Nick Garcia

Streak stopped as Wizards fall to Hoops

FRISCO, Texas - The Kansas City Wizards traveled to Pizza Hut Park on Sunday afternoon in hopes of leaving Eddie Johnson with a happy return to the Lone Star State and their perfect record for 2006 still intact. But in a wild turn of events that saw two goals scored in second-half stoppage team, they fell 2-1 in a gut-wrenching loss to FC Dallas.

Kenny Cooper's goal in the fourth minute looked like it would stand up to the end, even after FC Dallas had a player sent off in the second half, until Alex Zotinca equalized for the Wizards two minutes into stoppage time. But Aaron Pitchkolan hit a stunning winner two minutes later to give the Hoops the victory.

Cooper, the Hoops' leading scorer, added his third goal of the season as he hit a diving header past K.C. goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi to make it 1-0 after a goalmouth scramble when the Wizards just couldn't get the ball cleared.

That goal was the first allowed by Oshoniyi in some 110 minutes and it also marked only the second time this season that the Wizards have trailed.

Lethargic was the best way to describe the Kansas City attack in the opening frame. Their first shot didn't come until the 28th minute when forward Josh Wolff sent a ball into the FCD penalty area that went left of the goal.

In fact, the Wizards finished the first half with just four shots. One was by forward Eddie Johnson, who was making his first trip back to face his former team. Johnson played for Dallas between 2001 and 2005.

However, in the second half, Kansas City looked like an entirely different offensive team. They controlled the ball more and created many more opportunities for themselves than in the first half. Many of those came from Johnson.

In the 58th minute, he was driving toward the FCD net after being sent in alone on a terrific through ball from Sasha Victorine, only for Hoops defender Chris Gbandi to come in from the inside and execute a sparkling slide tackle to knock the ball away.

Then the match changed. Davy Arnaud went racing toward the Hoops goal, and right on the edge of the area he was pulled down from behind over the shoulders by Gbandi. Referee Elias Bazakos went to his back pocket and pulled out the red card, leaving FC Dallas a player down.

Then Johnson got what was the Wizards' best chance of the game to that point in the 69th minute. This time, he drove up the middle of the field and into the FC Dallas area with a Hoops' defender on his heels for a one-on-one opportunity against goalkeeper Dario Sala. Johnson attempted to punch the ball past Sala, but it went right of the net.

Kansas City finally capitalized on a golden opportunity in the 92nd minute when Zotinca got his first goal of the season. Burciaga started things off with a nice corner kick that was headed on before being deflected by Wolff in front of goal. The ball skidded out to Zotinca, who was waiting at the far post and drove it past Sala to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, their thoughts of leaving Frisco with a tie proved a bit premature. Pitchkolan charged down Burciaga and knocked away his attempted pass, collecting the ball on the edge of the area before rifling a low shot past Oshoniyi for the game-winner.

Steve Hunt is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.