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COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM
7:30 pm ET (HDNet)
The Columbus Crew haven't yet lost since Robert Warzycha took over as head coach, giving the former Crew standout midfielder his first victory at midweek with a dramatic late goal against the MetroStars, a win that snapped a six-game winless streak. They play host to fellow Hunt Sports Group club Kansas City Wizards, who had a midweek clash of their own, in their case settling for a league-high eighth draw of the season (in 19 games) in another rematch of last year's MLS Cup Final with D.C. United.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Thomas Supple; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Jeff Mellen
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 32.7; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 1; pens: 7
Games involving Crew: P3 W3 L0 T0; FC/gm: 29.7; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 0; pens: 1
Games involving Wizards: first game
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: DF Stephen Herdsman (L groin strain); GK Matt Jordan (lower back strain); MF Duncan Oughton (R knee surgery); MD Ross Paule (post-concussion syndrome); GK Jon Busch (R knee); QUESTIONABLE: FW Edson Buddle (L Achilles tendonitis) ... KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - PROBABLE: MF Diego Walsh (athletic pubalgia)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: DF Frankie Hejduk (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup) ... KC: FW Josh Wolff, DF Jimmy Conrad (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup)
ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Crew 11 wins (0 shootout), 48 goals ... Wizards 10 wins (2 shootout), 41 goals ... 4 draws
IN COLUMBUS: (14 meetings): Crew 7 wins (0 shootout), 25 goals ... Wizards 5 wins (1 shootout), 22 goals ... 2 draws
Now facing each other in the Eastern Conference, this will be the third of four meetings between the clubs this season, the second and final time at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Their fourth and final league meeting will be Aug. 26 at Arrowhead Stadium.
THIS SEASON The Wizards posted a 4-0 victory in the first meeting between the teams on May 14 in Columbus, while they played to a 1-1 draw in Kansas City less than a month ago (June 29).
An early blitz gave the Kansas City Wizards a 4-0 victory against the Crew in Columbus, the first win since the season opener for the Wizards.
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.
LAST MEETING On June 29 at Arrowhead Stadium, both sides were left rueing chances missed and points lost after the match between the Lamar Hunt-operated clubs now together in the Eastern Conference.
The Crew were gifted the opening goal on 69 minutes, a cross from the left chested down by Wizards defender Jose Burciaga Jr. right into the path of Crew midfielder Simon Elliott in the area. His shot beat K.C. goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi - but not the post - but Mario Rodriguez came in behind to tap the ball into the unguarded goal.
But seven minutes later the Wizards pulled level through the industry of Preki, who came on to start the second half. He was clipped right at the top of the restraining arc while trying to split two defenders, and after a little tap on the ensuing restart, Burciaga ripped a tremendous blast through the wall and into the upper left corner.
Here's Bob Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Alex Zotinca (Jack Jewsbury 62), Nick Garcia, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin, Sasha Victorine - Scott Sealy (Preki 46), Davy Arnaud
Here's Greg Andrulis's team (4-3-1-2): Bill Gaudette - Stephen Herdsman (Ryan Kelly 38), Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Mark Schulte - Mario Rodriguez, Simon Elliott, Chris Henderson - Kyle Martino (Stephen Armstrong 78) - Edson Buddle (Chris Wingert 59), John Wolyniec.
HISTORY 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: Robert Warzycha vs. KC: first game ... Bob Gansler v CLB: P15 W5 L6 T4
The Columbus Crew ended their winless streak at six games and gave Robert Warzycha his first victory as a head coach, a dramatic late goal giving them a 1-0 victory against the MetroStars on Wednesday night at Crew Stadium. The Crew are still at the foot of the Eastern Conference table but now have 18 points from 18 matches, seven behind the fifth-place MetroStars and eight behind D.C. United for the final playoff spot.
The Crew won for the first time since June 11 thanks to Jamal Sutton's late heroics, teaming up with another substitute in Marcus Storey and Knox Cameron for a lightning-quick game-winner two minutes into added time. Jonny Walker earned his first shutout for the Crew, against his former club.
After chasing down a long ball from Cameron played over the top of the MetroStars defense two minutes into stoppage time, Storey ran past a defender and laid the ball back to Sutton as Tony Meola came off his line. Sutton one-timed the ball into the net to earn the Crew full spoils.
Warzycha made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with the Chicago Fire the Saturday before in his first game in charge. Robin Fraser returned from suspension, coming in for Mark Schulte in the back three, while Cornell Glen was back from international duty, coming in for Danny Szetela in a wide forward role in Warzycha's scheme.
Here's Warzycha's team (3-4-2-1): Jonny Walker - Chad Marshall, Chris Wingert, Robin Fraser - Chris Henderson, Simon Elliott, Eric Vasquez, David Testo (Mario Rodriguez 85) - Kyle Martino (Marcus Storey 64), Cornell Glen (Jamal Sutton 59) - Knox Cameron
"We possessed the ball very well. I think the responsibility on the field was taken not only by all the older players, even the younger players. You can build a team on something like this," Warzycha said. "I am always reminding the players that they have to be responsible on the field and leave everything on the field and bring their heart and determination.
