DALLAS BURN vs D.C. UNITED
7:30 pm CT (CSN)
D.C. United makes its second trip to the heart of Texas in less than a month, their last visit to face the Dallas Burn marked by history when Jason Kreis became the league's all-time leading goal scoring king. The Burn have claimed the full three points in just one of their last six league games, but dispatched the Colorado Rapids with ease on Tuesday in the Open Cup. United has scored just one goal and claimed just one point since the high point of the six-goal exhibition against the MetroStars - and were then sent out of the U.S. Open Cup with a loss to the A-League Richmond Kickers.
REFEREE: Ali Saheli. SAR (bench): Robert Fereday; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Brent Sorg
MLS Career: 56 games; FC/gm: 32.7; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 9; pens: 14
Games involving Burn: P11 W5 L6 T0; FC/gm: 33.4; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 1; pens: 3
Games involving United: P10 W6 L3 T1; FC/gm: 33.3; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 1; pens: 5
INJURY REPORT: DALLAS BURN - OUT: GK Scott Garlick (R ankle sprain); MD Eric Quill (lower back); PROBABLE: FW Bobby Rhine (R knee MCL sprain); FW Toni Nhleko (hip flexor)
... D.C. UNITED - OUT: FW Thiago Martins (L lateral meniscus tear); FW Eliseo Quintanilla (R fractured fibula); PROBABLE: MD Ben Olsen (R quadriceps strain); MD Earnie Stewart (groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DAL: Chris Gbandi (through July 24) ... DC: Alecko Eskandarian (through July 24); Dema Kovalenko (through July 24)
YELLOW PERIL: DC: Bryan Namoff (16 CP); Mike Petke (19 CP); Josh Gros (18 CP)
The teams come together for the second of three meetings this season, the second of two inside a month in Dallas. They'll also play at RFK Stadium on Sept. 11.
On June 26 at the Cotton Bowl, United came back to claim a 1-1 draw. Jason Kreis ended all the suspense early when he scored in the 37th minute, hitting home with a snap shot on the turn to claim the all-time lead on the MLS goalscoring chart and surpass the mark set by Roy Lassiter with four teams from 1996-2002.
But D.C. United's Alecko Eskandarian scored for the third time in two games early in the second half to provide the equalizer (58). Bobby Convey drove a low cross into the area from the left and Eskandarian came sliding in to poke the ball over the line from the goalmouth.
Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-4-2): Jeff Cassar - Philip Salyer (Ramon Nunez 89), Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien, Oscar Pareja (Toni Nhleko 72), Carey Talley, Brad Davis (Eric Quill 77) - Eddie Johnson, Jason Kreis
Here's Peter Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Troy Perkins - Ezra Hendrickson, Mike Petke, Bryan Namoff - Brian Carroll - Earnie Stewart, Ben Olsen (Joshua Gros 56), Dema Kovalenko, Bobby Convey - Alecko Eskandarian (Kevin Ara 89), Jaime Moreno (Freddy Adu 76).
A year ago, each team won once, with one draw, in their three meetings. They first played to a scoreless draw on May 3 at RFK Stadium, before the Burn won 3-2 in Southlake four weeks later (Kreis 16, Gbandi 41, Cerritos 75 pen - Convey 51, 89). United then won 3-1 on July 2 in Washington (Nelsen 29, Kovalenko 78, Stoitchkov 88 - Kreis 74 pen).
The United victory in the last meeting last season snapped a seven-match winless streak in the series - which included five consecutive victories from July 8, 2000 to Sept. 19, 2002. That stretch ended a three-match winning streak for United in the series, from 1999-2000.
Jason Kreis leads the Dallas all-time scoring charts against United with 11 goals, 4 assists. Eric Quill and Bobby Rhine have each netted 2 goals v United, Quill adding 4 assists and Rhine 3, but none of Quill's points have come while with the Burn. Eddie Johnson, Chris Gbandi and Carey Talley round out current Burn goalscorers v United.
Dema Kovalenko and Bobby Convey lead current United players with 3 goals each v Dallas, Kovalenko also with 2 assists, though he has scored only 1 goal while with United. Jaime Moreno has 2 goals, 4 assists against the Burn, while Ryan Nelsen and Santino Quaranta have each scored 1 goal v Dallas.
Coaches record: Colin Clarke vs. DC: P1 W L0 D1 ... Peter Nowak v DAL: P1 W L0 D1
ALL-TIME (22 meetings): Burn 12 wins (4 shootout), 40 goals ... United 8 wins (0 shootout), 43 goals ... 2 draws
IN DALLAS (13 meetings): Burn 9 wins (2 shootout), 25 goals ... United 3 wins (0 shootout), 16 goals ... 1 draw
The Wizards pulled to within a point of the Galaxy with the victory at the Cotton Bowl. Diego Gutierrez coolly finished off a lightning-quick counterattack that went from box to box in three passes (42), Josh Wolff selling a perfect dummy on a Chris Klein cross to allow the pass to reach Gutierrez in the heart of the box.
The Wizards then survived a nervy final quarter-hour when Shavar Thomas was sent off for a second bookable offense, but came away with the full three points to set up next Saturday's showdown in Kansas City.
"I felt we lacked heart," said Burn coach Colin Clarke. " You know what Kansas City is going to do; there's no secrets. And we got caught with a sucker punch and didn't react to it well enough on the counterattack. From there, I just didn't think we showed enough passion or heart as a team to get back into the game."
