MLS Playoff Team-by-Team Notes
Posted: Wed Oct 17 09:09:13 2001 EST
+MLS Playoff Team-by-Team Notes+
FUSION F.C.: The Eastern Division Champion Miami Fusion will battle the San Jose Earthquakes in a decisive Game Three matchup at Lockhart Stadium tonight ... Both teams have three points in the "first to five" semifinal series, with the winner traveling to Columbus, OH, to face the winner of the Los Angeles - Chicago semifinal series ... Midfielder Preki is tied for fifth in playoff goal scoring with two tallies ... The Fusion have thrived in close matches, with a record of 2-0 in the playoffs in one-goal games and a league-best record of 9-3 during the regular season in one-goal games ... The Blue-and-Gold had a record of 11-2-3 during the regular season and is 2-0 in the playoffs when scoring the first goal ... The Fusion posted a league-best 5-3-1 record when allowing the first goal during the regular season, and is 1-1 in the postseason ... Defender Ivan McKinley is out for tonight's Game Three due to a red card he received in Game Two at San Jose ... Forward Alex Pineda Chacon was honored with the 2001 MLS Fair Play Award, given to the player regarded as the league's best sportsman according to a vote by head coaches, general managers, players, the Professional Soccer Reporters Association and a panel of referees. CHICAGO FIRE: After dropping a 1-0 overtime result to the Los Angeles Galaxy in Game Two of the MLS semifinals Saturday night at Titan Stadium, the Chicago Fire return to the Windy City to host the decisive Game Three tonight against the Galaxy at Soldier Field ... Chicago trails one point to four in the series and needs to win Game Three to even the series and move into the 20-minute "Golden Goal" series tiebreaker ... The winner of the series will face the winner of the San Jose Earthquakes - Fusion F.C. series at MLS Cup 2001 in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, October 21 ... Fire captain Peter Nowak suffered a right hamstring strain during last Saturday's contest against the L.A. and will be out for tonight's final contest against the Galaxy ... During all Fire playoff home matches, fans can donate to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund ... Fire forward and Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoitchkov will play in Diego Maradona's tribute game on November 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina ... During the regular season, the Fire were 9-2-3 at home, 12-2-3 when scoring first, 8-1-1 when leading at the half and 9-5-0 in one goal games ... Chicago was 7-2-2 versus Central Division rivals during the 2001 the regular season. LOS ANGELES GALAXY: The Western Division Champion Los Angeles Galaxy will battle the Central Division Champion Chicago Fire in Game Three of their "first to five" semifinal matchup kicking off tonight, at Soldier Field ... The Galaxy lead the series 4-1 and need just a tie tonight to advance to MLS Cup 2001, which would be the club's third trip to the championship game ... Los Angeles has played 27 playoffs games in its history, recording 15 wins, 10 losses and 2 ties ... Those games includes two losses in MLS Cup finals and two series tiebreakers in which Galaxy won one and lost one, as well as three shootout losses and one shootout victory ... In the 1996 MLS Cup, the Galaxy came closer than ever to capturing a championship, but was defeated on a 'golden goal' by D.C. United in overtime, at Foxboro Stadium ... Forward Sasha Victorine is tied for second among playoff goal scorers with three tallies and is fourth in scoring with six points ... The Galaxy were 9-3-1 at home and 5-4-4 away from the Rose Bowl, during the 2001 regular season ... The Galaxy were undefeated at 11-0-2 when scoring first, 3-7-1 when allowing the first goal and 7-3-0 in one-goal games in 2001. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: The San Jose Earthquakes evened their "first to five points" MLS Cup semifinal series with the Miami Fusion at three points each by defeating the Fusion 4-0 at Spartan Stadium last Sunday ... Landon Donovan netted the game-winner with his playoff-leading fourth goal and added an assist to lead the team to victory ... San Jose's victory forces the series to a decisive Game Three match to be played tonight at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, FL ... The 'Quakes hold the top two spots in playoff points after four matches, as Donovan leads all scorers with 10 points (4g, 2a), and midfielder Manny Lagos is right behind him with 8 points (3g, 2a) ... Donovan is second overall in points per 90 minutes with 2.61 and Lagos is fourth with 2.25 ... San Jose has netted more goals than any other team in the playoffs, striking for 10 goals ... The Quakes have not allowed a goal in the final 15 minutes of a game since May 30 against the Colorado Rapids, a stretch of 19 games ... On the season, the Quakes allowed an MLS-low five goals in that interval and additionally were not scored upon in any of their six overtime games ... The Quakes ended the season undefeated when scoring the first goal and when leading at the half ... When they scored the first goal, the Quakes were a league-best 13-0-2 and when leading at the half, the Quakes went 12-0-2, second best in the league ... That trend has continued in the in the playoffs, as the Quakes have scored first and led at the half in each of their three victories ... The Quakes now have a combined 2001 regular season and playoff record of 16-0-2 when scoring first, and are 15-0-2 when leading at halftime ... Defender Jeff Agoos was named the 2001 MLS Defender of the Year and defender Troy Dayak was named the 2001 Ace Comeback Player of the Year Tuesday.