COMMUNITYAMERICA BALLPARK, Kansas City, Kan.
June 13, 2009 (WEEK 13) / MLS Game #96
7:30 p.m. CT (MetroSports; TV38)
Two of the teams locked in a four-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference meet Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark when the New England Revolution visit the Kansas City Wizards. The return of Taylor Twellman to the Revolution has jumpstarted the team, as they have won their last two games after a six-game winless run, including a 4-0 thrashing of New York on Sunday. The Wizards have won just once in their last seven games, dropping a 2-0 home decision to the Columbus Crew last weekend.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Jeff Muschik; JAR (opposite): Cyril Madukanya; 4th: Mark Kadlecik MLS Career: 88 games; FC/gm: 28.8; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 23; pens: 30
INJURY REPORT: KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: FW Adam Cristman (fifth metatarsal fracture); GK Eric Kronberg (shoulder surgery); DF Chance Myers (fifth metatarsal fracture); PROBABLE: DF Jimmy Conrad (toe strain); MF Santiago Hirsig (adductor strain); FW Claudio Lopez (calf strain) ... NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: DF Gabriel Badilla (bulging disk); MF Mauricio Castro (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Chris Albright (L lateral meniscus tear); QUESTIONABLE: FW Taylor Twellman (neck pain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Davy Arnaud, Jack Jewsbury ... NE: Wells Thompson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Matt Besler; Roger Espinoza, Herculez Gomez, Lance Watson ... NE: Jay Heaps, Kenny Mansally
HEAD-TO-HEADALL-TIME (35 meetings): Wizards 17 wins (1 shootout), 53 goals ... Revolution 11 wins (1 shootout), 45 goals ... Ties 7
AT KANSAS CITY (17 meetings): Wizards 8 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals ... Revolution 6 wins (0 shootout), 20 goals ... Ties 3
LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/9: KC 1, NE 3 (Jewsbury 28 - own goal 12; Nyassi 33; Mansally 40)
10/11: KC 1, NE 0 (Conrad 61)
10/25: NE 1, KC 3 (Lopez 28; Arnaud 53; own goal 88 - Larentowicz 90)
The teams split the season series a year ago, each winning 3-1 at the other's home ground with the third match a draw.
The Revolution have defeated the Wizards just once all-time at Gillette Stadium. The Wizards won the first meeting there, 4-2 on July 13, 2002, and have gone 6-1-4 all told. The lone Revolution victory came Aug. 2, 2007, a 2-0 victory.
The Revolution have won four of their last eight trips to Kansas City, with a pair of draws, beginning with a 3-2 win at Arrowhead Stadium on June 2, 2004.
The teams have also been drawn into the same group in SuperLiga 2009, joining Santos Laguna and Atlas of Mexico. They will face each other June 24 at Gillette Stadium in the second of the three group games.
Coaches record: Curt Onalfo v NE: P6 W3 L3 D0 ... Steve Nicol vs. KC: P20 W5 L8 D7
KANSAS CITY WIZARDSThe Kansas City Wizards saw their winless skid hit three games, falling 2-0 to a 10-man Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Wizards have 16 points from 13 matches, sitting in a four-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with New England, Toronto and Columbus, five points behind the Chicago Fire.
The Crew hadn't lost in seven games, with their first two wins coming in the last four games, while the Wizards had just one win in their last six.
The defending champions were gifted a goal in the 14th minute. A long ball was played to the top of the Kansas City penalty area, and a pair of defenders and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman all converged. But the ball popped free, and after becoming entangled the trio could just watch as Guillermo Barros Schelotto nipped in to chip a volley into the empty net.
The Crew were left a man down in the 51st minute when defender Chad Marshall was shown a straight red after a battle with K.C. center back Aaron Hohlbein for a high ball.
But it was the visitors who struck next. Defender Matt Besler was adjudged to have fouled Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven in the corner of the area, and referee Baldomero Toledo ruled a penalty kick, duly converted by Schelotto for his eighth goal of the season, moving him back into a tie for the league lead.
Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo made two changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Santiago Hirsig and Josh Wolff both returned from suspension, coming back into the team for Kevin Souter and Michael Harrington.
Here's Onalfo's team (4-1-3-2): Kevin Hartman - Lance Watson (Michael Harrington 69), Jimmy Conrad, Aaron Hohlbein (Graham Zusi 80), Matt Besler - Santiago Hirsig - Jack Jewsbury, Davy Arnaud, Herculez Gomez (Abe Thompson 60) - Josh Wolff, Claudio Lopez. Substitutes Not Used: Rauwshan McKenzie, Kurt Morsink, Boris Pardo, Kevin Souter
"I actually thought we played very well in the first half, except for the mess on the goal. That part is disappointing. I thought we created some good chances. We were just a little bit off or unlucky all evening," Onalfo said. "They got a red card, and then I felt like we were really going to be able to push the game. The penalty kick hurt. It really enabled them to sit into a defensive shell and not have to play."
After winning two home games in a row, the last a 2-0 win against New York on April 23, the Wizards have taken just two points from their last three games at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
"This is a dogfight league. It's obviously disappointing. In this business you have to stay even-keeled. We have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep plugging away. That's how we make our living in MLS," Onalfo said.
The Wizards were able to get off a season-high 17 shot attempts, yet were able to force Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum into just three saves.
"Columbus did a good job of blocking the passing lanes and any shooting lanes into the goal. They battled, they scrapped and they got the three points. Unless we can finish and punish them for their mistakes, like they did to us, it's hard to get a result," said defender Jimmy Conrad.
The Wizards have still just 16 goals on the season, the fewest of any team in the Eastern Conference entering the weekend. That mark is tied for sixth-fewest overall in the league.
"We gave up two soft goals, and we lost. Giving up soft goals has been the bane of our existence this season," said Conrad. "Until we can eradicate that, it's going to be hard to move up the table."
But the Wizards have scored the same number of goals as they have allowed 16 - an average of 1.23 per game, which ranks 12th among the league's 15 teams.
"We had a ton of shots on goal and a whole bunch of deflections from their team," Onalfo said after the Columbus game. "If one of those goes in, it's a different game; even if you score in the 88th minute because then you have an opportunity to get another one. Unfortunately, none of them went in."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTIONThe New England Revolution won for the second consecutive week in impressive fashion, getting four goals in a burst of about 20 minutes for a 4-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have 16 points from 13 matches, sitting in a four-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with Kansas City, Toronto and Columbus, five points behind the Chicago Fire.
The Red Bulls had started their two-game swing against Eastern Conference rivals with a 2-0 loss Thursday at D.C. United. The Revolution were coming off their first win in seven games, a 2-1 home win against D.C. United the weekend before, their first triumph since April 11.
It was a night of milestones in Foxborough. Making his 300th appearance, Jay Heaps put the Revolution into the lead in first-half stoppage time. Shalrie Joseph collected a pass in the Red Bulls penalty area, and though knocked away, he retrieved it and laid a pass into the path of the charging New England fullback on the left who drove it into the back of the net.
Seven minutes after the restart, the Revolution doubled their advantage. Heaps won the ball in the left corner and flighted a high cross into the area where Steve Ralston leapt over a defender and nodded it inside the back post for his fourth goal on the year.
Taylor Twellman came on at halftime in his second appearance of the season, and it took him just five more minutes to finally hit for goal No. 100 of his league career. Again it was from a cross, Shalrie Joseph swinging in a ball from deep on the right and the completely unmarked Twellman making no mistake at the back stick.
Twellman completed his double seven minutes later. A poor clearance was picked off by Ralston in the area, and he quickly slid it to Twellman to side-foot home.
Matt Reis made three saves for New England for the shutout, his 50th in MLS play. The Red Bulls have reached 19 consecutive league games without a win on the road (0-13-6) and have yet to score on the road in seven games this season, also an MLS record.
Revs head coach Steve Nicol made one change to the team that defeated D.C. United 2-1 at RFK Stadium the previous weekend. Kenny Mansally came back into the team in place of Chris Tierney.
Here's Nicol's team (4-4-1-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Emmanuel Osei, Jay Heaps - Sainey Nyassi (Wells Thompson 73), Pat Phelan (Taylor Twellman 46), Jeff Larentowicz, Kenny Mansally - Steve Ralston (Michael Videira 82) - Shalrie Joseph. Substitutes Not Used: Stephane Assengue, Amaechi Igwe, Brad Knighton, Chris Tierney
"We defended pretty solid but we certainly can get better passing the ball. I don't think we passed it as well as we can do. We should be happy we won 4-nil at home, so we're happy, but we aren't daft. We lost (six) at Salt Lake and we didn't get carried away so we aren't getting carried away winning by four," Nicol said. "So we are pleased but we think we can be better than what we were."
Taylor Twellman became just the fifth player in MLS history to reach the 100-goal mark for his career, and at 29 years, 100 days of age, he became the youngest to hit the century mark, besting the mark held by Jeff Cunningham (31 years, 360 days).
"Considering it was his 100th goal, from that particular reason it's good. But that's what he's all about. All he's interested in is scoring goals and let's hope he continues to do it," Nicol said.
Coming in his 174th league appearance, Twellman has also scored 100 goals in fewer games than anyone else in MLS history. He recorded No. 99 against D.C. United last Oct. 16, but couldn't convert in the final game of the 2008 regular season, then missed last year's MLS Cup Playoffs and the first nine games of this season through injury.
"It's been a long road, but I don't know, it's hard to put it into words, but for me, I've been blessed playing with so many good guys ... (Steve) Ralston, Shalrie (Joseph), (Jay) Heaps, you can go down the line, everyone that's been there for six, seven, eight years. They've made the job real easy," Twellman said. "And Stevie Nicol and Paul (Mariner). Really, it's the fruition of what my teammates have done while I'm just doing my job."
Once again, Twellman's return to the team changed the effectiveness of the attack. After suffering nausea and dizziness after making his season debut the week before, he did not start against New York, meaning the makeshift duo of Shalrie Joseph and Steve Ralston once again played up top.
"All I have to do is get open and you're going to have guys find you and play great balls to you. It's kind of ridiculous how good the service I've had the seven or eight years I've been here," Twellman said. "For me, it was a typical goal, I scored on a head-ball and a sliding shot tonight from Steve Ralston and Shalrie (Joseph)."
Jay Heaps capped his 300th league appearance (the ninth player in MLS history to reach that milestone) with the opening goal. Heaps scored a goal against the then-Metrostars on March 20, 1999 in his MLS debut.
"We encourage (fullbacks) Kevin (Alston) and (Jay) Heaps to go forward if they can go forward. As far as them picking and choosing the right times, if you go at the wrong times you can get caught and get in trouble defensively, but today (Heaps) chose the perfect times to go forward and when not to," Nicol said. "He scores one and makes one and he puts it in today in his 300th game. You couldn't wish for more."