Union-Wizards Preview

Published Jun. 11, 2010 1:05 a.m. ET

The Kansas City Wizards failed to take advantage of a good chance to end a seven-game winless streak their last time out. They'll get a similar opportunity in their next match.

Facing one of two teams with fewer points than them, the Wizards try for their first victory in nine games when they host the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night.

Kansas City (2-3-5) and Philadelphia (2-1-6) are mired in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are two points ahead of the Union, who are tied with D.C. for the worst record in MLS.

Kansas City has not won since beating Colorado 1-0 on April 10. The Wizards are coming off a scoreless draw with Toronto on Saturday, failing to find the back of the net despite playing with a man advantage for the final 63 minutes.

Kansas City, missing captain Davy Arnaud due to yellow card accumulation, finished with four shots on goal to Toronto's three.

The Wizards tried to focus on the positives as they held one of the conference's highest-scoring teams without a goal. Jimmy Nielsen recorded his fourth shutout and has given his team a chance all season, allowing 13 goals in 10 games.

"There are a lot of teams in this league whose record does not show how they've performed up to this point," coach Peter Vermes told the Wizards' official website. "Sometimes people get results and sometimes they don't. You have to be definitive in the way you are doing things and build towards it."


Kansas City will try to provide Nielsen with more help when it faces Philadelphia (2-1-6) in the teams' final game before the World Cup break.

On Saturday, the Union failed to build on a win in their previous game, losing 2-1 at Chicago. Danny Mwanga scored in stoppage time for the third straight match, but that only cut the Fire's lead to one goal.

Mwanga has been one of the few positives in a difficult inaugural season for Philadelphia. The club's struggles may be due in part to seven of its first nine games being on the road, and the Union play 13 of 21 at home after the break.

"I think we need to continue to do what we have been doing," defender Danny Califf said. "I think we need to continue to believe in the system the coaching staff has set out. Things will turn around. I'm confident in that."