(June 24, 2007) - Houston Dynamo continued their winning streak, handing the Kansas City Wizards their first losing streak of the season in a 1-0 game at sweltering hot Arrowhead Stadium. The Wizards first game in temperatures above 85 degrees was also the first match they failed to score under Head Coach Curt Onalfo. The Wizards were last shutout August 16, 2006, in a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire, 20 games ago.
The first half was a one-sided affair, with Kansas City holding the edge in shots (8-1) and shots on goal (4-1) after controlling a majority of the possession.
Kansas City claimed the game's first quality scoring opportunity early on, as right back Jack Jewsbury and the team's two forwards combined well together. Jewsbury played a ball from the right wing into Sealy posting up just outside the penalty area. Sealy one-touched the ball to Arnaud who fired a left-footed shot that was deflected wide by Houston.
Just one minute later, the Wizards again found an attack up the right flank as wide midfielder Sasha Victorine played a well-weighted pass over the top for a streaking Sealy. Sealy found himself behind the Houston defense but fired inches wide of goal to the left as Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad came out.
In the 7th minute, Sealy again found an opportunity. Strike partner Davy Arnaud intercepted a Houston pass in the middle of the pitch and put Sealy into space at the top right corner of the penalty area. Sealy's low shot was too near the middle of the goal, however, and Onstad collected it cleanly.
The Wizards capped off an impressive first 10 minutes in the 9th when playmaker Carlos Marinelli fired a left-footed in-swinger from 22 yards off the end line on the right wing. His low effort dipped at the back post and United States international and Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad's sliding left-footed effort sailed high over the bar.
In the 14th minute, Kansas City continued its attack after a nifty play from holding midfielder Kerry Zavagnin. Zavagnin stepped around a Dynamo defender near the left touchline and played a ball ahead for Arnaud. Arnaud played a one-touch pass to streaking midfielder Michael Harrington in the penalty area. Harrington carried the ball into space and fired on goal, but Onstad was well positioned and collected the effort without difficulty.
Dynamo's first offensive foray into the Wizards half came in the 20th minute when midfielder Kelly Gray collected a pass from forward Joseph Nwenya 20 yards from goal. His right-footed effort from the top of the penalty area was down the center of the goal, however, and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman scooped it up cleanly.
Wizards number 10 Carlos Marinelli displayed some of his flair in the 30th minute, carrying the ball through the midfield with several cuts that had Houston midfielder Richard Mulrooney extremely off balance and laying off a ball for defender Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. Burciaga continued the run forward, cutting twice before firing a low, left-footed shot toward the near post. Onstad was there again, trapping the ball near the goal line.
Marinelli proved dangerous again for the Wizards in the 39th minute as Sealy sent a one-touch pass into space for the Argentinean. Onstad again came out well, however, and Marinelli could not reach the ball behind a scrambling Houston defense.
The game slowed down for the next five minutes as both sides appeared happy to enter the locker room at halftime to cool down. Sealy and defender Jewsbury, however, nearly took advantage of the momentary lull in the 45th minute. Sealy intercepted a ball and laid it into space for on-rushing Jewsbury. After scoring a last-minute goal Wednesday at Columbus, Jewsbury appeared prepared to tally for the second straight match. His right-footed blast was parried over the bar by Onstad to thwart the opportunity.
Houston pushed forward much more after halftime, recording five shots and finding the game-deciding goal through defender Patrick Ianni in his first career start.
Dynamo created its first shot 30 seconds into the second half, Brian Mullan intercepted a Kansas City pass and ventured toward goal. His shot from distance sailed high and wide.
Wizards star substitute Yura Movsisyan entered after halftime for starter Scott Sealy and almost immediately provided a spark. In the 55th minute, Movsisyan took a well-envisioned pass from Marinelli and worked up the left side of the penalty area. Movsisyan's left-footed shot was blocked by a defender, then a cross attempted was deflected. Nothing came of the opportunity, but Movsisyan showed his threat.
One minute later, Movsisyan found another opportunity. He collected a pass from Marinelli a full 30 yards from goal. Movsisyan took a touch, then fired from 25 yards out. His shot was deflected by a defender high over goal for one of the Wizards eight corner kicks.
In the 59th minute, Houston rookie midfielder Stuart Holden showed a flash of his dead-ball ability, firing a dangerous free kick from 23 yards out that sailed high of goal.
Houston nearly took the lead in the 71st minute when a long clearance found Mullan alone behind the Wizards defense. Conrad, however, did very well to track Mullan down, stand him up and allow his Kansas City teammates to recover and the opportunity was eventually cleared.
Ten minutes later, Houston struck for the game's lone goal. Holden took a corner from the right, swinging in a ball at pace for Ianni who had ventured forward for the set piece. Ianni, who had played just 50 minutes in his MLS career over the last two seasons prior to today's match, redirected the ball just under the bar at the near post past Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Kansas City pushed forward in numbers following the Houston goal to no avail. The last series opportunity came two minutes into second-half stoppage time as the Wizards took the last of their eight corner kicks. Burciaga played in an out-swining ball for midfielder Sasha Victorine, but Victorine's glancing header went just wide of the far post. It was the Wizards last opportunity before referee Jozef Batko blew the final whistle.
The Wizards next match come a week from today, Sunday, July 1 at home to Toronto FC at 7 p.m. CT on Metro Sports. Kansas City is 2-0 thus far against TFC, having recorded a 3-0 home victory April 25 and a 1-0 victory April 28 in the grand opening of BMO Field. Five of the Wizards next six matches come at home, the lone road game coming July 7 at the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Following the match, Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad will join teammate Eddie Johnson with the U.S. National Team for the upcoming Copa America competition. Johnson scored a goal in a group play match against Trinidad and Tobago en route to the Wizards second-consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup championship. The Red, White and Blue outscored their opponents 13-3 on their way to an undefeated 6-0-0 record.
Houston Dynamo Line-Up: Onstad, Waibel, Cochrane, Ianni, Barrett, Holden, Mulrooney, Gray, Davis (Ashe 67), Mullan (Wondolowski 86), Ngwenya (De Rosario 76)
Substitutes not used: Wells (GK), Robinson, Chabala, Hatzke
Kansas City Wizards Line-Up: Hartman, Jewsbury, Conrad, Garcia, Burciaga Jr., Arnaud (Morsink 67), Zavagnin, Victorine, Harrington, Marinelli (Pore 80), Sealy (Movsisyan 51)
Substitutes not used: Kronberg (GK), Hohlbein, Raybould, Wahl
HOU - Ianni (caution; Reckless Foul) 31
KC - Garcia (caution; Reckless Foul) 58
Total Shots: 6 14
Shots on Goal: 2 5
Saves: 5 1
Fouls Committed: 8 11
Offside: 2 1
Corner Kicks: 4 8
Referee: Jozef Batko
Referee's Assistants: Steven Taylor, David Bragg
4th Official: Brad Clem