Weekly update: Playoffs on the line
DO OR DIE TIME FOR DALLAS AND SAN JOSE:
The Dallas Burn will host the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in a match that will determine the Western Conference's fourth and final playoff spot. Dallas (10-14-5, 35 points) currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference while San Jose (9-10-10, 37 points) is in fourth. If the Burn win Saturday's match they will surpass San Jose with 38 points and clinch the fourth playoff spot, however if Dallas ties or loses on Saturday then San Jose will be on to the MLS playoffs.
BURN/EARTHQUAKES SERIES NOTES:
The Burn and the Earthquakes have met three times this year, with San Jose taking two of the first three matches. In the two teams first match, San Jose downed the Burn by a 2-1 final on May 15 in Dallas. The Burn then traveled to Northern California and beat San Jose by the same 2-1 score on July 7. In their third match of the season, the Earthquakes shutout Dallas 3-0 in San Jose on August 21. Despite being 13-18-0 all-time versus San Jose, the Burn has posted an 8-7-0 mark against the Earthquakes in Dallas. After going 6-2-0 against San Jose through the first two seasons of play (1996-97), the Burn has gone 1-6-0 over the last two years. Dallas' 2-1 win on July 7 in San Jose this season snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Earthquakes. Jason Kreis leads all Burn scorers versus San Jose in goals (6), points (16), shots (69) and shots on goal (31).
JOHNSON STILL IN HUNT FOR GOLDEN BOOT HONORS; SCORES GOAL IN FIRST U.S. NATIONAL TEAM MATCH:
Eddie Johnson has scored 11 goals this season, tying him with Edson Buddle of Columbus, Brian Ching of San Jose, Pat Noonan of New England, Damani Ralph of Chicago and Carlos Ruiz of Los Angeles for the MLS lead. Heading into Saturday's match with San Jose both Johnson and Ching of San Jose are in the hunt for the league's "Golden Boot" honor given to the player with the most goals scored during the regular season.
After being called up to play for the U.S. national team on Saturday in their World Cup qualifying match at El Salvador, Johnson subbed for Brian McBride in the 71st minute in his first career match with the U.S. National Team. Just four minutes later, Johnson scored and gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead over El Salvador that they would retain for the remainder of the match.
BURN FANS CAN WIN THE JERSEY OFF THEIR FAVORITE PLAYERS BACK ON SATURDAY:
All fans attending the Burn's match on Saturday against San Jose will have a chance to win the actual match worn jersey off the back of their favorite Dallas player at the conclusion of the contest. Winning fans will be selected during the game and will receive their jersey from the player immediately following the match. All fans are encouraged to stick around after the game as the team will also announce the Dallas Burn Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year selected by league officials.
Eric Quill - Right hamstring strain - Questionable
Steve Jolley - Right ankle sprain - Probable