KANSAS CITY, Mo.
7 pm CT (FSN-BA)
In recent years this has been one of the more pitched rivalries in the Western Conference as they battled for a place in the MLS Cup Final, but now they are in opposite conferences. The home-standing Wizards have followed matches where they've allowed three goals with shutouts on three successive occasions now; then enter off a 1-0 win against the MetroStars. The injury-hit Earthquakes are in the midst of a three-game road swing having split their first two, still coming to terms with the loss of four starters to long-term injury in a quick span.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Nate Clement; JAR (opposite): Jorge de la Bandera; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 34 games; FC/gm: 32.8; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 8; pens: 13
Games involving Wizards: P5 W1 L3 T1; FC/gm: 33.6; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 3; pens: 3
Games involving Earthquakes: P7 W3 L2 T2; FC/gm: 34.3; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 0; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: MF Diego Walsh (athletic pubalgia); GK Will Hesmer (R knee hematoma) ... SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Craig Waibel (R knee torn ACL/LCL); FW Brian Ching (R hamstring strain); MF Brian Mullan (L ankle avulsion fracture); DF Troy Dayak (L knee torn ACL)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Josh Wolff, Kerry Zavagnin (USA; May 28 v England)
YELLOW PERIL: none
ALL-TIME (36 meetings): Earthquakes 16 wins (3 shootout), 45 goals ... Wizards 14 wins (4 shootout), 41 goals ... 6 draws
AT SAN JOSE (18 meetings): Earthquakes 9 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals ... Wizards 4 wins (2 shootout), 15 goals ... 5 draws
This the second and final league meeting between the one-time bitter Western Conference rivals this season.
At Spartan Stadium on April 23, the Earthquakes twice overcame leads before holding one, something they hadn't been able to do in their first three games this season while sending K.C. to their first defeat.
Rookie Scott Sealy put the Wizards ahead on five minutes when he banged home a close-range rebound of a Jimmy Conrad shot that the Earthquakes defense failed to clear. But it took San Jose just nine minutes to respond, Ronald Cerritos running onto a long ball from Craig Waibel, holding off a defender and firing a shot past Bo Oshoniyi inside the near post.
The Wizards again took the lead in the 34th minute when Chris Klein was sent in alone on goal on the left side by Kerry Zavagnin and cleanly beat Quakes 'keeper Pat Onstad, but again the home side quickly responded, Brian Ching diving to head home another free kick service from Brad Davis (40).
Dwayne DeRosario then gave his side their first lead in the 55th minute with a spectacular long-range effort from 25 yards as he moved to his right across the field. The Quakes bugaboo this season then seemed ready to come back and haunt them after Eddie Robinson was adjudged to have fouled Conrad in the area just five minutes later, but this time Onstad saved the day, deflecting the resulting Josh Wolff penalty off the face of the crossbar.
Here's Dominic Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Craig Waibel, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan, Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis (Ricardo Clark 83) - Dwayne De Rosario - Brian Ching, Ronald Cerritos (Alejandro Moreno 80)
Here's Bob Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Sasha Victorine (Alex Zotinca 61), Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin (Khari Stephenson 83), Davy Arnaud - Josh Wolff, Scott Sealy (Jack Jewsbury 46)
A year ago, the teams split their season series, each team winning one with a pair of draws. They played to a 1-1 draw at Spartan Stadium on June 26 (Mulrooney 79 - Burciaga 45), then the Earthquakes claimed a 2-0 victory on Aug. 14 in Kansas City (Donovan 27, 59)
The Wizards returned the favor with a 1-0 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 18 (Gutierrez 82), then the teams played to a scoreless draw in San Jose on Oct. 19.
The Kansas City victory last year was their first in league play in more than two years, since a 2-1 win July 27, 2002 (six meetings). Also in that period was a San Jose victory in the 2003 Western Conference Final which earned them a place in the MLS Cup Final.
Until splitting the series last year, the Quakes had won the season series between the clubs in each of the previous three seasons.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. KC: P5 W2 L1 D2 ... Bob Gansler v SJ: P24 W8 L10 D6
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards continued their somewhat up-and-down campaign, this time on a positive swing, putting together one of their finer defensive performance and getting an opportunistic goal in a 1-0 victory against the MetroStars on Wednesday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The Wizards are now in third place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from eight matches, one behind the Chicago Fire for second and eight behind pace-setting New England.
