1998 Club by Club
The Burn finished the 1998 season with a record of 15-17, the first sub-.500 season in team history. Dallas started out of the gates quickly, going 3-0 for the best start in franchise history. Unfortunately, the team enjoyed only three other winning streaks on the season; a two-game streak in late July, a three-game streak in late April-early May and a two game winning streak to end the season. The Burn's biggest slump of the season occurred from June 4 - July 25, when the team went nine consecutive games without registering a regulation victory. It was during that stretch that Dallas matched its longest losing streak in team history (4) and set a team record for most consecutive home losses (4) to start the month of July. A major factor contributing to Dallas' summer swoon was a rash of injuries never before seen in team history when the Burn had as many as six starters out at one time. Despite the injuries and the summer slump, the team rallied and clinched a playoff spot with a thrilling 1-0 victory at Kansas City on September 19.
Jason Kreis' six game-winning goals surpassed the previous record of four set by Dante Washington in '97. Kreis tied the team record for assists in a season with eight, equaling Alain Sutter's feat from the '97 season. Mark Dodd tied the team record for saves in a game with 12 in Dallas' 1-0 playoff-clinching victory at Kansas City on Sept. 19. Dodd also recorded 12 saves in a game in '96. Dodd's six shutouts tied the team record he set in '96. The 36 shots registered by the Burn in a 2-1 loss at Miami on August 19 shattered the previous record of 22 set in '96.
The additions of Chad Deering and Oscar Pareja provided the extra boost that the Burn needed late in the season. Prior to Deering's arrival to the team on July 2, the team was conceding 2.4 goals per game. In the 15 games with him at sweeper, the team conceded only 1.2 goals per game. Deering's work, however, was not just limited to the defensive half of the field. He also scored three goals, including one game-winner, and registered one assist. Pareja proved to be an equally important acquisition to the club. In just six games with the team, he registered two game-winning assists.
In his second season with the Burn, midfielder Jorge Rodriguez proved to be the team's catalyst. Rodriguez, nicknamed Zarco, which means "green-eyed one" in Spanish, played in 30 of the team's 32 games in '98, and was the fourth leading scorer on the squad with four goals and two assists. For his accomplishments, he was voted the winner of the Honda Most Valuable Player award as well as the BIC Defender of the Year for the Burn and was voted to Soccer America's Top 11 Team.
For the third consecutive season, Burn goalkeeper Mark Dodd proved to be one of the top goalies in the league and for the third straight year was one of three finalists for Goalkeeper of the Year honors. Despite missing the first six games of the season after suffering a broken bone in his right hand in the preseason, Dodd still finished third in the league in saves (134), fourth in shutouts (6) and fifth in catches/punches with 102. He was second in the league in save average (5.47/game) and second in save ratio (3.19).