Wizards down heading to return leg
so integral a part of their run to last year's MLS Cup -- and still owned the majority of the match.
Ronnie Ekelund was always expected to be missed by Dominic Kinnear's side after suffering a hamstring injury in last weekend's must-win victory in Dallas. But Richard Mulrooney didn't play either due to what Kinnear termed "personal reasons", which kept him out of training for most of the week and also leaves him in doubt for the second leg next Sunday in Kansas City.
Instead, Ramiro Corrales moved into a holding role in the center of midfield while Landon Donovan moved to an attacking midfield role -- a usual position for him with the U.S. national team. That meant there was a starting place for Canadian international DeRosario, and from the outset he was a constant threat to the Wizards back line.
The Earthquakes dominated from the start, winning a series of corner kicks in the opening minutes, as both Donovan and Brian Ching brought fine saves out of Wizards 'keeper Bo Oshoniyi.
However, it was a fluke that put the home side in the lead in the 40th minute. Donovan sent DeRosario down the left touchline, and he tried to put in a cross around Nick Garcia from the side of the penalty area nearly on the endline. But the ball took the slightest of touches off the K.C. defender, sailing high over Oshoniyi and settling just inside his back post.
De Rosario then nearly doubled the lead just before the halftime break, turning a shot from the left side of the penalty area that wrong-footed Oshoniyi, only for it to bounce off the base of the post and away from danger.
The Earthquakes then grabbed a vital second goal just after the break on their ninth corner kick of the match. Jeff Agoos swung the ball in from the right and it came down right in the heart of the six-yard box, Waibel gleefully pounding it home as the scrum of players impeded Oshoniyi and sent him backwards into his own goal.
Up by two goals, San Jose rarely pushed forward in a coherent fashion for a third, but still Oshoniyi was called upon to make two stops in the final minutes, one from Ching and another from Corrales, to keep the Wizards within striking distance for the second leg.
By contrast, Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad wasn't forced to make a save until the clock turned over to 90 minutes, grabbing a tame shot from Alex Zotinca, his only save of the match.
The Wizards now need to win by three clear goals - or by two to force extra time, then penalties if necessary - if they are to advance to the Western Conference final after finishing atop the conference with the most wins in MLS over the regular season. The second leg is set for Sat., Oct. 30 at Arrowhead Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes)
Kansas City Wizards (0-1-0) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (1-0-0)
SJ -- Dwayne De Rosario 1 (Landon Donovan 1) 40
SJ -- Craig Waibel 1 (Jeff Agoos 1) 52
Kansas City Wizards -- Bo Oshoniyi, Alex Zotinca, Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr., Igor Simutenkov (Khari Stephenson 52), Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin, Jack Jewsbury (Diego Walsh 79), Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff.
Substitutes Not Used: Taylor Graham, Will Hesmer, Shavar Thomas.
TOTAL SHOTS: 4 (4 tied with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Alex Zotinca 1); FOULS: 14 (Alex Zotinca 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Davy Arnaud 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Diego Gutierrez 2); SAVES: 5 (Bo Oshoniyi 5)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Jeff Agoos, Ryan Cochrane, Todd Dunivant, Brian Mullan, Ramiro Corrales, Landon Donovan, Ian Russell (Chris Brown 89), Brian Ching, Dwayne De Rosario (Jamil Walker 86).
Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Jon Conway, Steve Cronin, Troy Dayak, Tighe Dombrowski, Wes Hart, Roger Levesque.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Brian Ching 5, Dwayne De Rosario 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Brian Ching 3); FOULS: 24 (Jeff Agoos 5, Brian Ching 5); OFFSIDES: 2 (Dwayne De Rosario 2); CORNER KICKS: 11 (Jeff Agoos 6); SAVES: 1 (Pat Onstad 1)
SJ -- Jeff Agoos (caution; Dissent) 24
SJ -- Brian Mullan (caution; Reckless Foul) 38
KC -- Igor Simutenkov (caution; Pushing, Holding) 41
KC -- Alex Zotinca (caution; Dissent) 59
Referee: Kevin Terry
Referee's Assistants: Robert Fereday; Richard Eddy
4th Official: Alex Prus
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-62-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial