Goals from Josh Wolff and Davy Arnaud earned the Kansas City Wizards a valuable 2-1 away win against New England Revolution, snapping their three-match losing streak while sending them top of the Western Conference -- for the moment.
Lifted by a valiant effort from stand-in keeper Bo Oshoniyi, who was inserted into the starting lineup after regular No. 1 Tony Meola suffered a right Achilles strain in pre-game warmups, the Wizards fought back from an early Taylor Twellman strike to grab the three points courtesy of Wolff's 37th-minute strike and Arnaud's game-winner in the 66th minute and ended the home side's seven-match unbeaten run.
It was a tenuous start from the visitors. Revolution 'keeper Matt Reis nearly earned his first assist of the season in the ninth minute. Quick thinking saw a fine throw distributed to the feet of Richie Baker, unmarked down the right flank. Baker chipped the onrushing Bo Oshoniyi, but the ball -- seemingly skidding wide of the far post -- was cleared by Nick Garcia.
The Revolution marched up the field and found the first goal directly afterwards. Baker crossed into the box, and though connecting with Pat Noonan, he lost it in his feet. The ball squirted out to Twellman, who made no mistake from six yards to open the scoring.
Kansas City gradually took control of the game, closing the space down the right hand flank accorded to Baker. The Irish import was influential in the match during its early stages, yet found himself marked out through tactical adjustments.
The Revolution went close in the 33rd minute. A slotted ball by José Cancela and a little jinking move by Noonan allowed the second-year man to turn and fire a skimming shot wide of the far post from 16 yards.
Wolff nearly opened the Wizards' account in the 36th minute after he was sent through on goal by Arnaud, but Avery John's desperate tackle was timed to perfection, sending the ball out for a corner.
The Wizards finally evened the scoreline a minute later though delicate interplay between Wolff and Igor Simutenkov. Simutenkov was sent through by Wolff on the right side of a box, and from a tight angle, the former Russian international forced a smart save from Reis. The diving save left the ball in the path of Wolff, who made no mistake from 10 yards.
Cancela almost returned the lead to the home side, but his cracking 52nd-minute free kick was pushed onto the post by Oshoniyi. A curving, dipping ball around the wall seemingly headed to the left-hand corner, Oshoniyi extended fully to push the ball onto the post.
The Revolution continued to push forward in occasional spurts, but they failed to possess the ball or look comfortable in their possession. In other instance, timing was off, such as Steve Ralston's inviting cross in the 63rd minute that barely missed Twellman.
Kansas City was rewarded for their efforts with the game winner in the 66th minute. Wolff sprayed a pass to the right edge of the box to second half substitute Jack Jewsbury. He crossed behind everyone, finding an open Arnaud, and his one-time effort to the right corner of Reis' net put the Wizards ahead to stay.
The Revolution had two glorious chances to conjure an equalizer, but failed to capitalize on either.
In the 75th minute, Twellman was sent through on goal by a well-placed Ralston pass. After a neat little turn to create space, Twellman's low shot from 10 yards was hit directly at Oshoniyi.
One last chance went begging in the 90th minute, as a well-struck clearance from Reis traveled half the field. A well-directed header by Noonan looked goal bound to the lower left hand corner, but Oshoniyi made a desperate lunge to push the effort away, and the Wizards escaped with the full three points.
New England hosts D.C. United next Saturday (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2), while Kansas City plays the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday in the semifinal of the U.S. Open Cup, then returns to MLS action Sept. 1 against Chicago (8:30 p.m. ET).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Bo Oshoniyi (Kansas City Wizards)
Kansas City Wizards (10-7-5) vs. New England Revolution (5-9-8)
August 21, 2004 -- Gillette Stadium
NE -- Taylor Twellman 5 (Pat Noonan 6, Richie Baker 5) 11
KC -- Josh Wolff 6 (unassisted) 39
KC -- Davy Arnaud 9 (Jack Jewsbury 2, Josh Wolff 6) 66
Kansas City Wizards -- Bo Oshoniyi, Taylor Graham, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Nick Garcia, Alex Zotinca, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin, Igor Simutenkov (Jack Jewsbury 61), Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff (Francisco Gomez 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Preki, Matt Taylor, Justin Detter.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (3 tied with 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Davy Arnaud 2); FOULS: 13 (Davy Arnaud 3, Kerry Zavagnin 3); OFFSIDES: 7 (Davy Arnaud 4); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Igor Simutenkov 4); SAVES: 5 (Bo Oshoniyi 4)
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Steve Ralston, Avery John, Rusty Pierce, Marshall Leonard (Andy Dorman 81), Richie Baker (Felix Brillant 46), Jose Cancela, Shalrie Joseph, Brian Kamler (Jay Heaps 60), Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman.
Substitutes Not Used: Perek Belleh, Bobby Thompson, Luke Vercollone, Doug Warren.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Pat Noonan 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Taylor Twellman 3); FOULS: 17 (Shalrie Joseph 4, Marshall Leonard 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Taylor Twellman 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Jose Cancela 3); SAVES: 3 (Matt Reis 3)
KC -- Shavar Thomas (caution; Reckless Foul) 46+
KC -- Kerry Zavagnin (caution; Pushing, Holding) 73
KC -- Bo Oshoniyi (caution; Delaying a Restart) 91+
Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela
Referee's Assistants: -Jorge De la Bandera; Bahij Salman
4th Official: Gus St. Silva
Time of Game: 1:52
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.