TEAM NEWS At the beginning of Wednesday's encounter with the MetroStars, Sutton and Storey had 89 minutes of career first team action and no points. Those numbers would be drastically changed by the end of the night.
"I don't look at those guys (Jamal Sutton and Marcus Storey) as young, I look at them as good players who have good pace, and that's what we needed in this game. Not only do they have good pace, they are also very skillful and in that position I am looking for the guys to be skillful and fast," Warzycha said.
The Crew still have the fewest goals in the league, with 15 in their 18 games (level with Real Salt Lake), and they've scored one goal in each of the two games under Warzycha.
"All of us would love to score more goals and love to win 2-, 3-, 4-0. Obviously we have to work harder and have the practices that will make the players better," Warzycha said. "But from my point of view, one goal is enough to win the game and if we win the next game 1-0 and have 25 shots I will be very, very happy."
Although he didn't continue his goal-scoring streak, Eric Vasquez had another solid match in the midfield. He narrowly missed with another long-range bomb that just sailed over the goal from well outside of the area in the first half.
Said Warzycha: "I think he had a very good game. I thought he might be nervous after getting the goal in Chicago, but he is responding to the challenge very well."
Warzycha received a warm welcome from the home fans in his first match under control of the Black & Gold. "I saw the reactions today from the fans when I walked in and when they introduced my name," said the former Crew midfielder. "To be honest, I would love to hear that reaction for the next few years."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards saw their unbeaten streak extended to three games though they settled for another unsatisfying home draw, ending with a 1-1 draw with D.C. United in their fourth and final league meeting for the 2005 MLS Cup Finalists. The Wizards are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 19 matches, now three points ahead of D.C. United and seven behind first-place New England Revolution.
Last year's MLS Cup Finalists ended their season series completely deadlocked, each with one victory (both by a single goal) and two draws and each scoring four goals.
The teams traded goals on either side of halftime. United took the lead in the 44th minute when Jaime Moreno deflected a pass between two Kansas City defenders at midfield to Josh Gros, who ran unmolested to the top of the Wizards area. He held off Wizards defender before firing a shot that deflected off the Wizards defender and under Bo Oshoniyi just inside the right post.
After United had an apparent goal ruled out for offside, the Wizards tied the game less than a minute later when Scott Sealy knocked home the rebound of Chris Klein's shot from the top of the penalty area after Klein played a one-two with Victorine in midfield. Nick Rimando saved Klein's shot but Sealy pounced on the rebound and tapped it back the scrambling 'keeper.
Wizards boss Bob Gansler made two changes to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 3-2, returning to the 3-5-2 that was so effective against D.C. United 10 days earlier. Diego Gutierrez returned from injury as Jose Burciaga was the odd man out, and Jack Jewsbury returned to the starting lineup, replacing Preki.
Here's Gansler's team (3-5-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Brian Roberts, Nick Garcia, Shavar Thomas (Ryan Pore 62) - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Sasha Victorine, Kerry Zavagnin, Jack Jewsbury (Preki 46) - Scott Sealy (Khari Stephenson 89), Davy Arnaud
"We had our opportunities in the first half, but we didn't capitalize on them, then we gave away a goal in the 44th minute. I thought in the second half we put some things together, but it was very difficult to sustain quality on both sides," Gansler said. "It was two good teams and a tie is probably a just result, it's not what we were playing for though. We feel if it weren't for the brain fart in the 44th minute we would be smiling a bit rather than talking about 'what if.'"
TEAM NEWS Still, the Wizards had some consternation over United's goal. "From what I remember, I was on the offensive side of their half. Gros was on our half by at least two steps, and he was behind everybody on our team. That's what I saw. I haven't seen the replay, but from my angle, I thought he was offside," said center back Nick Garcia. "That what I was doing asking the referee. He couldn't tell me who kept him on."
The Wizards now have four ties and a loss at home to go with five wins. "We need to execute, especially at home we need to score more than one goal regardless of who we play," Gansler said. "I trust that the guys in that room and in this room are on the same wavelength on that, and I think we are."
Sealy scored his third goal in two matches with a poacher's goal. It was his fifth tally of the season, setting a new Wizards record for goals by a rookie. "That is the way it is supposed to be. I know the way (Chris) 'Kleiny' hits the ball, he hits it really hard and I think if it's on target it and the 'keeper gets a touch, it is going to rebound. I just need to be there to clean up anything the 'keeper spills. That's what I had in mind and it worked out."
But once again, the Wizards were left rueing the lack of a complete 90 minutes. "I think we let them back in the game. Our crappy concentration - we're still lackluster on possessing the ball. There were too many easy giveaways on our half," said Garcia. "We had them on their heels, and [the lack of] that pass, that lack of movement, took us out of our rhythm, and we couldn't keep the pressure on them."
Added Sealy: "[The difference is] execution. We create chances going forward, we're just not able to execute right now," he said. "Defensively, there are one or two lapses that always allow them into the game. They have a very good attack, and if we give them sloppy chances, they are going to take them."