KC Fights Back to Draw Chicago

Posted on 17 May 2010 by Nate Brinson

Kamara Double Rescues Wizards

Never has a wide open sitter caused so much consternation for so many. With the home side Kansas City Wizards trailing 2-1 in the 89th minute, Chicago Fire goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra failed to control Teal Bunbury’s tight angle shot, and Kei Kamara found himself all alone in front of a gaping goal.

Less than a month ago in similar circumstances, the Wizards striker garnered worldwide attention when he slipped, missed the ball, and handled on his way to the ground. This time, Kamara remained on his feet and easily tapped it in to complete a two goal, second-half comeback for the Wizards.

“This time I was wearing blue shoes,” joked Kamara after the match. “It’s kind of a blessing to have kind of a do-over less than a month apart.”

“I hope this gets as much attention as the other goal he missed, and people will say that ‘look, the guy came back and made it in the same situation,'” added head coach Peter Vermes.

The tap in was a great relief not only to Kamara, but to his teammates, coaches and fans after nearly 90 minutes of near misses and bad luck for the home side.

Both the Wizards and the Fire entered the game coming off bad losses in their previous games, and it was the visitors who had the better start. Collins John was denied a penalty in the 12th minute, but two minutes later when Logan Pause played in Marco Pappa as defender Pablo Escobar failed to step up with the rest of his teammates. Pappa found Julio Martinez at the far post, and the Salvadoran beat both Roger Espinoza and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to the ball to give the Fire the lead.

Kansas City seemed destined to draw level in the 26th minute when Dykstra fumbled a Ryan Smith corner kick. Escobar’s shot was cleared off the line by Pappa. Escobar tapped the rebound to Jimmy Conrad, but his shot was blocked. The ball came to Jack Jewsbury, but his shot was also blocked before Dykstra made a key save on Jewsbury’s rebound attempt before John finally cleared the danger.

The Wizards thought they had an equalizer before halftime when Davy Arnaud’s shot from 25 yards out beat Dykstra, but referee Michael Kennedy disallowed the goal as he had just blown the play dead to tend to injured Fire forward Wilman Conde. Arnaud and his teammate’s were furious with the decision as Conde had been on the ground for some time, but Kennedy waved away the protests.

“It was definitely frustrating,” said Arnaud. “It would have come at a good time for us.”

The frustration grew less than three minutes after the opening of the second half. Patrick Nyarko found space on the right wing and slipped a clever pass into substitute Brian McBride. The veteran striker made no mistake as his first time shot beat Nielsen to the far post to give the visitors a two goal lead.

However, instead of sulking over a two goal deficit as well as the dreadful conditions, the home side gained a vital lifeline two minutes later as Smith cut inside and played a pass to Kamara. Kamara turned away from CJ Brown and beat Dykstra from just outside the area to cut Chicago’s lead in half.

Smith then had two chances to equalizein the next 20 minutes only to be denied by Dykstra. Just after the hour mark, he out-foxed both Nyarko and Baggio Husidic, but Dykstra turned Smith’s right-footed shot around the post. In the 71st minute, Jimmy Conrad played an excellent ball through to Smith, but the Englishman’s half-volley was stopped by the Fire’s rookie goalkeeper.

The Wizards found their moment in the 89th minute when Bunbury turned away from Husidic and drove past Krzysztof Krol towards the byline before firing a shot. The ball slipped under Dykstra, and Kamara delicately placed in the equalizer for his second of the game.

Kansas City did not seem content with a two goal comeback and in stoppage time, the home side came close to getting a winner. Jewsbury forced a turnover just outside the Chicago penalty area, but Josh Wolff’s turnaround half-volley just missed finding the top corner.

It was a terrific comeback, but the Wizards were also disappointed in only getting a draw. Kansas City let in to soft goals in their 2-1 loss to DC United last Thursday, and Vermes was upset with his defense again against the Fire.

“We gave up two soft goals. I can tell you right now that will not become a theme,” said a frustrated Vermes. “We have to be able to keep the ball out of the back of the net.”

“We got to get better about the mistakes in the back as a team,” added Espinoza, who played his last match with the Wizards before joining the Honduran national team for their World Cup preparations.

Still, Kansas City can take satisfaction at being able to storm back after trailing by two goals, and perhaps the club has figured a way to end their goal scoring problems.

“One of the things we wanted to see with this team was how we would react when we went down by a couple of goals,” said Vermes. “Obviously, the resiliency of the group to get back in the game was excellent.”

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