For the third time in the 2005 MLS season, the Kansas City Wizards squandered a lead in the second half Saturday night, this time wasting a two-goal margin at home against FC Dallas before the teams settled for a 3-3 draw.
"I don't know yet. I just know when you're up 3-1 you have to win the game," said Wizards captain Chris Klein when asked what the answer was to giving up leads. "There are no excuses."
The back-and-forth contest began auspiciously for the Wizards as they gained the upper hand in just the fourth minute as Sasha Victorine hit home for his first goal with Kansas City.
But Dallas owned much of the play in the first half allowing them to unleash 13 shots, including five at Bo Oshoniyi's goal. And in the 16th minute, Eddie Johnson leveled the score at one.
Endeavoring to take control of the match and stave off any more advances from Johnson or his talented accomplices, the Wizards played it right in the opening minutes of the second half putting in two goals in three minutes off a penalty kick by Josh Wolff and a tap-in from Klein to gain the initiative.
It was at that point the Wizards let off the pedal though and allowed FC Dallas space big enough to fit a comeback in through nearly every angle on the field.
"They're a good team, but for a while we were going at them from every angle too." said Klein, lamenting the fact the Wizards failed to continue to coming at Dallas with their own substantial weapons.
Winger Ronnie O'Brien proved to be FC Dallas's most consistent attacker on the night with seven shots, six on goal. His tenaciousness paid off with the second goal that gave Dallas a chance and the assist on Carlos Ruiz's game-tying goal in the 82nd minute.
The onslaught of eight FC Dallas shots after Klein's goal prompted near pity from Kansas City head coach Bob Gansler for his goalkeeper.
"[Oshoniyi] had eight saves, and I don't know if any of those were easy," he said.
The relinquishing of the advantage to a resourceful and confident FC Dallas side left Gansler wondering how to plug the holes that continue to sprout in his team's defensive armor.
"We're good enough to all these little bits and pieces, but it's about winning games," said Gansler. "Excellence is an everyday project. We let a day get away without getting better. That is what's on our conscience."
The Wizards travel next week to Columbus to face a team also smarting after a 3-1 loss at D.C. United early Satruday. By then, Gansler hopes his players come up with some answers and begin to build a foundation they can place excellence upon.
"Everybody needs to point at their own breastplate and say, 'This is what I didn't do; this is what I need to do and ought to do better.' That's where we're at," said Gansler.
Robert Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.