The Kansas City Wizards earned a win and a draw to highlight a busy weekend of preseason matches for MLS teams preparing for the 2005 campaign. A youthful side led the 2004 MLS Cup runners-up to a 3-0 victory over the U.S. Under-17 national team on Saturday in Tampa, Fla. before a more veteran Wizards lineup played the San Jose Earthquakes to a 1-1 tie Sunday afternoon in Bradenton, Fla.
All-time MLS leading scorer Preki played the first 45 minutes on Saturday and set up Kansas City's first goal against the young U.S. team. A quickly taken free kick sprung a streaking Ryan Pore behind the defense, the young striker then rounding the goalkeeper before slotting a shot home.
Undrafted preseason invitee Pat McGinnis doubled the advantage in the second half when he collected a pass from Edwin Ruiz and blasted the ball into the net from a tight angle. Ruiz did the honors himself 23 minutes later. Pore was the provider, flicking the ball over the defense to give Ruiz the chance. A textbook finish capped off a convincing performance from the Wizards in their third preseason match.
Kansas City faced more experienced competition on Sunday when they squared off with the Quakes. Bob Gansler's side took a 1-0 lead into the intermission thanks to a goal from Jose Burciaga. The play started on a deep free kick that was taken by Alex Zotinca. He found Josh Wolff on the left side, who then played the ball forward to the overlapping Burciaga. The veteran defender smashed a shot from 10 yards past Quakes' goalkeeper Pat Onstad for the 1-0 lead.
The match ended in a tie thanks a second half goal from Chris Wondolowski with 20 minutes left on the clock. The Chico State midfielder took a pass from Antou Jallow before neatly chipping the ball over substitute goalkeeper Will Hesmer. San Jose now posts a 1-1-2 preseason record. They will remain in Florida until Thursday before heading back to California to continue training.
The Wizards next take the field on Tuesday when they square off with the University of South Florida in Tampa at 7 p.m. ET. Kansas City has earned a 2-1-1 record through their first four preseason contests.
Texans use six-shooter to down University of Memphis
Richard Mulrooney led FC Dallas to a 6-2 win over the University of Memphis on Saturday in a scrimmage at the University of Texas at Dallas. His four-point performance (a goal and two assists) in the first half set the stage for an impressive offensive performance for Colin Clarke's team.
"It was the first time in a scrimmage situation for several of our players today, and I thought they responded well," said Clarke. "We scored plenty of goals as it was good to see the ball hit the back of the net. There are still things we need to work on, but on the whole I felt there were a lot of positives that we can take from our match today."
FC Dallas was up 3-0 after just 20 minutes of action, Arturo Alvarez opening the scoring in the 12th minute before goals from Ronnie O'Brien (15th minute) and Eddie Johnson (20th minute). Mulrooney then struck in the 37th minute.
A slew of halftime substitutions didn't stop the FC Dallas onslaught. Mario Torres and Philip Salyer netted for Dallas in the second half to give the pro side six strikes on the day. Memphis scored a goal in each half to make the final outcome 6-2.
FC Dallas will take the field against Southern Methodist University on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET before heading to Spain for training from Feb. 26 to March 11.
Jaqua heats up to earn Fire draw
After falling behind 2-0 to the U.S. Under-20 national team in Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday, forward Nate Jaqua struck two late goals in a 120-minute scrimmage to salvage a tie for Chicago in their fourth 2005 preseason game.
Fire head coach Dave Sarachan used 24 players during the extended game, including forward Andy Herron and defender Samuel Caballero, both of whom had been nursing preseason injuries. The U-20s appeared to be on the course to victory after scoring on Chicago in the 37th and 85th minutes.
But Jaqua struck twice late, including a goal in the final minute of play, to help Chicago move to 3-1-1 in preseason action. His first of the day was in the 94th minute, finishing a cross from 'Boyzzz' Khumalo from 12 yards out to cut into the opponent's lead. He would tally again just seconds before the final whistle, heading home a corner kick from Scott Buete for the game's final goal.
The Fire will return to Chicago this week as select players and Sarachan will participate in the annual FireFest on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT, at the Holiday Inn Select & Convention Center in Tinley Park, Ill. Preseason training will continue for the 'Men in Red' in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Jackson, Miss., before opening the 2005 season against FC Dallas on April 2 at the Cotton Bowl in Texas.
Forwards share the load in RSL win
In Real Salt Lake's final preseason match in Bradenton, Fla., strikers Clint Mathis, Jason Kreis and Dipsy Selolwane each hit the twine to give John Ellinger's side a 3-1 victory over the U.S. Amateur Team on Saturday.
"Overall we finished on an upbeat note and the guys feel pretty good about themselves as we were able to get out of Florida without any injuries," said Ellinger. "The next phase will be to find our starting 11 and to get the team where it need to be for opening day on April 2 against the MetroStars."
All three Salt Lake goals came in the first half of the exhibition, the expansion team needing only 10 minutes to start the scoring. Mathis was the first to get his name on the score sheet, pounding a pass from Luke Kreamalmeyer into the net for the early lead. Kreamalmeyer then served up Kreis for the second goal after a run down the left wing. MLS' all-time leading goal scorer made no mistake with the finish for his fourth goal of the preseason.
Ten minutes before the break Selolwane put Salt Lake up by three goals. Mathis sent a long ball over the defense for the Botswana international to run on to. He slotted the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper to score RSL's third goal of the game. The Amateurs cut into the lead midway through the second half in an otherwise uneventful 45 minutes.
Real Salt Lake players will have a few days off before gathering at Kennedy International Airport in New York on Thursday to depart for Portugal for the second preseason training camp. They will remain in Europe for 14 days before returning to the United States.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.