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Wizards show no magic; Dallas uses Graziani’s two goals to roll over
Kansas City 4-1.

DALLAS (Saturday, June 17, 2000) -- Have the wheels come off the Kansas City Wizards’ bandwagon?

In the last two weeks, the previously undefeated Major League Soccer Western Division leaders have gone 0-2-1 in league play, and Wednesday, were eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup for the third straight year in their first game, this time in penalty kicks by the amateur Chicago Sockers.

This afternoon, it was the Dallas Burn (6-8-2, 20 points) which hammered the Wizards 4-1 before 7,912 in the rain at the Cotton Bowl with Burn forward Ariel Graziani leading the way with two goals.

"Our motto is to play hard and smart. We are still attempting to play hard, but we made some poor decisions in the second half," said Kansas City coach Bob Gansler. "We allowed them to ping in some balls to the back post. Our defense is not playing well. Overall, we were a little slow and sluggish and our decision making was a little suspect. We are looking forward to returning to Arrowhead (Stadium)."

The Wizards (10-2-3, 33 points) still have the league’s best record and stingiest defense (allowing 12 goals), but the Burn had no trouble finding net after intermission, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 triumph.

In the 14th minute, midfielder Sergei Daniv played a long through-ball to Jason Kreis, who made it to the Kansas City penalty area before being met by goalkeeper Tony Meola and defender Nick Garcia. As Meola attempted to clear the ball from danger, Graziani jumped directly in front of the ball's path, sending it trickling over the goal line for the 1-0 lead. It was only the second time the Wizards have allowed the first goal in a game this season.

"It felt good to be on the field with him [Kreis] again," Graziani told the Dallas News through an interpreter. "I feel like we worked well on the field, and we were mixing up some good passing combinations."

The Wizards knotted the score at 1-1 in the 45th minute after midfielder Preki was taken down at the top of the Burn penalty area, giving the Kansas City a free kick in dangerous territory. Matt McKeon, took the kick for K.C., sending a curling ball over the Dallas wall and into the lower-left corner of the net, McKeon's third tally of the season.

Kreis put the Burn ahead for good 2-1 lead in the 66th minute of play, beating Meola on a shot from the edge of the box. Midfielder Lazo Alavanja fed the ball to Kreis, who outpaced his marker to get a strong shot on goal which beat Meola for the striker’s ninth goal and third game-winner of the season.

Burn keeper Matt Jordan turned away a dangerous Preki free kick with a diving save in the 78th minute to preserve the one-goal advantage, and five minutes later, Graziani added his second goal, finishing off a spectacular individual effort to put the Burn up 3-1. Graziani and Wizards defender Brandon Prideaux collided at the edge of the penalty area, sending both players to the ground. Graziani scrambled to his feet to regain possession, danced through two defenders and beat Meola to the far post for his seventh tally of 2000.

Mark Santel finished off the scoring for the Burn in the closing seconds of play, putting home a Chad Deering pass.

These two teams meet again Wednesday in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium. Dallas is now riding a three-game unbeaten streak, but the Burn is winless in six games on the road.

"The first half was a battle. In the second half we were the second to the ball," Wizards forward Mo Johnston said. "The stat sheet sometimes comes out blank and there comes a time when you should not look at it. We need to go back home, train hard and take whatever positives we can out of today. We have a game Wednesday and we will fight to get three points and get back on track."

Dallas Burn 4, Kansas City Wizards 1

Lineups: Dallas Matt Jordan, Eric Dade, Jorge Rodriguez, Ricardo Iribarren, Ted Eck, Lazo Alavanja, Paul Broome (Mark Santel 68), Sergi Daniv, Oscar Pareja (Chad Deering 46), Jason Kreis (Richard Farrer 76), Ariel Graziani. Kansas City - Tony Meola, Nick Garcia, Peter Vermes, Brandon Prideaux, Chris Henderson, Matt McKeon, Kerry Zavagnin (Chris Brown 81), Chris Klein, Preki, Mo Johnston, Gary Glasgow.

Dallas - Graziani (unassisted) 15.
Kansas City - McKeon (unassisted) 45.
Dallas - Kreis (Alavanja) 66.
Dallas - Graziani (Alavanja) 82.
Dallas - Santel (Deering, Rodriguez) 90.

Total shots: Dallas 11 (Kreis 5), Kansas City 15 (Glasgow 4). Shots on goal: Dallas 7 (Graziani 3, Kreis 3), Kansas City 6 (McKeon 2, Preki 2). Saves: Dallas - Jordan 5; Kansas City - Meola 3. Fouls: Dallas 21 (Alavanja 4), Kansas City 14 (Henderson 5). Offside: Dallas 1, Kansas City 5. Corner kicks: Dallas 2, Kansas City 11. Yellow card cautions: Dallas - Alavanja 16; Kansas City - Vermes 56. Possession percentage: Dallas 43, Kansas City 57.

Referee: Paul Tamberino. Referee’s assistants: Sergio Vega, Glenn Prechac. Attendance: 7,912. Weather: 81 degrees, rainy, overcast

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