Gansler to miss featured match with MetroStars because of suspension.
(Thursday, July 6, 2000) -- Kansas City coach Bob Gansler will watch from a private box Saturday when his Wizards host the MetroStars in a meeting of Major League Soccer division leaders at Arrowhead Stadium.
The 1:30 p.m. (ET) match will be televised on ESPN. The two teams finished last in their divisions in 1999 with the league’s two worst records.
Gansler was suspended for one game for leaving the designated coaching area during overtime in the Wizards’ scoreless tie in San Jose on Tuesday.
Fortunately, in Gansler’s absence, Wizards top scorer Miklos will return for his first MLS match since May 27. He missed five games while playing for Denmark in Euro 2000 and sat out of Tuesday's game because of a sore knee.
Despite playing in just 10 of the team's 18 games, the physical forward leads the team with eight goals and 17 points. The Wizards are 9-0-1 with Molnar in the lineup and are 7-0 when he scores a goal.
The two teams have clashed twice already this season, with the Wizards winning by scores of 2-1 at Giants Stadium and 2-0 in Arrowhead.
The Metros (10-7-2) are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Kansas City is undefeated at home (8-0-1), outscoring opponents 18-3 and has not lost in 15 night games (10-0-5), but the club is just 1-2 in afternoon contests. The team has not allowed a goal at home since beating Chicago 4-3 March 25, a span of eight games and 730 minutes.
Metros forward Adolfo Valencia, the club's leading scorer with nine goals and six assists for 24 points, played just 14 minutes against Dallas on Wednesday night while nursing a sore ankle. Forward Clint Mathis, acquired midseason from the Los Angeles Galaxy, has five goals and eight assists in 10 games with the MetroStars and was voted MLS "Player of the Month" in June.
Marking the MetroStars forwards will be the Wizards standout back line of Brandon Prideaux, Peter Vermes and Nick Garcia. Led by goalkeeper Tony Meola, the Wizards rank first in the league in goals against, allowing just 12 tallies through 19 games (0.63 per game), 11 less than second-place Los Angeles (23). The Wizards have already set an MLS record with 13 shutouts this year, accomplishing the feat in just 18 games.
The MetroStars are without the services of midfielder Lothar Matthaeus, who is out with a strained back. Also questionable for the game due to injuries are a pair of former Wizards -- midfielder Mark Chung and goalkeeper Mike Ammann, who were traded to Kansas City prior to the 1999 season for Meola and the now-retired Alexi Lalas.
Ammann, who is 8-7-1 with a 1.60 goals against average, is not expected to start, but will travel with the team. Taking his place between the pipes will be back-up Tim Howard, who is 2-0-1 in three starts this season with a 0.32 goals against average.
Capsule previews of Saturday’s five matches (with all times Eastern).
MetroStars at Kansas City Wizards, 1:30 p.m, ESPN.
Records: MetroStars 10-7-2, 32 points,, first in Eastern Division; Kansas City 11-2-5, 37 points, first in West.
Season series: Kansas City leads 2-0 (Wizards lead 4-1 in aggregate goals).
All-time regular-season series: Series even 6-6 (Kansas City leads 31-23 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: MetroStars - F Adolfo Valencia (9 goals, 6 assists, 24 points); Kansas City - F Miklos Molnar (8-1-17)
Did you know? Former Metros goalkeeper Tony Meola broke his own record for consecutive shutout minutes when the Wizards hosted the Metros on May 13. He later extended his new mark to 681 scoreless minutes.
Key players out: not reported.
Key matchup:: MetroStars D Mike Petke vs. Kansas City F Miklos Molnar - Molnar will be looking to regain his MLS scoring form after spending some weeks with the Denmark’s national team at Euro 2000. He is still the Wizards team scoring leader and Petke will have to be alert the full 90 minutes as Molnar has proven he can suddenly find the net in otherwise nondescript performances.
Notes: These two division-leading teams have put together two of the greatest turnaround seasons in the history of MLS. Both clubs have gone from worst to first. . . This game looks to be the best of Saturday's slate. . . The MetroStars lost the two previous matches to the Wizards and will look to make a statement about their power status in the league against the team with the best record in MLS. The Metros teams that fell to the Wizards, however, did not include Clint Mathis and Roy Myers, who have injected life into a struggling offense. . . The new-look MetroStars have improved their defense to third best in the league in goals allowed. . . It is still to be seen whether goalkeeper Mike Ammann will recover in time to play for the Metros against the team that traded him. In his absence, backup Tim Howard has been stellar in goal. . . After losing the last game played at Arrowhead, the MetroStars are on a three-game road winning streak. The Wizards had a nine-day layoff before their scoreless tie Tuesday at San Jose. . . The MetroStars have played on Saturdays and Wednesdays for the past three weeks. . . Kansas City is 8-0-1 at Arrowhead Stadium and have not lost a game in which Molnar has scored. He displayed his merciless striking abilities at Giants Stadium earlier in the season where he scored both goals in a 2-1 win for K.C.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Michael Kennedy; Assistants - Scott Weyland, Terry Mashino.
Los Angeles Galaxy at Miami Fusion, 4:30 p.m, Telemundo.
D.C. United at Dallas Burn, 8 p.m, ESPN2.
Records: D.C. United 4-12-5, 17 points, fourth in East; Dallas 7-11-3, 24 points, fourth in West.
Season series: United leads 2-0 (D.C. leads 5-2 in aggregate goals).
All-time regular-season series: United leads 7-6 (D.C. leads 33-22 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: United - F Jamie Moreno (9-4-22); Dallas -: F Jason Kreis (10-9-29)
Did you know? United's two wins against Dallas this season are its only victories in its last 13 regular season games.
Key players out: not reported.
Key matchup:: D.C. United F Raul Diaz Arce vs. Dallas D Jorge Rodriguez - United is desperate for a Diaz Arce scoring binge. But fellow Salvadoran Rodriguez has been a solid component of the Burn's back line all season and knows how to defend Diaz Arce from his years playing in the Salvadoran first division. If Diaz Arce can't shake his fellow countryman, it could mean trouble for United.
Notes: This is another direct battle in the fight to squeeze into the playoff picture. . . These two teams will play each other at the Cotton Bowl one more time in August. . . D.C. United is looking at another must-win game. . . In a disappointing three-game homestand last week, D.C. United came away with just four points, including a victory over the Burn, then was routed 3-0 in Tampa Bay Wednesday. . . Dallas turned it up a notch at home this season and is difficult to beat (7-2-1). . . While D.C. sports a 6-1 all-time record against Dallas at RFK Stadium, the Burn is 4-2 against United at the Cotton Bowl. But the two victories at RFK Stadium will give Head Coach Thomas Rongen's team hope. . . The United defense was able to shut down the Burn's offense in the most recent 2-0 victory although the Burn still had chances. . . United forward Chris Albright recorded two of his three career MLS goals against the Burn this season and teammate Raul Diaz Arce scored his first goal of the season for United against Dallas.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Tim Weyland; Assistants - Jorge Reyes, Rob Mann.
Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire, 8 p.m., Sport! TV
Records: Columbus 7-8-4, 25 points, third in Central; Chicago 9-8-3, 30 points, second in Central.
Season series: Chicago won 1-0 at home over Columbus April 1.
All-time regular-season series: Chicago leads 3-2 (goals are even 7-7).
Leading scorers: Columbus - F Dante Washington (10-7-27); Chicago: F Ante Razov (11-5-27).
Did you know? The Fire's overtime win against the Crew in the 1998 U.S. Open Cup final at Soldier Field gave Chicago the 1998 double (MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup championships).
Key players out: not reported.
Key matchup:: Columbus F Brian West vs. Chicago D Carlos Bocanegra - The clashes between these two players should be frequent as West attempts to find spaces through which to get crosses off from the right side. As in most matches, West will be extremely active, but Bocanegra should match up with him step for step. Expect left-side midfielder Diego Gutierrez to assist Bocanegra in coverage when he's not attacking.
Notes: Columbus has not built a good record this season against the Central Division (1-6-1) and its last four divisional games will be a key opportunity to rack up those important victories. . . Three of the Crew's final divisional contests are against the Fire. . . Chicago has seven more meetings with Central Division opponents. . . The proximity of this rivalry allows Crew fans to make the trip to Soldier Field. . . In their only match of the season, Chicago and Columbus committed 50 fouls and Gutierrez was sent off. . . This match will conclude a short two-game road trip for the Crew after a 1-0 loss in Los Angeles Galaxy Tuedsday. . . It's the first match of a two-game homestand for the Fire which comes home after a three-game Western Division road trip. . . Chicago has the highest scoring offense in the league and has only been shut out once. . . While the Fire had a nine-day layoff before the Tuesday slate of games, the Crew will be playing its fifth game in 15 days. . . The Central Division is the league’s tightest group with nine points separating first and last.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Alex Prus; Assistants - Kari Seitz, Richard Huber.
San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m., Fox Bay Area.