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HOUSTON DYNAMO v KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
ROBERTSON STADIUM, Houston, Texas
7:30 p.m. CT (FSN-H)
April 8, 2006 (WEEK #2) MLS Game #9
A pair of attacks that showed near irresistible form in their season openers come together for the second match in Houston. Dynamo hit for five goals in their first-ever match - four from Brian Ching, all set by Dwayne De Rosario - leaving the Bayou fans with a indelible first impression of their new team. The Kansas City Wizards - even without U.S. international Josh Wolff - prised open the Columbus for three goals with their new-look three-pronged attack.
REFEREE: Erich Simmons. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Shane Moody
MLS Career: 18 games; FC/gm: 33.1; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 7; pens: 2
Games involving Dynamo: first game
Games involving Wizards: P4 W0 L1 T3; FC/gm: 35.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 4; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: FW Julian Nash (L hamstring strain); DF Chris Aloisi (R foot fracture) ... KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - QUESTIONABLE: DF Jimmy Conrad (athletic pubalgia)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
HEAD-TO-HEADThis is the first meeting between the Houston club and Kansas City. It's the first of two matches between the teams this season, the only one set for Robertson Stadium. Their lone meeting at Arrowhead Stadium is scheduled for July 15.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. KC: P4 W2 L2 D0 ... Bob Gansler v HOU: first game
ALL-TIME: first meeting
Houston Dynamo made a dramatic start to their Major League Soccer history, winning the inaugural game in club history 5-2 against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday evening at Robertson Stadium. After one match, Dynamo, Chivas USA and FC Dallas all sit atop the Western Conference with three points.
Brian Ching made sure the inaugural game for Dynamo was one the new team's fans wouldn't soon forget. He scored four goals - one shy of the league record - to lead Dynamo to victory in their first-ever match. He had a hat trick by halftime as Dynamo began in rollicking fashion before a crowd of better than 25,000 in Houston.
He put Dynamo into the lead in the 13th minute, getting the slightest of touches on a Wade Barrett effort to deflect it past Joe Cannon. But a tremendous long-range blast from Kyle Beckerman from all of 30 yards barely a minute later (15) drew Colorado level.
Then Ching scored twice before the break with nearly identical goals. Twice, De Rosario set Brian Mullan free on the right flank and twice the winger put in pinpoint crosses, each time Ching coming in to powerfully head home (36, 44).
Jovan Kirovski brought the Rapids back to within one with a spectacular free kick that sailed over the Houston wall in the 53rd minute, but Ching headed home a De Rosario corner kick in the 72nd minute to restore the two-goal margin. Alejandro Moreno then provided the finishing touch in stoppage time with a full bicycle kick that ripped into the back of the net.
Here's Dominic Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Ryan Cochrane, Adrian Serioux, Kevin Goldthwaite - Wade Barrett, Ricardo Clark, Brian Mullan - Dwayne De Rosario - Brian Ching, Alejandro Moreno (Substitutes Not Used: Ronald Cerritos, Brad Davis, Patrick Ianni, Eddie Robinson, Marcus Storey, Craig Waibel, Zach Wells)
"I know Brian scored four goals, but you have to look at the collective effort," said Kinnear. "Other people played a huge role, like (goalkeeper) Pat (Onstad) - he made the big save at 3-2. And Kevin (Goldthwaite) and Wade (Barrett) on the left hand side - they handled the game very well."
TEAM NEWSChing became the seventh player in league history to score at least four goals in a game, the ninth time it had happened in a game. The last was Edson Buddle in 2004, and the four goals were one shy of the league record held by Clint Mathis, who was ironically wearing a Rapids uniform on Sunday night.
As well, Ching was the fifth player in MLS history to have a hat trick by halftime. The last to score three in the first half was Alejandro Moreno (May 19, 2004).
"The game was definitely a highlight in my career," Ching said. "This is the first time I scored four goals, but this was a team effort. ... I was winning a lot of balls in the air," Ching said. "This was truly a team win. The guys were giving me a lot of good crosses."
