(October 4, 2007) – The Kansas City Wizards (10-11-6, 36 pts) host D.C. United (16-6-5, 53 pts) Friday in the last Wizards regular-season home match of the 2007 campaign in a game with significant playoff ramifications. United currently sits in first place in the East and has already clinched a playoff berth. Kansas City is currently in 4th place in the East and 7th place overall in the playoff picture. They can clinch an appearance with a win Friday and help over the remainder of the weekend.
It is D.C. United’s second trip to Kansas City this season and the third overall meeting between the squads. The Wizards opened their campaign with a 4-2 victory April 14 at ever-tough RFK stadium before losing 1-0 to D.C. at home on July 4th. In the April 14 match at RFK, Eddie Johnson began his stellar season with one goal and two assists. Rookie midfielder/defender Michael Harrington opened his career in historic fashion, scoring in just his 3rd MLS minute. Forward Scott Sealy also tallied that day and recorded an assist. On July 4, The Wizards outshot United 21-11 but goalkeeper Troy Perkins kept Kansas City off the score sheet with several brilliant saves. Luciano Emilio, the leading scorer in MLS play thus far, scored the lone goal that day.
United enters the match after a Tuesday game in Guadalajara, Mexico against a rejuvenated Chivas Guadalajara side for the Copa Nissan Sudamericana quarterfinals. D.C. won the first leg 2-1 at RFK before losing 1-0 at Estadio Jalisco. Chivas advanced on away goals after tying 2-2 on aggregate. The Wizards have been off since last Thursday’s ESPN MLS Primetime test against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The game drew Kansas City’s largest-ever MLS attendance (32,867) and was the second-highest attendance of the season for an ESPN Primetime match.
Friday’s game could serve as a preview for a playoff match-up between the teams. If the season ended today, Kansas City would host D.C. United in the first playoff game, followed by a return date in the nation’s capital. The Wizards are still poised to challenge Red Bull New York, however, for the 3rd seed in the East. Kansas City trails New York by just three points with a game remaining between the squads October 13 at the Meadowlands.
Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is poised to enter the MLS record books with his next save. Currently at 999 career stops, Hartman will become just the third goalkeeper in league history to make 1,000 career saves. He is currently third on the all-time list behind Tony Meola (1,136) and Scot Garlick (1,021).
Friday is Fan Appreciation Night. The Wizards will have merchandise giveaways sponsored by Time Warner Cable and adidas and will host a post-game autograph session on the field.