KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It might have been a disappointing rematch of MLS Cup 2004, but the Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United both righted some recent defensive woes as the teams played to a scoreless draw on Saturday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.
United entered the match having not won in their last three league games while the Wizards came in having leaked seven goals in their three games on the campaign, but both defenses held in a highly tactical stalemate.
Chances were few and far between on the day, but the best of them belonged to the visitors, who tested Kansas City goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi on a number of occasions as he recorded his first shutout of the season.
D.C. United held a slight possession advantage in the first half, but both sides lacked cohesiveness in connecting the midfield to the frontrunners.
When Kansas City tried to build from midfield, the compact and organized D.C. back line kept the options few. The best attacking options fell to Wizards right back Alex Zotinca who twice shot from distance, each angled attempt nearly grazing the far post of Nick Rimando's goal.
In the 31st minute the flowing D.C. attack finally showed itself as United created a chance that should have gotten them the lead. Jaime Moreno glided down the left side of the penalty area and slid the ball to Josh Gros on his left, and he whipped in a cross that found Christian Gomez standing all alone at the spot. After controlling the ball he sent a shot goalward that flew over the prone Oshoniyi - only for it to be headed off the line by center back Jimmy Conrad.
The ensuing corner kick saw Gomez work free for a glancing header back toward the far post that forced Oshoniyi airborne to make another acrobatic save.
With the match yearning for a difference maker, Wizards boss Bob Gansler pushed Davy Arnaud up top to begin the second half as Jack Jewsbury took over at left midfield, Scott Sealy coming off in the substitution.
The move seemed to pay immediate dividends as the Wizards played off one another vibrantly in and around the D.C. penalty area, though ultimately lacking an effective and creative touch in the final third.
The Arrowhead crowd rose to their feet in the 67th minute however, thinking the Wizards had found a way to break through when back Nick Garcia sent a long ball down the right flank and over the United defenders to an onside Wolff. The Wizards striker sped onto the ball but United 'keeper Rimando had no problem scooping up the rolling shot hit directly into his path.
Oshoniyi saved the match as the match finally burst to life over the final 10 minutes. Gros fired an angled shot that the veteran Wizards 'keeper dealt with easily in the 82nd minute, then center back Bobby Boswell forced Oshoniyi into another leaping save when he tried to head home a free kick from a tight angle sent into the back post.
Then substitute Freddy Adu - a 77th-minute addition for Gomez - nearly grabbed the match-winner in stoppage time. Gros snuck through on the left and cut a pass back for Adu in the heart of the area, but his shot was parried at point-blank range by Oshoniyi.
Adu was first to the rebound and seemed to be tripped up as he tried to wriggle free for a second chance, but referee Brian Hall ruled he exaggerated the foul and booked the youngster in the final action before the teams settled for a point each.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Bo Oshoniyi (Kansas City Wizards)
Robert Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
D.C. United (1-2-2) vs. Kansas City Wizards (1-1-2)
April 30, 2005 -- Arrowhead Stadium
Scoring Summary: NONE
D.C. United -- Nick Rimando, Brandon Prideaux, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke, Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Christian Gomez (Freddy Adu 77), Ben Olsen, Clyde Simms, Santino Quaranta (Jason Thompson 89), Jaime Moreno (Jamil Walker 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Kenny Arena, Troy Perkins.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (Christian Gomez 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Christian Gomez 3); FOULS: 12 (Jaime Moreno 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Ben Olsen 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Christian Gomez 5); SAVES: 1 (Nick Rimando 1)
Kansas City Wizards -- Bo Oshoniyi, Alex Zotinca (Diego Walsh 74), Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr., Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin, Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff, Scott Sealy (Jack Jewsbury 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Dustin Branan, Will Hesmer, Ryan Pore, Preki, Brian Roberts, Khari Stephenson, Shavar Thomas.
TOTAL SHOTS: 4 (4 tied with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Josh Wolff 1); FOULS: 11 (Jimmy Conrad 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Davy Arnaud 2); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Chris Klein 1); SAVES: 6 (Bo Oshoniyi 5)
KC -- Jose Burciaga Jr. (caution; Professional Foul) 83
DC -- Freddy Adu (caution; Diving, Exaggeration) 92+
Referee: Brian Hall
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Richard Eddy
4th Official: Roni Canales
Time of Game: 1:51
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial