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Graziani’s pair powers Dallas 4-2 comeback victory over Chicago.

DALLAS (Saturday, March 18, 2000) -- Ariel Graziani netted a pair of second half goals, helping the Dallas Burn erase a one-goal halftime deficit and drop the Chicago Fire 4-2 before 12,891 witnessing Major League Soccer’s 2000 opening game at the Cotton Bowl this afternoon.

The latest edition of the bitter Dallas-Chicago rivalry featured a pair of red cards and an impressive debut by one-time Bulgarian World Cup hero Hristo Stoitchkov who scored two goals in his MLS debut.

Defender Eric Dade tallied the game-winner in the 79th minute, scoring off a nice feed from midfielder Oscar Pareja. Dade timed his run down the right side, barely beating an offside trap to break in alone before beating Fire goalkeeper Greg Sutton with a low hard shot just inside the right post to make it 3-2.

Graziani had tied the match 24 minutes earlier after Sutton misplayed a long pass by midfielder Chad Deering. When Sutton couldn't corral the rebound, Graziani swooped in to keep the ball alive, and easily slotted it into the back of the net for a 2-2 count.

Graziani added the insurance goal in the 85th minute, running onto a long pass from Dade. Chicago defender C.J. Brown had misplayed the pass, allowing Graziani to storm in untouched and beat Sutton from a sharp angle to make it 4-2.

Stoitchkov beat Dallas goalkeeper Matt Jordan from 12 yards out in the 14th minute, heading in a Chris Armas pass to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Dallas answered in the 27th minute when striker Jason Kreis headed in a Chad Deering free kick, knotting the score at 1-1. In 1999, Kreis became the first player in MLS history to top 15 goals and 15 assists with 18 and 15, respectively.

Stoitchkov sent the Fire to the locker room with a 2-1 lead at halftime, breaking free from the Dallas defense after Burn defender Richard Farrer gave the ball away in his own end. Fire defender Lubos Kubik threaded a through ball past an unorganized Dallas back line to put Stoitchkov in alone on Jordan, who had no chance to prevent Chicago’s 2-1 advantage.

"I'm not surprised by the way I played, but we lost so that was bad," Stoitchkov said. "My team is disappointed, and I am disappointed but the first game is very tough."

Things then got heated in the 61st minute, when midfielders Serg Daniv of Dallas and Peter Nowak of Chicago were sent off with red cards. Daniv became entangled with Nowak, who kicked at the young Burn midfielder. Daniv threw an elbow in retaliation before several other players joined the skirmish.

Chicago played without injured starting keeper Zach Thornton who is nursing a torn calf.

The game was a rematch of last year's Western Conference semifinal series in which Dallas eliminated Chicago in three games, ending the Fire's hopes of repeating as MLS Champions. Fire midfielder Dema Kovalenko was suspended in that series for a dangerous slide tackle from behind, which broke the leg of Dallas' Brandon Pollard.

Dallas Burn 4, Chicago Fire 2

Lineups: Dallas - Matt Jordan, Eric Dade, Ricardo Iribarren, Richard Farrer, Mark Santel, Sergi Daniv, Ted Eck, Chad Deering, Kirk Wilson (Oscar Pareja), Jason Kreis (Jorge Rodriguez), Ariel Graziani (Aleksey Korol). Chicago - Greg Sutton, Lubos Kubik, C.J. Brown, Andrew Lewis, Chris Armas, Jesse Marsch, Diego Gutierrez, Peter Nowak, Hristo Stoitchkov (Dema Kovalenko), Ante Razov, DaMarcus Beasley (Josh Wolff).

Chicago - Stoitchkov (Armas, Nowak) 14.
Dallas - Kreis (Deering) 28.
Chicago - Stoitchkov (Kubik) 42.
Dallas - Graziani (Deering, Dade) 55.
Dallas - Dade (Pareja, Kreis) 79.
Dallas - Graziani (Dade) 85.

Total shots: Dallas 15 (Graziani 6), Chicago 9 (Kubik 3, Stoitchkov 3). Shots on goal: Dallas 12 (Graziani 5), Chicago 4 (Stoitchkov 3). Saves: Dallas - Jordan 2; Chicago - Sutton 8. Fouls: Dallas 22 (Iribarren 6), Chicago 15 (Marsch 3). Offside: Dallas 4, Chicago 6. Corner kicks: Dallas 0, Chicago 7. Yellow card caution: Chicago - Brown 48. Red card ejections: Dallas - Daniv 62; Chicago - Nowak 62. Possession percentage: Dallas 46%, Chicago 54%.

Referee: Brian Hall. Referee's assistants: Greg Barkey, Roger Sill. Attendance: 12,891 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Weather: Clear, cool, 68 degrees, sunny.

