Press Release: Wizards tie Union on Road

Davy Arnaud scores second-half goal; Jimmy Nielsen makes 5 saves in comeback draw

MLS Game #22
Saturday, September 4, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CT
English TV: KCWE 29
Spanish TV: KCWE 29 (SAP)
PPL Park | Chester, Pennsylvania
Weather: Clear and 85 degrees
Attendance: 17,182

Score:                                                           1       2         F
Kansas City Wizards (7-9-6, 27 pts)       0       1        1
Philadelphia Union (5-11-6, 21 pts)       1       0        1
Kansas City Wizards: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Shavar Thomas (Jonathan Leathers 65), Jimmy Conrad, Roger Espinoza; Davy Arnaud©, Stéphane Auvray (Josh Wolff 61), Craig Rocastle; Teal Bunbury, Birahim Diop (Jack Jewsbury 74), Ryan Smith
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Korede Aiyegbusi, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi
Philadelphia Union: Chris Seitz; Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Michael Orozco Fiscal; Justin Mapp (Alejandro Moreno 82), Amobi Okugo, Stefani Miglioranzi (Roger Torres 46), Andrew Jacobson (Jack McInerney 73); Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga
Subs not used: Brad Knighton, Cristian Arrieta, Kyle Nakazawa¸ Sheanon Williams
Stats:                KC        PHI
Shots                 11        10
Shots on Goal   5          6
Saves                 5           4
Fouls                  9           17
Offside               3           1
Corner Kicks    9           4
Misconduct Summary:
KC – Roger Espinoza (caution, Reckless Foul) 64
PHI – Michael Orozco Fiscal (caution; Reckless Foul) 71

Scoring Summary:
PHI – Sebastian Le Toux 10 (Danny Mwanga 4) 33
KC – Davy Arnaud 4 (unassisted) 69
(September 4, 2010) – The Kansas City Wizards earned a 1-1 draw on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union, climbing into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Wizards captain Davy Arnaud scored on a free kick in the 69th minute to earn a pivotal point in the late-season playoff push for Kansas City.

The Wizards are now two points out of the eighth and final playoff position, pending results around the league this weekend.

Saturday’s match started slowly, as the first 25 minutes saw an evenly-played and hard fought match unfold. Arnaud registered the first shot on goal of the match in the 9th minute, testing Philadelphia goalkeeper Chris Seitz from long range. Union rookie Danny Mwanga tried an ambitious attempt of his own in the 17th minute, turning and shooting over the bar from 35 yards out.

Philadelphia’s offense then brought the game to life with a series of scoring chances, beginning abruptly in the 26th minute with a shot off the post from Stefani Miglioranzi. The Union midfielder’s shot from 30 yards out deflected off Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad mid-flight, leaving goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen helpless as the ball changed directions.

Two minutes later, Philadelphia threatened again as Le Toux nearly opened the scoring if not for the first of five superb stops by Nielsen on the day. Le Toux turned at the top of the penalty area and fired his shot low, but Nielsen did well to push it wide.

The Union broke through in the 33rd minute, taking a 1-0 lead as Le Toux made no mistake in finishing a cross from close range. Philadelphia midfielder Justin Mapp played the ball wide for Mwanga, who earned the assist with a pinpoint cross into the penalty area for Le Toux to redirect. The Frenchman now has 10 goals and 10 assists in his second season in MLS.

Kansas City’s best chance of the first half came on a corner kick in the 36th minute. Arnaud’s service came to defender Shavar Thomas, whose header was saved by Seitz at the back post.

The Wizards, playing without leading goal scorer Kei Kamara due to international duty, started the second half by asserting their attack as Ryan Smith got on the end of a long ball played into the Philadelphia penalty area in the 46th minute. Smith tapped the ball around Seitz, but Union defender Michael Orozco Fiscal did well to knock the ball away on a goal-saving tackle.

Philadelphia then threatened twice in a two-minute span. Nielsen made a fantastic foot-save in the 53rd minute on a shot from Mapp and then denied Mwanga’s attempt, again from the left side, one minute later. Nielsen, who won his fifth Save of the Week honor on Thursday, made another highlight reel save in the 66th minute, with a full extension dive to turn away a header from Le Toux.

Nielsen’s five saves moved him into sole possession of third place in MLS this season with 68 saves.

