The Kansas City Wizards came out with a positive performance in their second-to-last game in Arizona on Thursday afternoon, coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew. Brian Carroll scored first for the Crew in the 18th minute, and Wizards midfielder Graham Zusi leveled matters in the 80th minute.
"With the way our guys have progressed, we feel like we're at a good pace right now," Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said after the game. "Now it's just a matter of using the upcoming games to build off of what we did the last time and become a little sharper in front of goal."
Though the Wizards would go on to dominate much of the run of play, the first 15 minutes saw the Crew put Kansas City on its heels. Eventually the pressure paid off, as Carroll finished from long range over Wizards goalkeeper Eric Kronberg.
Kansas City was given a way back into the game not long after Carroll's strike, as forward Josh Wolff was brought down in the box after running on to a pinpoint pass from trialist forward Sunil Chhetri. Midfielder Davy Arnaud stepped up and scored the ensuing penalty kick, but the goal was disallowed as Wizards players were adjudged to have entered the box before the kick was taken. Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer saved Arnaud's ensuing re-try, and the score remained 1-0.
The Wizards started the second half with a new lineup, and were able to control possession for most of the period. Midfielder Santiago Hirsig hit the post with a strong shot, and forward Igor Kostrov also had a good chance denied. Zusi was eventually able to put the Wizards on the board, latching on to a bouncing ball outside of the box and firing a rocket into the back of the net.
"He absolutely tattooed it," Vermes said about Zusi's strike. "Excellent technique and form...just a great, opportunistic goal."
The Wizards will conclude their slate of preseason games in Arizona with a matchup against the NPSL's Arizona Sahuaros and NCAA Division II school Grand Canyon University on Sunday. The game, which will take place at Phoenix's Westside Complex, will see the Wizards play the first half against the Sahuaros, with the second half against Grand Canyon University. The game is scheduled to kick off at 12 p.m. CST.
KCW: Eric Kronberg (Louis Crayton 30); Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza; Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Birahim Diop, Ryan Smith; Josh Wolff, Sunil Chhetri
CLB: William Hesmer, Shaun Francis, Andy Iro, Eric Brunner, Gino Padula, Eddie Gaven, Adam Moffat, Brian Carroll, Robbie Rogers, Emmanuel Ekpo, Steven Lenhart
KCW: Louis Crayton (Boris Pardo 60); Chance Myers (Jonathan Leathers 70), Pablo Escobar, Aaron Hohlbein, Korede Aiyegbusi; Igor Kostrov, Craig Rocastle, Jack Jewsbury (Graham Zusi 70), Santiago Hirsig; Teal Bunbury (Michael Kraus 75), Kei Kamara
CLB: William Hesmer; Shaun Francis, Andy Iro (Emilio Renteria 65), Eric Brunner, Gino Padula, Eddie Gaven (Duncan Oughton 80), Adam Moffat (Kevin Burns 55), Brian Carroll, Robbie Rogers (Dilly Duka 75), Emmanuel Ekpo (Sergio Herrera 65), Steven Lenhart (Jason Garey 65)
17' - CLB - Brian Carroll (Unassisted)
75' - KCW - Graham Zusi (Unassisted)