By: Shane Tasker
Davy Arnaud helped the Kansas City Wizards to a draw against the \Philadelphia Union on Saturday with a spectacular direct free kick from about 30 yards out on the left side. Arnaud sent the ball sailing over Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz and curving into the upper far corner of the net. The unassisted goal tied the game at 1-1 in the
Until that moment, it had looked like a bust for Kansas City. Well into the second half of the game at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., the Wizards trailed the Union 0-1.
Kansas City started strong. In the 9th minute, Arnaud’s 1st shot on goal was saved by Seitz, his 1st save of the game. Two minutes later, Roger Espinoza’s shot on goal went high. The Wizards would not threaten again for 24 minutes.
Philadelphia pushed back with a shot by Danny Mwanga (17th minute), which went high, and two shots on goal–by Stefani Miglioranzi (26th minute) and by Sebastien Le Toux (27th minute)–both of which were saved by goalkeeper Jimmy Neilson.
The Union, outshooting the Wizards, largely controlled play until Arnaud’s 69th-minute equalizer.
In the 33rd minute, Le Toux smashed the ball past Neilson from inside the 6-yard box, scoring the first goal of the game. He was assisted by Mwanga, who had made a nice run down the left side.
After a 35th-minute shot on goal by Kansas City’s Shavar Thomas, which was saved by Seitz, Philadelphia made four separate attempts to widen their lead: a shot by Le Toux in the 43rd minute (deflected), a shot on goal by Justin Mapp in the 53rd minute (saved by Nielson), a shot by Roger Torres in the 54th minute (high), and a shot on goal by Mwanga in the 54th minute (saved by Nielson).
Kansas City pushed back with a shot by middle Ryan Smith in the 55th minute (high) and a shot on goal by Birahim Diop in the 59th minute (a header, saved by Seitz).
Espinoza received a yellow card for a reckless foul on Le Toux in the 64th minute.
In the 65th and 68th minutes, the Union and Wizards both missed shots: Le Toux’s–on goal–was saved by Neilson; Espinoza’s went high.
The Wizards were dispirited. They were playing before a Union crowd of 17,182, and they had been unable to score. The only thing going for them was that the Union had been unable to capitalize on their first-goal advantage.
Then, in the 69th minute of the match, everything changed with Arnaud’s spirit-lifting equalizer. The Wizards went on the offensive, controlling play for the rest of the game and outshooting the Union 4-1.
After suffering a reckless foul in the 71st minute from Michael Orozco Fiscal, who drew a yellow card, Smith sent the ball wide left in the 73rd minute.
A 76th-minute shot on goal by Teal Bunbury, his first of the game, was saved by Seitz. Bunbury started for Kansas City’s leading scorer Kei Kamara, who was away playing a national game for Sierra Leone.
A shot by Jonathan Leathers, also his first of the game, went high in the 85th minute. Leathers had subbed in for Thomas, who strained his hamstring after 65 minutes of play.
In the 91st minute, a second shot by Bunbury also went high.
During that time, Philadelphia managed just one attempt to score; but Mwanga’s 78th-minute shot went wide left.
In the end, Kansas City were unable to funnel that late-game surge into a win.
Playing for a berth in the playoffs, Kansas City moved within two points of San Jose, who currently hold the eighth playoff spot.
The Wizards next play Chivas USA on Sept. 19.