Tampa Bay Mutiny 5, Columbus Crew 1

TAMPA, Fla. -- Raul Diaz Arce and Steve Ralston chipped in two goals and one assist apiece, pacing he Tampa Bay Mutiny to a 5-1 rout of the Columbus Crew before 11,779 at Raymond James Stadium.

In handing Columbus its worst road loss ever, the Mutiny gained a measure of revenge for the two-game elimination at he hands of the Crew in the first round of playoffs last season. Goalkeeper Mark Dougherty and the Crew hadn't allowed a goal to Tampa Bay in 222 minutes of action, dating back to the final regular season meeting of 1999.

The Mutiny's five goals also tied the team mark set last September 4 in a 5-1 decision at New England. "Well, the fans have waited for this one a long time," said Mutiny coach Tim Hankinson, whose club dropped its last two season openers. "I think we've had a lot of criticism in openers here, but tonight was certainly a memorable performance and result for the fans of Tampa. It's certainly a confidence-builder within the locker room."

The Crew had the better chances in the first 10 minutes, but the Mutiny controlled play the rest of the way. Diaz Arce notched the game’s opening goal of the game in the 26th minute, finally snapping the Mutiny's scoring drought against Columbus at 247 minutes.

Carlos Valderrama dribbled through a pair of Columbus players and played a lead pass to Ralston on the right wing. Ralston then picked out Diaz Arce in the middle of the box for the opening strike.

Manny Lagos was a threat down the left side all night as Tampa Bay exposed the revamped Crew defense on the flanks. He made it 2-0 in the 29th minute.

Ralston picked up his first goal of the night four minutes later off a nice one-two setup from Diaz Arce and Lagos at the top of the box.

Columbus narrowed its deficit to 3-1 in the 39th minute when Dante Washington ran onto a Rob Smith through ball into the box. Washington, obtained from Dallas in the offseason, juked Tampa Bay keeper Scott Garlick to break the shutout. Washington was originally drafted by the Crew in 1996 before being traded to Dallas three games into the season.

Ralston capped off his stellar night in the 76th minute, when he finished a Valderrama cross to make it 4-1.

Two minutes later, Diaz Arce capped the scoring. Defender Kalin Bankov made a run through the Columbus box, drawing Dougherty out of the goal mouth, before sliding the ball across to Diaz Arce who slipped it into the empty net.

Diaz Arce now has 71 career MLS goals, ranking just two behind all-time leader Roy Lassiter of Miami.

Tampa Bay Mutiny 5, Columbus Crew 1

Lineups: Tampa Bay - Scott Garlick, Chad McCarty, Joseph Addo, Steve Trittschuh, Dominic Kinnear (Eric Quill 79), Ritchie Kotschau, Josh Keller (Kalin Bankov 75), Steve Ralston, Carlos Valderrama, Manuel Lagos (Daniel Hernandez 85), Raul Diaz Arce. Columbus - Mark Dougherty, Mike Lapper, Mario Gori, Mike Duhaney, Jason Farrell (Jeff Cunningham 61), John Wilmar Perez (Dominic Schell 87), Rob Smith (John DeBrito 39), Brian West, Robert Warzycha, Dante Washington, Brian McBride

Tampa Bay - Diaz Arce (Valderrama, Kinnear) 24/
Tampa Bay - Lagos (Ralston) 29.
Tampa Bay - Ralston (Lagos, Diaz Arce) 33.
Columbus - Washington (Smith, Farrell) 39.
Tampa Bay - Ralston (Valderrama, Kinnear) 76.
Tampa Bay - Diaz Arce (Bankov) 78.

Total shots: Tampa Bay 19 (Diaz Arce 7), Columbus 16 (Washington 5). Shots on goal: Tampa Bay (Ralston 2, Diaz Arce 2), Columbus 5 (Washington 2). Saves: Tampa Bay - Garlick 4; Columbus - Dougherty 3. Fouls: Tampa Bay 19 (Keller7), Columbus 12 (Smith 3). Offside: Tampa Bay 2, Columbus 3. Corner kicks: Tampa Bay 1, Columbus 8. Yellow card cautions: Tampa Bay - Keller 49, Kotschau 68, Kinnear 73; Columbus - Gori 24, Warzycha 50. Possession percentage: Tampa Bay 49, Columbus 51.

Referee: Kevin Scott. Referee's assistants: Roger Itaya, George Vergara. Attendance: 11,779 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Weather: Overcast, 80 degrees, humid.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Colorado Rapids 1

PASADENA, Calif. – Defender Greg Vanney's penalty kick midway through the second half provided the winning margin for the Los Angeles Galaxy which disposed of the Colorado Rapids 2-1 before 24,831 at the Rose Bowl, as the Galaxy recorded a 2-1 victory in the teams' season opener.

Los Angeles coach Sigi Schmid did not sit on the bench for this game, serving a one-game suspension following remarks made regarding officials after the MLS Cup `99 loss to D.C. United at Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium last November.

Ten minutes after striker Paul Bravo tied the match at 1 for Colorado with a penalty kick, Colorado defender Marcelo Balboa fouled L.A. playmaker Mauricio Cienfuegos inside the box. Vanney drilled his attempt by rookie goalkeeper Adin Brown, 21, for the sixth game-winning goal of his four-year career with Los Angeles.

"It is very simple. There is no way that was a penalty kick," Balboa said. "No way. I came up behind him and he flew to the ground."

In the 60th minute, Galaxy forward Cobi Jones collected a Cienfuegos pass at the top of the box, moved across the penalty area, and unleashed a blast that went just below the crossbar for a 1-0 advantage.

Four minutes later, Bravo snapped the Rapids' league-record 742 minutes wihout a goal with his penalty, awarded when goalkeeper Kevin Hartman bowled him over in an effort to collect the ball at the top of the box.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Colorado Rapids 1

Lineups: Los Angeles - Kevin Hartman, Ezra Hendrickson, Paul Caligiuri, Joe Franchino, Greg Vanney, Roy Myers, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Danny Pena, Simon Elliott, Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis. Colorado - Adin Brown, Lance Key, Marcelo Balboa, Chris Martinez, Scott Vermillion, Jason Bent, Kevin Anderson (Paul Dougherty 46), Jason Moore, Jeff DiMaria (Alan Woods 85), Paul Bravo, Henry Zambrano.

Los Angeles - Jones (Cienfuegos, Myers) 60.
Colorado - Bravo (penalty kick) 64.
Los Angeles - Vanney (penalty kick) 74

Total shots: Los Angeles 18 (Mathis 5), Colorado 10 (Bravo 3).. Shots on goal: Los Angeles 10 (Jones 3), Colorado 3 (Bravo 1, Zambrano 1, DiMaria 1). Saves: Los Angeles - Hartman 2; Colorado - Brown 8. Fouls: Los Angeles 21 (Mathis 6), Colorado 19 (Anderson 3, Balboa 3). Offside: Los Angeles 3, Colorado 2. Corner kicks: Los Angeles 10, Colorado 2. Yellow card cautions: Los Angeles - Franchino 8, Cienfuegos 89; Colorado - Martinez 19, Key 38, DiMaria 65. Possession percentage: Los Angeles 53, Colorado 47.

Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela. Referee's assistants: Craig Lowry, Scott Weyland. Attendance: 24,831 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Weather: Clear, 71 degrees.

Miami Fusion 1, New England Revolution 1

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Miami Fusion and the New England Revolution battled to a 1-1 draw before 8,782 in the rain at Lockhart Stadium, the first draw in MLS history.

The Revolution forced two fruitless five-minute, sudden-death overtime period with midfielder Imad Baba’s 80th minute tally off a pass from defender Ted Chronopoulos. The goal was Baba's 15th in four seasons with the Revolution.

In the 61st minute, former Columbus Crew midfielder Andy Williams registered an assist in his Fusion debut. He sent a free kick from the right side into the penalty area, where Serna flashed a header into the right side of the net. The goal was Serna's 22nd in 48 games with the Fusion. Miami Fusion 1, New England Revolution 1

Lineups: Miami - Jeff Cassar, Tyrone Marshall, Brian Kamler, Francis Okaroh, Leo Cullen, Jay Heaps, Pablo Mastroeni, Eric Wynalda, Jim Rooney, Andy Williams (Nelson Vargas 91), Diego Serna. New England - Jeff Causey, Rusty Pierce (Mike Burns 78), Brian Dunseth, Ivan McKinley, Ted Chronopoulos, Leonel Alvarez, John Harkes, Johnny Torres (William Sunsing 46), Imad Baba, Mauricio Ramos (Eduardo Hurtado 74), Wolde Harris.

Miami - Serna (Williams) 61.
New England - Baba (Chronopoulos) 80.

Total shots: Miami 15 (Serna 6), New England 12 (Harris 3, Ramos 3). Shots on goal: Miami 7 (Williams 2, Serna 2), New England 4 (Harris 2). Saves: Miami - Cassar 3; New England - Causey 6. Fouls: Miami 16 (Mastroeni 3, Serna 3), New England 16 (McKinley 3, Alvarez 3, Harris 3). Offside: Miami 3, New England 2. Corner kicks: Miami 4, New England 6. Yellow card cautions: Miami - Mastroeni 72; New England - McKinley 37, Ramos 72, Chronopoulos 74, Harkes 84. Possession percentage: Miami 47, New England 53.

Referee: Paul Tamberino. Referee's assistants: Tom Bobadilla, Jorge Reyes. Attendance: 8,782 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Weather: Cloudy, 78 degrees, rain.

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