The Kansas City Wizards came back from a two-goal deficit to earn a point for the 12th time in team history Saturday night. Striker Josh Wolff scored goals in the 78th and 89th minutes against his former team to leapfrog Mo Johnston into 4th place on Kansas City's career goals list and earn the Wizards a valuable road point. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made six saves, including four highlight-reel efforts after halftime to keep Kansas City in the match. Hartman's last-second fingertip save off a Chris Rolfe header preserved the tie for Kansas City and pushed his MLS-record career total to 1148. The Wizards remained in 3rd place in the East behind Chicago and New England on seven points.
Chicago came out of the gates quickly, jumping ahead 2-0 through a Brian McBride double inside of 20 minutes. After Wilman Conde captured a loose ball inside the penalty area and laid off a pass in the 13th minute, McBride put home a back-post shot from 19 yards out. In the 20th minute, McBride nodded down a free kick from Cuauhtémoc Blanco for a 2-0 Fire lead and his 4th tally of the young MLS season.
Hartman made the first of his spectacular saves in the 60th minute, pushing wide a 15-yard effort off the foot of John Thorrington. Chicago left back Gonzalo Segares got behind the Wizards defense on the left after a quick give-and-go with Marco Pappa, eventually slotting a ball diagonally backward for Thorrington in the center of the penalty area. Thorrington blasted a right-footed shot toward the near post as Hartman moved from right to left, but Hartman quickly changed directions to palm the shot around the post and out of play for a corner kick. Then in the 72nd and 73rd minutes, Hartman made smooth near-post saves off rockets from Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Patrick Nyarko, respectively.
Shortly after Hartman's heroics to keep the Wizards within two goals, Kansas City began its comeback through a moment of brilliance from Claudio Lopez and Josh Wolff. Lopez stepped in to steal a Chicago pass on the left flank, then immediately sidestepped a hard-charging defender. Lopez then hit a bending ball to the back post on his next touch, connecting with Wolff who was completing a 35-yard run out of midfield. Wolff slid to volley-home a shot from the top of the six-yard area to bring the Wizards within a goal.
Kansas City almost equalized two minutes later after a long-range bullet off the foot of Herculez Gomez was stopped but not secured by goalkeeper Jon Busch. Substitute forward Michael Kraus was crashing hard and nearly put home the rebound, but Chicago cleared the ball out for a corner kick just in time.
The Wizards continued to push, finally pulling level in the 89th minute with another spectacular effort from Wolff. Lopez again began the play, pushing the ball wide right for Michael Harrington 30 yards off the end line. Harrington sent in a perfectly placed bending cross behind Chicago's defense. Wolff ran onto the ball, heading it past Busch from between two Fire defenders for his 8th career two-goal game and his 5th tally against his former club. Wolff now ranks 4th on Kansas City's career goals list with 32 scores in a Wizards uniform. Wolff has 64 MLS goals in 199 career appearances and now ranks 16th all-time in regular-season goals scored. Wolff also ranks 9th among active MLS players.
Hartman came up big for the Wizards one final time, turning aside a Chris Rolfe header in the 4th minute of second-half stoppage time to secure the road point for Kansas City. Segares again got free up the left, curling a ball to Rolfe at the penalty spot. Rolfe rose and snapped a header on goal, but Hartman extended fully to parry the ball off the outside of the post and out of play for a final corner kick. The Wizards cleared the ensuing cross, and the full-time whistle blew for a 2-2 final. Kansas City has secured a result in back-to-back road games for the first time since earning consecutive ties July 4 and July 17 at FC Dallas and Columbus, respectively.
The Wizards next home game comes Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. CT against the New York Red Bulls in another nationally televised match on ESPN2. That night, the first 5,000 fans into CommunityAmerica Ballpark will receive a Jimmy Conrad bobblehead courtesy of Time Warner Cable. IRL and NASCAR Truck Series drivers will also be on hand to mingle with fans and sign autographs before the match, and a B2 Bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base will fly over the stadium just prior to kickoff.
Kansas City is now 9-19-7 all-time against Chicago, including a 2-13-2 record away from home.
Kansas City scored two goals after the 75th minute to tie the match after Chicago went ahead 2-0 in the first half.
The Wizards have now come from two goals down to tie or win a match 12 times in club history.
After a 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC last weekend, the Wizards have now secured road results in back-to-back games for the first time since July 4 and July 17 of 2008 when the Wizards tied FC Dallas 1-1 and the Columbus Crew 3-3, respectively.
The Wizards have not been shutout in the last 17 MLS regular-season matches, dating back to 8/2/08 at D.C. United.
Kansas City has posted five shutouts of its own during that stretch.
Striker Josh Wolff recorded his 8th career multi-goal game and his 3rd such performance in a Kansas City uniform.
Wolff recorded his first 2 goals of the season, giving the veteran 64 for his career that started with Chicago.
Wolff has played 199 career MLS matches.
He ranks 16th in MLS history in goals scored and 9th among active players.
Wolff now has 32 career goals in a Wizards uniform.
He leapfrogged former Wizards standout Mo Johnston to move into 4th place on the team's all-time list.
Wolff currently trails Preki (71), Chris Klein (39) and current teammate Davy Arnaud (35) on Kansas City's all-time goals chart.
Wolff has now scored 5 goals against Chicago, the team with which he started his MLS career.
Argentine striker Claudio Lopez assisted on both of Wolff's goals for his 2nd and 3rd helpers of the season.
Lopez now has 10 assists in a Wizards uniform after recording 7 last year in his first MLS season.
Lopez now has 2 multi-assist games for Kansas City.
Second-half substitute Michael Harrington assisted Wolff's 2nd goal, his 1st assist of the year.
Harrington now has 7 assists in his 3-year career.
With Chicago's first goal, the Wizards shutout streak ended at 208 minutes.
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made 6 saves on the night, including 4 remarkable second-half efforts to keep Kansas City within striking distance.
Hartman now has 1148 career saves and ranks 1st all-time in MLS in this category.
Kansas City was without goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, defender Chance Myers, defender Matt Marquess, midfielder Graham Zusi and striker Adam Cristman due to injury.
Kansas City was well-supported Saturday in Chicago. Defenders Aaron Hohlbein and Matt Besler each had a large contingent of family and friends at the match and around 20 members of the KC Cauldron traveled to Chicago for the game.
The Cauldron also hosted a watch party Saturday night at Coach's Bar and Grill on 103rd street near Wornall in KCMO.
The Wizards next game comes this Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. CT against the New York Red Bulls in a nationally televised match on ESPN2.
That night, the first 5,000 fans into CommunityAmerica Ballpark will receive a Jimmy Conrad bobblehead courtesy of Time Warner Cable.
IRL and NASCAR Truck Series drivers will also be on hand to mingle with fans and sign autographs before the match.
A B2 Bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base will fly over the stadium just before kickoff with a Jimmy Conrad bobblehead on board.