The Kansas City Wizards opened their 2005 preseason exhibition slate with a 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake in Bradenton, Florida on Thursday morning. Playing their first of two games scheduled for Thursday, the Wizards started a predominantly veteran lineup, but also saw rookie midfielder John Minagawa-Webster earn the start on the left flank.
Real Salt Lake opened the scoring in the 25th minute when defender Matt Behncke headed home a shot off a Jason Kreis corner kick, after shaking off his defender just outside the six-yard box. Kreis would score Salt Lake's second goal just ten minutes later on a one-time blast from the top of the box.
The Wizards first goal of the match came in the second half when Davy Arnaud was drug down in the box. Josh Wolff stepped in and converted the PK attempt to bring Kansas City within one goal.
The story of the morning for the Wizards was Chris Klein, who played the full 90 minutes in his first action since tearing his left ACL against the San Jose Earthquakes in August of last year. Klein started on the right flank and moved to the left side in the second half. In the second half, Diego Walsh sprung Klein on the left with a nice ball into space. Klein then moved in diagonally on goal and scored the Wizards second goal of the morning, tying the score at 2-2.
Salt Lake would take the lead back for good in the 75th minute on a goal by Luke Kreamalmeyer. Kreamalmeyer's strike proved to be the game-winner as the Wizards were unable to get the equalizer.
Despite the loss, the Wizards walked away from their first match will some promise for the future. In addition to Klein playing the full 90, Major League Soccer's all-time leading scorer Preki played the last 20 minutes in his first action in five months. Preki suffered a broken left ankle during the 2004 preseason and attempted a come-back late last season, only to suffer a setback and require season ending surgery in early September.
RSL- Matt Behncke (Jason Kreis) 25'
RSL- Jason Kreis (Dipsy Selolwane) 35'
KC- Josh Wolff (Penalty Kick) 60'
KC- Chris Klein (Diego Walsh) 67'
RSL- Luke Kreamalmeyer (Sergio Flores) 75'
Kansas City Wizards Lineup:
Bo Oshoniyi-GK (Will Hesmer-70'); Alex Zotinca (Brian Roberts-46), Jimmy Conrad (Taylor Graham-80'), Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga; Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Diego Gutierrez (Diego Walsh-36), John Minagawa-Webster (Jay Alberts-46'); Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff (Preki-70')
Real Salt Lake Lineup:
D.J. Countess-GK (Jay Nolly-46'); Matt Behncke (Bryan Jackson-46'), Brian Dunseth (Michael Lookingland-46'), Eddie Pope (Cameron Knowles-46'), Nelson Akwari (Senad Halilovic-46'); MF - Brian Kamler (Kevin Ara-46'), Clint Mathis, Pablo Brenes (Luke Kreamalmeyer-46'), Evan Whitfield (Novak-46'); Jason Kreis (Sergio Flores-46'), Dipsy Selolwane (Jamie Watson-46')