April 27, 2007 MLS Toronto FC vs Kansas City Wizards pregame (from MLSnet.com)

04/27/2007 12:15AM
Repeat performance the goal for K.C.
By Bob Rusert

KANSAS CITY -- It's difficult to defeat a good team twice, let alone back-to-back. But in Major League Soccer, where 13 teams play each other multiple times in a 30-game season, the necessity of a victory in such a situation is a fact of life.

So for the Kansas City Wizards, taking on Toronto FC only three days after defeating them 3-0 at Arrowhead Stadium, the challenge before them is a simple one: a replay of Wednesday's performance.

"For good stretches of the game, we played some pretty nice soccer. But the thing I was most happy with was we did all the little things right. We defended well as a group. I thought our shape was very good, and it gave us an opportunity to do well," said Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo after the game.

Giving themselves a chance could turn into Onalfo's mantra. With the firepower the Wizards are developing through a growing variety of attacking options, a defense manned solidly through the middle and two-way players out wide, doing "the little things right" and having a game plan that fits the situation should keep them in any match.

"We talked about trying to get an early goal, because we felt like they were going to be a team that drops off. We were able to do that," Onalfo said. "Once again the guys implemented the game plan perfectly."

Eddie Johnson found net in the fifth minute on a right wing cross from Sasha Victorine to get the plan rolling. And even though the Wizards had most of the ball, they couldn't add to their lead. But they eventually broke through, and second-half strikes by midfielder Kerry Zavagnin and substitute Yura Movsisyan finished the job.

But Toronto FC won't drop off Saturday, not in front of an expected sellout crowd in their home opener at brand new BMO Field. No wins and no goals as of yet for the expansion club aside, a revved up attack will likely try to take advantage of possible Kansas City fatigue brought on by playing their fifth game in all competitions in 15 days.

"We know it's going to be a much different challenge up there," said Onalfo. "I believe Toronto is a very good team. They're going to be a team in front of a sold-out home crowd, and it's going to be another battle. Every game in MLS is a dogfight. If all 11 players are not ready to play, and the other players are bringing the game, it's going to be a long night."

Another early goal, like the Wizards also hit for against D.C. United when playing as guests at their home opener, is a preferred part of the game plan.

"Like any team, when you lose early in the season and you get scored on, it affects your confidence," Onalfo said.

The Wizards will be confident going in knowing they have the tools to pull out a victory, even with some injury concerns. Forward Scott Sealy will likely be out again due to a troublesome ankle and Victorine, who came out in the 54th minute as a precaution for a strained hamstring that has been a bother for two games now, is questionable.

"I'm hoping to be healthy and ready to go on Saturday, so we'll see," he said following the game.

The Wizards will also be confident knowing they have a plan.

"It's pretty much the same," said center back Nick Garcia. "We want to play them hard. For us, it's about playing entertaining, effective soccer. What that means is having possession of the ball, trying to get on the scoreboard first and making the most of our opportunities."

Bob Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

back to Toronto FC menu