FC Dallas concluded their preseason Saturday night, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Kansas City Wizards in the inaugural Saturn Challenge Cup-Oklahoma City, which was played in front of over 4,000 fans in Moore Stadium.
Up next for FCD, which finished the preseason with an 8-3 record, is the first game of the 2006 Major League Soccer season next Saturday when the Chicago Fire visit Pizza Hut Park in a nationally televised game at 3 p.m. CT live on ABC Sports.
"In the first half they had a pretty strong team out there, we had mostly young players and the reserves," said Clarke after the game. "They edged the first half and probably deserved to be up 1-0 at halftime. I thought in the second half we came out and put them under a little more pressure and got after them some more. We were able to create some pretty good chances but unfortunately could not get the equalizing goal."
As has been the case during preseason, FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke introduced a different starting 11 than the team that defeated Atlas 4-1 in the midweek game at Pizza Hut Park. Rookie goalkeeper Ray Burse anchored a young defense that included fellow SuperDraft picks Michael Dello-Russo at center back and Justin Moore on the right side. Midfielder Ramon Nunez and defender David Wagenfuhr also returned to the starting lineup after seeing limited action this spring while recovering from injuries.
"We're looking forward to Chicago now and we have some tough decisions to make this week," added Clarke. "But I think we're in a good spot that we have those tough decisions to make and it will stand as a good position to be in throughout the season."
Kansas City's experience showed early, as they looked sharp while controlling the pace for good portions of the first half. However it was the Hoops who had the first serious threat on goal when in the 24th minute Wagenfuhr connected with Mina. Moving forward down the left, Wagenfurh sent Mina a perfectly-timed ball in the center of the goal area which Mina was able to flick towards goal but narrowly miss wide.
The Wizards moved forward and tested the Hoops rookie keeper Burse with long range blasts as they could not penetrate the Dallas defense. In the 32nd minute, their efforts were rewarded with a goal by Scott Sealy. Taking a ball down the right center, Sealy ripped a low shot from 25 yards out to the far left corner past the outstretched arms of Burse for the 1-0 lead.
Burse kept the Hoops in the game with two dramatic saves only five minutes after the goal. In the 37th minute, Wizards midfielder Jack Jewsbury fired a shot from the 25 yards out that forced Burse to dive to his left and punch the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner kick, Burse again denied Jewsbury, extending high and to his left to tip the midfielder's header over the bar.
Clarke made changes to start the second half, bringing in draft picks Dominic Oduro for Mina and Miguel Guante for Nunez. It was the Wizards that nearly increased their lead after only five minutes. Forward Davy Arnaud received a quick ball in the center of the area and somehow found a way to sneak the ball past tracking defender Clarence Goodson and on-rushing keeper Burse. As the ball was about to cross the goal line, Justin Moore lunged to clear the ball before it crossed.
FCD brought on more offense with rookie Dax McCarty and Kenny Cooper, and switched the formation to three midfielder and three forwards for the final 20 minutes. The changes worked as the team was able to utilize Oduro's speed and change of pace to keep the Wizards on their heels for the final stretch of the game. However, despite dominating possession, the Hoops could not crack the disciplined Wizards defense which did well to preserve the lead.
KC - Sealy 32' (unassisted)
FC Dallas Lineup - Ray Burse, David Wagenfuhr (Blake Wagner 52'), Clarence Goodson, Michael Dello-Russo, Justin Moore, Mario Torres (Kenny Cooper 75'), Mark Wilson, Aaron Pitchkolan (Dax McCarty 75'), Ramon Nunez (Miguel Guante 46'), Abe Thompson, Roberto Mina (Dominic Oduro 46')
Kansas City Wizards - Bo Oshoniyi (Will Hesmer 63'), Jose Burciaga (Steven Shirley 84'), Nick Garcia, Shavar Thomas (Tyson Wahl 46'), Matt Groenwald, Alex Zotinca (Ryan Raybould 71'), Jack Jewsbury, Sasha Victorine (Lance Watson 46'), Davey Arnaud, Scott Sealy (Jermaine Hue 87'), Ryan Pore (Yura Movsisyan 81')