The Kansas City Wizards look to extend their unbeaten run to five games for the first time in almost three years while moving atop the Eastern Conference on Wednesday when they visit the lowly Columbus Crew.
Kansas City (6-2-2) has not gone five consecutive contests without a loss since doing it from Sept. 18-Oct. 16, 2004, en route to its last MLS Cup final appearance. The Wizards have not lost since a 2-1 defeat to Dallas on May 12, scoring 11 goals in their last four games (2-0-2).
They have won five straight against the Crew (1-4-6), including a 1-0 victory on May 5 as Jose Burciaga Jr. scored in stoppage time.
The Wizards' current run reached four games Saturday when they rallied from a two-goal deficit after 15 minutes to take the lead, only to allow a penalty-kick goal in the final minute to settle for a 3-3 tie with New York.
"We showed a lot of character in coming back and credit to the guys," Wizards coach Curt Onalfo said. "This team doesn't give up and we don't get frustrated. We always find ways to do well."
It was the second consecutive game in which Kansas City overcame an early deficit against the conference-leading Red Bulls. Eddie Johnson had a hat trick in the previous contest as the Wizards pulled out a 3-2 win on June 2.
Those results have given the second-place Wizards 20 points, one back of New York, which is idle this week.
They will try to move ahead of the Bulls on Wednesday, but will have to do it without Johnson, the MLS leader with nine goals. The forward is with the United States national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In his absence Saturday, Yura Movsisyan scored twice as he moved into second on the team with three goals this season after failing to find the back of the net in 10 games as a rookie in 2006. The Armenian could start at forward against Columbus in place of the ineffective Scott Sealy, who has only one goal in four games this season, a year after leading the team with 10 in 29 contests.
"He's only 19 years old and he couldn't have responded any better," Onalfo said of Movsisyan, who entered Saturday's draw as a second-half substitute for Sealy. "He spent the last 10 days working his tail off and trying to prove the coaching staff wrong and we felt like he was a guy who could come into the game and really make an impact and he certainly did."
Columbus, meanwhile, is last in the East with nine points and is looking to snap a seven-game winless skid (0-4-3). It hopes to carry some momentum from a two-goal rally Saturday, which produced a 3-3 tie at New England.
"We started the game doing the things we wanted to do and then you have the counterattack goal," Crew coach Sigi Schmid said. "That's like deja vu, it's been the way our season has been going. We lost our heads and concentration and gave up two more goals, but I was proud of our character overcoming all that we had to overcome tonight. Hopefully we build on this."
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