KC Wizards Host Real Salt Lake to Begin Second Half of MLS Season

Kansas City (6-5-4, 22 pts) vs Real Salt Lake (1-7-6, 9 pts)
Saturday, July 14 – Kansas City, Missouri
Arrowhead Stadium – 7 p.m. CT
TV: Metro Sports with Sean Wheelock and Brian Roberts
Radio: ESPN Radio 97.3, La Gran D 1340 AM
Broadcast Details: Metro Sports
VYVX Conf # 2329836

(July 13, 2007) – In the first game after the halfway point, the Kansas City Wizards welcome the return home of a pair of National Team stars. Defender and captain Jimmy Conrad, who played Saturday at Los Angeles but missed the Wizards last two home matches, and forward Eddie Johnson, who has missed the teams last six games, are set to play for Kansas City after the conclusion of the Copa America competition. The Wizards (6-5-4) host Real Salt Lake (1-7-6) at Arrowhead Stadium at 7 p.m. CT in a game televised on Metro Sports and broadcast on 97.3 ESPN Radio and 1340 La Gran D. According to Head Coach Curt Onalfo, the Wizards are getting back to full strength with the returns of Conrad and Johnson and the increased fitness levels of attacking midfielder Carlos Marinelli and forward Scott Sealy.

RSL, led by new head coach and current MLS all-time scoring champ Jason Kreis, comes into the game as a team looking to attack. With only one win on the season, Real Salt Lake must push forward in an effort to score goals and win games or concede missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Kreis took over as head coach on May 3 after beginning the season as a player and captain of Real. Former head coach John Ellinger has remained on staff as the technical director.

Real Salt Lake’s desire to push the tempo could play right into the Wizards hands as National Team star Eddie Johnson returns. Johnson left the Wizards in grand style, recording hat tricks in back-to-back matches (May 26 at New England and June 2 vs. New York). In his nine games played so far in 2007, Johnson has scored nine goals, recorded three assists and been an integral part of a Wizards attack that leads MLS in goals (26) and assists (25). The Wizards went 0-3-3 during Johnson’s absence and have fallen from 1st place in the Eastern Conference to a tie for 4th. Johnson has scored five of the Wizards six game-winning goals this season and the Wizards are a perfect 5-0-0 when he scores goals.

Johnson, Conrad and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman will be playing the final match prior to the 2007 MLS All-Star game scheduled for Thursday, July 19 at 8 p.m. CT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The game against Scottish power Celtic FC will be broadcast live on ESPN 2 and Telafutura. Johnson and Conrad were chosen as part of the All-Star First XI. The First XI were voted on by fans (25 percent), fellow players (25 percent), coaches/general managers (25 percent) and members of the media (25 percent). First XI status does not guarantee players a position in the starting lineup.

Due to the competitive nature of the All-Star game, New England Revolution and MLS All-Star Head Coach Steve Nicol will choose the starting lineup based on the players and formation he thinks will best suit the squad against Celtic. Nicol was in charge of selecting five of the 18 players for the All-Star roster. He chose Hartman, Kansas City’s first-choice goalkeeper to backup First XI and Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis. Hartman and Reis played together for five seasons in Los Angeles.

Kansas City’s next match comes Sunday, July 22 after the All-Star game at home against the Colorado Rapids. Five of the Wizards next six matches come at Arrowhead Stadium.