United midfielder Kevin Ara got his first MLS start Saturday against the Burn.
Allen Kee/MLS/WireImage.com

Thin United falls hard in Dallas

missing six key players at kickoff -- from a whitewash. Davis and Johnson, who also had two assists, completed their doubles after the break as Dallas strolled.

United's roster has been decimated recently by a number of injuries and suspensions, not to mention the transfer of midfielder Bobby Convey to English first division club Reading. Peter Nowak's starting lineup Saturday featured five first-year players and only four who were in MLS prior to the 2003 season. The only two field players available on the United bench were acquired in the past two days.

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D.C.'s lack of depth was most evident in central defense as Burn runners found loads of space in the middle of the box and converted on their opportunities. In the 10th minute, Davis swung in a free kick from the right. United defender Mike Petke lost track of Burn defender Steve Jolley, who crashed toward the goal and hit a powerful header into the net.

The lack of able bodies in the United camp was exacerbated when Petke came off the field on the half-hour with an injury. A minute later, the Burn again exploited a gaping hole in the United back line for their second. A first-time header from Ronnie O'Brien sent Carey Talley free on the right. His low cross found Johnson streaking through the heart of the United defense, and the former U.S. youth international star deftly deflected the ball in for his fifth goal of the year.

United pulled one back in the 34th minute thanks to Dallas defender Gibbs, who headed Freddy Adu's cross from the left into his own net, but the Burn restored their two-goal advantage in the 45th minute.

Davis surged forward on a long run into the box on the left. United defender Bryan Namoff tried to cut him off, but Davis' shot deflected off the United defender's leg and looped over D.C. 'keeper Troy Perkins.

Adu went the full 90 minutes for the first time in his career and was heavily involved in the United attack, especially in the opening minutes of the second half. The All-Star rookie sent in a series of dangerous crosses and also fired a shot on goal that Burn 'keeper Jeff Cassar had to knock across the byeline in the first 10 minutes after the break.

Unfortunately for United, Adu's influence didn't result in a goal, and it wasn't long before the Burn struck again. In the 63rd minute they strung together a series of passes in the attacking end before midfielder Oscar Pareja slipped a diagonal ball through the middle of the D.C. defense and Davis easily slotted home his second of the game.

Ten minutes later, Johnson finished the scoring with his second goal of the game when he again found himself all alone in the middle of the United penalty area to finish off a fine effort by Burn forward Bobby Rhine after he maintained possession along the endline.

United return to the field on Aug. 7 at Spartan Stadium against the San Jose Earthquakes (10 p.m. ET; FSW/FSE) after a much-needed two-week break thanks to the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game, which D.C. hosts Saturday, July 31 at 2 p.m. ET. The Burn have one more game to play before the All-Star break as they host the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. ET).

MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Brad Davis (Dallas Burn)

D.C. United (5-7-6) vs. Dallas Burn (6-6-5)
July 24, 2004 -- Cotton Bowl

Scoring Summary:
DAL -- Steve Jolley 1 (Brad Davis 2) 10
DAL -- Eddie Johnson 5 (Carey Talley 1, Ronnie O'Brien 7) 31
DC -- own goal (Cory Gibbs) 34
DAL -- Brad Davis 1 (Eddie Johnson 2) 46+
DAL -- Brad Davis 2 (Oscar Pareja 3, Eddie Johnson 3) 63
DAL -- Eddie Johnson 6 (Bobby Rhine 2) 73

D.C. United -- Troy Perkins, David Stokes, Ezra Hendrickson, Mike Petke (Jason Thompson 30), Bryan Namoff, Kevin Ara, Nana Kuffour (Garlon Cannon 55), Brian Carroll, Joshua Gros, Freddy Adu, Jaime Moreno.

Substitutes Not Used: Nick Rimando.

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Freddy Adu 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Freddy Adu 2); FOULS: 16 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Kevin Ara 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Freddy Adu 7); SAVES: 5 (Troy Perkins 5)

Dallas Burn -- Jeff Cassar, Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley (Clarence Goodson 22), Matt Behncke (Philip Salyer 54), Carey Talley, Ronnie O'Brien, Brad Davis, Oscar Pareja, Simo Valakari, Eddie Johnson, Jason Kreis (Bobby Rhine 45).

Substitutes Not Used: Scott Garlick, Toni Nhleko, Ramon Nunez, Eric Quill, Milton Reyes, Jordan Stone.

TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Eddie Johnson 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Eddie Johnson 4); FOULS: 19 (Brad Davis 3, Ronnie O'Brien 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Brad Davis 1, Eddie Johnson 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Jason Kreis 1, Ronnie O'Brien 1); SAVES: 4 (Jeff Cassar 4)

Misconduct Summary:
DAL -- Philip Salyer (caution; Reckless Foul) 60
DC -- Kevin Ara (caution; Reckless Foul) 87
DAL -- Bobby Rhine (caution; Delaying a Restart) 90

Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Robert Fereday; Richard Eddy
4th Official: Brent Sorg
Attendance: 11,088
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Cloudy-and-95-degrees

All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.

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