On the Friday leading up to the Kansas City Wizards weekend matchup at Arrowhead Stadium with the San Jose Earthquakes, Jack Jewsbury led his underdog side to victory in a fun, yet game-like intense, contest.
"It's just a one-touch, two-touch game we play before games. You get a lot of chances; it's a fun game. It gives you a chance to finish your chances," he said.
"It's half of a field, width of the box," explained Kansas City coach Bob Gansler. "Jack got the most shots off and his team won 1-0, which was the reserve team -- it was not the starters."
The result was a harbinger of things to come as Jewsbury rallied the Wizards to a 1-0 victory against the Quakes after witnessing a less than sparkling first-half offensive performance partly owing to a solid San Jose back line that wouldn't give any ground to the Wizards' attackers. Jewsbury knew he had to bring the action.
It took Jewsbury, and a toughening rookie teammate in Scott Sealy, a scant 14 minutes to erase any lingering concerns about the Wizards' fate on the night. Fighting off a challenge from Danny Califf, Sealy gave Jewsbury the opportunity he needed.
"[Califf] bumped me, so I decided to turn. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jack running, so [playing through] was the best thing to do," Sealy said.
Jewsbury ran on with much at his feet.
"I saw a lot of space in front of me. Davy [forward Arnaud] and I were in two-on-one. [The defender] cut off Davy, so I took a touch to my right to try and get one in the far corner," he said. "I didn't hit it as well as I like to, but it had a little movement on it. It bounded right back to me, fortunately. I took a touch inside and the goal was pretty much wide open."
His finish into the bottom right corner of goalkeeper Pat Onstad's net was not Jewsbury's only contribution on the night, as he set would set up Sealy in the 90th minute for a failed attempt, and was indicative that he is a difference maker.
"No matter where he's played, he wanders forward. He gets his shot, and sometimes he gets his rebound as well," Gansler said. "He's done it too often to be accidental, so you've got to give him credit.
"Jack is just gifted. He's gifted in that way," said the Wizards boss.
The second victory in a row at home sets the Wizards up for what they hope is a similar string of successes on the road. Chivas USA and New England are their two stops on Wednesday and Saturday before they return home to face New England again on June 11.
Saturday's win went a long way in calming K.C. nerves that even if they don't play well overall, they can still pull out a victory, assuming a hero is ready to step up.
"Two wins, 1-0, we're very happy," said Jewsbury. "We didn't play as well as we'd like to, but sometimes you have those games. We stuck it out and got a victory."
Said midfielder and team captain Chris Klein: "Sometimes you're going to have games where you don't have much of the ball. In those games you have to defend well and make your chances count. We've had a lot of games this year where we've been fun to watch, but we haven't been so effective. Tonight we were."
Robert Rusert is a Contirbutor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.