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KANSAS CITY, Mo.
7:30 pm CT (HDNet; FSN-NE)
Both teams have the opportunity to rebound quickly from disappointing losses in this week's midweek special. The Kansas City Wizards have yet to get a point - or score - away from home after their loss to the MetroStars on Sunday, with this match having even more importance as a five-match road swing looms. The New England Revolution were the only Eastern Conference side to go down to defeat last weekend, falling 1-0 to D.C. United to lose contact with the rest of the East, also potentially suffering a more long-term loss with the injury to striker Taylor Twellman.
REFEREE: Ramon Hernandez. SAR (bench): Emiliano Monje; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Roni Canales
MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 0
Games involving Wizards: first game
Games involving Revolution: first game
INJURY REPORT: KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: MD Preki (L fractured fibula/L dislocated ankle); FW Igor Simutenkov (L torn Achilles tendon) ... NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); DF Rusty Pierce (R quadriceps contusion); DOUBTFUL: FW Taylor Twellman (R hamstring); DF Brian Kamler (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: none
The clubs face off for the first time in three meetings this season, but the only one in Kansas City. They'll play again in a few weeks at Gillette Stadium (June 19), before the final meeting of the season on Aug. 21, also in Foxborough.
A year ago, the teams played to a pair of draws 17 days apart in a home-and-home matchup. At Arrowhead Stadium on May 14, the Revolution came back to snatch a last-gasp 1-1 draw with the Wizards thanks to a Taylor Twellman goal (Simutenkov 69 - Twellman 90), but then on May 31, the Wizards scored two late goals to grab a 2-2 draw at Gillette Stadium (own goal 44; Kamler 63 - Preki 72, 83)
The Revolution haven't defeated the Wizards in seven meetings. Before last year's draws, the Wizards had won five consecutive encounters between the two clubs; the last New England victory came on July 19, 2000 in Kansas City - the final game in a three-match Revs winning streak.
Late goals have been a trend in the all-time series. More than half of the goals scored in the series (27 of 51) have come in the final half hour, and of those, nearly a third (16) have come in the final 15 minutes.
Preki is the Wizards all-time leader in games against New England, with 8 goals, 5 assists while in Kansas City (9 goals, 7 assists for his career v the Revolution). Chris Klein and Igor Simutenkov are next among current Wizards, each with 3 goals, 2 assists v New England. Only Josh Wolff, Shavar Thomas and Kerry Zavagnin have also scored against New England.
Just two players - Joe-Max Moore and Taylor Twellman - have more than one goal for the Revolution against the Wizards, and they each have just two. Moore is the club's all-time leader with 2 goals, 3 assists v Kansas City, while Twellman has 2 goals, 1 assist. Steve Ralston has 1 goal, 8 assists for his career against the Wizards, just 3 assists while with New England.
Coaches record: Bob Gansler v NE: P9 W5 L2 T2 ... Steve Nicol vs. KC: P4 W0 L2 D2
ALL-TIME (18 meetings): Wizards 10 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals ... Revolution 6 wins (1 shootout), 22 goals ... 2 draws
AT ARROWHEAD STADIUM: Wizards 6 wins (1 shootout), 13 goals ... Revolution 2 wins, 8 goals ... 1 draws
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The MetroStars finally broke down a stubborn Wizards defense, John Wolyniec diving to head home the rebound of an Eddie Gaven shot that came back off the face of the crossbar 17 minutes from time.
The victory snapped a five-match winless run for Metro after two victories to begin the season, while the Wizards are still winless and goalless away from home in three matches this season.
"We just kind of lost some concentration on one set piece and it caught us," said Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad. "We gave up another soft goal on the road. Every game on the road we've given up a soft goal and it's a habit we need to stop."
Wizards coach Bob Gansler made two changes to the team that defeated the Dallas Burn 2-0 at home the weekend before. Shavar Thomas returned to central defense in place of Vuk Rasovic, while Jose Burciaga came into the team at left back, Diego Gutierrez moving forward into midfield as Francisco Gomez was relegated to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Tony Meola - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Diego Gutierrez - Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Jack Jewsbury (Diego Walsh 77), Jose Burciaga Jr. (Francisco Gomez 85) - Josh Wolff, Davy Arnaud (Matt Taylor 80).
