West a dead heat after Week 22

Burn fans had plenty to celebrate Saturday.

Photo Credit: 
Rick Yeatts/MLS/WireImage.com

in the only result that brought any movement, a 4-1 victory to Dallas that also gave them ownership of the Brimstone Cup for another year. Sunday's top-of-the-table clash in the East also ended in a draw, the MetroStars and Columbus Crew playing to a 1-1 finish.

At Gillette Stadium on Saturday, United and the Revolution held their ground on a scorching hot afternoon as both teams did little to change their form. New England came into the match with the poorest home record in the league with just 11 points from 10 games (winning three), while United had the worst road record in MLS with just one victory and four draws, good for just seven points in 11 encounters on their travels.

Matt Reis was credited with seven saves on the afternoon for New England, but the real star might have been the woodwork, which twice denied Revolution striker Taylor Twellman in the second half.

Pat Noonan whipped in a quick cross that Twellman got a snap shot to just in front of defender Bryan Namoff -- only to see it clank off the outside of the post. Then in the second minute of stoppage time, Twellman received a neat pass from Noonan in the restraining arc and hit a powerful shot on the turn, but United 'keeper Troy Perkins rose up to get a hand on the shot and tip it on to the crossbar.

At Spartan Stadium, the Earthquakes and Rapids both continued shutout streaks and unbeaten runs, but settled for a scoreless draw as well.

Neither club had allowed goals in winning their last two matches, but although those runs were continued, Colorado missed out on a chance to move into a tie for the top spot in the West while San Jose once again fell out of a playoff place.

Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon continued his remarkable season, called upon to make nine saves on the evening in recording his 10th clean sheet of the season, a Rapids club record.

At the Cotton Bowl, the Burn dismantled the Fire to move back ahead of San Jose into fourth place in the West and again lay claim to the Brimstone Cup, awarded by the supporters clubs of the two teams to the winner of the season series.

Eddie Johnson struck for a pair of goals, Toni Nhleko added one and Ronnie O'Brien recorded a goal and two assists as the pacy Burn attack caused the Fire fits all night.

O'Brien and Johnson netted goals five minutes apart in the first half to give Dallas a two-goal lead at the interval. O'Brien opened the Burn account with a terrific individual run into the box, turning defender Orlando Perez this way and that before slipping the ball through his legs and then calmly finishing past Chicago goalkeeper Henry Ring (28).

Johnson then ran onto the end of a O'Brien ball chipped over the Fire back line, speeding away out of the center circle before poking the ball through Ring's legs for the Burn's second.

Nate Jaqua pulled a goal back for the Fire just four minutes after the break when he was unmarked to head home a Justin Mapp cross floated in from the right, then narrowly missed bringing Chicago all the way back when his first-time flick of a Damani Ralph came back off the face of the post.

The Burn took immediate advantage by scoring twice in seven minutes, first restoring their two-goal margin when Nhleko and O'Brien combined for a neat 1-2, the South African international receiving the return pass scooped into the box and blasting home a low angled shot (58).

Dallas then capped the night when Johnson grabbed his second to finish off a fine movement, Simo Valakari picking out Eric Quill with a long ball on the left, who then drove a low cross into the box where Johnson dove to head home.

At Giants Stadium on Sunday, status quo was maintained atop the East when the MetroStars and Columbus Crew settled for a frustrating 1-1 draw.

The Metros took the lead after 21 minutes when Amado Guevara's wickedly bending free kick was tipped onto the bar by Crew 'keeper Jon Busch, but after he crashed heavily into the post, John Wolyniec was there to finally prod the rebound over the line from close range.

The Crew then leveled terms 14 minutes later when Kyle Martino was tripped up by center back Jeff Parke as he tried to burst between Parke and Eddie Pope in the area, Ross Paule converting the spot kick by just getting it past Jonny Walker's dive.

Crew 'keeper Jon Busch was credited with 12 saves to hold up his end of the result, but Walker will likely thank his posts. Crew rookie defender Chad Marshall hit the woodwork with a header in the first half, and in the second Edson Buddle had a low drive come off the base of the frame. Then in stoppage time Marshall saw another free header from a corner stopped, this time on the goal line by Metro midfielder Pablo Brenes.

This story was not subject to approval by Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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