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7:30 pm CT (KCAL)
Two teams seeming headed in opposite directions after last weekend's matches play in yet another six-point match in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Galaxy handed Steve Sampson his first victory as a professional club coach, their first victory in two months in an outstanding performance against San Jose. But the Dallas Burn lost for the second consecutive week, falling 3-0 at D.C. United, and now need any points they can take to maintain contact with the rest of the conference and hang on to their hopes of a postseason place.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Nate Clement; JAR (opposite): Rob Fereday; 4th: Richard Heron
MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 32.4; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 2; pens: 8
Games involving Burn: P6 W1 L4 T1; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 1.8; R: 0; pens: 3
Games involving Galaxy: P5 W2 L2 T1; FC/gm: 32.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 0; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: DALLAS BURN - NONE REPORTED ... LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Chris Aloisi (L knee MCL sprain); DF Hong Myung-Bo (L calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Jovan Kirovski (R knee tendonitis); FW Carlos Ruiz (R hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DAL: Oscar Pareja (through Sept. 18)
YELLOW PERIL: DAL: Chris Gbandi (additional 10 CP); Clarence Goodson (10 CP in 2 gms); Simo Valakari (10 CP in 2 gms) ... LA: Chris Albright (18 CP); Paul Broome (10 CP in 2 gms); Andreas Herzog (10 CP in 2 gms)
ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Burn 9 wins (1 shootout), 38 goals ... Galaxy 16 wins (1 shootout), 61 goals ... 7 draws
AT DALLAS (16 meetings): Burn 6 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals ... Galaxy 5 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals ... 5 draws
The teams play in the third of their four meetings this season, the first of a couple of meetings within three weeks after doing that earlier in the season. They'll next play on Oct. 9 at Victoria Street.
The Galaxy defeated the Burn twice in three weeks in May, winning 3-1 at the Cotton Bowl then 4-1 at The Home Depot Center on May 29 as Jovan Kirovski scored a pair of goals.
Sasha Victorine headed home a Cobi Jones cross from close range when the Galaxy took advantage of a defensive error after just nine minutes, then after the break, the Galaxy doubled their lead through an own goal after Steve Jolley headed a free kick past 'keeper Scott Garlick when battling Victorine in the area (65).
Ronnie O'Brien pulled a goal back for the Burn six minutes later when he finished off a long run through the heart of the Galaxy defense, hooking a shot home from inside the area while falling, but just a minute later the home side restored their margin to two when Kirovski headed home a Marcelo Saragosa cross that the luckless Jolley again helped over the line.
Kirovski then secured his double, converting a penalty kick four minutes deep into second-half stoppage time for his fifth goal of the campaign, tied for second in the league with teammate Alejandro Moreno and San Jose's Brian Ching, one behind still-injured Galaxy marksman Carlos Ruiz.
Here's Sigi Schmid's team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Ryan Suarez, Hong Myung-Bo, Ricky Lewis - Cobi Jones (Guillermo Gonzalez 89), Marcelo Saragosa, Sasha Victorine - Andreas Herzog (Paul Broome 81) - Jovan Kirovski, Alejandro Moreno (Joseph Ngwenya 85).
Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-4-2): Scott Garlick - Philip Salyer (Toni Nhleko 74), Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien, Carey Talley (Oscar Pareja 79), Simo Valakari, Brad Davis (Eric Quill 74) - Jason Kreis, Eddie Johnson.
On May 8 at the Cotton Bowl, the Los Angeles Galaxy won for the first time in 17 games on the road - and became the first team to defeat the Dallas Burn this season - in a 3-1 victory.
Toni Nhleko gave the Burn the lead after just six minutes when he turned home a Ronnie O'Brien pass on a well-executed short corner, but the Galaxy struck back just after the halftime break when Jovan Kirovski hit twice in eight minutes.
First he headed home a Chris Albright cross when all alone at the spot (57), then hit a snap shot on the turn from the top of the area (65). Carlos Ruiz scored his league-leading sixth goal in stoppage time, surviving a head-over-heels collision with Burn 'keeper Scott Garlick before sliding the ball into an empty net.
A year ago, the teams played to draws in the two Dallas home matches, then the Galaxy won both of the encounters at the HDC. Both matches at Dragon Stadium ended in 1-1 draws - on April 12 (O'Brien 4 - Ruiz 30) and May 17 (Davis 82 - Glinton 43).
The Galaxy then won 3-0 on June 28 at the HDC (Victorine 20, Albright 60, Ruiz 63 pen), and 2-1 on Aug. 30 (Ruiz 50 pen, Moreno 90 - Davis 12).
Before the Galaxy's two victories to close out the season series, seven of the previous eight matches between the two teams went to overtime - with only one of those seeing a golden goal (Aug. 24, 2002). The only other game from 2001 on that ended in regulation time was a 3-0 Galaxy victory on June 22, 2002.
Before the Galaxy win, the visiting team had won just once in the last six-plus years, covering the last 18 meetings (LA 0 - DAL 1 at the Rose Bowl, Sept. 6, 2000. The previous victory by a visiting team was the heaviest victory in MLS history, an 8-1 Los Angeles Galaxy victory at the Cotton Bowl on June 4, 1998.
Jason Kreis leads all Dallas players vs. Los Angeles with 10 goals, 7 assists. Brad Davis has 3 goals, 1 assist for his career v L.A. - 2 goals while with the Burn. Carey Talley has 2 goals v the Galaxy for his career, none while in Dallas.
