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Kansas City Wizards Game Notes

April 7, 2006 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City News Release

Wizards and Dynamo Set For Offensive Showdown

The Kansas City Wizards will be looking for their first away victory of the season Saturday when they invade Robertson Stadium to take on the Houston Dynamo for the first time on Saturday, April 8th. 3-1 winners over the Columbus Crew in their season opener last weekend, the Wizards are tied with the New England Revolution for the early lead in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference with identical 1-0-0 records. Kansas City's defense will have its hands full come Saturday, playing against a Dynamo offense that rang up five goals on opening weekend.

Reigning MLS Player of the Week Brian Ching established a new franchise record with four goals in the Dynamo's "first-ever" game, scoring a hat-trick before halftime. Ching was aided on the day by forward/midfielder Dwayne DeRosario on each of his goals, tying him for an MLS record four assists in a game. Although Ching and DeRosario combined for four goals, it was Houston's other goal-scorer who made the most noise. Forward Alejandro Moreno hit home a bicycle kick in extra-time that earned him Sierra Mist Goal of the Week honors.

Not to be out done, the Wizards have their own version of a high-potent offense. Forwards Davy Arnaud and Eddie Johnson, and midfielder Jack Jewsbury each netted goals for Kansas City this past Saturday. This weekend, Kansas City adds another weapon to the mix, welcoming back last year's leading goal-scorer, Josh Wolff, from injury.

Although Saturday's 7:30 p.m. match will technically be the first ever meeting between the Dynamo and the Wizards, Kansas City is 15-17-6 "all-time" against them. Formerly the San Jose Clash, then the San Jose Earthquakes, MLS relocated the organization from California to Houston this past December and the team was renamed the Dynamo. However, all records, streaks, statistics and series information, were retained by the team in the relocation process.

The Wizards faced the Dynamo twice in 2005, splitting the season series, with each team winning at their own place. Kansas City fell 3-2 in San Jose on April 23rd, relinquishing one-goal leads twice in the match. 2005 Rookie of the Year finalist Scott Sealy scored his first career goal just five minutes into that contest. The Wizards leveled the season series just over a month later on May 28th in Arrowhead Stadium with a Jack Jewsbury goal in the second half of a 1-0 win.

A Sign of Things to Come

If last Saturday's season-opening win is any indication of what is to be expected of the Wizards in 2006, opposing defenses are going to struggle to find a way to stop the Kansas City attack. Of the Wizards' three goals and three assists that were recorded against Columbus, each came off the foot of a different player. And when you consider the fact that Kansas City's top returning scorer, Josh Wolff, was absent from the lineup you can see just how potent the new Wizards offense is. Last season the Wizards played 32 regular season games, and only once did more than five players hit the scoreboard. On August 10th they had seven different players either score a goal or tally an assist against the Chicago Fire in a 3-2 victory at Soldier Field. This past Saturday rookie Matt Groenwald recorded his first career assist less than 22 minutes into his first career start on Davy Arnaud's season-opening goal. Jack Jewsbury netted his second career goal on an opening day less than four minutes after Arnaud's strike. New addition Eddie Johnson scored his first goal as a Wizard in the second half of the game on assists from Kerry Zavagnin and Scott Sealy. Kansas City's multi-faceted attack is evidenced by the fact that of the four teams who scored three or more goals on opening weekend, the Wizards were the only team that did not have a single player register more than two shots in their game.

No Rest for the Wizards Trying to Make the World Cup Squad

Once again the Wizards have four players suiting up for United States National Team in a match in its preparation for this summer's FIFA World Cup. Forwards Eddie Johnson and Josh Wolff, along with midfielder Kerry Zavagnin and defender Nick Garcia, will don the Red, White & Blue next Tuesday against Jamaica. Those four are not the only Wizards that will be taking the field in Cary, North Carolina. Midfielder Jermaine Hue will be representing his native country next week with the Reggae Boyz. Hue, along with the four U.S. players, will report to camp on Sunday in North Carolina following this weekend's Dynamo match on Saturday. The U.S.-Jamaica match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. CST. It will also be broadcast on tape-delay on Telemundo, check your local listings for times.

Some Compliment?!

After week one of the season, Johnson leads the league in fouls suffered, drawing seven from the Columbus Crew defense on opening day. Johnson is tied with Colorado's Fabrice Noel for the most in MLS. However, Johnson is not the only Wizards player on the list. 2005 Rookie of the Year finalist Scott Sealy is not far behind, he sustained five fouls against the Crew, giving him the fourth highest total in the league in week one. So if you do use the adage of fouls suffered=respect, Johnson and Sealy are the most respected duo in MLS, at least thus far in 2006. Sealy and Johnson surpassed any two teammates on the eleven other teams by at least three. Johnson's seven fouls suffered was a career-high.

It All Starts From Here

With all the talk of the Wizards' new offense, their defense has not been getting much of the respect it deserves. Kansas City finished week one fourth in the league with just nine shots allowed. The play of rookie Matt Groenwald and veterans Nick Garcia, Jose Luis Burciaga, Jr., and Shavar Thomas hampered the Columbus attack so much that goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi was rarely tested. When the Crew did break through, Oshoniyi came up with a couple of key stops, finishing the night with a league third-best 83.3 save percentage. The Wizards defense is no slouch on the offensive end either, considering that each of Kansas City's three goals were scored off of plays that began out of the back. Groenwald assisted on the first, it was a Burciaga rebound that led to the second, and the third involved defensive midfielder Kerry Zavagnin.


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