United, Wizards in MLS Cup rematch
a double from Alecko Eskandarian (19, 23) and an Alex Zotinca own goal (28) nosed United in front. Josh Wolff scored from the penalty spot (58) after Dema Kovalenko was sent off for an intentional handball, but United held out for their first MLS title.
United's victory in the first league meeting a year ago was their first in seven meetings between the teams, since a 2-1 win on April 20, 2002.
The Wizards have won the last four meetings between the teams at Arrowhead Stadium. United's last win at K.C. came April 7, 2001, a 3-2 triumph.
Coaches record: Bob Gansler vs. DC: P15 W5 L6 D4 ... Peter Nowak v KC: P2 W1 L1 T0
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards suffered their first loss of the season last weekend, twice holding one-goal leads in the first half before succumbing 3-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium. The Wizards have four points from their three matches, tied with D.C. United for fourth in the Eastern Conference table, two points behind the Columbus Crew and six behind the East leaders New England Revolution.
At Spartan Stadium, the Earthquakes twice overcame leads before holding one, something they hadn't been able to do in their first three games this season.
Rookie Scott Sealy put the Wizards head on five minutes when he banged home a close-range rebound of a Jimmy Conrad shot that the Earthquakes defense failed to clear. But it took San Jose just nine minutes to respond, Ronald Cerritos running onto a long ball from Craig Waibel, holding off a defender and firing a shot past Bo Oshoniyi inside the near post.
The Wizards again took the lead in the 34th minute when Chris Klein was sent in alone on goal on the left side by Kerry Zavagnin and cleanly beat Quakes 'keeper Pat Onstad, but again the home side quickly responded, Brian Ching diving to head home another free kick service from Brad Davis (40).
Dwayne DeRosario then gave his side their first lead in the 55th minute with a spectacular long-range effort from 25 yards as he moved to his right across the field. The Quakes bugaboo this season then seemed ready to come back and haunt them after Eddie Robinson was adjudged to have fouled Conrad in the area just five minutes later, but this time Onstad saved the day, deflecting the resulting Josh Wolff penalty off the face of the crossbar.
Wizards coach Bob Gansler made one change to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the MetroStars the previous weekend. Scott Sealy made his first MLS start, partnering Josh Wolff in attack while Davy Arnaud moved to a wide midfield role, Jack Jewsbury the odd man out.
Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Sasha Victorine (Alex Zotinca 61), Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin (Khari Stephenson 83), Davy Arnaud - Josh Wolff, Scott Sealy (Jack Jewsbury 46)
"I thought we did just about enough to get a point here, not that that is what we came for, but I thought it was an even game," Gansler said. "We are a disappointed bunch. We haven't found a way to win convincingly. We have more talent in this locker room to take better charge of the games and play more convincingly. It is game three, and there are 29 to go, but we are wasting time here."
Rookie Scott Sealy scored his first MLS goal in his first MLS start - after just five minutes. "It is sort of bittersweet with the final result, but it was good for me getting my first start and first goal. The ball just somehow popped out to me. It was a corner kick, there was a scramble in the box and the ball got loose by my foot. I just shot it and it went in the goal."
A year ago, the Wizards allowed just 30 goals in 30 games, while this season, they've already allowed seven goals in three matches. However, the Wizards have a win, a loss and a draw after three games - their exact record of a year ago in their MLS Cup Final campaign.
"Obviously something is up because we have given up a lot of goals in the last three games. It is something where we need to look at the tape and figure out what is going on and move on from there," defender Jimmy Conrad said. I don't feel like there has been a chance where we are barely holding on and giving up chance after chance. We are giving up very few chances but people are taking advantage of them."
D.C. United suffered a second consecutive loss, falling 4-3 to the New England Revolution at home in a near reprise of their remarkable match in the MLS Cup Playoffs a year ago. With the loss, United now has four points from four matches on the season, tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with the Kansas City Wizards six points behind the East-leading Revs.
At RFK Stadium, United and the Revolution met for the first time since their epic Eastern Conference Final of a year ago - and this meeting nearly rivaled it.
The visitors scored three times in a six-minute burst midway through the first half. Taylor Twellman escaped his marker in the heart of the area to turn home a rolling cross from Clint Dempsey (26), then after Twellman was adjudged to have pulled down by Bobby Boswell while challenging for a high ball, Shalrie Joseph converted a highly contested penalty (28). The Revs added another three minutes later on a cool angled strike from Marshall Leonard after a rampaging run through the United team from the opposite wingback, James Riley.
But United pulled a goal back just before the end of the half, Jaime Moreno converting from the spot after Riley was adjudged to have bundled over substitute Santino Quaranta. After the break, the home side pulled back to within one, Quaranta turning home a Steve Guppy cross at the near post (57).
Yet Clint Dempsey again nosed the Revs two in front through a diving header off a freekick swung in from the right -- which he then celebrated by running to the location of home plate for the Washington Nationals and mimicking hitting one out of the park. Moreno converted his second penalty of the game and the third on the night eight minutes from the end when Leonard was ruled to have handled the ball, but that was all the response United could muster.
"We had a bit of a meltdown for 15 minutes, the rest of it was pretty good," United midfielder Ben Olsen said. "The times we did lose shape -- got caught on counters -- they really punished us for it. That's a very good team."
United coach Peter Nowak made five changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Columbus Crew the previous Friday, returning to the starting lineup he had in the CONCACAF Champions Cup just two days before the encounter at Crew Stadium.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - David Stokes (Santino Quaranta 30), Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke - Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Steve Guppy (Clyde Simms 64) - Christian Gomez - Alecko Eskandarian (Freddy Adu 46), Jaime Moreno.
United were coached by assistant coach Tom Soehn, with Nowak suspended after being sent off against Columbus the week before. "I thought we adjusted well at halftime but it's hard to come back when you've let in three goals. We never felt like we were out of it," Soehn said. "I surely didn't and we felt we were going to tie it up and then win the game. It's fairly disappointing."
Nowak will have some real selection issues this weekend. David Stokes is not likely to be available after suffering a concussion in the collision that forced him off last weekend. That could mean Josh Gros will fill in at right back - where he played the final hour of the New England match. "It's a little different for me, but last year in the (playoff) semifinal, the same thing happened," said Gros. "Namoff had to go out, and I slid back into defense, so I'm comfortable as I can be. I'll play wherever they put me."
As well, winger Steve Guppy is suffering from a hamstring injury, while Alecko Eskandarian is hampered by a thigh injury suffered in the first half of the Revolution match, and both face a fitness battle to be ready for the weekend.
Santino Quaranta's goal was his first since the season opener in 2003 - a 3-2 extra-time loss to the Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium.
Former United defender Carlos Llamosa - waived by the Revolution earlier this week - has been training with the club on a trial.