Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wizards Leave it Late

A fantastic ending to a back and forth game out at Community America Ballpark last night, as the Wizards got a goal late in stoppage time from Herculez Gomez to put the Wizards back into 7th place in the playoff race. KC now has to match New York's result next week, or hope that DC United does not get a win on Sunday next week.

Before the game, the Wizards and the Cauldron honored Kerry Zavagnin, who was playing his last home regular season game, as he retires at the end of the season. To see what the team and the Cauldron did, see this post from Hillcrest Road for pictures. The Wizards came out hard and attacked from the get go, and were rewarded with an early goal from Claudio Lopez, who made his return to the starting lineup. Lopez got his toe on a cross by Abe Thompson and directed it past Joe Cannon into the Earthquakes net. Only two minutes after the opener, though, San Jose was level, as former Wizard, Scott Sealy knocked the ball home after a poorly cleared corner. KC continued to pressure, though, and before the game was even a half hour old, Davy Arnaud had restored the lead after receiving a cutting ball from Jack Jewsbury.

The Wizards continued to pressure, but took the 2-1 lead into the half time break. Over the course of the second half, Kansas City continued to pressure, but San Jose was able to build up the pressure as well. In the 71st minute, San Jose was back level after a mad scramble in front of goal that eventually saw Shea Salinas score his first professional goal to level the game. After that point, KC continued to pressure but were denied either by San Jose's defense, or Joe Cannon in net.

Into stoppage time it went, and after hearing that New York had beaten Columbus, I was dreading the final whistle, but in the 3rd minute of stoppage time, a Claudio Lopez corner bounced into the box, where it was met by Herculez Gomez, who was able to get a foot on the ball and direct it into the net to give the Wizards the winner. Not a bad way to get your first goal in a Wizards uniform. Watch the goal and see the joy on everyone affliated with KC on that goal, from the players, to the fans, to even the excitement shown by Coach Onalfo when that ball went into the net. An absolute fantastic ending to the game.

The end of the game was followed by fireworks, and afterwards a presentation by the Cauldron to former Wizard Nick Garcia for his years of service to the club.

Wizards Man of the Match - Claudio Lopez - Had a hand in all 3 of the Wizards goals last night with a goal and 2 assists. He came on ready to play tonight and showed glimpses of the Lopez all Wizards' fans were hoping to see all season from him.

Honorable Mention - Herculez Gomez, Davy Arnaud

No comments: