important for the moment as whichever clubs lead the conference tables after the games of next weekend will see their coaching staffs guide their respective teams in the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game.
And also on Saturday, Dallas Burn striker Jason Kreis became the league's new all-time leading goal scorer, hitting for his 89th career goal at the Cotton Bowl in a 1-1 draw with D.C. United.
Week 13 started with a midweek match between the current conference leaders, though neither were alone atop either division when Wednesday's game began at The Home Depot Center. The MetroStars moved into first place in the East with a dominant 3-0 victory, the heaviest-ever defeat suffered by the Galaxy at the HDC, and the first time Los Angeles had been shut out this season.
The MetroStars hit for three spectacular goals: Amado Guevara opening their account with a blistering drive from well outside the penalty area (16), then twice playing provider for 17-year-old Eddie Gaven.
First Gaven collected a pass after Guevara sliced through the penalty area, slipping around a defender before beating Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman from close range (39). Four minutes later, Gaven then skipped through a tackle at the top of the box before curling a masterful shot inside Hartman's right-hand post.
But then at the weekend, it all turned upside down for the Metros, as they lost 2-1 to the bottom-dwelling New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Goalkeeper Adin Brown made a trio of top-drawer saves to preserve the scoreless draw in the first half, then after he was injured, Matt Reis came on in the second and also kept the visitors at bay.
The Revolution then struck twice in three minutes on lightning counter attacks, first Felix Brillant scoring his first MLS goal after racing through the Metro rearguard and surprising 'keeper Jonny Walker with an instinctive shot in the area (64), then Clint Dempsey claiming a pass from Pat Noonan and rounding a defender and Walker in the area before slotting home.
The MetroStars pulled a goal back in stoppage time when Guevara converted from the penalty spot after Reis upended Gaven deep in the area.
But the MetroStars remained atop the East after the Galaxy claimed top spot in the West on Sunday with a 1-0 victory against the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field -- who had been atop the East coming into the week.
The Galaxy's defending set the stage for the victory -- center back Ryan Suarez clearing two balls off the line in the first half -- then a wonder goal from Jovan Kirovski 11 minutes from the end provided the margin of victory.
Fire 'keeper Henry Ring came racing out of his area to clear a long ball, getting it only as far as Kirovski in the center circle, and the U.S. international drove the ball back first-time over the retreating Ring and into the unguarded goal from all of 50 yards.
Los Angeles was able to reclaim the lead in the West -- and in the MLS overall table -- when the Kansas City Wizards drew 1-1 with the San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium to conclude their five-game road swing unbeaten.
A terrific goal from Jose Burciaga Jr. just before the halftime break gave the Wizards the lead, ripping a drive from just inside the area on a pass from Chris Klein that threatened to rip the net off its moorings as it flashed past goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
But the Quakes pulled level 11 minutes from time when Richard Mulrooney hammered a drive from outside the area that sailed past Tony Meola's dive and under the crossbar.
On Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, Kreis ended all the suspense early when he scored in the 37th minute, hitting home in his third consecutive match to claim the all-time lead on the MLS goalscoring chart and surpass the mark set by Roy Lassiter with four teams from 1996-2002.
It was a classic Kreis goal: A bounding ball in the area was sent goalward by Oscar Pareja, and Kreis quickly turned and snapped a low shot past rookie 'keeper Troy Perkins inside the right post. Of his goals, it was the 30th goalkeeper he had beaten, Pareja was already among the 35 players to set his record-setting tallies, and he had hit home in 17 different stadiums since entering the league as a Burn original in 1996.
But D.C. United's Alecko Eskandarian scored for the third time in two games early in the second half to provide the equalizer (58). Bobby Convey drove a low cross into the area from the left and Eskandarian came sliding in to poke the ball over the line from the goalmouth.
At Crew Stadium, the Colorado Rapids got a much-needed three points as they sent the home-standing Columbus Crew to a second consecutive defeat with a 2-1 triumph.
Jean-Philippe Peguero tapped home a cross in the heart of the box to put the Rapids ahead on 37 minutes, then just before halftime, Eric Denton turned a low centering pass into his own goal to double the Colorado advantage.
Edson Buddle drove home a shot from the heart of the area to pull a goal back for the Crew in the 89th minute, then the visitors escaped with the full three points when Chris Henderson cleared a header off the line in the dying moments of the match.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.