"We didn't put enough pressure on the crosses," Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo said to the Rocky Mountain News. "We could never control it. We let them have it too easy. Ching had one of the best games I've ever seen him play. He is an outstanding young player who has been in and out of the national team. We weren't prepared for that kind of speed."
Dynamo playmaker Dwayne De Rosario tied the MLS record for assists in a game, recording assists on each of Ching's four goals. The feat had been performed twice previously in league history, last by Chris Henderson during the 1999 campaign.
Incidentally, the only other opening-game hat trick in MLS history was by Jason Kreis, who scored three goals in Dallas' season opener in 1999.
With the Dynamo performance, Kinnear didn't use a single substitute, meaning Brad Davis didn't play a minute. Davis missed nearly the entirety of the second half of the 2005 campaign after bursting onto the scene in his first season on the left flank for the Earthquakes last year.
"The question now is going to be my fitness. I was out for about three weeks," Davis said to the Houston Chronicle. "My legs are feeling good, my groin and everything from the surgery is feeling good."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDSThe Wizards jumped out to an early lead with goals just four minutes apart midway through the first half. First Davy Arnaud scored with a quick shot on the turn after Matt Groenwald found him with an early cross from the right (21), then Jack Jewsbury picked up the second when he banged home a rebound from near the goal line after Jon Busch parried an angled blast by Jose Burciaga Jr.
Rookie Kei Kamara pulled one of those goals for the Crew in the 33rd minute when he finished off a through ball from Gaven after the new Crew acquisition skipped through a pair of Crew players.
But Eddie Johnson restored the two-goal margin and hit for his first goal with the Wizards in the 61st minute, using every bit of his considerable speed to redirect Scott Sealy's cross from the right wing just inside the left post.
Here's Bob Gansler's team (4-3-3): Bo Oshoniyi - Matt Groenwald, Shavar Thomas, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Jack Jewsbury (Alex Zotinca 74), Kerry Zavagnin, Sasha Victorine - Davy Arnaud, Eddie Johnson, Scott Sealy (Ryan Pore 77) (Substitutes Not Used: Will Hesmer, Yura Movsisyan, Ryan Raybould, Tyson Wahl, Lance Watson)
"The only fly in the ointment was that goal in the first half in one of their infrequent trips (in the Wizards' defensive end)," Gansler said. "There were a couple of decisions we needed to make better. Then we got a little apprehensive after that. We were teetering a little bit. Two-zero leads in the recent past haven't been good to us."
The Kansas City Wizards began their season with a glimpse of their promised lethal attack, defeating the Columbus Crew 3-1 Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The Wizards and New England Revolution share top spot in the Eastern Conference with three points from their opening match.
The Wizards were without Josh Wolff for the opener, as he was still suffering the effects of a mild concussion suffered in the U.S. national team's friendly against Germany. But Johnson showed what his addition could do to the K.C. attack.
"Kansas City is a whole new environment, with a new group of, not players, but a group of brothers," Johnson said. "It's all about first impressions. My goal was to perform, score goals and win the fans over. And I couldn't have asked for a better ball by Scott Sealy to put me in that position."
In an effort to slow down Johnson, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Friday, the Crew made sure to add a physical touch to their defending. Johnson suffered seven fouls from the Crew.
"One of the things he told me when I started playing on the national team is when guys start doing that is to use it as motivation, that they know you're a really good player," Johnson said. "That's just a form of respect."
Saturday's victory kept Wizards coach Bob Gansler undefeated in home openers since his arrival in the heartland. The Wizards are 3-0-3 in home openers since 2000, Gansler's first full season as coach.
Matt Groenwald became the first rookie to start a season opener for the Wizards since defender Nick Garcia started all 39 games in 2000. Mainly an outside midfielder and forward in college at St. John's University, Groenwald started at right back and recorded an assist, while also seeing a looping cross bounce off the top of the crossbar.
"I haven't really thought about (starting) too much," Groenwald said to the Kansas City Star. "I just go day by day and push as hard as I can. If anything positive's going to happen, it's going to happen. The thought never really crossed my mind."