for this game

Lopez scores on penalty kick to lift Wizards over Red Bulls

Apr 24, 2009 - 3:26 AM KANSAS CITY, Kansas (AP) -- Claudio Lopez made it look easy - for everyone but the man trying to stop him.

Three minutes into Thursday night's game against the New York Red Bulls, the fastest red-card foul in Major League Soccer history sent Lopez to the penalty spot.

Red Bulls keeper Jon Conway dove to his left. Lopez sent a slow roller to Conway's right, into the back of the net. The goal stood up for a 1-0 victory, extending the Kansas City Wizards' unbeaten streak to four matches.

"You always have to be ready for something like this," said Lopez, who took the game-winning kick after New York's Carlos Johnson was sent off in the second minute for pulling down Herculez Gomez in the penalty area. "It's an opportunity you just can't miss. It's good that it happened to us early."

Johnson left New York's locker room without speaking to reporters.

The previous fastest ejection came in MLS' inaugural season, when New England's Aidan Heaney received a red card in the third minute of a match against Colorado on May 25, 1996.

"The whole course of the game changed with that first play," Red Bulls forward Juan Pablo Angel said. "Everything was uphill."

Kevin Hartman recorded his third shutout of the season for Kansas City (3-2-1), which is 3-0-1 since starting the season with two losses. New York, which was coming off its first win of the year, dropped to 1-3-2.

"At the end, a point would have been a fair result for us," New York coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "But that's football."

Hartman was honored before the game for becoming the MLS career saves leader. He had two Thursday night, including a win-preserving deflection of Angel's shot in the closing seconds of second-half stoppage time.

"We didn't give up a ton of shots," Hartman said. "We were pretty secure in the back, and I think that's a step in the right direction."

After Johnson's ejection, the Wizards were unable to turn their man advantage into another goal, despite outshooting the Red Bulls, 13-11.

"What we have to take home is that we have to do a better job of playing the game out. End of story," Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo said. "It almost seems like we relax a little bit. We don't play every play like it's the last - but, credit to them. They fought to stay in the game and they made it hard on us."

Wizards midfielder Jack Jewsbury was briefly examined at a hospital after sustaining a slight concussion in the first half. Jewsbury initially stayed in the game after being elbowed by in the head by New York's Carlos Mendes in the 17th minute, but was replaced by Michael Harrington in the 32nd minute.

"Our medical staff thought he was fine, and then he started feeling strange," Onalfo said. "We already had Michael warmed up, so we got him in there."