Preki's return spoiled as Wizards fall
which Ross Paule converted -- and then ripping home a shot from 20 yards in second-half stoppage time to give the Crew all three points after Taylor Graham had pulled the visitors level.
The Crew came out and dominated possession in the early part of the game, but both teams remained staunch in protecting their goal. The two teams combined had just two shots on goal in the first half -- including the penalty kick that gave the Crew the lead at the break.
The other shot on goal, and the first threat to either goal, came in the 16th minute, when Wizards defender Alex Zotinca lofted a ball into the box for Jack Jewsbury, who had run past Crew defender Nelson Akwari. Jewsbury had a golden opportunity to head home, but his attempt went straight to Crew 'keeper Jon Busch.
The Crew nearly got a lucky break in the 33rd minute when Eric Denton served a ball into the box, but Zotinca played the ball just wide of his own net after teammate Shavar Thomas knocked it down.
It took another defensive mistake in the 43rd minute to give the Crew the lead. Thomas, who battled with Martino throughout the match, took down the deft-footed attacker as he tried to round him one-on-one in the box, and Crew midfielder Paule stepped up to hammer home the penalty.
Defenses continued to reign until a two-minute spell of end-to-end soccer that led to an equalizer from substitute Graham, eight minutes after he came on.
In the 79th minute, Martino pounced on Wizards defender Nick Garcia, stealing the ball and breaking in alone on Tony Meola and the Wizards' goal. Just when it appeared the Crew would double their lead, Meola came up huge to shut down the pacy midfielder.
Without missing a beat, the Wizards quickly found Diego Gutierrez, who streaked down the left side of the field and sent a ball toward the far post, where an unmarked Graham headed home his first MLS goal to even the match.
Just when it appeared the teams were destined to share the points, Martino had other ideas. First, in the 87th minute, Martino nearly headed home a winner, but Meola was again up to the task.
It was a different story in stoppage time though, as Martino received a pass from Simon Elliott and fired the ball between Meola and the post, sending the nearly 15,000 fans in attendance into celebration.
The Crew host D.C. United Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, while the Wizards head to New England to face the Revolution also on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew)
Kansas City Wizards (9-7-5) vs. Columbus Crew (7-5-8)
August 18, 2004 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
CLB -- Ross Paule 2 (penalty kick) 43
KC -- Taylor Graham 1 (Diego Gutierrez 4, Davy Arnaud 6) 79
CLB -- Kyle Martino 4 (Simon Elliott 5) 92+
Kansas City Wizards -- Tony Meola, Alex Zotinca, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Nick Garcia, Francisco Gomez (Taylor Graham 71), Diego Gutierrez, Jack Jewsbury, Preki (Igor Simutenkov 46), Justin Detter (Josh Wolff 63), Davy Arnaud.
Substitutes Not Used: Bo Oshoniyi, Vuk Rasovic.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Igor Simutenkov 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Taylor Graham 2, Jack Jewsbury 2); FOULS: 14 (Jimmy Conrad 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Davy Arnaud 1, Josh Wolff 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Francisco Gomez 2); SAVES: 3 (Tony Meola 3)
Columbus Crew -- Jon Busch, Nelson Akwari, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Chris Wingert, Simon Elliott, Duncan Oughton, Ross Paule, Eric Denton (Jeff Cunningham 61), Kyle Martino, Edson Buddle (David Testo 71) (Manny Lagos 93+).
Substitutes Not Used: Devin Barclay, Matt Jordan, Brian Maisonneuve, Michael Ritch, Jamal Sutton, Danny Szetela.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Kyle Martino 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Kyle Martino 3); FOULS: 14 (Eric Denton 3, Simon Elliott 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4 (Ross Paule 3); SAVES: 4 (Jon Busch 4)
KC -- Davy Arnaud (caution; Professional Foul) 26
CLB -- Ross Paule (caution; Pushing, Holding) 45
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Jose Corro; Chip Reed
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:53
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.