Dynamo-Wizards Preview

The Kansas City Wizards seem to be peaking at the right time

heading into a crucial set of home games this week.

The Wizards continue a busy stretch Wednesday night when they

try to end a nine-game winless streak against the Houston Dynamo,

whose angry coach has already admitted that his team’s season is

over.

Kansas City (8-9-6) has three wins and a draw in its last four

matches, outscoring opponents 9-2 in that span. The Wizards are in

sixth place in the race for the four non-automatic playoff spots,

but have two games in hand on fifth-place Toronto and third-place

San Jose.

“We can hope that everyone else does our job for us, but at the

end of the day, we have to go and get results,” coach Peter Vermes

said. “If you make the playoffs and then cannot play after that,

you get knocked out in the first round.”

Vermes’ club began a difficult week in which it plays three

times in a seven-day span with a 2-0 win at Chivas USA on Sunday.

The Wizards shook off a sluggish first half in which they failed to

muster a shot on goal as former Dynamo forward Kei Kamara and Teal

Bunbury each scored after the break.

“We have eight games left in the season, and we know what we

have to do if we want to make it to the playoffs,” said Kamara,

whose club hosts FC Dallas on Saturday.

Kansas City is 0-6-3 in its last nine meetings with Houston, but

the Dynamo will come to town in disarray.

Houston (6-13-5) is 0-7-1 in its last eight road games, getting

outscored 9-0 in the last four. The Dynamo, who have a Western

Conference-low 23 points, have lost three straight overall after a

2-1 home loss to Toronto FC on Saturday.

“The season’s over,” coach Dominic Kinnear said. “The way we’re

playing, we are not going to do it. It’s sad to say it, but it is a

reality.”

The Dynamo have yielded 40 goals – fewer than only New England

(41), and their defensive woes were exposed again in a second-half

collapse.

“What’s our record? 6-13-5 – there you go,” Kinnear said. “It

says it all. I think we’re the second- or the worst-defending team

in the league. I think that says the story of where we are at.”

Kinnear’s club looks nothing at all like the team that handed

Kansas City a 3-0 defeat May 1. The lopsided win was surprising

since leading scorer Brian Ching (seven goals) was out with a

hamstring injury for the Dynamo.

Ching scored Saturday to give Houston a first-half lead before

its attack fizzled after the break.

“The way we’re playing, conceding goals at this stage in the

season, it’s pretty clear for us to win six in a row is probably

mission impossible,” goalkeeper Pat Onstad said.