The Kansas City Wizards played not one, but two scrimmages in Florida on Thursday for a doubly intense preseason training day. In the first contest, the Midwesterners dropped a 3-2 decision to Real Salt Lake. The afternoon battle, though, saw Kansas City come out on top as they beat the U.S. Amateur Team 1-0 in a 60-minute game.
But the victory over the Amateur Team was overshadowed by even more promising news. Midfielder Chris Klein, who suffered a torn ACL against the Quakes last August, played the full 90 minutes against RSL, signaling that the crafty playmaker could be up to top speed by the time the MLS season opens on April 2. He celebrated the occasion by scoring the second goal for the Wizards, finishing after receiving a pass from Diego Walsh and moving diagonally towards net.
RSL carried the majority of the play in the first half, emerging at the break up by two goals. Matt Behncke headed a goal from a corner kick before Jason Kreis stretched the advantage with a one-time blast from the top of the box 35 minutes in. Kansas City made a game of it, though, on goals from Wolff and Klein. But it was a strike from rookie midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer that made the difference, the MLS Combine MVP and Bradley University product slamming the ball home after a pass from Sergio Flores.
Kansas City didn't finish the day empty-handed, though, as yet another Wizards penalty kick - this time taken by Walsh - was enough for them to claim victory against the U.S. amateur team. Head coach Bob Gansler used the match to get a look at several of Kansas City's new players. Forward Ryan Pore was particularly impressive, getting free on several occasions and having a few looks at goal. Though none of his attempts found the net, Walsh's strike was enough to give the Wizards the win.
Kansas City will next take the field on Saturday when they face off with the U.S. U-17 national team on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET. Also on Saturday, RSL will face the U.S. Amateur Team at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Metros finish Florida stint with win: The MetroStars closed out the first leg of their 2005 preseason with a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Thursday in Bradenton. Rookie defender and first round SuperDraft selection Tim Ward scored the Metros' goal, while goalkeepers Mike Ueltschey and Patrick Hannigan combined for the shutout. Ward scored the only goal of the game shortly after the intermission with a long-range shot that found the upper corner of the net.
The bad news for the MetroStars from the game, though, may overshadow the good, as striker Mike Magee was forced to depart early after suffering a left knee injury. He is expected to undergo an MRI in the near future to determine the extent of the damage.
San Jose started five rookies for the match as several more experienced players were still recovering from Wednesday's game against the Chicago Fire. Some of the veterans would make late appearances, including Brad Davis, who went close on a pair of free kicks late in the game.
The MetroStars now return to the New York area on Friday before departing for Ecuador on Wednesday. The Quakes (1-2-1 in preseason play) will face the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.