On the return of their former head coach, Curt Onalfo, the Kansas City Wizards put together a dominating display for a 4-0 victory over visiting D.C. United. On a soggy night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the Wizards scored twice in each half with newcomer Ryan Smith scoring on his debut and serving as catalyst on the first two goals.
The Wizards controlled the first half, outshooting D.C. by a wide margin and allowing only one shot on frame. But United nearly opened the scoring two minutes in when Wizards defender Matt Besler lost the ball to Santino Quaranta in a dangerous position. Quaranta found Jaime Moreno in open space at the top of the 18-yard box, but Jimmy Nielsen made an acrobatic save to keep Moreno’s curling shot out of the back of the net.
Kansas City responded immediately with D.C. goalkeeper Troy Perkins saving efforts from Smith and Jack Jewsbury before Kei Kamara opened the scoring in the ninth minute.
After a surging run down the left sideline, Smith found himself behind the defense and unleashed a left-footed drive that Perkins parried directly into the path of an unmarked Kamara, who slotted home to give the Wizards a 1-0 advantage.
D.C. nearly evened the score when 17-year-old debutant Andy Najar, signed this week from the United’s academy, struck the crossbar with a half volley from 25-yards out. Both teams had goals called back for offside before Kansas City made the score 2-0 after a beautiful passing sequence in the 35th minute.
Offseason signing Stephane Auvray picked out Smith’s diagonal run behind the D.C. defense, chipping a ball over the top into the young Englishman’s feet at the top of the penalty area. With three United defenders surrounding him, Smith slid a pass into the path of an onrushing Davy Arnaud, who buried a left-footed shot past Perkins and inside the far post.
United sent Australian striker Danny Allsopp on at halftime for Najar to add more firepower up top, but Kansas City kept the pressure on with Smith and Arnaud finding space and pulling the strings offensively.
Smith nearly created another goal when Jimmy Conrad headed his corner kick off the top of the crossbar before making the score 3-0 himself in the 54th minute. For the second time in the match, the Wizards scored off a deflection when Kamara’s cross was redirected into Smith’s path. The former Arsenal player made no mistake, sidefooting the ball inside the back post to make it 3-0.
The scoring didn’t stop there as Dejan Jakovic’s hand ball in the box in the 70th minute allowed Jack Jewsbury to add a fourth via the penalty spot and guarantee Kansas City three points against to start the season.
The lone negative for Kansas City was the forced substitution of Smith in the 81st minute after United’s Julius James hacked him down from behind.
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KC – Kei Kamara 1 (Unassisted), 9th minute
KC – Davy Arnaud 1 (Smith, Auvray), 35th minute
KC – Ryan Smith 1 (Unassisted), 54th minute
KC – Jack Jewsbury 1 (PK), 70th minute
DC – Dejan Jakovic (caution, reckless tackle), 26th minute
DC – Kurt Morsink (caution, reckless tackle), 28th minute
DC – Santino Quaranta (caution, unsporting behavior), 47th minute
DC – Julius James (caution, reckless tackle), 61st minute
DC – Jaime Moreno (caution, reckless tackle), 67th minute
KC – Kei Kamara (caution, reckless tackle), 83rd minute
Kansas City Wizards: Nielsen, Harrington, Conrad, Besler, Arnaud, Jewsbury, Auvray, Smith (Aiyegbusi), Espinoza (Leathers), Wolff (Bunbury), Kamara
D.C. United: Perkins, Talley, Jakovic, Wallace, Najar (Allsopp), Morsink, Quaranta, Simms (James), Castillo (Khumalo), Pontius, Moreno