2009 Third Round: Wizards need penalty kicks to survive extra time thriller with Minnesota Thunder

Posted by | June 30, 2009
National Sports Center – Blaine, Minn. | 8:35 p.m.

Kansas City advances on PKs 4-2
Ricardo Sanchez 41’ (PK), 83’ (PK)
Melvin Tarley 115’
17’ Michael Kraus
19’ Abe Thompson (PK)
105’+ Rauwshan McKenzie
Penalty Kick Summary
Jonathan Greenfield – GOAL       GOAL – Claudio Lopez
Ricardo Sanchez – GOAL       GOAL – Josh Wolff
Jeremiah Bass – SAVED       GOAL – Abe Thompson
Dale Weiler – SAVED       GOAL – Herculez Gomez

The nightcap of the first day of the Third Round turned out to be arguably the most exciting of them all. Six goals, including two in extra time, weren’t enough to settle this battle between the Kansas City Wizards and the Minnesota Thunder, so in penalties, the Wizards emerged triumphant as Boris Pardo made two saves to lead Kansas City to the Quarterfinals.

Kansas City started off the game in fantastic fashion, as Michael Kraus opened the scoring in the 17th minute off a cross from Roger Espinoza. Just two minutes later, Kraus was taken down in the penalty area to give the Wizards a spot kick, which Abe Thompson converts to give KC a two-goal lead.

Minnesota fought their way back into the game with a pair of penalty kicks of their own. First, in the 41st minute, a player was taken down in the box, giving Ricardo Sanchez the opportunity to pull the Thunder within one, which he did. Then, in the 83rd, Kurt Morsink pulled down Melvin Tarley in the box to give the Thunder another kick from the spot. Once again, Sanchez put the ball past Pardo to tie the game at 2-2.

In extra time, just before the end of the first 15-minute session, Rauwshan McKenzie took advantage of a failed keeper clearance off a Claudio Lopez corner kick, using his momentum to put the ball in at the back post and give the Wizards the 3-2 lead. But the Thunder wouldn’t go down easy. Tarley received a long ball past the back line and chipped it over a charging Pardo to tie the game in the 115th minute. As if three penalty kicks weren’t enough, it would take quite a few more to settle the score as 120 minutes decided nothing.

Kansas City and Minnesota each converted their first two penalty kicks, but that’s when the similarities finally ended. Abe Thompson converted the third kick for the Wizards, but Jeremiah Bass places a ball to his left, which is easily saved by Pardo. Herculez Gomez converted the fourth kick for the Wizards, which left it all up to Dale Weiler for the Thunder to stay alive. Weiler kicked the ball on the opposite side, to the right, but once again, Pardo was there to make the stop, which gave the Wizards the win.

Kansas City moves on to the Quarterfinals next week to take on the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer.

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