Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City, Missouri
Weather: 59 and Cloudy
Score: 1 2 F
Columbus Crew (6-9-10; 28 pts) 0 2 2
Kansas City Wizards (10-9-6; 36 pts) 1 2 3
KC- Sealy 3 (unassisted) 31'
HOU- Moreno 5 (unassisted) 65'
HOU- Herron 4 (Gonzalez 1, Gaven 3) 67'
KC- Johnson 15 (penalty kick) 93+'
KC- Sealy 4 (Colombano 1, Johnson 5) 94+'
(September 15, 2007) - The Kansas City Wizards captured three important, dramatic points Saturday in a crucial Eastern Conference six-pointer as they downed the Columbus Crew 3-2 through stoppage-time goals from strikers Eddie Johnson and Scott Sealy. Kansas City becomes just the third team in MLS history to erase a stoppage-time deficit and win the match. Johnson converted a penalty kick in the 93+ minute after Kerry Zavagnin was fouled inside the 18-yard area and then recorded an assist on Sealy's game-winner just one minute later.
Columbus created the game's first scoring opportunity in the 6th minute when midfielder Ned Grabavoy served in a free kick from 25 yards out that was headed just wide of the back post by defender Marcos Gonzalez.
The Wizards nearly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through brilliant ball movement up the right flank. Johnson held the ball up, playing it laterally for Sealy then spinning and running the channel between two defenders. Sealy played midfielder Davy Arnaud free into space on the right, and Arnaud sent a first-touch cross hard along the ground for Johnson at the top of the penalty area. Johnson connected with his left foot, sending a first-touch shot toward goal that was saved with a dive by former Wizards goalkeeper Will Hesmer, who had nine saves on the night.
Columbus created a dangerous opportunity of its own in the 27th minute as Grabavoy fired from the top of the area and forced a diving save from Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. Forward Jason Garey attempted to put home the rebound from close range, but his right-footed effort hit squarely off the post before being cleared by the Wizards.
Kansas City opened the scoring four minutes later after Sealy was fouled outside the 18-yard area by defender Ezra Hendrickson. Sealy then stepped over the ball with defender Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. Both players started their approach in the 31st minute, with Burciaga stopping and Sealy bending a right-footed blast over the wall and into the upper-left corner past a diving Hesmer for his 3rd goal of the season.
Ten minutes later, Arnaud took a turn after Burciaga fired a diagonal ball out of the back a full 50 yards. Johnson dummied the ball, taking a Columbus defender out of the play and creating space for Arnaud who carried the ball up the right flank before cutting to his left and firing a shot on goal that was smothered by Hesmer.
Columbus opened the second half with a quicker offense, as midfielder Eddie Gaven sprang midfielder Jacob Thomas up the right flank with a through ball out of midfield in the 50th minute. Thomas carried the ball into the penalty area, firing on goal from 15 yards out and forcing a full-extension save from Hartman at the near post. Then in the 59th, a snap header from Gaven forced a diving save by Hartman at the back post.
The Crew leveled the match in the 65th minute as Gaven, again, played an important part in their attack. Midfielder Danny O'Rourke sent a cross in from the right flank to Gaven at the back post who headed the ball centrally for a cutting Alejandro Moreno. Hartman blocked Moreno's first shot, but Moreno stayed with the play and pushed the rebound into an open net to tie the match 1-1.
Columbus took a 2-1 lead just two minutes later after a Gaven corner kick. His right-footed out-swinger was headed across the face of the goal by Gonzalez and tapped in by falling second-half substitute Andy Herron from point-blank range.
Moreno nearly recorded his second goal in the 76th minute when he chested down a cross and fired a first-time volley toward goal, forcing another diving save from Hartman.
The Wizards almost tied the match in the 83rd minute through substitute forward Eloy Colombano. Fellow Argentinean Carlos Marinelli dropped the ball back centrally for Colombano. Colombano took a touch then fired a right-footed blast from 25 yards out that eluded Hesmer but sped just over the crossbar.
Kansas City finally got its equalizer in second-half stoppage time after midfielder Kerry Zavagnin was fouled two steps inside the penalty area. Johnson stepped to the spot, sending Hesmer the wrong way before banking the shot in off the left post for his 15th goal of the year and first from the penalty spot.
The Wizards, however, were not content to leave with a tie, and captured a victory just one minute later. Kansas City played the ball out of the back, eventually finding Johnson with his back to goal 25 yards out. He spun the ball wide for a streaking Colombano before Johnson and Sealy continued their runs toward goal. Colombano took a touch then served in a hard, right-footed cross for Sealy at the near post. The Trinidad and Tobago international hit a snap header past Hesmer from 6 yards out for his second goal of the match and first-game winner of the season.
On the night, 12 of the Wizards 19 shots were on goal (63.2%), forcing Hesmer's nine saves.
Kansas City's victory was crucial, providing the team with an eight-point playoff cushion over Columbus and the Colorado Rapids who are currently tied for 9th in MLS with 28 points. The Wizards pulled within one point of Red Bull New York for 3rd in the East who tied the Chicago Fire 2-2 Saturday evening in Chicago. Chicago currently occupies the 8th and final playoff spot on 30 points. Colorado plays Sunday with a chance to leapfrog the Fire into the playoff picture.
The Wizards next match comes next Saturday, September 22 against red-hot Chivas USA and coach Preki. The game, 9:30 p.m. CT on Metro Sports, is the second and final match-up of 2007 between the teams. Kansas City captured a 3-2 victory over the Goats July 29 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Columbus Crew Line-Up: Hesmer, Hendrickson, Gonzalez, Ward, Gaven, O'Rourke, Oughton, Grabavoy, Thomas (Herron 65), Garey (Miglioranzi 84), Moreno
Substitutes not used: Gruenebaum (GK), Peterson, Kamara, Rogers, Virtuoso
Kansas City Wizards Line-Up: Hartman, Jewsbury (Colombano 77), Conrad, Garcia, Burciaga Jr., Arnaud, Zavagnin, Marinelli, Morsink (Victorine 66), Sealy, Johnson
Substitutes not used: Kronberg (GK), Wahl, Pore, Raybould, Watson
CLB - Gaven (caution; Pushing, Holding) 36'
KC - Morsink (caution; Pushing, Holding) 45'
CLB - Gonzalez (caution; Dissent) 48'
CLB - Oughton (caution; Tackle From Behind) 72'
CLB - Hesmer (caution; Delaying a Restart) 87'
Total Shots: 18 19
Shots on Goal: 8 12
Saves: 9 6
Fouls Committed: 20 10
Offside: 3 7
Corner Kicks: 6 4
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: Jose Corro, George Vergara
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Following the match, Kansas City sits 10-9-6 (36 pts) in 4th place in the competitive Eastern Conference, 1 point behind 3rd place Red Bull New York who tied the Chicago Fire 2-2 Saturday.
Kansas City remains firmly in the playoff picture, currently possessing the 7th-most points in MLS.
Kansas City is now 7-4-2 at home and 6-0-4 when scoring the first goal.
Kansas City is now 16-14-4 all-time against Columbus and 9-5-2 in Kansas City.
Defender Nick Garcia passed former playmaker Preki for first on the Wizards all-time appearance list by playing in his 219th career match.
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman stopped six shots, pushing his 3rd-best all-time save total to 997. Hartman will become the third player to reach the 1,000-save plateau with three more saves.
The Wizards became just the third team in MLS history to erase a stoppage-time deficit and win the game. D.C. United has done so twice, once in 2000 and once in 2003.
It was the 13th time in MLS history two or more goals were scored in second-half stoppage time and the 5th time one team scored two or more goals in stoppage time.
Kansas City scored goals in back-to-back minutes for the 4th time in team history, the first-ever occurrence in stoppage time.
Eddie Johnson's penalty kick goal was his 15th of the season, keeping him in a second-place tie with Juan Pablo Angel of New York who also converted a penalty kick Saturday.
Johnson has now scored in three-straight games, marking his second-longest goal-scoring streak of the season. Johnson scored in four straight games from May 26 - July 22 (Johnson missed six games due to U.S. National Team duty.
Johnson's goal was Kansas City's second penalty-kick goal on three attempts.
Johnson recorded his 2nd game-winning assist of the season.
Eloy Colombano recorded his first-career MLS assist on the game-winning goal. Twelve different players have now recorded assists for Kansas City this season.
Scott Sealy scored his first multi-goal game since June 17, 2006. It was the 4th time in his career he has scored two goals in a game.
Sealy's first goal was the second scored by the Wizards directly from a free kick.
Sealy became the 4th different player to record a game-winning goal for the Wizards this season. Johnson (6) leads the Wizards and MLS.
Johnson is one off his career high for game-winners, set in 2004 for FC Dallas.
Sealy's game-winner was the 4th header goal by Kansas City this season.
The Wizards now lead MLS with 12 goals after the 75th minute. They have scored six goals in the 90th minute or later, four of them coming against Columbus
The Wizards scored in second-half stoppage time in every match against the Crew this season, including an equalizer and two game-winners.
Kansas City has 7 game-winning goals after the 81st minute and 8 total goals after the 85th minute.
Kansas City has 8 game-winning assists in 10 wins.
The Wizards matched last year's win total of 10 in 25 games. MLS teams each played 32 games in 2006.
Kansas City scored 43 goals and recorded 35 assists in 2006. They already have 40 goals and 40 assists in 2007.
The Wizards lead MLS in assists and are currently 3rd in goals scored.
During the match, the Wizards allowed media members to sit in a field-side pressbox in the Northwest corner of the stadium as an extension of the popular Fieldside Reserved seats.
At halftime, the Wizards hosted their first-ever mascot scrimmage as Dynamo the Dragon and 20 of his mascot friends engaged in an exciting game of soccer.
Kansas City Wizards Quotes
Wizards Head Coach Curt Onalfo
"Scoring in the ninety plus minutes shows that our team is a fit team and a team that doesn't give up and we have been talking all week that it might take ninety minutes to win this game and it was a great ending."
Wizards midfielder Kerry Zavagnin
"We took the penalty kick and took that momentum with us and kept moving forward and got the win. Congratulations to us because we never gave up. The most important thing is getting results and in a two-minute period of time we put ourselves in a great position to make the playoffs. It's a ninety plus minute game."
Wizards forward Eddie Johnson
"You pick one way and you stick with it even if you think the keeper knows, you keep with it and put some pace on it and fake him out. (Laughing) I almost faked myself out."
Wizards forward Scott Sealy
"Our team is not a desperate team, but we were at home and we didn't want to disappoint the fans. We went into the half one-nil and then they got two goals and we had two options, either give up or come back and our team has shown that we can come back and tonight was a perfect example."
Wizards defender Nick Garcia
"This game was a rollercoaster for me, the team, the fans and what a game to remember. It was very special for everyone to participate and enjoy it whether it was a record- breaking night for me or a big win for the team."
Columbus Crew Quotes
Crew forward Jason Garey
"We had the three points in the ninetieth minute and it is unacceptable to come out here and not get the points after how hard we have worked. It is definitely not over and the season is not over yet."
Crew forward Alejandro Moreno
"It was a difficult night for us. We tried to do everything in order to get a result here and then the penalty kick goes their way and then lack of concentration lets us walk out of here with zero points."