KANSAS CITY, Mo.
7 pm CT (ONN)
After nearly going the entire month of June without a victory, the Kansas City Wizards are looking to make it two in a row to close out the month against their fellow Lamar Hunt-operated team. But every point is important in the tightly bunched Eastern Conference, where just a few days ago, the Wizards lay in fifth place and out of the playoff hunt. The Columbus Crew need win to pull themselves back into the playoff picture - they are currently six points out of fifth place and seven out of the postseason places, though they have a match in hand over the closest rivals.
REFEREE: Alex Prus. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Brent Sorg
MLS Career: 87 games; FC/gm: 30.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 18; pens: 31
Games involving Wizards: P20 W8 L5 T7; FC/gm: 29.7; Y/gm: 2.6; R: 2; pens: 6
Games involving Crew: P13 W5 L8 T0; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 2; pens: 7
INJURY REPORT: KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: MF Diego Walsh (athletic pubalgia) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: MF Duncan Oughton (R knee surgery); MD Ross Paule (post-concussion syndrome); GK Jon Busch (R knee); GK Matt Jordan (lower back strain); PROBABLE: MF Chris Henderson (L groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: FW Josh Wolff, DF Jimmy Conrad (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup) ... CLB: DF Frankie Hejduk (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup); FW Cornell Glen (Trinidad * Tobago; CONCACAF Gold Cup); MF Luis Gallardo (Panama; CONCACAF Gold Cup)
WARNINGS: CLB: DF Robin Fraser (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (24 meetings): Wizards 10 wins (2 shootout), 40 goals ... Crew 11 wins (0 shootout), 47 goals ... 3 draws
IN KANSAS CITY (10 meetings): Wizards 5 wins (1 shootout), 18 goals ... Crew 4 wins (0 shootout), 22 goals ... 1 draw
Now facing each other in the Eastern Conference, this will be the second of four meetings between the clubs this season, the first in Kansas City. They'll face off for the second and final time at the Ohio State Fairgrounds on July 23. Their fourth and final league meeting will be Aug. 26 at Arrowhead Stadium.
An early blitz gave the Kansas City Wizards a 4-0 victory against the Crew in Columbus on May 14, the first win since the season opener for the Wizards while it was a fourth consecutive loss for the Crew.
The Wizards hit for three goals in nine minutes early in the match to cruise to victory. Alex Zotinca put the visitors ahead after 17 minutes, after Chris Klein had gotten to the endline and pulled back a low cross that the Romanian hammered off the inside of the post. Then Josh Wolff doubled the lead six minutes later, sent through by Davy Arnaud before hitting a shot high under the bar on the run.
Arnaud made it three in the 26th minute, this time Wolff playing provider, sending a low cross that his strike partner turned home from the heart of the goal area. Wolff capped the scoreline three minutes from full time, nearly losing the ball on a breakaway after rounding Busch but still able to recover and turn the ball home from an acute angle that deflected home off a Crew defender.
Here's Greg Andrulis's team (4-3-1-2): Jon Busch - Frankie Hejduk, Stephen Herdsman (Ante Razov 46), Chad Marshall, Chris Wingert - Mario Rodriguez, Simon Elliott, Domenic Mediate - Kyle Martino - Edson Buddle (Manny Lagos 72), Cornell Glen (Knox Cameron 63).
Here's Bob Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr. -Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Sasha Victorine, Alex Zotinca (Brian Roberts 80) - Josh Wolff (Scott Sealy 89), Davy Arnaud (Jack Jewsbury 88)
A year ago the teams met three times, evenly splitting the season series. On April 17, the Wizards claimed a 1-0 victory in the clubs only meeting at Arrowhead Stadium (Arnaud 42).
They then met twice in Columbus, the teams playing to a 2-2 draw on June 12 (Cunningham 18, 63 pen - Conrad 21, Thomas 24), the Crew then winning 2-1 on Aug. 18. (Paule 43 pen, Martino 90 - Graham 79).
Each of the last two years, and four of the last five, the teams have evenly split their season series. They've met three times over the previous two campaigns, with each team claiming a win along with one draw. In 2000 and 2001, the teams split their two meetings both of those years.
In 1999 and 2002, the Crew won the season series. The Crew captured both meetings in the 1999 season, and in 2002 Columbus won one game with the second played to a draw.
Coaches record: Bob Gansler v CLB: P14 W5 L6 T3 ... Greg Andrulis vs. KC: P10 W4 L3 D3
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards jumped two places in the Eastern Conference while extending the long winless streak of Chivas USA with a 3-0 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday evening. The Wizards are now in third place in the East with 21 points from 14 matches, one ahead of the MetroStars and two ahead of D.C. United, trailing second-place Chicago Fire by five points.
The Wizards won for the first time in five matches - their first victory in the month of June - while extending the Chivas USA winless streak to 10 matches and sending the expansion club to a third consecutive defeat.
The Wizards scored almost immediately after the second-half restart, a cleared free kick pumped back into the box where Sasha Victorine brought it down and Jimmy Conrad coolly finished (46).
Davy Arnaud doubled the Kansas City lead midway through the half, Diego Gutierrez picking up a loose ball before sending Arnaud in, where he did his best Preki imitation to cut the ball back to his left foot before perfectly placing a curling shot inside the right-hand post of Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan (70).
Victorine then completed the night five minutes from the end, rising up completely unmarked in the heart of the area to head home a Chris Klein free kick swung in from the right flank.
Wizards boss Bob Gansler made just one change to the team that gained its first-ever point in Chicago the weekend before in a 1-1 draw. Scott Sealy came in to partner Josh Wolff in attack, replacing Davy Arnaud.
Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr. (Jack Jewsbury 61) - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin, Sasha Victorine - Josh Wolff (Davy Arnaud 69), Scott Sealy (Brian Roberts 83).
"You always have to look at the quality of your performance. If you are crap then you have to face that, but there was nothing to be said on the defensive end, I thought we were solid there. On the other side we felt we could play a little quicker and for sure we wanted to up the pace in the second half," Gansler said.
After getting the opening goal early in the second half, Gansler changed the match with his insertion of Jack Jewsbury in the 61st minute then Davy Arnaud in the 69th.
"Jose (Burciaga) was sick the last couple days so we had worked with Jack (Jewsbury) there to give us very aggressive wing play from both sides," Gansler said. "It was a matter of 'let's get the first goal early' and that reduces their level of confidence. We felt we were in charge in the first half, but we didn't get the exclamation marks, the goals."
Arnaud hadn't scored a goal since May 25 against the MetroStars. "I knew early in the week that I probably might not start. If you ask any anybody, everybody wants to start every game. But it was a situation where we have gone five games and have scored five or six goals," said Arnaud. "I think (coach) thought he needed to change some stuff up a little bit. It's the way it goes. When I got the chance to come it, I just wanted to bring some energy and help us out."
Said Gansler: "He hasn't been playing well and it's not because he wasn't trying. Davy is the best of young athletes, what he was doing was trying too hard. It is trite, but I do think it's true. It is not those who start it, it is quite often those who finish it. Obviously it didn't take him long to make his mark out there."
Arnaud then emulated Preki in hitting for his goal barely a minute after coming onto the field. "When I first hit it, I thought it was going to hit the post and come out. My right foot is my strongest, but the defender came in pretty hard," said Arnaud. "Preki always gives me a hard time [because] I had the same thing against Colorado in the first match of the season. He said if I had cut the ball back [that time], the defender would have hit the corner flag. I hit it instead of cutting it back."
It will likely be the last match in a Wizards uniform for almost a month for Conrad, who is on the U.S. roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and he celebrated with his first goal of the season. "In the second half, I came out to help the forwards and save the day and show them that you can score - it's OK. I hoped for the best, and it went in."
The Columbus Crew return to action after having last weekend off, after losing for a second time in a week the previous Wednesday, 3-1 to the New England Revolution. The Crew are sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference with 13 points from 13 matches, six behind fifth-place D.C. United and now 18 points adrift of conference leader New England Revolution.
A week ago, Edson Buddle got the Crew off to a glorious beginning, turning home from close range after just four minutes. Cornell Glen found Simon Elliott at the top of the area and his weak shot snaked through to a completely unmarked Buddle, who easily turned and beat Matt Reis for his fifth goal.
But the Revolution pulled level through Pat Noonan in the 24th minute. An early Steve Ralston cross was headed down by Noonan into the path of Clint Dempsey, and he carried to the byeline before rolling a low cross through the penalty area. Noonan had continued his run and snuck to the back post alone, and had the easiest of tap-ins for the equalizer.
In first-half stoppage time the Revs hit for a killer goal. After winning a last-ditch corner, Jose Cancela swung it in where Clint Dempsey dove in front of his marker and powered a header under the crossbar for his sixth goal, but first in seven games (47+).
Then midway through the second half Noonan completed his double, also on a corner kick. Dempsey challenged for the ball and it slipped through to Noonan at the back post, and he prodded it past Crew 'keeper Bill Gaudette from the doorstep for the final margin (68).
Crew head coach Greg Andrulis made one change to the team that lost 3-2 to the MetroStars the previous weekend at Giants Stadium. With Chris Henderson suffering a groin injury, Chris Wingert moved forward into midfield while Stephen Herdsman came in on the left of the back four.
Here's Andrulis's team (4-3-1-2): Bill Gaudette - Frankie Hejduk, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Stephen Herdsman (David Testo 79) - Mario Rodriguez (Marcus Storey 69), Simon Elliott, Chris Wingert - Kyle Martino (John Wolyniec 72) - Edson Buddle, Cornell Glen.
"We still can't believe we lost 3-1. It was an unbelievable first half. We had every opportunity to make the game ours and we didn't take advantage of those chances. When you give good teams the opportunity to hang around in the same game it's going to come back to haunt you and it certainly did tonight," Andrulis said.
Striker Cornell Glen torched the Revolution defense for much of the first half with only one assist to show for his efforts. Along with Simon Elliott, he set up Buddle's fourth minute strike. However, his later work did not make the score sheet as potential assists were denied when a Buddle shot hit the post and a Mario Rodriguez shot was cleared off the line by Revolution defender Joe Franchino. Later, Franchino hustled back to clear a breakaway by Buddle off the line.
"We are getting the chances. How many posts did we hit? How many were cleared off the line? I don't know how many out-and-out chances we had, said Andrulis. " At the end of the day, those guys are paid to score goals and they need to put them in the back of the net. I don't know that we could create anymore in a goal. How many quality chances can you have and not put them away. It's got to get done. On the other end of it we're just giving up way too many goals and we've got to get that solved."
The Crew have now taken just four points of a possible 15 over their last five matches, and have allowed three goals in three of their last four contests.
"Our guys play with so much heart and determination, I can't question that. They show up to play. They work their ends off in training everyday. They worked their ends off out here tonight. I mean they leave it on the field," Andrulis said. "They want better results. But at the end of the day when you're not getting results the goal starting shrinking on you. You start pressing and you start making little mistakes. Clearly that's evident. In the final third of each end it's just not good enough right now and it's got to get better."
Late in the game Andrulis went with three out-and-out forwards as he took off Kyle Martino.
"He (Kyle Martino) is still nursing his injury. It was kind of a double sub with Marcus Storey. We felt we were doing good wide and we wanted to get another body in the middle. And John Wolyniec is notorious for scoring goals late off of crosses, and Kyle Martino is not, to be quite frank," Andrulis said. "It was a change where we thought we needed to get a little bit more physical presence on the field and take advantage of some crosses, but then the crosses went wanting."