KANSAS CITY, Mo.
7:30 pm CT (HDNet; KFWD)
For the first time in a month the Kansas City Wizards get to enjoy a game in their friendly Arrowhead Stadium confines, though the road was certainly welcoming, Bob Gansler's men finishing their five-game away swing unbeaten (with three wins and two draws) and a solid second place in the West. The visiting Dallas Burn come in having answered a four-match losing streak with a four-game unbeaten run of their own, the time this year they've reeled off four matches on the trot without the sting of defeat.
REFEREE: Richard Heron. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Jose Andrade; 4th: Shane Butler
MLS Career: 31 games; FC/gm: 35.4; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 8; pens: 10
Games involving Wizards: P6 W2 L4 T0; FC/gm: 35.8; Y/gm: 2.0; R: 2; pens: 1
Games involving Burn: P4 W2 L2 T0; FC/gm: 34.3; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 1; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: MD Preki (L fractured fibula/L dislocated ankle); FW Igor Simutenkov (L torn Achilles tendon); PROBABLE: DF Shavar Thomas (L ankle sprain) ... DALLAS BURN - OUT: FW Bobby Rhine (R knee MCL sprain); GK Scott Garlick (R ankle sprain); FW Eddie Johnson (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MD Oscar Pareja (groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: KC: Diego Gutierrez (11 CP in 3 gms)
YELLOW PERIL: DAL: Chris Gbandi (20 CP); Carey Talley (10 CP in 2 gms) ... KC: Alex Zotinca (19 CP)
The two clubs meet for the third time this season, each having won at home this season. The regional rivals will conclude their season series in just two weeks, playing July 17 at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Wizards claimed a 2-0 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on May 22, the Burn falling to a third consecutive defeat. Jack Jewsbury scored his first professional goal, stabbing home a Josh Wolff cross in the 60th minute to give the Wizards the lead, then seven minutes later, Wolff pounced on a deflected cross to drive home a shot from just inside the area to double the home side's lead.
Here's the team Bob Gansler ran out (4-4-2): Tony Meola - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Vuk Rasovic (Shavar Thomas 46), Diego Gutierrez - Chris Klein, Francisco Gomez (Jose Burciaga Jr. 66), Kerry Zavagnin, Jack Jewsbury (Alex Zotinca 89) - Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff.
Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-4-2): Scott Garlick - Philip Salyer, Matt Behncke, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi (Toni Nhleko 79) - Ronnie O'Brien, Brad Davis, Simo Valakari, Eric Quill (Oscar Pareja 73) - Eddie Johnson, Bobby Rhine (Jason Kreis 17).
The Burn won the first meeting of the season April 24 at the Cotton Bowl as Toni Nhleko's 17th-minute goal provided the victory through another lightning-quick counter from the home side, collecting a long, searching ball before crossing in front of goal and rolling a shot back across which slipped in behind two defenders and Wizards 'keeper Tony Meola.
A year ago, the Wizards won three of the four meetings, splitting the two games at the Burn home of Dragon Stadium in Southlake. Kansas City won 3-1 on May 10 in Texas (Kreis 53 - Quill 12, Brown 15, Klein 66), then 5-1 at home on July 12 (Brunt 45; Simutenkov 53, 56; Quill 68; Armstrong 74 - Cerritos 63).
The Burn then claimed their first points in two years in the series on Aug. 16 with a 3-2 win at home (Vaca 30, Davis 54 pen, Johnson 71 - Preki 26 pen, Gomez 77), but the Wizards won 1-0 at home in the final meeting on Oct. 18 (Conrad 15).
The Burn have now won two of the last three meetings in the series after going six matches without a victory (three draws followed by three losses). The Dallas win a year ago was their first in the series since a 3-0 win at home on Aug. 25, 2001. In 2002, the teams played to draws in their first three meetings before the Wizards claimed a 1-0 victory in Dallas.
Dallas hasn't won in regulation time in Kansas City since Sept. 19, 1999, a span of eight matches. Their one victory since came via shootout (1999), while they also played to three draws.
Preki leads the Wizards all-time records against Dallas with 6 goals, 11 assists for his career - 5 goals, 9 assists while in Kansas City. Josh Wolff has 6 goals, 1 assist for his career v Dallas - none while with K.C. Chris Klein and Igor Simutenkov each have 2 goals v Dallas, while Diego Gutierrez has 1 goal, 5 assists.
Jason Kreis is by far the Burn's all-time leader against Kansas City, with 13 goals, 7 assists. Among active Burn players only Eric Quill and Carey Talley have more than one goal v Kansas City (2 goals each) - but none came while with Dallas.
