for this game

Gomez nets Wizards past Earthquakes

Oct 19, 2008 - 3:49 AM By Marc Bowman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Ticker) -- The Kansas City Wizards needed this one to continue their autumn playoff push and Herculez Gomez provided the heroics in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

The win allowed the Wizards (10-10-9) to improve to 39 points and gives them a leg up in a complicated playoff scenario. After the results of Saturday's contests, Kansas City moved into the seventh of eight available postseason spots.

Off a corner kick by Claudio Lopez, Gomez pushed a shot past goalkeeper Joe Cannon for his third goal in the waning seconds of stoppage time to give the Wizards their fourth win in their last six contests.

"I've never scored one like that, in the last second," Gomez said. "I wish I could say that was the way we drew it up, but it was just a great ball from Claudio, in a good spot, and it wound up in the back of the net."

"We found a way to make it happen off a set piece," Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo said. "It was fantastic. I'd have been upset and very dejected if we hadn't gotten it because I thought we played well enough to win. We created a lot of opportunities and when you miss that many opportunities it often comes back to haunt you. I felt like we were moving the ball well. It certainly was an entertaining game."

The Wizards have risen from sixth to fourth in the Eastern Conference since September 13, earning 13 points in that span. Kansas City will complete their regular season schedule next Saturday at the New England Revolution.

"The control is in our hands, but our job is still not done," Onalfo said. "We gave ourselves a chance. At the end of the day, this group found a way to win. Our will to win came through. Give credit to these guys. We're 4-1-1 over the last six games. They found a way to get it done when a lot of teams didn't have much respect for us or for our chances."

Kansas City twice took one-goal leads, only to see San Jose level the contest.

Jack Jewsbury's centering pass in the 27th minute was deflected by Lopez to Davy Arnaud, who powered a right-footed blast from nine yards out for his sixth goal to snap a 1-1 draw.

Lopez broke a scoreless tie with his fifth goal in the 18th minute on a right-footer from 12 yards out off a crossing pass from Abe Thompson.

"He hit a point where he was just tired," Onalfo said of Lopez, who had been out of the starting lineup each of the previous three contests due to injury and fatigue. "That's normal with a player of his age with the amount of minutes he's played all year. He was a little more fresh tonight and he was the difference in the game. He was just outstanding. He looks fresh again. I'm extremely pleased with that."

"We had chances the whole game," Lopez said. "It's too bad we didn't put it away earlier."

Former Wizard Scott Sealy quickly answered with his fifth goal two minutes later, bouncing a header past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman from eight yards away after Arturo Alvarez sent a slicing cross into the penalty area.

"It went in," Sealy said with a laugh. "It was off a corner kick and I beat my guy to the ball and it tied the game. We don't want to lose and the way we lost tonight was heartbreaking. We tied it up a couple of times and we came out after halftime and got the momentum back. But we fell asleep at the end and they were able to get one in. That's how it goes sometimes."

Rookie Shea Salinas, who came on as a substitute in the 66th minute, picked up a loose ball in Kansas City's penalty area and banged in a shot from 15 yards out for his first career goal.

The Earthquakes (7-13-9) are winless since September 6, with four losses and a pair of draws to fall from fourth to last in the Western Conference. San Jose's 30 points are fewest in the league and it has been eliminated from playoff contention.

"The last three or four weeks, the results haven't gone our way," Sealy said. "This is the MLS and you can get in stretches like that. I wish (the Wizards) well. I hope they can slip

into the playoffs and get more than a conference championship, and get into the final."