Wizards, Dynamo play to scoreless drawApr 13, 2008 - 3:34 AM By Pat Madden PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Ticker) -- Stellar defensive play and tough weather conditions contributed to a 0-0 draw between the Houston Dynamo and Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Despite the blustery conditions (44 degrees at game time with winds gusting to 25 miles per hour), the first half was played end-to-end with both teams having excellent chances.
Dwayne DeRosario had the Dynamo's best chance in the 41st minute but his right-footed shot from 14 yards out was saved by Kansas City goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
"It's difficult to do the things you want to do when you're playing against that wind in the first half," Hartman said. "We weren't able to play the way we wanted to and it continued from there. Maybe we possessed the ball a little bit more when we had the wind at our back in the second half."
"The effort from the guys was excellent," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We defended well, especially in the second half. Sometimes you score and sometimes you can't, and tonight we couldn't score."
The Wizards (2-1-1) concluded the half with perhaps the best opportunity. Forward Claudio Lopez took a feed from defender Chance Myers and curled a right-footed shot shot that nearly eluded Houston goalkeeper Tony Caig in the 45th minute.
"The guy (Lopez) was trying to play in on me, but I just stood my ground and got an arm on it," Caig said. "It's a split-second decision and tonight I made the right decision."
The play settled into a defensive mode in the second half. However, both teams had opportunities.
DeRosario also a chance in the 76th minute to break the deadlock when he broke in alone on Hartman, but his shot went high over the crossbar. The Dynamo also had a chance in the 80th minute as Brian Mullen's left-footed shot went wide after he intercepted a defensive clearance.
Kansas City's best opportunity came in the 87th minute, as forward Scott Sealy's shot was deflected wide to the left of the Dynamo net.
It was the first meeting of the two teams that faced each other in the 2007 MLS Western Conference Championship. Houston won that contest, 2-0, on the way to capturing the MLS Cup for the second consecutive year.
"They're hard to play against," Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo said. "They make you stay in every single play. We had some chances to score and we didn't as they did. Overall, I thought it was an evenly played game and a fair result."
Houston (0-1-2) was without two of its starters in goalkeeper Pat Onstad (shoulder) and defender Craig Waibel (knee), who were out with injuries.
Hartman made five saves to for his MLS-best 69th shutout for Kansas City, which concluded its opening home stand with a 2-1-1 record The Wizards begin a six-game road trip at Chicago April 20.
"Anytime you play against a team like Houston that works hard and is very competitive, I thought we did well," Hartman said. "We rolled up our sleeves and defended tooth-and-nail, but unfortunately we couldn't pick up a goal on the counter. You want to get points at home, and it would have been nice to get two more tonight."
Caig stopped four shots for Dynamo (0-1-2), which continues a three-game road trip at Los Angeles April 19.
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