On the strength of Davy Arnaud's early second-half goal and a back line that rose to the occasion when needed, the Kansas City Wizards defeated the visiting MetroStars 1-0 Wednesday night for their third win on the season.
Arnaud finished off a neat passing movement after the Wizards converted a quick turnover for the game's only goal in the 48th minute and the Wizards defenders -- led by center back Jimmy Conrad -- kept the MetroStars from any consistent threat at the Kansas City goal.
The Wizards held most of the early possession, but wasted a large majority of it in long balls over the top that posed no threat or in attackers running offside -- which happened five times in the first half.
Each team had strikers get free at either end on solo breaks without success. Wizards rookie Scott Sealy picked up an Arnaud flick-on and rushed in on Zach Wells in the 24th minute, but rushed by a defender, Sealy fired well left of goal from 10 yards out.
The Metros countered with a John Wolyniec attempt from a purposeful ball over the top of the Kansas City defense. Wolyniec failed to make strong contact, but Conrad and a prone Bo Oshoniyi nearly flubbed the easy end to the threat as Oshoniyi bobbled the ball with Conrad stumbling near him.
Still with nothing to show for their five shots, the Wizards tried to again to snatch the lead in the 39th minute through a crafty combination of passes involving Klein, Sealy, and wide midfielder Alex Zotinca.
Running amidst the MetroStars defense in left midfield, Sealy fed a spinning pass that smartly reached Klein on the right side of the box. Klein held the ball before playing through two defenders to Zotinca, whose steamroller stretched Wells fully to his right for a two-handed save.
The breakthrough for the Wizards was soon found on the other side of halftime with a quick attack off a turnover just inside the MetroStars half. Klein drew the MetroStars defense to him, then fed Sasha Victorine who quickly squared for Arnaud to the right as Sealy played a wondreful dummy. Arnaud's left-footed shot snuck between Wells legs and into the back of the net in the 48th minute to give the Wizards the lead.
Although Wolyniec would threaten again as he latched onto a Guevara ball shortly thereafter, forcing a sprawling block from Oshoniyi, the Wizards continued to control the tempo of the match and to create chances and half-chances.
The MetroStars would not lie down on the night though and seemed to be ready to even the game in the 67th minute as Guevara found space running diagonally with the ball in midfield. The Honduran international delivered for Frenchman Youri Djorkaeff a close 10 yards off the far post, but again the Wizards goalkeeper threw out a leg to make a timely stop.
Surviving an Eddie Gaven cross that meandered across the Wizards' box in the 88th minute and a clumsy Shavar Thomas encounter with Djorkaeff in stoppage time, the Wizards held tight to the victory and a strong start to their two-game home stand that will continue when they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards)
Robert Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
MetroStars (2-3-3) vs. Kansas City Wizards (3-2-3)
May 25, 2005 -- Arrowhead Stadium
KC -- Davy Arnaud 2 (Sasha Victorine 2, Chris Klein 4) 48
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Chris Leitch, Jeff Parke, Tim Regan, Tim Ward (Carlos Mendes 62), Eddie Gaven, Michael Bradley (Sergio Galvan Rey 83), Amado Guevara, Mark Lisi (Gilberto Flores 69), Youri Djorkaeff, John Wolyniec.
Substitutes Not Used: Seth Stammler, Jonny Walker.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Youri Djorkaeff 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Youri Djorkaeff 1); FOULS: 16 (Michael Bradley 3, Tim Ward 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Youri Djorkaeff 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Youri Djorkaeff 4); SAVES: 4 (Zach Wells 3)
Kansas City Wizards -- Bo Oshoniyi, Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr., Chris Klein (Brian Roberts 85), Diego Gutierrez, Sasha Victorine, Alex Zotinca, Scott Sealy (Jack Jewsbury 63), Davy Arnaud (Justin Detter 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Dustin Branan, Martin Hutton, Ryan Pore, Preki, Ryan Raybould, Khari Stephenson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Alex Zotinca 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Alex Zotinca 2); FOULS: 6 (Sasha Victorine 2); OFFSIDES: 6 (Davy Arnaud 3); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Jose Burciaga Jr. 2); SAVES: 1 (Bo Oshoniyi 1)
KC -- Diego Gutierrez (caution; Tackle from Behind) 27
MET -- Jeff Parke (caution; Game Disrepute) 30
KC -- Jimmy Conrad (caution; Game Disrepute) 30
MET -- Tim Ward (caution; Professional Foul) 59
MET -- Michael Bradley (caution; Tackle from Behind) 81
KC -- Bo Oshoniyi (caution; Delaying a Restart) 89
MET -- Youri Djorkaeff (caution; Deliberate Handball) 93+
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: -Craig Lowry; George Gansner
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
Time of Game: 1:51
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.