WINNERS & LOSERS: Fire burns D.C. United; Cancela saves Revs


A season after failing to reach the playoffs, Coach Dave Sarachan's CHICAGO FIRE has reached the semifinals thanks to an emphatic 4-0 win over D.C. United in which IVAN GUERRERO notched two goals, including curving left-footed 25-yard strike that befuddled D.C. keeper Nick Rimando. In the semifinal, Chicago faces NEW ENGLAND, which over came a 1-0 first-leg loss to the MetroStars and a 1-0 deficit in the second leg to win 3-2 on aggregate. JOSE CANCELA ignited the Revs' comeback when he came off the bench in the 62nd minute, scoring the Revs' first goal six minutes later and setting up the Pat Noonan for the second with a corner kick. Khano Smith struck the third goal.

STEVE SAMPSON, his job in jeopardy after a .500 regular-season record and fourth-place finish in the West, can breath easier after his Los Angeles Galaxy ousted San Jose, the league's top regular-season team. The Galaxy's 1-1 tie in San Jose gave it 4-2 aggregate win to earn a semifinal encounter with Colorado. The Rapids, playing 66 minutes with a man down, beat Dallas on penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie.

AC MILAN ended Juventus' perfect Italian Serie A run with a 3-1 win that gave Juve its first blemish after starting the season with nine straight wins. Juventus, which fell on goals by Clarence Seedorf, Kaka and Andrea Pirlo, maintains a two-point lead over AC Milan at the top of the standings.


D.C. United playmaker CHRISTIAN GOMEZ's clever playmaking and appearance in the fan section earlier this season had turned him into one of league's most likable players. But he finished 2005 in disgrace when he was ejected for spitting at Chicago defender C.J. Brown with the score 3-0. A fine volley by Jesse Marsch gave Chicago a 4-0 win, ousting the defending champs.

After falling to Colorado on penalty kicks, FC DALLAS won't be a part of the MLS Cup its new Pizza Hut Park will host. New England, which lost MLS Cup 2002, 1-0, to Los Angeles, is the last team to have a home advantage in the final. The Galaxy failed to make it to Home Depot Center finals in 2003 and 2004.

Newly promoted Wigan Athletic downed Fulham, 1-0. Fulham's American defender Carlos Bocanegra started and played 89 minutes until suffering a muscle injury while Brian McBride came on for the final eight minutes. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel got shelled as his Blackburn went down, 4-2, to leader Chelsea. Defender Jonathan Spector got his second start of the season for Charlton, which fell, 1-0, to Bolton.

In Germany, Borussia M'Gladbach, with American Kasey Keller in goal, fell, 2-1, at Borussia Dortmund in front of 80,100 fans. It ended fifth-place Gladbach's five-game undefeated streak. Gregg Berhalter and Energie Cottbus got thumped, 4-1, by Freiburg but remain second in the German Second Division.

American defender OGUCHI ONYEWU, who has two red cards in 12 games, picked up his second yellow of the season in Standard Liege's 2-1 loss to Excelsior Mouscron. Standard still has a two-point lead at the top of the Belgian Juliper League standings.

In Norway, Aalesund, whose goalkeeper is former New England Rev Adin Brown fell, 3-0, to Viking and will drop to the Second Division next season.
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