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Between shutouts, Meola keeps steady pace with radio show, drumming in band.

Tony Meola (Thursday, May 11, 2000) -- Kansas City goalkeeper Tony Meola has always been regarded as one of the Major League Soccer's top goalkeepers, and the 32-year-old veteran has been a key component to the Wizards' unbeaten start.

After going 305 minutes without allowing a goal earlier this year, Meola currently has not permitted a score in the last 345 minutes. He is just 70 minutes shy of breaking his own MLS record which he can accomplish when the Wizards host the MetroStars Saturday night. He set the old mark of 414 while with the MetroStars in 1996.

Meola has given up just one goal in his last 650 minutes, leading MLS with a 0.49 goals-against average.

In addition to his exploits on the playing field, Meola is keeping busy off the pitch playing drums with his band "Mushmouth" and as a local radio talk-show host. Mushmouth will make a pair of appearances in Kansas City Saturday, performing a concert in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot during Soccer Celebration prior to the Wizards home game against the MetroStars before concluding the night by playing at the Hurricane night club after the match. Meola is the band's drummer.

On the radio, Meola hosts "Wizards Soccer Hour with Tony Meola" on KKGM-1250 "The Game" on Thursday night and is making frequent appearances on local radio and television programs.


The much-awaited meeting between unbeatens Los Angeles and Kansas City came and went in the form of a scoreless draw Saturday at the Rose Bowl, instantly creating a much-awaited rematch June 24.

The Wizards (6-0-2, 20 points) continue to lock down their opponents, posting six shutouts in eight games. With the venerable combination of the rejuvenated goalkeeper Meola and veteran Peter Vermes directing rookie Nick Garcia and youngsters Brandon Prideaux and Chris Klein, the Wizards seem to have found the perfect mix of youth and experience to guard the goal.

A balanced offense that has seen nine of the team's 11 starters register a point.

Against Los Angeles, the question being asked by everyone around the league was answered: "The Wizards ARE for real." With its next three games at home, Kansas City will be tough to beat, having outscored opponents 10-3 while going 4-0 at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Galaxy (5-0-3, 18 points) emerged from the battle with sizable advantages in both shots (16-10) and shots on goal (8-1), feeling perhaps they should have earned more than a draw.

Los Angeles also boasts a talented netminder, a solid defense and dynamic attackers. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is hot on Meola's tail, having posted four shutouts and a 0.72 GAA that ranks third in the league. With the lighting quick speed of Cobi Jones and Clint Mathis continuing to terrorize their opponents, nothing suggests the Galaxy will slow down either.

Capsule previews of Saturday’s matches (with all times Eastern):

San Jose Earthquakes at Chicago Fire, 4:30, Telemundo
Records:
San Jose 2-4-2, 8 points, fourth in Western Division; Chicago 4-4-1, 13 points, second in Central.
Season series: First meeting.
All-time regular-season series: Series tied 4-4 (The Fire leads 14-12 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: San Jose - F Ronald Cerritos (4 goals-1 assist- 9 points); Chicago - F Ante Razov (7-3-17).
Did you know Because of World Cup qualifiers and Khodadad Azizi's three-game suspension, this will be the first time that Ronald Cerritos and Azizi have played together since April 8 for San Jose.
Key players out: San Jose - M Wade Barrett (athletic hernia), F Ian Russell (left hamstring strain); Chicago - F Hristo Stoitchkov (groin strain).
Key matchup: San Jose M Justin Evans vs. Chicago M Peter Nowak: The youngster Evans will face one of his tougher challenges as he matches up with the experienced veteran Nowak. With the Fire offense clicking after a 3-0 rout of Miami, Evans will be the Earthquakes first line of defense before Razov and company have crack at goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
Notes The Quakes head to the Windy City armed with scoring threats Azizi and Cerritos for the first time in more than a month. Their presence is welcomed news for San Jose coach Lothar Osiander whose club has been outscored 10-2 in its three previous road matches . . . Consistency has been a problem for San Jose, as the team has yet to field the same lineup in consecutive games . . . Only Richard Mulrooney, Joe Cannon, Abdul Thompson Conteh and Ryan Tinsley have started all eight matches . . . Conteh's goal against New England was the Earthquakes' first goal on the road in the run of play in 2000 (the only previous road goal was a penalty kick) . . . San Jose will need to be wary of Razov, who in Stoitchkov's absence has erupted for five goals in his last three matches on his way to capturing back-to-back MLS "Player of the Week" honors . . . Razov notched a hat trick at Miami on Saturday, and was instrumental in helping the Fire unload a team record 31 shots against Colorado he previous Wednesday . . . The Fire will certainly help Cannon add to his league-leading 43-saves . . . The questionable status of Chicago midfielder Chris Armas will be watched closely . . . In his absence, Chicago had trouble containing Colorado's Junior Agogo, a player who presents many of the same c hallenges it'll face in Conteh.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Paul Tamberino (6 games, 12 yellow cards, 1 red card). Assistants - Richard Eddy, Cien Asoera