Coaches record: Bob Gansler v DAL: P17 W7 L6 T4 ... Colin Clarke vs. KC: P3 W1 L2 D0
ALL-TIME (30 meetings): Wizards 13 wins (2 shootout), 38 goals ... Burn 13 wins (1 shootout), 48 goals ... 4 draws
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
A terrific goal from Jose Burciaga Jr. just before the halftime break gave the Wizards the lead, ripping a drive from just inside the area on a pass from Chris Klein that threatened to rip the net off its moorings as it flashed past Pat Onstad.
But the Quakes pulled level 11 minutes from time when Richard Mulrooney hammered a drive from outside the area that sailed past Tony Meola's dive and under the crossbar.
Wizards coach Bob Gansler made two changes to the team that defeated the New England Revolution 3-1 at Gillette Stadium the previous Saturday, as Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin returned from national team duty. Francisco Gomez and Diego Walsh were both dropped.
Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Tony Meola - Alex Zotinca, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas (Taylor Graham 35), Nick Garcia - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff.
"We're not satisfied with half a loaf here, but it's OK," Gansler said. "We've been crisscrossing the country for a month and I thought the team gave a good account of themselves."
The Wizards goal was an absolute cracker, and was the first professional goal by Burciaga. "I've wanted this for the last four years," he said. "Thank God it came true. I saw it well and got a good hit on it. All I tried to do was put it on target."
The five-game road trip came after the Wizards played three games on the road in the season's first two months - and failed to take a single point. The Wizards claimed three victories and two ties in their month away from home.
"It puts us up there," Burciaga said. "In order to win championships, coach says you have to get good results on the road, and we've proven that the last month."
The Kansas City Wizards concluded their five-game road swing unbeaten, hanging on for a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium on Saturday evening. Despite the quality away result, the Wizards fell out of a first-place tie atop the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Galaxy, now two points back with 22 points from 14 matches.
The Burn scored twice in a four-minute span in the first half, then survived a 16-minute period when a man down to advance to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup thanks to a 2-0 victory against the A-League Virginia Beach Mariners on Wednesday night in Duncanville, Texas.
Toni Nhleko finished off a nice buildup by tapping home a Milton Reyes centering pass on 20 minutes, then Ramon Nuqez's pass over the top to Ronnie O'Brien beat the offside trap before the Irish winger drove a shot from the top of the area.
Reyes was then sent off in the 74th minute for a second bookable offense, but the Burn survived and will now play host to the Colorado Rapids in the fourth round.
Here's Colin Clarke's team: Jeff Cassar, Matt Behncke, Cory Gibbs, Clarence Goodson, Milton Reyes, Ronnie O'Brien (Brad Davis 64), Eric Quill, Jordan Stone, Simo Valakari (Carey Talley 68), Toni Nhleko (Jason Thompson 71), Ramon Nunez (Steve Jolley 84)
"We got a result," Clarke said. "The last few years have been tough where we've had some not-so-good results, so I'm pleased."
Last weekend, the Burn extended their unbeaten run to four games, but shared the points for the second consecutive week in a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
Jason Kreis ended all the suspense early when he scored in the 37th minute, hitting home in his third consecutive match 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.
It was a classic Kreis goal: A bounding ball in the area was sent goalward by Oscar Pareja, and Kreis quickly turned and snapped a low shot past rookie 'keeper Troy Perkins inside the right post. Of his goals, it was the 30th goalkeeper he had beaten, Pareja was already among the 35 players to set his record-setting tallies, and he had hit home in 17 different stadiums since entering the league as a Burn original in 1996.
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.
Burn coach Colin Clarke made one change to the team that drew 1-1 away to the Colorado Rapids the previous weekend. Cory Gibbs returned from national team duty and came back into the back four, replacing Matt Behncke.
Here's 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
"It was a typical Jason Kreis goal," the new MLS King of Goals said. "A ball is bouncing in the box, and I'm there to finish it. It definitely won't go down as one of the prettiest goals I'll ever score."
After the match, current and former teammates greeted Kreis with champagne and hearty applause. "I think the team did a really special thing for me," he said. "I do have to thank them for that. It felt incredible to have your teammates that you fully respect and love be there to say, 'A job well done.' That'll be something I remember far longer than the goal I actually scored."
Before passing a midweek Open Cup test against a quality A-League opponent, the Dallas Burn extended their unbeaten run to four games, but shared the points for the second consecutive week in a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday afternoon. The draw kept the Burn in fourth place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 12 matches, now eight points adrift of the West-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.