Wizards keep Galaxy skiddingSep 14, 2008 - 1:20 AM KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Ticker) -- The Kansas City Wizards kept their faint postseason hopes alive with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
Josh Wolff and Davy Arnaud connected for tallies midway through the second half, breaking a scoreless tie as the Wizards (7-9-8) picked up three points to escape the Eastern Conference cellar with 29 points.
"There's such a slight difference from one team to the next in a win or a loss, and we have something like nine ties," Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman said. "If any of those go our way we could be comfortably in the playoffs. Unfortunately, that's not how things have worked out and we're going to have an uphill battle. Tonight, we took our first step in that direction."
"We have a calm confidence about us," Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo said. "We don't get too low or too excited. This is a group of guys who will put it on the line."
Wolff redirected Herculez Gomez's crossing pass in front of the goal, one-timing a right-footer into the left side of the Galaxy net in the 67th minute.
"Herculez hit it with great pace and I just redirected it," Wolff said. "I was at the first post and I got just enough of it. That's what I was trying to do, just look to get a little piece and push it to the back post. I got it with the inside of my foot, clipping it off the heel."
"Gomez made a good run down the end line to show up in the box, and Wolff redirected it to the far post," rookie goalkeeper Josh Wicks said. "He stepped on it, got it on his outside foot and made a little flick to the back post. He was meaning to put it on target. He got it on target and it went into the goal."
Davy Arnaud followed two minutes later with a right-footed blast from 30 yards over the top of Wicks.
"It's probably right up there with the best of them," Arnaud said when asked if it was his best goal. "I was trying to hit it hard, hit the frame, and make the keeper make the save. When I hit it, it stayed on the same line. It didn't move. We wanted to get some pressure on the rookie keeper."
"Yes, I saw it," acknowledged Wicks, who made his second career start in goal. "I saw him hit it and saw it hit the back of the net. I've got to tip my hat as a goalkeeper. It was a great shot and a great finish. It was a great goal. I think after the first goal I was a bit down, maybe. Still, there's no excuse for that happening. But, it happened."
The goals matched the quickest pair this year by the Wizards, who collected only their second win since July 17.
"Davy likes to go for the throat," Onalfo said. "We talked about putting pressure on the keeper, especially a new guy to the league. That has to be the goal of the week."
"I think the difference was a 15-minute segment in the second half," Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena said. "Kansas City brought more energy than we did. We were suspicious we were going to have fatigue issues and we did. We were a little bit disoriented. It was almost like a practice game for us not having been together for so long. It's going to take some time to get together."
Kevin Hartman stopped two shots on the way to his eighth shutout of the season. It was an MLS-record 75th shutout of his career for Hartman, who spent a decade minding the nets for the Galaxy.
"We recognize their quality," Hartman said of Los Angeles' forwards. "But I think you've got to give some respect to my defense tonight. They really stepped up and played well. Granted, Landon is a little bit fatigued (having played for the U.S. men's national team in Cuba Saturday), with what he's played lately and the travel he's had to deal with. Knowing that, we don't want to give them anything to get excited about and he's got extra amp to get them going. I thought we did a good job to nip things in the bud. We played good possession."
"It was a gritty effort," Onalfo said. "It was 11 guys, committed to playing together. We wanted to limit (David) Beckham's effect on the game and limit Landon (Donovan's) effect
on the game. We disrupted Beckham and Donovan and caused them to interrupt their game. We did a good job limiting the times they touched the ball."
The Galaxy (6-10-8) remained in last place in the Western Conference with 26 points. Los Angeles hasn't won since June 14 at San Jose, a span of 12 contests.
"There have been a lot of changes this season," Beckham said. "Stability is important to chemistry. When it's not there, the unity is not there. Our confidence is just down a bit and I think it's more of a confidence thing than anything else. It's obviously frustrating."
The game was relocated from the Wizards home park to Arrowhead Stadium to accommodate a crowd of 26,211 - the fifth-largest in franchise history - as fans came out to see international star Beckham.
Beckham provided the Galaxy with its best scoring opportunity on a shot from 25 yards out in the 55th minute. It curved just past the upper left corner and out of Hartman's reach.
"Landon had one that floated just across the top of the box," Hartman said. "And the more dangerous one was when the ball was laid back to Beckham and he swung one to the back post."
"I think we realize it's very tough, but possible," Beckham said of Los Angeles' playoff chances. "We know the position we're in. Mentally, we were a little bit down and I think maybe we didn't believe we can win this game."
It was the fifth shutout suffered by the Galaxy, the league's highest-scoring team with 44 goals.
"It was a day where two players were a little fatigued," Arena said. "Landon is 26 so I thought he could battle through it. Travelling across oceans and time zones, there was fatigue on the part of David. In the first half there were not many chances."
"I liked how we managed the game," Onalfo said. "It took us a while to adjust but we played very well. To shut out the best attack in the league is going to give us a lot of confidence going into these last six games."
LOS ANGELES 0
KANSAS CITY 2 FINAL
Sep 13 6:58 PM
- MLS UPDATE
LOS ANGELES 0
KANSAS CITY 2
KANSAS CITY GOAL: Davy Arnaud in the 69th minute
Galaxy 0, Sporting Kansas City 2 2nd - 69'Sep 13 6:32 PM
- MLS UPDATE
LOS ANGELES 0
KANSAS CITY 1
KANSAS CITY GOAL: Josh Wolff in the 67th minute
Galaxy 0, Sporting Kansas City 1 2nd - 67'Sep 13 6:31 PM
LOS ANGELES 0
KANSAS CITY 0 HALFTIME
Sep 13 6:01 PM
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