(July 29, 2007) - The Kansas City Wizards, playing in front of a boisterous home crowd of 11,649, delivered an exciting performance. Kansas City came from a goal down in the first 20 minutes to capture a 3-2 victory over Chivas USA through goals from midfielders Kerry Zavagnin and Davy Arnaud and the last-minute heroics of the most productive substitute in Major League Soccer, Yura Movsisyan.
Chivas USA, coming off a Thursday win over Red Bull New York, controlled the run of play early, generating multiple chances before scoring the match's first goal in the 17th minute.
Left-sided midfielder Francisco Mendoza twice caused problems in the early going. First, in the 5th minute, Mendoza took a pass on the left side of the penalty area behind a defender before his low shot was smothered at the near post by Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. Then, in the 13th minute, Mendoza won the endline and played a dangerous ball back across the face of the goal that was cleared for a corner kick by defender Nick Garcia.
Preki's squad took the early lead in the 17th minute on a goal by United States international defender Jonathan Bornstein. Forward Ante Razov played a diagonal through ball for Bornstein cutting behind the Wizards back line. Defender Jack Jewsbury recovered to deflect the ball before Bornstein could shoot, but Bornstein turned and struck the bouncing ball on the half volley as Hartman attempted to collect the ball near the top of the penalty area. Bornstein's left-footed shot went right down the middle and into the open net.
Kansas City's began to attack much more cohesively after the goal and created its first scoring opportunity in the 20th minute when winger Michael Harrington swung in an early cross for striker Eddie Johnson. Chivas defender Claudio Suarez deflected the ball, but it went straight to Carlos Marinelli who took a touch before firing low on goal. Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan smothered the ball to end the opportunity.
In the 22nd minute, Marinelli had another opportunity after helping to create a Kansas City penalty kick. Marinelli played a loose ball to forward Davy Arnaud with the back of his heel into the penalty area. Arnaud had gotten behind the defense when his legs became tangled with those of Bornstein. Arnaud went down and a penalty was awarded.
Marinelli stepped to the spot to attempt his second penalty kick of the season, but his left-footed effort headed for the lower right corner was stopped by a diving Guzan.
Kansas City's number 10 nearly set up an equalizer in the 26th minute, taking a free kick 30 yards from goal. His left-footed effort curled back toward captain Jimmy Conrad near the penalty spot, but the United State international's header skipped just inches wide of the back post.
Mendoza again proved dangerous for the road team in the 27th minute, working a give-and-go into the penalty area. He attempted to slide the ball back around Hartman to a teammate, but Conrad was there to cut out the play and clear the ball.
In the 34th minute, Kansas City possessed the ball through midfield and eventually created an excellent scoring opportunity. The play concluded with midfielder Sasha Victorine dropped a ball back from the left corner for Harrington who swung in an early cross toward the top of the six-yard area. Arnaud, cutting inside a defender, dove to head the ball on goal, but the hard shot proved too near the middle and Guzan collected it cleanly.
The Wizards tied the game in the 37th minute on a long-distance bomb from Zavagnin. Victorine corralled a loose ball near the top of the Chivas USA arc and slid it back diagonally for Zavagnin 40 yards from goal. Zavagnin took a touch to his left and let fly with a left-footed rocket a full 35 yards from goal. His world-class strike left Guzan helpless as the ball sped perfectly into the extreme upper right corner of the goal for his 3rd tally of the season. Zavagnin has now surpassed his career high with three goals on the year.
Kansas City controlled the run of play early in the second half, generating the first quality scoring opportunity in the 51st minute. After a long run of possession, Harrington fed Marinelli in the penalty area. Marinelli then nutmegged a defender before firing on goal from close range. Marinelli's left-footed effort for the upper portion of net missed high, however, without challenging Guzan.
Two minutes later, in the 53rd minute, Arnaud gave the Wizards a 2-1 lead after drawing a free kick near the left corner of the penalty area. Arnaud played an in-swinging ball toward the middle of the penalty area. Conrad attempted to connect with the pass and, in the process, froze Guzan. Conrad could not reach the ball, but it bounced inside the six-yard area and past the frozen Guzan into the far-side netting for Arnaud's 4th goal of the season.
Chivas answered almost immediately as rookie forward John Cunliffe scored his first-career goal in the 55th minute. The Bolton, England native entered at half and tied the match 2-2 off a Sacha Kljestan pass. Kljestan played a ball from the top of the 18-yard area diagonally to Cunliffe behind the Wizards defense. Hartman came out, attempting to cut off Cunliffe's angle, but he fired a left-footed shot over the diving goalkeeper for the first goal of his professional career.
Cunliffe had an opportunity to give the Goats the lead in the 56th minute when his right-footed effort from the penalty spot sailed just wide of the right post.
In the 69th minute, star forward Eddie Johnson tried his hand at playing creator, taking a pass from Marinelli on the left wing and winning the end line past former Wizards defender Shavar Thomas. Johnson cut the ball back diagonally toward the middle of the penalty area, but Guzan was there to collect the cross.
Chivas final opportunity of the match came again through Bornstein and Mendoza who had been dangerous all evening. Mendoza played a diagonal ball toward the center of the park for Bornstein who turned quickly and fired toward the back post. Hartman was there, and covered the ball without allowing a rebound.
Wizards Head Coach Curt Onalfo, always a proponent of pushing numbers forward, confirmed his philosophy in the second half as his first two substitutions brought attacking players into the game. First, in the 74th minute, Onalfo replaced midfielder Victorine with forward Ryan Pore. Then, in the 82nd minute, Onalfo introduced forward Yura Movsisyan for left back Ryan Raybould, who made his first start of the season replacing Jose Burciaga (red card suspension).
Movsisyan nearly scored immediately, as Arnaud stole a ball in the 83rd minute and swung in a cross from the right wing for a streaking Movsisyan. The 19-year-old forward could not quite reach the pass, however, and missed on his volley attempt from the middle of the penalty area.
Movsisyan atoned for his early miss in the 89th minute, creating a goal for himself that gave the Wizards a 3-2 victory. Movsisyan took a pass on the left wing and proceeded to run at former Wizards players Thomas and fellow defender Alex Zotinca. Movsisyan appeared to be headed for the endline but cut back to his right as he reached the top of the penalty area and laced a right-footed shot toward goal. The ball deflected off Thomas' leg and over the diving Guzan into the far side-netting for Movsisyan's 5th goal of the season and first-career game-winning goal. Movsisyan now ranks tied for 12th in MLS with five goals and has scored the most goals in the league as a substitute this season (5).
The win keeps Kansas City within one point of Eastern-Conference leaders New England. The Wizards and Revolution face off Thursday on MLS Primetime on ESPN 2 at 6 p.m. CT in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The winner of the match will move into sole possession of first place, as third place New York has only 27 points and would not be able to reach either Kansas City or New England with a win next week.
The Wizards and Chivas Reserves square off Monday at 9 a.m. CT at the Wizards new Swope Park Training Facility. The match is open to the public.
Chivas USA Line-Up: Guzan, Zotinca, Thomas, Suarez, Bornstein, Marsch, Kljestan, Vaughn (Lopez-83), Mendoza, Merlin (Cunliffe-46), Razov
Substitutes not used: Burpo (GK), Hernandez, Perez, Flores, Hamilton
Kansas City Wizards Line-Up: Hartman, Jewsbury, Conrad, Garcia, Raybould (Movsisyan-82), Victorine (Pore-74), Zavagnin, Marinelli (Morsink-91+), Harrington, Arnaud, Johnson
Substitutes not used: Kronberg (GK), Wahl, Kraus, Watson, Pore
KC - Jewsbury (caution; Reckless Foul) 5'
CHV - Vaughn (caution; Pushing, Holding) 10'
CHV - Thomas (caution; Professional Foul) 42'
CHV - Marsch (caution; Dissent) 45'
KC - Marinelli (caution; Delaying a Restart) 71'
CHV - Suarez (caution; Persistent Infringement) 91+'
Total Shots: 10 13
Shots on Goal: 5 7
Saves: 4 3
Fouls Committed: 18 15
Offside: 9 2
Corner Kicks: 5 4
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott, Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Richard Herron
Following the match, Kansas City sits 8-5-5 (27 pts.) in 2nd place in the competitive Eastern Conference, just one point behind first-place New England Revolution.
Kansas City is now 5-3-2 at home and 3-5-2 when allowing the first goal.
Kansas City is now 13-24-2 all-time on Sundays. The Wizards have scored 56 goals and allowed 77 all-time.
With the 3-2 win, it marked the 14th consecutive game that the final score was decided by one goal or a draw.
The Wizards are currently riding a four-game streak without losing (2-0-2).
The Wizards last win on a Sunday came against the same Colorado Rapids on August 19, 2001. Kansas City beat the Rapids 3-2 that day at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City's home crowd of 11,649 is also the second-largest crowd ever for a Sunday match. On August 11, 1996, 12,362 saw Kansas City beat the Los Angeles Galaxy in a shootout after regulation ended at 2-2.
The Wizards are now 3-0-2 all time vs. Chivas USA and 2-0-0 against the club at home. In the series they have given up 5 goals (3 at home) while scoring 10 (8 at home).
Sunday's match marked the return of three former Wizards players. Chivas USA Head Coach Preki is the Wizards all-time leader in games played (218), goals (71) and assists (98). Starting Chivas defenders Shavar Thomas and Alex Zotinca both played for Kansas City last season.
Tonight's game snapped Eddie Johnson's four game goal-scoring streak (three goals on May 26, three goals on June 2, one goal on July 14, and two July 22). He also has had either a goal or an assist in the last five games prior to tonight. He had nine goals and one assist during his streak.
Kerry Zavagnin's 35-yard bomb was his 3rd of the season. Zavagnin has now surpassed his previous career high of two.
Sasha Victorine recorded his team-high 6th assist on the play. He is now tied for 3rd in MLS in assists.
Davy Arnaud's free-kick goal was his 4th of the season and 25th of his career. He currently sits 6th on Kansas City's all-time goal scoring list, just two behind current 1860 Munich forward Josh Wolff.
Substitute forward Yura Movsisyan scored his 5th career and season goal. It was his first-game winning goal. Movsisyan has scored all five of his goals this season after coming off the bench to lead MLS in goals as a substitute.
The Wizards have now scored six goals after the 85th minute and five after the 88th minute.
Kansas City's nine goals after the 75th minute are tops in Major League Soccer.
Left back Ryan Raybould, a Rockhurst High School graduate, made his first start of the season, playing the first 82 minutes.
Kansas City Wizards rookie defender/midfielder Michael Kraus made his first career appearance in the 18-man roster. Kraus, a Creighton graduate, leads the Wizards Reserves in points with two goals and four assists in seven Reserve Division games.
The Kansas City Wizards next play Thursday at New England Revolution on MLS Primetime Thursday broadcast live at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN 2. The Wizards will appear on MLS Primetime twice in 2007. The second Primetime match will be Thursday, September 27 when the Wizards host the Los Angeles Galaxy and international superstar David Beckham.
The Wizards and Chivas Reserves play tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT at the Kansas City Wizards new Swope Park Training Facility. The game is open to the public.