Burn vs. Wizards preview

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  • Where: COTTON BOWL, DALLAS, Texas
  • When: Saturday, 7:30 pm CT
  • TV: MetroSports

    A pair of undefeated teams – one that might have expected to be there, another that perhaps didn’t – do battle at the Cotton Bowl. A win and a draw for the visiting Kansas City Wizards is maybe not much of a surprise after their performance of a year ago, but they impressed with two clean sheets in their two matches. A year ago, the Dallas Burn didn’t win a game for the first two months of the season. It took them just two games this year, following a season-opening draw with an away victory against an MLS Cup Finalist of a year ago.

    REFEREE: Gus St. Silva. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Jose Corro; 4th: Terry Vaughn
    MLS Career: 24 games; FC/gm: 36.2; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 6; pens: 6
    Games involving Burn: P6 W4 L1 T1; FC/gm: 34.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 0; pens: 1
    Games involving Wizards: P6 W1 L3 T2; FC/gm: 29.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 0; pens: 1

    INJURY REPORT: DALLAS BURN – OUT: MD Gavin Glinton (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: DF Chris Gbandi (L ankle surgery); FW Jason Kreis (L knee surgery); DF David Wagenfuhr (R hamstring strain) … KANSAS CITY WIZARDS – OUT: MD Preki (L fractured fibula/L dislocated ankle); FW Igor Simutenkov (L torn Achilles tendon); MD Stephen Armstrong (sports hernia surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Nick Garcia (R third metatarsal inflammation)

    INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

    SUSPENDED: none

    YELLOW PERIL: DAL: MD Simo Valakari (8 CP in 3 gms) – KC: DF Alex Zotinca (10 CP in 3 gms)

    HEAD-TO-HEAD

    ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Burn 12 wins (1 shootout), 47 goals … Wizards 12 wins (2 shootout), 36 goals … 4 draws

    • The two clubs come together for the first of four meetings on the season, the first of two at the Cotton Bowl. They’ll meet on May 22 in Kansas City before a July 3 encounter in Dallas, the season series concluding on July 17 at Arrowhead Stadium.

    • 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 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.

    • Four victories in the last five meetings between the teams by Kansas City has brought the overall series back to level, each team with 12 victories each and four draws.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. Stephen Armstrong leads active players on the club’s all-time leader list against the Burn, with 2 goals, 1 assist.

    • Coaches record: Dave Sarachan v DAL: P2 W1 L1 T0 … Colin Clarke vs. CHI: P1 W1 L0 D0

    DALLAS BURN

    The Dallas Burn remained undefeated on the young season when they claimed their first victory in two starts, an impressive 2-0 victory away to MLS Cup Finalist Chicago Fire in their home opener. The Burn are tied for second place in the Western Conference in a three-team logjam on four points, one off the pace of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

    • The Burn continued the woes for the defending Eastern Conference champion, who saw their scoreless run extended to four matches in all competitions. It was a welcome triumph for the Burn, who waited until May 31 for their first win a year ago.

    • Eddie Johnson finished off a lightning-quick counterattack with a snap shot over an advancing Fire ‘keeper Henry Ring in the first half (26). Then Johnson led a counter in the second half which was finished off by a long-range Bobby Rhine shot that took a deflection before sailing past Ring (70).

    • Burn coach Colin Clarke kept the same first XI that he ran out in the season-opening 1-1 draw with Colorado Rapids at the Cotton Bowl two weeks earlier. Here’s Clarke’s team (4-4-2): Scott Garlick – Philip Salyer, Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Matt Behncke – Ronnie O'Brien, Brad Davis (Oscar Pareja 89), Simo Valakari, Eric Quill (Bobby Rhine 69) – Toni Nhleko (Carey Talley 74), Edward Johnson.

    • “Any time you go on the road and get a result, especially against a rival, it's a good thing. They totally deserved it,” Clarke said. “We survived some early pressure, settled down and then were able to knock it around and take them out of their game a bit."

    • It was the first clean sheet for the Burn this season, and a year ago, they posted just four shutouts in 30 league matches.

    • It also took the club until its seventh game to reach four points a year ago, and a year ago the Burn did not claim points in back-to-back matches for the entire season.

    • "We were really tough to play against tonight. Rarely were they able to put five, six passes together because we were defending great as a unit,” said Rhine. “This is a team that really believes in one another and you could see tonight that it's a very disciplined unit. The mentality this year is totally different. It's all about team before individuals.

    • The Burn committed 27 fouls in the victory against Chicago, a season-high this year in MLS.

    • A real bright spot in for the Burn in their first two matches has been the central midfield pairing of Brad Davis and Simo Valakari. Davis had been mostly used in a wide midfield after his arrival in Dallas until this year, but the addition of the Finnish international has brought real dividends to the attack.

    • "A lot of his job now is just getting up and down the field, going box to box, and I believe he is physically capable of it," Clarke said of Davis. Burn captain Jason Kreis said Valakari’s experience makes all the difference: "What Simo's shown is he's a guy that loves to get into hard tackles and then make simple passes, which is exactly what we need," Kreis said.

    • Cory Gibbs was named to the U.S. national team for their April 28 friendly against Mexico at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

    KANSAS CITY WIZARDS

    The Kansas City Wizards remained unbeaten on the season, beating a 10-man Columbus Crew by the minimum difference on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Wizards are one of three teams tied on four points in second place in the West, a point adrift of leaders Los Angeles Galaxy.

    • Tony Meola was credited with a 50th career shutout as the Wizards eased to victory in a match that completely turned over a three-minute span just before the break.

    • Davy Arnaud gave the Wizards a 42nd-minute lead when he ran on to Kerry Zavagnin's ball looped over the defense, lobbing Crew 'keeper Jon Busch himself from just inside the area for the only goal of the match.

    • Two minutes later Crew defender Frankie Hejduk was sent off for retaliating against Alex Zotinca after the two tangled while awaiting a free kick.

    • “Defensively we have been pretty good. Teams are going to get opportunities, but we really limited the dangerous opportunities tonight. There were a couple of scary situations, but we cut them out at the last second,” Meola said. “ … We have really eliminated where we win the ball and give it right back, like we did a lot last season. We looked pretty good.”

    • Wizards coach Bob Gansler made just one change to the team that opened the season in a scoreless draw with Chicago Fire two weeks previous, forced when Chris Klein was sent off in that match. Francisco Gomez replaced Klein in the midfield.

    • Here’s Gansler’s team on the night (4-1-3-2): Tony Meola – Alex Zotinca (Taylor Graham 89), Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Nick Garcia – Kerry Zavagnin – Francisco Gomez, Diego Gutierrez, Diego Walsh (Jack Jewsbury 61) – Josh Wolff, Davy Arnaud.

    • The Crew bitterly complained that Arnaud was offside on the goal, but the flag stayed down. “When you're playing well,” Gansler said, “the luck of the bounce of the ball, or calls, goes your way. We're playing well defensively. The last time we played these guys was the last time a team had more scoring opportunities than we did.”

    • The Wizards defeated SW Missouri State in an exhibition match in Springfield, Mo. on Tuesday. Matt Taylor scored two goals, the other coming from Davy Arnaud and Chris Klein.

    • Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin were named to the U.S. national team for their April 28 friendly against Mexico at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.