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Dallas forgot to show up for MLS Western Conference final; L.A. cruises to MLS Cup '99.

By Robert Wagman

Analysis | Game Summary

(Thursday, November 11, 1999) -- Following tonight's 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Dallas Burn coach Dave Dir should have headed to Pasadena, Calif., police headquarters and filed a missing persons report. Pretty much absent from the decisive third game of the Major League Soccer Western Conference final series was the Dallas midfield.

Oscar Pareja, Chad Deering and Mark Santel did little all night. Resultantly, the Burn rarely challenged the Galaxy defenders.

Actually, to be less than charitable, the Burn's real problem was that defenders Paul Broome, Richard Farrer and defensive midfielder Jorge Rodriquez did show up. All had poor matches. The Galaxy's speedy forwards ran past them often and it was only a combination of bad luck on L.A.'s part, and one spectacular save by Mark Dodd, that kept the match as close as it was.

The Galaxy broke on top early. On what seemed a harmless free kick, Broome completely mistimed his jump and ended up knocking the ball down with his arm. The Galaxy's Greg Vanney converted the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead.

After the Galaxy went up 2-0 as the result of a series of Dallas misplays in the box, L.A. fell back into a defensive shell and was content to occasionally counterattack. But when it did, the Galaxy was almost always dangerous and eventually added the third goal.

The Burn's only goal came in the 89th minute on a rather silly penalty call. It appeared that Galaxy defender Robin Fraser played a ball off his chest in the penalty area. But referee Brian Hall, did not see it that way and awarded a penalty kick for a hand ball. Jason Kreis converted for his only goal of the playoffs.

The penalty call against Fraser was a shame because he was far away the best player on the field tonight. Time after time he turned back offensive thrusts by the Burn. It got to the point that the Burn's only real scoring threat, Ariel Graziani was forced to move out to the wing to try to gain some room to operate. On the wing he was not at all effective.

So MLS is half way to a repeat of the first MLS Cup when the Galaxy met D.C. United at Foxboro. We'll have to wait until Saturday to see if the rematch will happen.

Robert Wagman is a regular contributor to SoccerTimes and can be e-mailed at

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