previous visit, but the San Jose Earthquakes still came away with a victory against a MetroStars side also decimated by international call-ups.
A wonderfully-struck Jeff Agoos free kick, bent around the wall, gave the home side a 27th-minute lead. But rookie Jeff Parke scored his first professional goal after the break (59) to finish off a wild sequence that pulled Metro level. A free kick was saved by Quakes 'keeper Jon Conway, the rebound bouncing off Agoos, off the face of the bar and back into the goalmouth where Parke dove in to head home.
But then the Quakes scored twice late, 10 minutes apart, for the win. Brian Ching ran onto a perfectly-weighted chip from Richard Mulrooney and rounded 'keeper Zach Wells and then a late-arriving defender before scooping the ball home (79), then Brian Mullan won a ball on the left and cut across the box through four Metro defenders before slotting inside Wells' right post to round out the scoring.
"It was important for us to get the win," Mullan said. "The other teams in the West have been playing well, and we needed to keep pace."
Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Columbus Crew the weekend before. Landon Donovan was away on international duty, while Jamil Walker was out with an ankle injury.
It forced a reconfiguration: Craig Waibel came in at left back as Ramiro Corrales moved forward into midfield; Arturo Alvarez came in as a wide midfielder as Brian Mullan moved into attack to partner Brian Ching.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-4-2): Jon Conway - Wes Hart, Ryan Cochrane, Jeff Agoos, Craig Waibel - Ian Russell, Ramiro Corrales, Richard Mulrooney, Arturo Alvarez - Brian Ching, Brian Mullan.
"[Mulrooney] really took the challenge tonight to be a leader," Kinnear said. "It was a big night for him. The work he puts in sometimes doesn't get noticed, but we notice it and we appreciate it."
San Jose Earthquakes teammates Pat Onstad and Dwayne DeRosario were key performers as Canada got their World Cup qualifying campaign off on the right foot with a 4-0 victory against Belize in Kingston, Ontario. Paul Peschisolido (38), Tomasz Radzinski (54), Kevin McKenna (75) and Jim Brennan (83) scored as Canada eased to victory on a rainy night when they also hit the crossbar twice. Onstad was rarely tested in the Canada goal, while DeRosario played the full 90 minutes for Canada, coached by former San Jose Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop.
Arturo Alvarez has been called into the U.S. under-20 national team for its friendly against Brazil on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale.
The San Jose Earthquakes won for the third time in four matches, rebounding from an away loss to the Columbus Crew with a 3-1 victory against the MetroStars at Spartan Stadium. The Quakes remained in third place in the Western Conference, with 15 points from 10 matches, third place in the conference (six points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy).