Ianni's tally fuels Dynamo past WizardsJun 25, 2007 - 12:30 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Houston Dynamo simply refuse to lose in the month of June.
Defender Patrick Ianni's first goal of the season proved to be the lone tally of the game as the defending champions extended their unbeaten streak to five matches with a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday.
Stuart Holden's pass from the top of the box found Ianni, who headed it into the goal from 12 yards out to beat Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman in the 81st minute.
"Stuart put the ball right on my head," Ianni said. "It couldn't have been a better ball. My objective is to beat my guy to the first post and be there in front of my man. Stuart played a great ball. We can't have that goal without that great ball."
"It was a great goal by Patrick; he attacked the ball well," Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear said. "With the heat the way it was we wanted to play a set piece and we were fortunate to break through."
Ianni's goal was the first of his career, coming in his first MLS start.
"It felt great to score in my first start today," Ianni said. "The guys gave me confidence right from the start. We've got a great set of veterans and they told me to 'just relax and do what you do'."
Houston (7-5-1, 22 points), which is now 5-0 this month, has outscored opponents, 11-3, during that stretch.
"We were a little concerned coming into this season, coming off the championship," Kinnear said. "We stumbled a little, then got going. Once you win one you start to get the confidence back and then you win two and the locker room gets happier. There's more of a drive to practice and everything gets easier on your part.
"I think the reason we're winning is because we're playing such good defense. We've given up just three goals in five games and had two shutouts. We're winning because everyone is doing their part."
Kansas City (6-4-2, 20 points), which was playing without Eddie Johnson, who was playing with the Americans in the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship, was unable to leapfrog idle New England and New York in the ultra-tight Eastern Conference standings.
"I think we've had trouble finishing our opportunities early and we've been playing behind a lot," Wizards Captain Jimmy Conrad said. "That puts a lot of pressure on the defense to be perfect."
The Dynamo were aided by the return of goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who returned to the MLS after Team Canada was bounced from the CONCACAF semifinals. Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, who also played with Canada, came in the 76th minute for Houston.
"It's been a long couple of weeks," Onstad said. "I just barely had time to fly home and give the kids a quick kiss before I jumped on a plane for Kansas City."
In the game's waning moments, Kansas City midfielder Sasha Victorine's header went wide of the goal in one of their few second-half scoring opportunities.
"We're trying to create an identity where we are on top of you the whole game," Wizards Captain Jimmy Conrad said. "With the heat it was hard to keep that up the whole game."
"We felt at halftime that we gave them a few chances early on by giving the ball away," Onstad said. "In the second half, when we did it was losing the ball down in the other end and that's not as hard because we've got eleven guys behind the ball when that happens."
Kansas City had just two shots on goal after the 30th minute and was shutout for the first time this year.
"When you get a shutout you, of course, want to focus on the four back guys, but, for me, it was the guys up front who set the tone for us," Kinnear said. "In the back we held tight and didn't give away too much."
KANSAS CITY 0 FINAL
Jun 24 6:55 PM
- MLS UPDATE
KANSAS CITY 0
HOUSTON GOAL: Patrick Ianni in the 81st minute
Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas CityJun 24 6:43 PM
KANSAS CITY 0 HALFTIME
Jun 24 5:51 PM
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