Columbus Crew at Tampa Bay Mutiny, 7 p.m., Sport TV
Records:
Columbus 3-5-1, 10 points, fourth in Central Division; Tampa Bay 5-4, 15 points, first in Central.
Season series: Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (The Mutiny holds a 5-1 edge in aggregate goals).
All-time regular season-series: Tampa Bay leads 10-7 (The Mutiny lead 31-24 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: Columbus - F Dante Washington (6-1-13); Tampa Bay - F Mamadou Diallo (5-0-10).
Did you know Tampa Bay F Raul Diaz Arce has 12 goals and two assists in 14 regular season games against the Crew during his four-team MLS career.
Key players out: Columbus - M Brian Maisonneuve (reconstructive ankle surgery). Tampa Bay - F Alan Prampin (chronic pelvic pain - injured reserve).
Key matchup: Columbus M John DeBrito vs. Tampa Bay M Carlos Valderrama - Columbus will be looking for revenge after a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Mutiny in the season opener. The key to the visitor's chances will be DeBrito's ability to shut down Valderrama and the Mutiny attack which has been devastating at home.
Notes The Crew makes its second trip to Raymond James Stadium, looking to avenge a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on March 18 . . . The Black-and-Gold faces the unenviable task of shutting down the Mutiny, which is 5-0 at home, outscoring their its 17-4 in the process . . . Looking to rebound from a disappointing 2-0 loss at home to the MetroStars, Columbus is desperately in need of some offense. Washington, the team's top scorer with six goals and one assist, sat out against the Metros as a precautionary measure after his car was rear-ended the day before the game . . . He should be ready for Saturday, along with goaleeper Mark Dougherty, who sat out the game after aggravating a hip injury suffered in the Crew's midweek victory over D.C. United . . . Valderrama tallied three assists in one of his best MLS performances in a 3-1 win vs. Dallas on Saturday, springing Diallo for two goals . . . Diallo started in place of Diaz Arce who had joined El Salvador for its World Cup qualifier . . . Diaz Arce's return for this weekend will force Tampa Bay coach Tim Hankinson to sit one of his two scoring threats, or change to a two-striker formation, which the club has gone to sparingly this season . . . Defender Ansil Elcock returns for the Crew after missing last week's loss to the MetroStars to play with Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup qualifying.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Kevin Terry (0 games in the middle this season). Assistants - Scott Weyland, Tarek Khan


New England Revolution at D.C. United, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Records:
New England 2-2-4, 10 points, tied for first in Eastern Division; D.C. United 2-6-1, 7 points, fourth in East.
Season series: New England leads 1-0 (The Revs lead 2-1 in aggregate goals).
All-time regular season series: United leads 11-6 (United leads 27-22 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: New England - M Imad Baba (3-1-7); United - F Jaime Moreno (7-1-15).
Did you know This is the latest in the season the Revs have ever occupied first place of their respective division.
Key players out: New England - F Fabio Zuniga (MCL sprain - injured reserve); United - D Eddie Pope (knee surgery), M Ben Olsen (groin strain).
Key matchup: New England M Mauricio Ramos vs. United M Richie Williams - Ramos excelled last week when given the keys to the Revs offense, while the normally steady Williams has been questioned by some with United struggling.
Notes Perhaps the week's most intriguing matchup sends the Revs to RFK Steadium, where they'll battle a struggling United . . . New England has made a habit of playing tight games this season, as evidenced by their four draws, and four one-goal games (2-2) . . . One of those close wins came at United's expense on April 15, when Imad Baba rang a right-footed blast off the post to give the Revs an overtime win at Foxboro Stadium . . . United's normally sound defense has allowed 21 goals, 11 more than New England's back line which was regarded as suspect by many prior to the start of the season . . . United rebounded from a shocking loss to Columbus courtesy of a late own goal, to dominate Colorado to the tune of 5-2 at Mile High Stadium last Saturday. On Wednesday, United’s fortunes turned down again with a 1-0 loss, more costly because star midfielder Marco Etcheverry left at half with a hamstring injury . . . With regulars John Harkes and Leonel Alvarez questionable to begin the week, New England's midfield may lose some consistency, which to this point, has been the team's biggest asset . . . Look for Carlos Parra to fill in for Harkes . . . New England modeled a new look in a 2-1 win over San Jose Saturday, in which playmaker Mauricio Ramos made his first start in his natural center midfielder position. The Bolivian responded by netting a goal and an assist, showing that perhaps his creative influence could be the punch the Revs struggling offense needs . . . Thiw will be United’s fourth match in two weeks, which could find the defending champion a bit tired, especially factoring in injuries and various national team commitments which have stripped the team's roster in recent weeks.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Tae Young Kim (2 games, 3 yellow cards, 1 red card). Assistants - Craig Lowry, Robert Fereday.