Carlos Ruiz leads current Galaxy performers against the Burn with 6 goals, 1 assist, while Cobi Jones has 3 goals, 3 assists, and Chris Albright has 3 goals, 2 assists. Sasha Victorine also has 3 goals (and 1 assist) v Dallas, while Jovan Kirovski now has 3 goals. Mauricio Cienfuegos is the club's all-time points leader (3 goals, 10 assists), while Eduardo Hurtado is the all-time goals leader (6 goals).
Coaches record: Steve Sampson vs. DAL: first game ... Colin Clarke v LA: P2 W0 L2 D0
The Dallas Burn had the same result in back-to-back matches for the first time in more than two months, but it wasn't what the club had in mind, falling for the second consecutive weekend on the road, this time 3-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Burn remained in last place in the Western Conference with 32 points from 25 matches, but are still just two points out of a playoff place, behind the fourth-place San Jose Earthquakes.
Alecko Eskandarian hit for two goals at RFK Stadium as D.C. United moved back into third place in the East with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against the Dallas Burn, who were reduced to 10 men just after the start of the second half when Oscar Pareja was sent off.
Eskandarian - who has scored six of his nine goals on ESPN2 broadcasts including a pair of two-goal games - started the scoring just before the halftime whistle when he finished off a neat tic-tac-toe move in the area, hammering home from close range after Ben Olsen pulled back a rolling ball from the byeline.
The second-year player then doubled United's lead in the 82nd minute with another cool finish, after Jaime Moreno picked him with a pullback to the top of the area.
Freddy Adu then finished off the scoring with his fourth goal of the season as Moreno played provider for the third time on the afternoon, the former Bolivian international setting the 15-year-old free on the right with a perfectly-weighted through ball before he coolly stroked a low shot past Jeff Cassar.
Burn boss Colin Clarke made one change to the team that lost 2-1 away to the Colorado Rapids the previous weekend. Cory Gibbs returned from national team duty, coming into central defense for Matt Behncke.
Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Jeff Cassar - Carey Talley, Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley (Brad Davis 78), Chris Gbandi (Milton Reyes 66) - Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Oscar Pareja, Eric Quill - Eddie Johnson, Toni Nhleko (Jason Kreis 65)
The Burn have appealed Pareja's sending off, saying that at best it was incidental contact and not worthy of a red card from referee Ricardo Salazar.
"We're not optimistic," Clarke said. "But ... we feel strongly enough about this that we feel like we need to do something to try to put it right ... Ben (Olsen) goes in with his elbows up high, too. It's just two players going in honestly for the ball, something you see 100 times a game."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy won for the first time in eight matches (since July 10), another hard-fought California Clasico giving Steve Sampson his first victory as a professional club coach in a 2-1 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Galaxy came out of the match tied for second place in the Western Conference with 38 points from 25 matches, level with the Kansas City Wizards one behind the Colorado Rapids.
Sasha Victorine gave the home side the lead on 36 minutes. He potted the rebound of an Alejandro Moreno header from a pinpiont Andreas Herzog cross that rattled the woodwork, perfectly placed to knock the ball into the unguarded goal.
The Galaxy then doubled their lead with a quarter-hour left, Arturo Torres scoring his first MLS goal after being sent in by Peter Vagenas, slotting the ball inside Pat Onstad's right-hand post.
The Quakes pulled a goal back just two minutes with a thundering drive from Ronnie Ekelund from the top of the penalty area that crashed off the underside of the bar, just over the goal line and back out.
"We haven't won in a long time and I believe that this will add a lot of confidence heading into a critical time," Galaxy boss Steve Sampson said. "Nothing's solved yet. Confidence is the most important word for the day because they were questioning themselves a little bit. I think they found themselves today."
Sampson made five changes to the team that lost 3-1 away to the Columbus Crew the previous weekend, including a complete change of tactical scheme. Hong Myung-Bo and Danny Califf were replaced (Hong out with injury), while Ned Grabavoy and Joseph Ngwenya returned to the bench as well, Jovan Kirovski also out with tendonitis in his right knee.
Tyrone Marshall and Paul Broome came into the back four, Marcelo Saragosa came back from suspension, and Alejandro Moreno and Cobi Jones were back from international duty.
Here's Sampson's team (4-4-1-1): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Tyrone Marshall, Ryan Suarez (Danny Califf 86), Paul Broome - Cobi Jones (Arturo Torres 72), Marcelo Saragosa, Peter Vagenas, Sasha Victorine - Andreas Herzog (Joseph Ngwenya 64) - Alejandro Moreno
"This is the best game of the three that I have been a part of," Sampson said. "I thought the first half we set the tempo. I believe that we have found a system that I believe will suit us well, going forward.
"It was intentional to play a 4-5-1, but many times, Andy (Herzog) was stepping forward as a dual striker, so much of the game we were playing a 4-4-2," he said. "At times when we play with four in the midfield, it is difficult to close down spaces, but when we play with five, it is easier than when we win the ball and get players in advanced positions."
At first, it was believed Carlos Ruiz did not join the team in time for Saturday's game because he was injured in the midweek World Cup qualifier, and that the Guatemalan federation kept him in country to examine his injury. But the club has since learned Ruiz remained in Honduras to see his young daughter.
"He said he hadn't seen his daughter for quite some time, was injured, could not play in the game Saturday night, and took the opportunity to see her," Sampson said. "Obviously it was the wrong decision, but he was honest and up front about it."