Arnaud’s free kick prowess proved to be pivotal for Kansas City in the second half. The Wizards came close in the 60th minute as Birahim Diop got on the end of a free kick taken by Arnaud, but Seitz did well to save the header attempt.

Arnaud capitalized on his next free kick in the 71st minute following a foul on Wizards playmaker Ryan Smith along the sideline. Arnaud curled the free kick from 25 yards out under the crossbar and inside the far post for his fourth goal of the season and second consecutive match with a game-changing goal. Arnaud tallied the game-winner in Kansas City’s 2-0 victory over the first-place Galaxy last Saturday.

Philadelphia inserted forwards Alejandro Moreno and Jack McInerney to try and regain the lead, but it was Kansas City who created the best opportunity in the final 15 minutes. Forward Teal Bunbury fired a shot from the right side of the penalty area in the 76th minute, but Seitz made his fourth and final save of the night.

Kansas City will now have two weeks until closing out their three-game road trip against Chivas USA on Sunday, September 19 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The match, which kicks off at 7:00 p.m. CT, will air live in high definition on KCWE Channel 29 in both English and Spanish, accompanied by a live radio broadcast on La Gran D 1340 AM.

Fast Facts:
•    Kansas City is now 7-9-6 (27 pts) on the season.
•    The Wizards are 4-1-3 in their last eight MLS matches.
•    The Wizards are currently tied for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with Toronto FC, who visit FC Dallas on Saturday night.
•    With the draw, the Wizards are now two points out of the final playoff position, held by San Jose, with eight games remaining.
•    The Wizards are 2-6-3 on the road this season in MLS play and 2-1-2 in their last five MLS matches.
•    Kansas City earned a point for only the second time this season after conceding the game’s first goal, as well as when trailing at halftime.
•    Kansas City is now 1-0-1 all-time, and 0-0-1 away against the Union.
•    Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made five saves on the night and now has 68 on the season.
•    He is now 3rd in MLS in saves (63).
•    Nielsen lowered his goals against average to 1.09, 6th best in MLS.
•    Nielsen has played every minute of every MLS game for Kansas City this season, one of only seven players in the league to do so thus far in 2010.
•    Wizards playmaker Ryan Smith suffered five fouls, a new season and career high in an MLS game. A Philadelphia foul on Smith in the 69th minute led to Kansas City’s goal on a free kick taken by Wizards captain Davy Arnaud.
•    Arnaud’s goal was Kansas City’s first goal to come direct from a free kick this season.
•    Arnaud is now within one goal of forward Josh Wolff for second place on Kansas City’s all-time career goal scoring chart.
•    Kansas City is 2-0-2 in 2010 when Arnaud scores.
•    Arnaud also suffered five fouls, moving into sole possession of 7th place on the MLS all-time fouls suffered chart, with 487 fouls suffered in his career.
•    Arnaud played 90 minutes and surpassed 18,000 minutes in his MLS career.
•    Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad played in the 300th game of his MLS career, now with 282 regular season and 18 postseason appearances.
•    Conrad played 90 minutes and surpassed 26,000 minutes in his MLS career.
•    Defender Shavar Thomas left the game in the 65th minute due to a hamstring strain.
•    Thomas will report to the Jamaican National Team for friendlies against Costa Rica on Sunday, September 5 in Kingston, Jamaica and then versus Peru on Tuesday, September 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
•    Defender Roger Espinoza has accepted an invite from the Honduras National Team and will be available for their friendly against Canada on Tuesday, September 7 in Montreal.
•    Forward Kei Kamara missed Saturday’s match because of international duty with the Sierra Leone National Team. Sierra Leone plays Egypt in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday, September 5 in Cairo, Egypt.
•    Wizards striker Sunil Chhetri, on loan to the India National Team for the remainder of the 2010 MLS season, started and played 90 minutes in India’s 1-0 loss to Thailand on Saturday in Bangkok. Chhetri had India’s best chance of the match, hitting the crossbar in first half stoppage time. Chhetri and India will have a rematch with Thailand on Wednesday, September 8 in Delhi.
•    Wizards defender Aaron Hohlbein, on loan to USSF D-2 Miami FC, returns to Missouri to play AC St. Louis on Sunday, September 5.
•    Omar Bravo, recently signed by Kansas City as a Designated Player and on loan to Chivas Guadalajara until the Wizards 2011 preseason, will play Estudiantes at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, September 5 at Estadio Omnilife in Guadalajara, Mexico. The match will air live in the United States on Telemundo.