MetroStars at Kansas City Wizards, 8:30, Madison Square Garden.
Records:
Kansas City 6-0-2, 20 points, first in Western Division. MetroStars 3-5, 9 points, third in East.
Season series: Kansas City leads 1-0 (Wizards lead 2-1 on aggregate goals).
All-time regular-season series: Kansas City leads 7-4 (Wizards lead 21-13 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: MetroStars - F Adolpho Valencia (3-3-9); Kansas City - F Miklos Molnar (5-1-11).
Did you know The Wizards have only trailed for seven minutes this season, from the 25th minute to the 32nd minute on April 19 against the MetroStars.
Key players out: MetroStars: D Mark Semioli (calf strain - injured reserve); Kansas City - none.
Key matchup: MetroStars F Adolfo Valencia vs. Wizards D Peter Vermes - With "El Tren" Valencia rumbling down the middle of the field, a very large confrontation awaits when he meets Vermes, who holds down the center of the Wizards defense. Between Vermes, M Matt McKeon, and D Chris Klein, the Wizards have more than enough big bodies to make it a rough go for Valencia.
Notes Kansas City and the MetroStars will face off for the second time this season, after the Wizards claimed the first meeting by a score of 2-1 on April 19, in the triumphant return of Tony Meola to his former home, Giants Stadium K.C. used two goals by Miklos Molnar, to come back from a 1-0 deficit . . . Led by Meola, MLS's all-time leader in shutouts (27), the Wizards have posted six clean sheets in eight games this season, allowing a league low four goals . . . Its not all defense for the Wizards though, as the team features an attack with four players who rank among the top 20 scorers in MLS: Molnar (5-1-11); Mo Johnston (3-4-10); Klein (3-2-8) and Preki (2-4-8) . . . The Wizards have also been tough at home, going 4-0-0, while outscoring their opponents 10-3 at Arrowhead Stadium, where the team will play three games in the next eight days . . . The MetroStars travel west looking for a team-record third consecutive road victory . . . The influence of midfielder Tab Ramos has steadied the Metros, who possessed the ball much better in a 2-0 win at Columbus last weekend. Valencia tallied both goals for the MetroStars, in his first game back following a red-card suspension . . . The game will feature two ex-Wizards (Mike Ammann and Mark Chung) on the MetroStars roster and three ex-MetroStars (Meola, Vermes and Kerry Zavagnin) on the Wizards roster . . . The first meeting this season was not as lopsided as might be perceive. Only poor finishing on the Metros' part kept them from equalizing or taking a two-goal lead early on, as the Wizards managed only a 14-12 advantage in shots and a 3-2 edge in shots on goal.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Ricardo Valenzuela (2 games, 9 yellow cards). Assistants - Sharon Wheeler, Richard Huber


