New-look Wizards take perfect record to Miami.
KANSAS CITY, Mo, (Tuesday, April 4, 2000) -- What a difference a few months and 10 new players makes.
Following an 8-24 season in 1999, the Kansas City Wizards are now 2-0, the only Major League Soccer team without a tie or a loss. Expectations certainly weren’t high for the Wizards after the club managed only 33 goals in the 32-match 1999 season, finishing just one game better than the MetroStars for the league’s worst record.
Two games into this season, Kansas City has seven goals (a league-high 3.5 per match). After two straight seasons where K.C. finished next-to-last in MLS in scoring, suddenly there were reminders of the Wizards of the first two MLS s easons who were third in goals scored in 1996 and second in 1997.
Kansas City heads to Miami Saturday's night to play the Fusion (1-0-2) after starting the season with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Fire and a 3-0 whitewash of Colorado.
Coach Bob Gansler took over last season and he has reshaped the Wizards offense. While other MLS clubs have received notoriety for their three-pronged attacks, Kansas City's scoring trio of Preki, Mo Johnston and newcomer Miklos Molnar has accounted for four of the club's seven goals.
Molnar, a striker, might have the most impact of any new international player in MLS this season. After scoring seven goals during the club's preseason schedule, Molnar has carried his one-goal-per-game average over to the regular season. Nicknamed "Danish Dynamite," Molnar's strength is finishing in the penalty area.
Six of Molnar's seven shots have been on goal this year, and the team is on target with 50 percent of its shots (19 of 38).
Kansas City has midfielders and defenders who can score. Defender\midfielder Chris Klein has stepped up his game since the arrival of Gansler last year. Klein did not register a single point until Gansler arrived in the eighth game last season -- a span of 22 games -- but has scored eight goals and has six assists for 22 points in the 27 games he has appeared in under Gansler. In addition to Klein, midfielder Chris Henderson (one goal in 2000), and defenders Peter Vermes, once a forward with the United States national team, and Matt McKeon, a high-scoring forward during his college career at Saint Louis, are all offensive-minded players who add punch.
After an injury-plagued 1999 season that saw him play in just nine games, goalkeeper Tony Meola is in top form. The U.S. keeper is regarded by many as MLS's top netminder during the league's history.
After playing its first two games at home, Kansas City will play its first road game Saturday and will face the league's stingiest defense in the early-going. The Fusion has permitted two goals in three outings.
The Wizards are 4-28 during the last two years away from Arrowhead Stadium and Miami is in the midst of a six-game home unbeaten streak.
Even after recording a 21-11 record, the league’s best in 1997, the Wizards have never started a season 3-0.
Kreis joins 50-goals club
DALLAS -- Striker Jason Kreis became the fourth player in MLS history to score 50 goals during the regular season when he was the only player to find net in the Dallas Burn's 1-0 win over Tampa Bay Saturday. Kreis also became the league's all-time leader in game-winning goals with 17, one ahead of Miami's Roy Lassiter.
Kreis joins Lassiter, Tampa Bay's Raul Diaz Arce and former MetroStars and Revolution forward Giovanni Savarese as a member of the 50-goal club. Kansas City's Preki, New England's Eduardo Hurtado, D.C. United's Jaime Moreno and Los Angeles' Cobi Jones could all reach the 50-goal level in the coming weeks.
Chicago to play Mexican club powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Fire will play Mexican club powerhouses Club Deportivo Toluca on May 10 at 8:30 p.m. (ET) and Chivas Ralladas de Guadalajara on July 12 at 8:30 p.m. (CT).
As part of the Nike U.S. Cup 2000, the Fire will host a match featuring the national teams of Mexico and Ireland following the Fire-Kansas City match on June 4 at 3 p.m..
The Fire also announced that FireWorks for Kids Foundation, the Fire's charitable arm, has donated $13,000 in grants to three organizations that impact the Hispanic community: Inner City Games Foundation, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. The grants will be used to help develop educational and athletic programs that benefit children of their communities.
Crew’s Washington, Duhaney docked
COLUMBUS -- Columbus Crew forward Dante Washington and defender Mike Duhaney were each fined by the league for incidents in Saturday’s 2-0 home loss to the Chicago Fire. Duhaney was assessed $500 for serious foul play in the 87th minute and Washington was docked $250 for game misconduct in the 93rd minute.