KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Wizards' defensive pressure and the narrow confines of CommunityAmerica Ballpark claimed their second victim of the young 2010 season as Kansas City defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 on Saturday night.
Kei Kamara scored the match’s lone goal on a header in the 48th minute from a Ryan Smith free kick. The Wizards bossed most of the game’s 90 minutes, keeping Rapids strikers Conor Casey and Omar Cummings from receiving quality service and creating enough chances to win by more than one goal.
The result moves the Wizards to 2-0-0, while the Rapids fall to 1-1-1 on four points.
Hampered the last two weeks by an ankle injury suffered against D.C. United, Smith showed no signs of rustiness in the early going. The winger nearly created a handful of goals in the first 10 minutes alone. Smith blew past Kosuke Kimura just two minutes in to deliver a low ball across the six-yard box that was knocked out for a corner kick.
Five minutes later, Smith split two defenders in the midfield and attempted an audacious chip from nearly 40 yards that Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens acrobatically tipped over the crossbar.
In the 9th minute Colorado escaped a possible penalty kick when Marvell Wynne bowled Smith over in the penalty area, but the referee waved off Kansas City’s appeals.
Colorado was unlucky not to score in the 25th minute when a long throw dropped to Cummings, who fired a half volley that goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen deflected out for a corner with his head.
Colorado should have gone ahead in first-half stoppage time when Cummings found Medhi Ballouchy unmarked in the area. But the Moroccan midfielder blazed his right-footed shot over the bar.
That miss would look even worse three minutes into the second half when Kamara gave the Wizards the lead. Colorado committed a foul 35 yards from goal and Smith sent a looping ball into the area. Kamara outjumped the crowd and flicked the ball over the outstretched arms of Rapids ’keeper Matt Pickens for his second goal of the season.
Clark came close to pulling the Rapids even in the 60th minute when he shrugged off a challenge from Michael Harrington to put himself in on goal, but Nielsen blocked his low drive to preserve the lead.
The Rapids didn’t have time to catch their breath though as Kansas City came right back and created yet another chance. Jack Jewsbury was played through alone behind the defense, but the Pickens was able to get an outstretched mitt on Jewsbury’s shot.
Rapids manager Gary Smith brought on Jamie Smith and Wells Thompson after the 60th minute, and the moves nearly helped Colorado even the match when Cummings and Casey combined in the penalty area. The ball ended up in the back of the net, but the sideline official had his flag raised for offside.
That’s when things went from bad to worse for the visitors as defender Julien Baudet was given a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Kamara in the 72nd minute. Ultimately, the call made no difference either way, as Kansas City played out the rest of the match, content in a second straight home victory.
KC – Kei Kamara 2 (Ryan Smith 2) 48
KC – Kei Kamara (caution, Reckless Foul) 39
COL – Julien Baudet (caution, Reckless Foul) 43
COL – Pablo Mastroeni (caution, Dissent) 44
KC – Ryan Smith (caution, Dissent) 45
COL – Julien Baudet (dismissal, Serious Foul Play) 72
Referee: Landis Wiley
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Craig Lowry
4th Official: Michael Kennedy
Weather: Clear and 70 degrees