The Kansas City Wizards cruised past the University of South Florida 3-0 on Tuesday evening in the team's fifth of seven scheduled exhibition matches in Florida. Taylor Graham scored a goal and the Wizards first pick in the Supplemental Draft, Edwin Ruiz scored twice as Kansas City improved their preseason record to 3-1-1 while outscoring their opponents 10-4.
A young lineup for the Wizards battled a determined college opponent as the USF side looked to grab the momentum early and constantly pressured the Wizards end. Bob Gansler's team proved up to the task, withstanding the pressure and patiently wearing out the opposition.
The Wizards first goal came just a minute before the end of the first half. Preki sent a swinging corner kick into the box that the USF goalkeeper got a fist on initially. The ball sailed into the air and was headed twice by USF defenders before Wizards defender Taylor Graham directed the third consecutive headed ball towards the goal and past a sprawling goalkeeper, giving the Wizards a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
At halftime, Gansler stressed the need to play smarter and control the ball more and create better passing lanes and that is just what his side did on the second period. The Wizards came out and dominated possession scoring twice more to put the game away.
Forward Ryan Pore pushed a ball through the defense in the 51st minute to a streaking Edwin Ruiz, who buried a one-time shot perfectly inside the near post. The Honduran-born Ruiz would score again just seven minutes later, this time it was rookie Doug Lascody who sprung Ruiz through the defense before Ruiz finished his shot.
Kansas City will face their final MLS opponent in Florida on Thursday, February 24th when they take on the Chicago Fire at the USF campus in Tampa with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. The Wizards final exhibition in Florida will take place Friday, February 25th against the University of Central Florida in Orlando with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT.
KC- Taylor Graham (Unassisted) 44'
KC- Edwin Ruiz (Ryan Pore) 51'
KC- Edwin Ruiz (Doug Lascody) 58'
Kansas City Wizards Lineup:
Will Hesmer-GK (Chris Sawyer-60'); Brian Roberts, Taylor Graham, Dustin Branan, Daniel Dobson; Preki (Diego Walsh-46'), Shavar Thomas, Doug Lascody, Jay Alberts; Pat McGinnis (Edwin Ruiz-46'), Ryan Pore
2005 Preseason Schedule and Results
Feb. 17 vs. Real Salt Lake @ Bradenton, FL L 2-3
Feb. 17 vs. U.S. Amateur Team @ Bradenton, FL W 1-0
Feb. 19 vs. U-17 USMNT @ U. of South Florida W 3-0
Feb. 20 vs. San Jose Earthquakes @ Bradenton, FL T 1-1
Feb. 22 vs. U. of South Florida @ U. of South Florida W 3-0
Feb. 24 vs. Chicago Fire @ U. of South Florida 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 vs. U. of Central Florida @ U. of Central Florida 6:00 p.m.