The lone goal came on 48 minutes through a quick attack off a turnover just inside the MetroStars half. Chris Klein drew the MetroStars defense to him, then fed Sasha Victorine who quickly squared for Davy Arnaud to the right as Scott Sealy played a wonderful dummy. Arnaud's left-footed shot snuck between MetroStars goalkeeper Zach Wells legs and into the back of the net.
The Wizards had nearly taken the lead in the 19th minute when defender Jimmy Conrad headed a corner goalward that seemed certain to hit home, but Amado Guevara made an acrobatic diving header on the line to preserve the scoreless tie at that point.
Wizards boss Bob Gansler made two changes to the team that lost to D.C. United 3-2 the weekend before, both due to national team duty, as Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin were with the USA in advance of their glamour friendly with England. Scott Sealy came into attack for Wolff, while Diego Gutierrez returned after missing just three weeks with surgery to clean out a bone spur, coming into central midfield.
Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Chris Klein (Brian Roberts 85), Diego Gutierrez, Sasha Victorine, Alex Zotinca - Scott Sealy (Jack Jewsbury 63), Davy Arnaud (Justin Detter 89).
"It's just a matter of putting the game together. All the credit to the guys, they knew that we didn't do well enough in D.C. and we had to come home and win," said Gansler. "It doesn't matter whether it's 4-3 or 1-0. The best of teams are able to win [both ways], and that's what we're striving to do."
Gutierrez played the full match in central midfield, alongside Sasha Victorine, in his first game back. Chris Klein and Alex Zotinca filled the wide roles, often switching sides. "I was actually surprised that I was able to go 90 minutes. I didn't feel like I was going to be able to at halftime, but I got my second wind halfway through the second half and was able to finish," Gutierrez said.
The Wizards have now won twice in three matches, and Arnaud has scored in both victories, his only goals on the season. "With Josh and Kerry being gone, we said as a team [that everybody] had to pull together. It was a big game for us. We knew we needed three points," Arnaud said. "When you've got two guys like that gone from your team it hurts, but everybody's got to pull together and work hard."
It was also a solid defensive performance for the Wizards, who now have three shutouts in their last five matches - though each shutout has followed a match where they've allowed three points.
"We wanted to set the tone," said Conrad. "I don't think, in the back, we've really taken the reins and just been solid and said, 'Today's not your day.'"
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes continued their three-match road trip with a quality result, a late goal giving them a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids in Denver. The Earthquakes moved into third place in the Western Conference with 13 points from nine matches, now two ahead of Real Salt Lake and five behind first-place FC Dallas.
Alejandro Moreno's 78th-minute goal gave the Earthquakes the victory on the road. Dwayne De Rosario found Moreno on the outside near the corner of the area, and he beat newly-acquired defender Mike Petke one-on-one, turning the former D.C. United center back before hitting a low shot that skipped off Petke's foot and through a host of legs, curling inside the far post past Joe Cannon's outstretched dive.
Earthquakes boss Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the Los Angeles Galaxy the weekend before. Chris Aloisi came in at right back as Ricardo Clark moved into the holding midfield role, in place of Danny O'Rourke. Mark Chung made his first start with the Earthquakes, on the right flank in place of Ian Russell, while Danny Califf also made his first appearance with the club after his offseason move from Los Angeles, coming into central defense for Ryan Cochrane.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Chris Aloisi, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Dwayne De Rosario - Alejandro Moreno, Ronald Cerritos
"I am very happy for the guys. It was just a gutsy performance by the team, and from back to front, we played great defensively. Our goal was to get three points tonight and we showed that at the end of the game. Everyone was battling and making the plays that had to be made. Just a good performance overall," Kinnear said.
For the Earthquakes, it was a second win in five matches on the road, and came in the second game of a three-game road swing. "It's big for us because this keeps Colorado behind us and puts some distance between Chivas and us as well. It was an important three points for us tonight," said Moreno.
It was also a third shutout in four games for the Earthquakes, of which two have come on the road. "We have played well defensively and we have rode a little bit of luck. But, tonight I think that we really limited their chances very well, so I was proud of the guys for their effort. If we keep playing like we did tonight, we are going to be very successful," said goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
Moreno had two goals as a substitute before taking over the starting role in attack alongside Ronald Cerritos after the injury to Brian Ching. It was his first goal in two matches since coming into the first team.
"On the road, it is tough to get chances, so it takes a lot of concentration to make sure that you take advantage of those chances. For some reason I have had good success on the road. I have had some good opportunities at home, but the goalkeepers have made good saves on me and I haven't been able to finish so far," Moreno said.