Clarke made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew the previous weekend. Cory Gibbs returned from national team duty and came back into central defense for Matt Behncke, while Simo Valakari returned from suspension, coming into the midfield for Eric Quill.
Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Jeff Cassar - Philip Salyer (Eddie Johnson 63), Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi - Milton Reyes, Simo Valakari, Ronnie O'Brien, Brad Davis (Oscar Pareja 54) - Jason Kreis, Toni Nhleko (Ramon Nunez 72).
Then on Tuesday, the Burn advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a quality 3-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids at the Cotton Bowl, the Burn scoring all three goals in a 15-minute blitz after the hour mark.
Ronnie O'Brien gave the Burn a 60th-minute lead with a clinical finish from the heart of the penalty area, then Eddie Johnson grabbed the first of his two goals when he hammered home the rebound of an O'Brien shot that came back off the post (67).
Johnson capped off the scoring when he finished off a breakaway after he was sent in alone by Ramon Nuñez in the 75th minute. The Rapids then finished the game with 10 men when Nat Borchers was sent off.
Here's Clarke's team: Jeff Cassar, Carey Talley, Cory Gibbs, Clarence Goodson, Matt Behncke, Ronnie O'Brien (Bobby Rhine 80'), Simo Valakari (David Wagenfuhr 84'), Oscar Pareja (Ramon Nunez 74'), Brad Davis, Jason Kreis (Jordan Stone 74'), Eddie Johnson
"The only thing missing was three points," Clarke said. "I thought the boys came out lively. There were plenty of bright spots, and we did a good job creating chances."
The Dallas Burn saw their run of form dip to just one win in their last six matches, shut out for the second consecutive week in a 1-0 home loss to the Kansas City Wizards last weekend. At midweek though, the Burn rebounded to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a dominant 3-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids. The Burn fell into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with the San Jose Earthquakes with the league loss, now on 20 points from 16 matches, 12 behind the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Galaxy were the recipients of a controversial penalty to earn the draw with D.C. United in the second game of their four-game road swing.
Ryan Nelsen gave the home side the lead in first-half stoppage time, on the spot to tap home from close range after a Dema Kovalenko cross came off Jaime Moreno as he challenged for a header in the box.
But in the 66th minute, Ruiz saw a first shot blocked by United 'keeper Troy Perkins, the rebound hitting a sliding Brandon Prideaux, but referee Kevin Stott pointing to the spot after he ruled the contact was with Prideaux's arm. Ruiz knocked home the spot kick to retake the league lead with 10 goals.
"How many PKs have we had at home? I don't know," said United coach Peter Nowak. (The answer is zero, actually. United has not been awarded a penalty kick all season, home or away.)
Nowak made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Kansas City Wizards the previous weekend, also making a fundamental change to a 4-4-2 from his preferred three-man back line.
Brandon Prideaux came in at left back and Ezra Hendrickson made his first United start, on the right side of midfield, while Dema Kovalenko came back into the team after missing the Kansas City match with illness. Earnie Stewart (groin) and Ben Olsen (quadriceps) were out through injuries, while Freddy Adu was the odd man out in attack as Jaime Moreno moved forward from a scheming midfield role. Bobby Convey was also unavailable with a thigh injury.
Here's Nowak's team (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Bryan Namoff, Ryan Nelsen, Mike Petke, Brandon Prideaux (Freddy Adu 71) - Ezra Hendrickson, Brian Carroll, Dema Kovalenko, Joshua Gros - Alecko Eskandarian, Jaime Moreno.
"There was a lot of heart out there," said Nowak. "The boys want to be in first place, and soon they will be. I am proud of them. There was pretty good defensive cover on both sides."
Bryan Namoff suffered a fracture to the bone above his top teeth during the match after taking an elbow from Jovan Kirovski, but it not expected to be out of action long.
Then on Wednesday, United were dumped out of the Open Cup 2-1 by A-League neighbor Richmond Kickers. McColm Cephas scored goals on either side of halftime before Nana Kuffour pulled a goal back on his United debut.
Cephas pounced on a poor touch by a United defender before chipping 'keeper Nick Rimando for his first (33), then drove home a Joey Worthen cross first-time to double the lead in the 64th minute. The 19-year-old Kuffour - signed last week - headed home a Freddy Adu corner kick eight minutes from time but it wasn't enough.
"We were pretty bad," defender Mike Petke said. "Every one of us, except Nana, who gave us life, couldn't make one lousy pass. We're professional athletes, this is our job, and we didn't come to work. Said Nowak: "I'm extremely disappointed, no question. We're going back to work tomorrow and we will work, because we didn't work tonight."
Nowak ran out this team: Nick Rimando; Brandon Prideaux (Freddy Adu 46), Mike Petke, Bryan Namoff; Ezra Hendrickson, Kevin Ara (David Stokes 46), Brian Carroll, Dema Kovalenko, Josh Gros; Alecko Eskandarian, Jaime Moreno (Nana Kuffour 77).
D.C. United rebounded from a loss in Kansas City two weeks ago with a 1-1 home draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend - but were once again rueing the result as points lost rather than won. Then on Wednesday, United became the fourth MLS side put out of the U.S. Open Cup by an A-League club in a 2-1 loss to the Richmond Kickers. United are still second place in the East with 21 points from 17 matches, two behind the MetroStars.