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Wizards smother Fire in Florida

The Kansas City Wizards earned a convincing 3-1 victory against the Chicago Fire Thursday night in their sixth of seven exhibition matches in Florida. Davy Arnaud scored twice and Josh Wolff converted a penalty kick as the Wizards improved to 4-1-1 in the preseason, outscoring their opponents 13-5.

Kansas City dominated play for the opening 15 minutes, controlling the possession and creating numerous scoring opportunities. But Chicago would reverse the momentum for the next 15 minutes before the Wizards would setup their first goal of the evening in the 40th minute.

Davy Arnaud took a shot on goal that was intentionally handled inside the box by a Fire defender, leading to a Kansas City penalty kick. Josh Wolff stepped up to take the kick, sending his shot high into the upper left corner while Chicago Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton dove the opposite direction.

The Wizards took that momentum into the locker room at halftime and continued it in the second period. In the 52nd minute, the Wizards added to their lead thanks in large part to heads-up play from goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi. Oshoniyi quickly distributed from the back to start a brilliant counter attack. Two quick passes later and Wizards midfielder Diego Walsh found the ball at his feet. Walsh then slipped a centering pass into to box that Arnaud pounced on and quickly finished to give the Wizards the 2-0 advantage.

Three minutes later Arnaud would get his second of the night following a great combination play with himself and strike-partner Josh Wolff. Wolff made the final pass through the defense and Arnaud once again collected and calmly placed his shot into the back of the net.

Following the Wizards third goal, goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi made a tremendous save to keep his clean sheet intact. In the 59th minute, he made a diving, one-handed effort and tipped a shot over the crossbar to preserve the Wizards three-goal lead.

Chicago would score their only goal of the night in the 80th minute as forward Andy Herron managed to get a shot past Wizards goalkeeper Will Hesmer.

The Wizards will wrap up their exhibition schedule in Florida tomorrow night when they face the University of Central Florida in Orlando with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT. The team will remain in Florida for training sessions through the weekend and return to Kansas City on Tuesday, March 1st.

Scoring Summary:
KC- Josh Wolff (Penalty Kick) 40'
KC- Davy Arnaud (Diego Walsh (52')
KC- Davy Arnaud (Josh Wolff) 55'
CHI- Andy Herron (Gonzalo Segares) 80'

Kansas City Wizards Lineup: Bo Oshoniyi-GK (Will Hesmer-60'); Alex Zotinca (Brian Roberts-80'), Jimmy Conrad (Taylor Graham-70'), Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga; Chris Klein (Jay Alberts-80'), Kerry Zavagnin, Doug Lascody, Diego Walsh (Edwin Ruiz-68'); Josh Wolff (Preki-72'), Davy Arnaud