SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Kansas City Wizards cruised to an easy 8-1 win over Southwest Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri Friday night. The match, part of the Wizards 3rd Annual Mid-America Barnstorming Exhibition Tour, was played in front of over 1,500 vocal fans. Ryan Pore highlighted the evening with a hat trick within a six-minute span in the second half.
The Wizards would set the tone of the match early on as midfielder Khari Stephenson charged into the SMS box right from the opening kick and pounded a curling right footed shot on goal from the left side that struck the upper right corner of the post and deflected back into play. From that point on, the Wizards made it know they would press forward at any opportunity.
Kansas City would get on the board first in the 18th minute with a goal from Diego Walsh. Though Walsh received credit for the goal, it was forward Scott Sealy that did all the work on the play, keeping control of the ball and working his way deep into the SMS box.
Drawing a pair of defenders, Sealy slipped through to the endline with ease before drawing another pair of defender. With a swarm of white jerseys around him, including the goalkeeper, and still maintaining possession Sealy slotted a short pass to Diego Walsh who was positioned at the top of the six-yard box with plenty of space. Diego easily one-timed a shot into the open net to give the Wizards the lead.
Southwest Missouri State would equalize in the 26th minute when forward Ryan Anderson charged into the Wizards box at a tight angle from the right side after shaking off Khari Stephenson near the top of the box. Anderson slipped a ball just under the gloves of a crouching William Hesmer for the Bears only goal of the night.
Kansas City would strike again three minutes again with a nearly identical goal as their first. This time it was Diego Walsh who would make his way to the endline just left of the goalmouth and drawing a pack of defenders. He found Khari Stephenson in the middle of the box with a man at his back. Stephenson held off his man with his back to the goal, and turning to his left, unleashed a wicked right-footed shot that was impossible for the goalkeeper to catch up with.
Alex Zotinca and Scott Sealy increased the Wizards advantage with a goal apiece in the final minute of the first half. Zotinca laid out for a diving header in the 44th minute latching on to a Diego Walsh cross from the right side and redirected the ball just inside the near post. Sealy made a long run down the left flank a minute later and moved across the top of the box before unloading a right footed shot across the goal into the left side netting.
Kansas City kept up the intensity in the second half, adding four more goals, all of them coming from second half subs. Forward Justin Detter opened the second half with a brilliant left-footed goal in the 54th minute. Preki tapped the ball to Detter on the right side of the box, then Detter made a nifty move to shake his defender and create space. He then sent a curling left-footer to the upper left corner of goal.
Ryan Pore would then cap the Wizards scoring with three goals within a six-minute span. His first goal came in the 60th minute following a Preki corner kick from the left corner. Defender Shaver Thomas got the initial shot on the ball with a header from the back post, then Pore, positioned at the near post, rose up and finished with a header of his own.
Preki found Pore inside the box in the 64th minute with a great pass from the right flank. Pore calmly finished with a textbook shot towards the far post. Two minutes later Pore completed the hat trick after running on to a long ball from Khari Stephenson.
The Wizards were content to sit back and absorb pressure from SMS for the remaining 25 minutes, shutting down the desperate Bears attack with suffocating defense.
Kansas City will return to MLS action on Saturday, April 16th when they travel to New York for their first road contest of the season. The Wizards will face the MetroStars at Giants Stadium with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. CT. The match will be available live on the MLS Direct Kick Package.
KC- Diego Walsh (Scott Sealy) 18'
SMS- Ryan Anderson (Ryan Crawford) 26'
KC- Khari Stephenson (Diego Walsh) 29'
KC- Alex Zotinca (Diego Walsh) 44'
KC- Scott Sealy (Unassisted) 45'
KC- Justin Detter (Preki) 54'
KC- Ryan Pore (Shavar Thomas) 60'
KC- Ryan Pore (Preki) 64'
KC- Ryan Pore (Khari Stephenson) 66'
Kansas City Wizards Lineup (4-4-2): William Hesmer-GK (Martin Hutton-69'); Brian Roberts, Shavar Thomas, Dustin Branan, Jack Jewsbury (Justin Detter-46'); Preki, Alex Zotinca (Jack Jewsbury-80'), Doug Lascody, Khari Stephenson; Diego Walsh, Scott Sealy (Ryan Pore-46')
Southwest Missouri State Lineup (4-4-2): Lance Parker-GK; Anthony Costales, Justin Douglass, Andy Cooper, Kai Harris; Ryan Crawford, Brian Pasierb, Brett Williams, Jacob Harris; Ryan Anderson, Danny May
(SMS Subs unavailable)