The Kansas City Wizards came into town looking to continue their winning ways, and started off red hot, taking a 2-0 lead in the first 31 minutes on Saturday night against the MetroStars. But after that it all seemed to go wrong, and a brace from Sergio Galvan Rey on either side of halftime left the teams sharing the points after a 2-2 tie.
"The tried and true wisdom here is that you're on the road, you score some goals, you come away with a point and you are elated. We're not elated," said Wizards head coach Bob Gansler. "Because we came out the way we wanted to -- we had a two goal lead -- and whether you're away, at home, up on Jupiter or wherever it doesn't matter -- we shouldn't have let them back into the game."
With a team that had a rock solid defense last year that led them to the MLS Cup Final, there are concerns that the Wizards have conceded four goals in their first two games.
"These are fixable things. Sometimes the ball goes for you, it slides it bounces for you. Sometimes it goes against you," Gansler said. "We're better than that and we'll work on it. Defense is something that we know how to do. Our guys know. They don't rely on the past. Our guys know what to do, and I trust that we'll take care of it."
Despite the two goals conceded in each of their first two games, one area where the group in the back has looked strong has been their addition to the attack. Kansas City opened the scoring in the 19th minute when right back Alex Zotinca set off on an incisive run down the flank and found Davy Arnaud who shot at goal. The ball deflected off defender Carlos Mendes's outstretched leg right into the path of Jack Jewsbury who neatly slotted it past MetroStars goalkeeper Zach Wells.
In the 31st minute, the Wizards struck again, this time from an impressive solo effort from Chris Klein who powered his way through the defense and blasted a beautiful, unstoppable effort past Wells.
"It was a pretty good combination," Klein said. "Josh [Wolff] did a really good job of getting the ball past his defender and then I was in alone and it was just a matter of putting it in on goal, and I did."
Klein, too, was disappointed with the final scoreline -- and said his team wasn't satisfied with a draw on the road.
"We thought we could win with the two goal lead, but we didn't. It was a combination of things," he said. "I don't think in the second half we were able to keep the ball very well, and that we gave them a little too much space. We gave them a couple of opportunities and they capitalized on them."
Despite the early-season hiccups, Gansler said he is happy with his team.
"For sure we're not an 11-man team here. Guys have developed. We've added a couple of good draft choices. You saw one of them here today -- Scott Sealy, but he's not the only one," Gansler said. "We're deeper than we were last year -- on paper. We're better offensively on paper, we've shown that a little bit. Defensively, we're as good as we were last year, but we haven't gotten it done."
The Wizards next head to San Jose, for a game against a team they have had a pitched battle with over the past few seasons. "Yes, we'll change," Gansler said. "We'll get better. That's not necessarily a change of staff, one in and one out. We'll get better. We're capable of it, and we'll do it.
"It's a collective thing here," said Gansler. "We don't put anybody on a platform, and we don't throw anybody on the bus. That's the way we approach it, and that's the way we will continue to approach it."
Laurence Moroney is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.