for this game

Wizards strike first in MLS playoffs

Oct 28, 2007 - 3:13 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Kansas City Wizards made their return to the MLS Cup playoffs a triumphant one.

The Wizards, who had not appeared in the playoffs since 2004, downed Chivas USA, 1-0, in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Davy Arnaud gave Kansas City, the Western Conference's fourth-seeded team, a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute with a right-footed shot from 28 yards out to the near post off a free kick, beating goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

"I thought maybe it was little far out at first, but I looked up and he (Guzan) was playing pretty far out expecting maybe a cross," Arnaud said. "I thought I might as well hit it, why not. It worked out."

The goal came moments after the Wizards' Eddie Johnson was taken down. It was Arnaud's third career postseason goal.

Arnaud scored an almost identical goal against Chivas in Kansas City's 3-2 victory at home in July.

"We scored the same way the last time they played here," Wizards coach Curt Onalfo said. "Davy scored on the near side the exact same way."

Chivas, the West's top-seeded team, made a strong bid to gain the equalizer in the 40th minute as Alex Zotinca fired a right-footed shot from 20 yards out.

Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made the stop and the rebound came right to Laurent Merlin, who fired a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that was also saved by Hartman.

"We got a lucky goal against us," Chivas coach Preki said. "Those things happen, but I was pretty happy the way our guys played. With Zotinca's shot, if we get the rebound a little quicker, it's a great opportunity.

"The thing is, our goalkeeper didn't get a chance to make some saves. There's still 90 minutes of soccer to be played. We'll go home, regroup and see what happens next Saturday."

Chivas' John Cunliffe, a second-half substitution, nearly tied the score in the 60th minute as his right-footed blast from 10 yards out was tipped over the crossbar by Hartman.

Chivas entered the game without its two top scorers. Ante Razov suffered a strained left MCL versus FC Dallas on October 18, and Maykel Galindo suffered an abdominal strain earlier in the season.

"We're missing some guys and we're playing differently, but for the most part I thought we played good," Preki said.

Hartman, the MLS career leader in playoff games and saves, made four saves in the win to earn his 13th career postseason shutout. Guzan, who led MLS with 13 regular-season shutouts,recorded two saves in the loss.

"I was happy to have come away with a 1-0 result," Hartman said. "It would have been nice to get a second goal, but it gives us an opportunity to regroup and maybe take a look at what our game plan is going into Los Angeles with that one goal and try to work with that."

The second leg of the home-and-home series will be contested next Saturday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

If the total goals for the two teams are even at the end of regulation of the second game, a mini-game will be played immediately after that contest to determine the series winner, which will advance to the Western Conference final against the winner of the Dallas-Houston series.

"The philosophy is that we're not going to play for a tie," Onalfo said. "I think if you play for a tie, you don't win. We're going to be smart in our approach to the game. We're going to do what we always do on the road.

"We're not going to sit back and defend, we're going to try to take the game to them, get an early goal and move on with a win."

    CHIVAS 0

    KANSAS CITY - Davy Arnaud in the 35th minute

    CHIVAS - Alex Zotinca in the 44th minute
    KANSAS CITY - Michael Harrington in the 44th minute
    - Nick Garcia in the 54th minute
    - Kerry Zavagnin in the 88th minute



    Oct 27 10:48 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 17 roots

    Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas CityOct 27 10:47 PM


    Oct 27 9:56 PM
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    Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas CityOct 27 9:51 PM

    CHIVAS 0
    CHIVAS CAUTION: Alex Zotinca in the 45th minute

    Oct 27 8:53 PM

    CHIVAS 0
    KANSAS CITY GOAL: Davy Arnaud in the 35th minute

    Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas CityOct 27 8:41 PM
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    dm83737 Added 5 roots

    Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas CityOct 25 10:02 AM