2004 Club by Club
The Dallas Burn completed the 2004 season with a record of 10-14-6 for 36 points. Although the team did not qualify for the playoffs, they did post the biggest improvement in Major League Soccer. The 36 points in 2004 was a 13-point increase from their 6-19-5 mark for 23 points in 2003. After yielding 64 goals against in 2003, the Burn limited the opposition to 45 goals in 2004, also the biggest improvement in MLS. The team's attendance also had a 15% increase as the team moved back to the Cotton Bowl in 2004.
Over his nine-year MLS career, Jason Kreis put up some very impressive numbers. However, nothing can compare to June 26, 2004 versus D.C. United at the Cotton Bowl as Kreis became the league's all-time leading goal scorer. His goal came in the 37th minute and was his 89th career tally (Kreis finished the season with 91 career goals). It surpassed Roy Lassiter's record. Kreis' shoes, jersey and the ball from the historic goal are on display at the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York. All five of Kreis' goals in 2004 came in a nine-game span from June 12 - July 28. On Nov. 17, Kreis was traded to Real Salt Lake in exchange for future considerations.
The Dallas Burn boasted three all-stars at the 2004 MLS All-Star Game as Cory Gibbs, Jason Kreis and Ronnie O'Brien all represented their team well. Kreis subbed in at the 47th minute of the match and tallied a goal in the 89th minute for the West. Ronnie O'Brien and Cory Gibbs started for the Western Conference as O'Brien tied for the West lead with four shots. The Burn did not have a representative at the 2003 MLS All-Star Game.
Dallas Burn forward Eddie Johnson appeared in 26 matches with the Burn in 2004. Over those 26 matches, Johnson recorded 12 goals and three assists for 27 points. The 20-year old Johnson was the youngest player in MLS history to either have or share the league lead in goals. He tied for the league lead with 12 goals with Brian Ching of San Jose. Along with tying for the league lead in goals, Johnson led the league in game-winning goals (7) and finished tied for fifth in points.
Ronnie O'Brien started in all 29 matches he played in with the Burn in 2004 and finished tied for second in MLS in assists (10). O'Brien was named to the league's Best XI at his midfielder position and was also nominated for MLS Comeback Player of the Year. The Dublin, Ireland native was selected to start in his first MLS All-Star Game and was named MLS Player of the Week after contributing to three Dallas goals on Aug. 28. The team rewarded O'Brien by signing him to a multi-year deal on Nov. 10.
The Dallas Burn finished the 2004 season, ranked second in MLS in total shots (407). Only the MetroStars had more shots during the season with 456. The Burn also finished third in the league in total shots against, allowing only 362 shots against. The only two teams with fewer shots against in 2004 were D.C. United (327) and San Jose (332).
Scott Garlick set the Burn all-time record for consecutive shutout minutes at 381 from Apr.3 - May 8. Garlick opened the season in goal for Dallas, allowing a goal to Colorado's John Spencer in the 36th minute. Garlick then went on to collect three consecutive shutouts over Chicago (2-0), Kansas City (1-0) and Columbus (0-0) before yielding his next goal in the 57th minute to the Los Angeles Galaxy's Jovan Kirovski. Garlick's 381 minute shutout streak was the longest for any goalkeeper in the league this season.
Simo Valakari won the team's MVP, the Helsinki, Finland native came over to the United States for his first taste of MLS action and the Burn benefited greatly.
Consistently one of the best Dallas players night in and night out all season long, Valakari fit in very nicely with his new surroundings after playing the last four years with Derby County in England. He started all 26 matches he appeared in and played the full 90 minutes in 22 of those 26 matches.
Given to the Burn player who led the team in scoring, Johnson registered 12 goals and three assists for 27 points in 2004. After tallying just three goals for six points in 2003, he emerged in 2004 as one of the league's best young players. Among MLS league leaders, he ranked first in game-winning goals (7), tied for first in goals (12), tied for second in shots (75), tied for fifth in points (27) and tied for sixth in shots on goal (32).
Proving to be a mainstay for Dallas all season long, Gibbs wins the Defender of the Year Award in just his first season with the club.
He appeared in 21 matches with Dallas in 2004, starting in all 21 appearances and playing 90 minutes 19 times.
Defender Steve Jolley was named Humanitarian of the Year, the Virginia Beach, Virginia native came over from the MetroStars for his first season with the Burn. He proved to be one of the top team defenders on the field and always willing to help out off the field. Jolley conducted several autograph sessions, player appearances and player clinics throughout the 2004 season. He is also very active in America Scores, a non-profit, after-school program that brings soccer and literacy to public school students around the country.