KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Needing a win to keep their MLS Cup Playoffs chance alive, D.C. United allowed a Claudio Lopez penalty kick in second-half stoppage time to force a 2-2 draw in front of 10,385 fans at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
With the result, D.C. United finished the regular season on 40 points (9-8-13) and their playoff chances depend on other playoff-vying teams to also tie [update: Seattle's 2-1 win over Dallas officially eliminated United from the playoffs]. Kansas City finished its season 8-13-9 (33 points).
Lopez's goal, which came after a red card was given to United's Fred for a handball on the line off an attempt by Roger Espinoza from a goalmouth scramble following a corner kick, capped off a wild finish.
After a penalty kick scored by Jaime Moreno in the 67th minute erased a 1-0 Wizards lead, D.C.'s Julius James sent an unassisted header past Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman 15 minutes later to break the tie and appear to put United in the driver's seat.
Moreno's kick came after a foul called on Wizards defender Matt Marquess in the 65th minute as he battled D.C.'s Fred inside the box. Fred appeared to initiate contact between the players, backing into Marquess before going to the ground. Referee Ricardo Salazar issued a yellow card to Marquess for a tactical foul.
James' goal came in the 82nd minute as a Wizards defender tried to clear a free kick in front of the net, but instead sent a header to Hartman, who punched the ball away -- straight to James, who finished off the attempt.
The Wizards' Kei Kamara opened scoring as he sent home a flying header in the 30th minute on a free kick from rookie Graham Zusi. It was Kamara's first goal since joining Kansas City and Zusi's first assist of his career.
The Wizards began the game with Kamara in an unusual wide midfield role and Zoltan alongside Josh Wolff up top. They were among several wholesale changes to the starting 11 for Kansas City, which also saw Matt Marquess make his first start and appearance of the season on the backline alongside Aaron Hohlbein, who filled in one of the center back positions for captain Jimmy Conrad, who tweaked a hamstring and did not dress although he was officially listed as a substitute.
United nearly scored first in the 22nd minute as midfielder Christian Gomez outdueled multiple Wizards defenders, breaking from a pack just inside the box with a clean shot on goal. His attempt, however, was not as clean, sailing wide to Hartman's left.
A few minutes later, Wizards midfielder Davy Arnaud challenged hard with a slide into D.C. defender Julius James, taking out his legs. The encounter led to a brief shouting and pushing match, resulting in a yellow card for Zoltan for dissent.
After Jones nearly made up for Arnaud's foul with header attempt off the post in the 27th minute, Kamara answered shortly after with his full-extension dive. The goal was the first allowed by D.C. 'keeper Steve Cronin, who made his second start of the season for the club after being picked up on loan prior to last week's game.
Kamara nearly scored a second header in the 35th minute, this time off a corner kick. Claudio Lopez sent a crisp cross to the far side of the six-yard box, opening the door for Kamara, whose attempt bounced high off the turf and over the net.
Kamara's two attempts led Kansas City's three attempts in the first half, the other a wide right shot from defender Jack Jewsbury in the 21st minute.
In the second half, a tremendous save by Hartman in the 51st minute thwarted what wound up being the best scoring chance of the last 45 minutes for D.C.
After Moreno's attempt was deflected, substitute Ben Olsen (inserted at halftime for Danny Szetela) took aim at the right half of Kansas City's goal. Only a full-extension dive from Hartman, and deflection off his outstretched hand, prevented the visitors from evening the game at that time.
Lopez nearly broke the tie in the 80th minute, sending a rocket from 22 yards away across the field from left to right. Cronin just caught a piece of the ball, deflecting it into the crowd.
Curtis Kitchen is a contributor to MLSnet.com
D.C. United (9-8-13) vs. Kansas City Wizards (8-13-9)
October 24, 2009 -- CommunityAmerica Ballpark
KC -- Kei Kamara 6 (Graham Zusi 1) 30
DC -- Jaime Moreno 9 (penalty kick) 67
DC -- Julius James 1 (unassisted) 82
KC -- Claudio Lopez 7 (penalty kick) 92+
D.C. United -- Steve Cronin, Julius James, Marc Burch, Dejan Jakovic, Rodney Wallace, Fred, Christian Gomez (Jaime Moreno 40), Clyde Simms, Danny Szetela (Ben Olsen 46), Chris Pontius, Luciano Emilio (Thabiso Khumalo 59).
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Jacobson, Avery John, Milos Kocic, Lawson Vaughn
Kansas City Wizards -- Kevin Hartman, Jack Jewsbury, Matt Besler, Aaron Hohlbein, Matt Marquess (Roger Espinoza 85), Davy Arnaud, Graham Zusi, Claudio Lopez, Kei Kamara, Zoltan Hercegfalvi (Herculez Gomez 46), Josh Wolff.
Substitutes Not Used: Jimmy Conrad, Rauwshan McKenzie, Kurt Morsink, Boris Pardo
|Kansas City Wizards||D.C. United|
|total shots:||12||(Kei Kamara 4)||14||(Jaime Moreno 3)|
|shots on goal:||5||(Claudio Lopez 3)||6||(5 tied with 1)|
|fouls:||9||(Davy Arnaud 4)||9||(3 tied with 2)|
|offsides:||2||(Josh Wolff 2)||1||(Christian Gomez 1)|
|corner kicks:||6||(Claudio Lopez 6)||7||(Jaime Moreno 4)|
|saves:||4||(Kevin Hartman 4)||3||(Steve Cronin 3)|
KC -- Zoltan Hercegfalvi (caution; Dissent) 25
KC -- Matt Marquess (caution; Tactical Foul) 65
DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 73
DC -- Fred (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Handball)) 92+
referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Anthony Vasoli
4th official: Jeff Gontarek
time of game: 2:01
weather: Cloudy -and- 57 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial