for this game

Conrad leads Wizards past Revolution

Oct 12, 2008 - 3:33 AM By Pat Madden PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Ticker) -- The Kansas City Wizards gave a boost to their Major League Soccer playoff hopes with a 1-0 defeat of the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Jimmy Conrad headed home a shot that eluded New England goalkeeper Matt Reis in the 61st minute for the only goal of the match.

"I got up high enough and got it at the near post," Conrad said. "I had a chance at the back post in the first half, and that was the better of my chances in the game. But I'll take it."

Conrad's goal, his team-leading sixth of the season, came off a corner by Jack Jewsbury.

"He's been since day one an extension of what I've been trying to do here since I got here," Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo said. "It couldn't happen to a better guy and our captain. He's led us all the way through."

"It's no coincidence he's their top scorer," New England coach Steve Nicol said. "The fact is, Jimmy's asset is in the air. It's tough to deal with. We had more than enough guys around him."

New England was dealt a blow early in the contest when Steve Ralston, the MLS' all-time leader in games and assists, suffered a broken right fibula in the 17th minute

"I think it hurt them tremendously," Onalfo said. "He's an outstanding player."

Kansas City (9-10-9) is currently one point ahead of FC Dallas (8-9-11) for the final playoff spot in the MLS Cup.

"It's been 17 weeks of climbing over the wall," Onalfo said. "We know it's not enough; we've got to get more points in these next two games. It gives us confidence, that's for sure."

"The three points (tonight) are the most important thing," Conrad said. "We just got to keep plugging along and keep the spot. We've found ourselves in the top eight, now we've got to hold it. We've got two more games."

The Wizards, who extended their home unbeaten streak to a season-high nine games, have two games remaining - next Saturday at home against San Jose and at New England on October 25.

Despite the loss, New England (12-9-7) has secured a playoff spot with two games remaining. However, the Revolution are just one point ahead of Chicago for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Kansas City outshot New England, 9-7, while goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made two saves in recording his league-leading 77th career shutout. Reis did not make a save in the losing effort.

The loss extended New England's winless road streak to five games.