Once again, Conrad needed medical attention during a match at Giants Stadium. During a midweek matinee last year - when temperatures on the field soared over the 120-degree mark - Conrad suffered heat exhaustion late in extra time and needed an IV. This time, he took an elbow under his right eye just before halftime, but returned to complete the match despite a bandage over a laceration.
"Bad luck ... New York's got my number in terms of injuries," Conrad said. "At least last year we got a point out of it. This year it hurts a little more."
The lack of production on the road could be even more troubling with the Wizards facing five consecutive road match after the midweek home match against the Revolution. They will not play at Arrowhead Stadium again for more than a month, their next scheduled home game July 3 v Dallas.
"We have to keep creating opportunities and we had the possibilities to score a goal and weren't successful at it," said Gansler. "As long as we create the opportunities... we did in this game and we did in the Dallas game."
The Wizards are unbeaten in their last eight regular season games at home (6-0-2). Including the postseason, the Wizards unbeaten streak is nine games. Their last loss at home was 9/20/03, a 4-1 decision to San Jose.
The Kansas City Wizards once again failed to come away with anything on the road on Sunday evening, falling 1-0 to the MetroStars for their third loss in three games on their travels. Still, with all those around them also losing at the weekend, the Wizards are still in third place in the Western Conference with 11 points from eight matches, now seven points behind the West-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Revolution defender Brian Kamler turned a low cross into his own goal after just five minutes to give his former club the game's only goal as Taylor Twellman endured a rough night, missing a second-half penalty kick before being injured.
Then in the second half, Twellman saw his goal-scoring drought extended when he pushed his penalty wide though United rookie goalkeeper Troy Perkins guessed correctly with his dive.
Things went from bad to worse for the New England striker later in the match when he was taken from the field with a strained right hamstring, having now gone 561 minutes without scoring. His status is still being re-evaluated by the team's medical staff.
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made one change to the team that drew 1-1 with the MetroStars the Saturday before, Marshall Leonard coming in on the left side of the back three for Avery John.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Brian Kamler, Marshall Leonard - Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Joe Franchino - Jose Cancela (Felix Brillant 46) - Taylor Twellman (Andy Dorman 70), Pat Noonan.
Then at halftime, Nicol made a major move, bringing on recent signing Felix Brilliant for Jose Cancela. Brillant moved to the right flank while Steve Ralston moved into the central playmaking role.
"In the first half, we didn't turn up," Nicol said. "If we were going to play that way, then we have to give (Cancela) the ball. We clearly weren't going to do that. In the second half, we played with heart but we didn't play with a brain. We didn't pass the ball well and we didn't move well. If your passing is not on and you don't move well, you are going to have problems, no matter what formation you are in."
Said Twellman: "Even though we have a lot of the ball, we are not going anywhere with it. We are all frustrated and we are showing our frustration. It starts up front with me and [Pat Noonan]. There was not a lot happening, but I wouldn't count us out."
But the real concern going forward is the health of Twellman. The Revs have scored just seven goals in eight games, the second-lowest total in the league (ahead of the Colorado Rapids' six).
"Saturday's injury to Twellman put a dagger in the team's heart, and it will be interesting to see how it recovers," midfielder Steve Ralston said. " ... I don't know what's going to happen. We can put our heads between our tails or we can play. I think that's what this team has done in the past couple years. We always fight back. Two years ago, we were in last place and we made it to the finals, and last year we were in last place and made the semifinals. So it's still early in the season."
As well, Kamler came out of the match on Sunday with a hamstring injury, and will not be available on Wednesday. Avery John is expected to fill his role in central defense.
"Yeah, that's a problem," Nicol said. "We are not flush with bodies right now. But at the same time, we are more than happy with the guys we have. They've all done well even if they haven't been given a lot of time."
Nicol also indicated Matt Reis is likely to again return to the starting goalkeeping role in place of Adin Brown. "Matt Reis, again, certainly looked comfortable," Nicol said. "He made some great saves and generally was in command."
The New England Revolution were the only Eastern Conference team not to come away with three points at the weekend, losing 1-0 at home to D.C. United on Saturday night. The Revolution now have just six points from eight matches, five points behind the Columbus Crew for fourth place, and seven points behind East leaders Chicago Fire and MetroStars.