KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The D.C. United Reserves (5-3-0, 15 pts.) fell for just the third time in 2005 as the team dropped a 4-2 decision to the Kansas City Wizards Reserves (2-3-3, 9 pts.) at the Arrowhead Training Field Thursday morning. Wizards midfielder Preki recorded two second half goals while playing just 26 minutes and D.C. United forward Matt Nickell scored a pair in front of a large crowd of family members who made the trip to Kansas City from nearby Waukee, Iowa.
D.C. United dictated the pace of the match early on, setting up the game's first scoring opportunity in just the 3rd minute. United midfielder Jason Thompson sent a cross into the box from the right side that Matt Nickell slide in to take a stab at, but his effort rolled just wide of the goal.
The Wizards got on the board first in the 7th minute when Diego Walsh, playing in his first competitive match since undergoing surgery on a sports hernia in May, turned his defender outside the right side of the box and lofted a ball into the middle where forward Ryan Pore was set up. Pore rose for a header and snapped the ball inside the right post, leaving no chance for United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to make the save.
United quickly answered two minutes later when Matt Nickell scored his first goal on the day. Midfielder Steve Guppy played a ball into the box from the left side that Nickell chested down. He then turned and danced around one Wizards defender before letting go of a low liner that found its way inside the left post.
The two sides would exchange chances midway through the first half whenPore's pounding shot sailed just inches over the crossbar in the 17th minute, followed by a breakaway by D.C.'s Thompson in the 20th minute that Kansas City 'keeper William Hesmer stopped with a great save to his left. From that point on, the Wizards took over the match.
Diego Walsh doubled the Wizards lead in the 28th minute when he whipped a curling freekick over the D.C. United wall that clipped a defender's head and was sent quivering into the upper left corner of the goal, leaving goalkeeper Troy Perkins leaning the wrong direction and unable to recover.
The second half saw much of the same from the Wizards as they seemed to thrive in the stifling heat and saw the opposition wearing down in the conditions. Preki opened the second half scoring in the 51st minute taking the credit on a play set up by Diego Walsh. Walsh threaded through the United midfield and waited just inside the top of the box as a pair of defenders drew near. As they approached, Walsh calmly slipped the ball through to Preki, unmarked on the left. Preki then hammered the ball inside the left post as Perkins was unable to make a play.
Six minutes later, Preki scored his second goal of the match. This time, midfielder Daniel Dobson challenged for a ball at midfield and won, knocking his opponent down and getting a clear look at Preki who was streaking down the right flank. Preki took two touches to get inside the box and sent a curling left-footed shot across the goalmouth that settled inside the left side of goal for a 4-1 Kansas City lead.
Kansas City tried killing the match with ball possession, but D.C. United made one last effort at closing the gap in the dying minutes as Matt Nickell scored his second of the day in the 84th minute. A Wizards foul outside the top of their own box drew confusion for the home side and allowed D.C. United's Andrew Weber to set the ball down and take a quick restart while Kansas City was still arguing the call. Weber found Nickell inside the box and Nickell quickly toe-poked a shot that found it's way under William Hesmer to bring the score to 4-2.
The hot and muggy weather took it's toll on both sides by the end of the match despite the referees stopping play midway through the second half to allow a water break for the players. The stoppage was agreed upon when D.C. United midfielder Nana Kuffour was taken off in the 69th minute and taken to the Wizards training room to be treated for heat exhaustion. Kuffour was taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons, but still plans to return to D.C. on Thursday evening.
The United Reserves are next in action versus the Chicago Fire Reserves on August 7 in Chicago, and then face the Colorado Rapids Reserves on September 4. United finishes the inaugural reserve season with two home games - October 9 versus the MetroStars Reserves and October 16 versus the Columbus Crew Reserves.
KC- Ryan Pore (Diego Walsh) 7'
DC- Matt Nickell (Steve Guppy) 9'
KC- Diego Walsh (Unassisted) 28'
KC- Preki (Diego Walsh) 51'
KC- Preki (Daniel Dobson) 57'
DC- Matt Nickell (Andrew Weber) 84'
D.C. United Reserves (3-5-2): Troy Perkins-GK; Allen Handy, Kenny Arena, Ryan Futagaki; Jason Thompson, Nick Van Sicklen, Shawn Kuykendall, Nana Kuffour (Andrew Weber-69'), Steve Guppy; Matt Nickell, Jamil Walker (David Stokes-69')
Kansas City Reserves (3-5-2): William Hesmer-GK; Khari Stephenson, Dustin Branan, Ryan Raybould; John Minagawa-Webster, Doug Lascody, Diego Walsh, Daniel Dobson, Jack Jewsbury (Armando Burciaga-46', Jake Bleyenberg-74'); Pat McGinnis (Martin Hutton-88'), Ryan Pore (Preki-46', Jake Spain-72')
KC- Ryan Pore (Caution) 11'
DC- Nana Kuffour (Caution) 40'
KC- Preki (Caution) 50'
Weather: Partly cloudy, humid, 93 degrees
Referee: Roni Canales
Assistant Referees: Shar Dilmaghani, Ivan Veselic
4th Official: Phil Thies