Jeff Cassar could not keep the Rapids off the board.
Rick Yeatts/MLS/

Burn travel to Denver to brave Rapids

Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman, Pablo Mastroeni (Jean Philippe Peguero 74), Matt Crawford - Mark Chung - Jordan Cila (Seth Trembly 85).

  • Cannon recorded his 10th clean sheet of the season in the scoreless draw, a Rapids club record, passing the previous mark set by Scott Garlick a season ago in 26 starts. Cannon had eight shutouts for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2002 when he led the club to the MLS Cup and was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
  • "Joe Cannon has been the goalkeeper of the year this year,'' Earthquakes defender Craig Waibel said. "Tonight, without a doubt, he was the best goalkeeper in the league. He's 90 percent of why that team is successful.''
  • Cannon, who grew up near San Jose and played at Santa Clara University before winning the 2001 MLS Cup with the Earthquakes, reflected on his return. "This possibly could be my final game at Spartan Stadium," Cannon said. "This place has meant so much to me, since I was a kid. I wanted to do something so the fans here will at least remember me on a positive note."
  • Although they've allowed the fewest goals in the league with 21, the Rapids have scored just 21 (also the lowest in MLS). Not surprisingly, Cannon applauds the group in front of him.
  • "I'm excited with what is happening here with the defense," Cannon said. "These guys are hard-working on the defense here, and that makes it easy. In San Jose, you had guys that were so established that sometimes that same effort wasn't there. Here, for the most part, especially the back four and defensive (midfielders), they're working their tails off."

    The Dallas Burn exploded for four goals and gained a place in the Western Conference, hammering the Chicago Fire 4-1 at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday night. The Burn leapfrogged San Jose into fourth place in the West, now with 32 points from 23 matches, one ahead of the Earthquakes but just three behind joint leaders Los Angeles Galaxy and Kansas City Wizards.

  • The 4-1 victory allowed the Burn to again lay claim to the Brimstone Cup for the third consecutive year, awarded by the supporters clubs of the two teams to the winner of the season series. Eddie Johnson struck for a pair of goals, Toni Nhleko added one and Ronnie O'Brien recorded a goal and two assists as the pacy Burn attack caused the Fire fits all night.
  • O'Brien and Johnson netted goals five minutes apart in the first half to give Dallas a two-goal lead at the interval. O'Brien opened the Burn account with a terrific individual run into the box, turning defender Orlando Perez this way and that before slipping the ball through his legs and then calmly finishing past Chicago goalkeeper Henry Ring (28).
  • Johnson then ran onto the end of a O'Brien ball chipped over the Fire back line, speeding away out of the center circle before poking the ball through Ring's legs for the Burn's second.
  • Nate Jaqua pulled a goal back for the Fire just four minutes after the break when he was unmarked to head home a Justin Mapp cross floated in from the right, then narrowly missed bringing Chicago all the way back when his first-time flick of a Damani Ralph came back off the face of the post.
  • The Burn took immediate advantage by scoring twice in seven minutes, first restoring their two-goal margin when Nhleko and O'Brien combined for a neat 1-2, the South African international receiving the return pass scooped into the box and blasting home a low angled shot (58).
  • Dallas then capped the night when Johnson grabbed his second to finish off a fine movement, Simo Valakari picking out Eric Quill with a long ball on the left, who then drove a low cross into the box where Johnson dove to head home.
  • Burn coach Colin Clarke made three changes to the team that lost 3-0 away to the San Jose Earthquakes the weekend before. Oscar Pareja and Eric Quill came into midfield for Brad Davis and Bobby Rhine, while Toni Nhleko came in to partner Eddie Johnson in attack in place of Jason Kreis.
  • Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Jeff Cassar - Carey Talley, Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien (Bobby Rhine 82), Simo Valakari, Oscar Pareja (Brad Davis 63), Eric Quill - Eddie Johnson, Toni Nhleko (Jason Kreis 74).
  • O'Brien's goal, after skipping past Perez, came from his left foot - which he called his "secret weapon." "We tease Ronnie about it," Johnson said. "His left foot is horrible, but that was a great goal."
  • Despite some anguished debate among fans before the contest, Burn supporter Kevin Lindstrom of the Brimstone Cup committee said the award will still be offered next season, even after the Dallas club becomes known as FC Dallas.
  • The Burn had scored just three goals in their previous five matches before the explosion against Chicago - all since defeating D.C. United 5-1 at the Cotton Bowl on July 24, their biggest victory of the season.

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