Wizards Host D.C. United in Pivotal Mid-Season Conference Match

Kansas City (6-4-3, 21 pts) vs D.C. United (6-4-2, 20 pts)
Wednesday, July 4 – Kansas City, Missouri
Arrowhead Stadium – 12 p.m. CT
TV: Metro Sports with Sean Wheelock and Brian Roberts
Radio: La Gran D 1430 AM
Broadcast Details: Metro Sports VYVX # N472992

(July 3, 2007) – First-year coaches Curt Onalfo of Kansas City and Tom Soehn of D.C. United lead their respective squads into an important mid-season clash Wednesday, July 4, at noon CT on Metro Sports. Each coach has displayed his mettle already during the young season, leading Kansas City and D.C. United to second and fourth, respectively, in the highly competitive Eastern conference to this point. A win for Kansas City will enhance their standing in the East while a win for United will leapfrog them over Kansas City into third place at worst.

Both clubs enter the game without important performers. Kansas City will be without the MLS goals leader, Eddie Johnson, for the fifth consecutive match. Johnson was with the United States National Team during the team’s undefeated run to the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship and has remained with Bob Bradley’s side during the ongoing Copa America competition. Wizards captain and center back Jimmy Conrad joined Johnson on the Copa squad and missed Sunday’s 1-1 tie with Toronto FC. The duo will not return until Kansas City hosts Real Salt Lake July 14.

United will be without the services of forward Jaime Moreno (Bolivia), defender Bobby Boswell (USA) and midfielder Bed Olsen (USA). All three D.C. veterans joined their respective national teams for the Copa America competition. Moreno has scored one goal thus far for Bolivia through two matches (0-1-1). Olsen played solidly in a defensive midfield role for the first 60 minutes before being substituted in the Argentina game. Boswell has yet to appear for the Red, White and Blue. 

Kansas City will look to capitalize on its explosive, chance-generating attack Wednesday. Sunday against Toronto, the Wizards took 25 shots but were only able to score one goal through midfielders Carlos Marinelli and Michael Harrington. Harrington played outstandingly in his MLS debut April 14 at United. He scored the first goal of the match three minutes into the game to begin his MLS career with a bang.

D.C. will field a significantly different lineup than the one Kansas City saw on that rainy April evening. With Olsen, Boswell and Moreno unavailable and the trade of right back Facundo Erpen to Colorado, United could field as many as five different starters than began the season nearly two months ago. 

Kansas City will look to turn their league-high shot total into more goals Wednesday. The Wizards have outshot their opponents 199-137 this season; their 62-shot margin is by far the highest in the league. One way to turn opportunities into goals is to get the ball to Argentinean playmaker Carlos Marinelli. Kansas City’s number 10 collected his 4th assist of the season Sunday against Toronto and played the full 90 minutes for the first time since joining the Wizards. If he is able to continue playing whole matches, the other 12 MLS squads will have a tough time corralling the Kansas City offense as he sprays the ball around the field and puts teammates into threatening positions.

Look for the Wizards to possibly alter their lineup due to the rigorous MLS schedule and mid-day heat of playing a noon game in July. The Wizards have also experienced some recent minor injuries as have most teams at this juncture of the season.

The Wizards are in the midst of a three-game in six-day stretch that concludes with a road trip to Los Angeles Saturday. Kansas City travels to play a Galaxy squad at 9:30 p.m. CT on Metro Sports in one of the last matches before the arrival of international superstar David Beckham scheduled for July 13.