Los Angeles Galaxy at Dallas Burn, 8:30, KCAL, FOX Southwest
Records:
Los Angeles 5-0-3, 18 points, second in Western Division. Dallas 4-4, 12 points, third in Central).
Season series: Los Angeles leads 1-0 (The Galaxy leads 2-1 in aggregate goals).
All-time regular season series: Los Angeles leads 11-6 (The Galaxy lead 39-24 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: Los Angeles - F Cobi Jones (4-2-10); Dallas - F Ariel Graziani (6-0-12).
Did you know F Jason Kreis has registered at least one point in five of Dallas' eight games.
Key players out: Los Angeles - none; Dallas - Graziani (red-card suspension), M Chad Deering (card points suspension).
Key matchup: Los Angeles M Mauricio Cienfuegos vs. Dallas M Ted Eck - The Galaxy offense clearly runs through Cienfuegos. With the Dallas midfield already missing Deering, Eck's ability to win the ball and transition to Kreis and Oscar Pareja will be a telling factor in keeping the ball away from Cienfuegos and the lethal attacking duo of Clint Mathis and Cobi Jones.
Notes The former Western Conference rivals meet for the second time this year after L.A. captured the first meeting 2-1 on April 15 at the Rose Bowl . . ... The Burn has currently won three consecutive over the Galaxy at the Cotton Bowl . . . Los Angeles keeper Kevin Hartman extended his shutout streak to 297 minutes after completing his fourth clean sheet of the season against Western Division leader Kansas City in a 0-0 draw last weekend . . . After traveling to Tampa Bay with only two true defenders, Dallas again must scramble to fill holes after Graziani was red carded in the loss to Tampa Bay . . . Look for second-year forward Bobby Rhine to potentially get the start . . . Compounding Dallas' problems, Deering will also be required to miss the match after accumulating 11 card points in three consecutive appearances . . . Some relief will be provided by the return of defenders Jorge Rodriguez, and Eric Dade. Rodriguez missed the match at Tampa to be with El Salvador's national team, while Dade missed the match with a lower back strain . . . The undefeated Galaxy is second place, two points back of Kansas City . . . Dallas is expecting its largest crowd of the young season at the Cotton Bowl, with more than 10,000 tickets already sold by the beginning of the week . . . A heated rivalry is expected between these two teams, which have met in the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, including a three-game battle in last year's Western Conference final.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Gerry Corrie (3 games, 12 yellow cards). Assistants - Sergio Vega, Misail Tsapos.


Miami Fusion at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m.
Records:
Miami 2-3-4, 10 points, tied for first in the Eastern Division; Colorado 4-5, 12 points, third in West.
Season series: First Meeting.
All-time regular season series: Series tied 2-2 (Rapids lead 9-6 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers Miami - F Diego Serna (2-1-5); Colorado - F Junior Agogo (3-3-9).
Did you know Fusion defender Tyrone Marshall was a first-round selection of the Rapids in the 1998 college draft. He made one appearance before coming to the Fusion along with Jason Boyce in a midseason trade for D\M David Vaudreuil.
Key players out: Colorado - M Ross Paule (knee strain-injured reserve), M Anders Limpar (hamstring strain - injured reserve), D Lance Key (groin strain); Miami - M Andy Williams (Jamaican national team), G Jeff Cassar (groin strain), F Eric Wynalda (achilles tendon).
Key matchup: Miami M Pablo Mastroeni vs. Colorado M Paul Bravo - Mastroeni will need to have a superb game to limit the number of chances Bravo can provide for Jorge Dely Valdes and Junior Agogo. Already struggling offensively, even in its 1-0 overtime vicory over D.C. United on Wednesday, if Miami is unable to transition the ball forward, its goal drought will continue. The Fusion has netted a league-worst six goals.
Notes A favorable matchup on paper awaits the Rapids, who look to recover after a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of D.C. United Saturday . . . The home team has won every match in series history, and Colorado has outscored the Fusion 7-1 in two games at Mile High Stadium . . . This will be Miami's second match under new coach Ray Hudson, who is 1-0 after Wednesday’s win . . . Saturday's match may be the closest Colorado has come to fielding its first choice starting 11 with both Joey DiGiamarino and Jorge Dely Valdes expected to play . . . DiGiamarino has missed most of the season with a groin strain while Dely Valdes has been in and out of the lineup because of commitments with the Panama’s national team . . . Even with the pair available, starters Ross Paule and Anders Limpar remain sidelined . . . The Rapids' dynamic attackers Dely Valdes and Agogo have seven goals between them in limited time playing together this season . . . The Fusion will also miss the midfield presence of Williams who will be with Jamaica's national team.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Sandra Hunt (1 game, 5 yellow cards, 1 red card). Assistants - Tom Bobadilla, David Bragg.

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