Kansas City Wizards Face Houston Dynamo Saturday for Berth in MLS Cup 2007

The Kansas
City Wizards travel to Robertson Stadium Saturday to face defending MLS Cup champion
Houston Dynamo for the chance to compete in MLS Cup 2007. Saturday’s match
(7:30 p.m. CT live on Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espa ol and HDNet) will
mark the third meeting between the teams this season and the first-ever
postseason match-up between the teams.
Kansas City
is 1-2-1 all-time against

but 1-0-1 at Robertson Stadium.

City is appearing in its fourth conference
championship. The Wizards have gone 2-1-0 in previous semifinal appearances,
losing in 1996 and advancing to MLS Cup in 2000 (W CHI 1-0) and 2004 (


Kansas City
advanced to the Conference Championship by defeating Chivas

USA 1-0 on
aggregate through two games. A high-scoring team all season,

Kansas City’s defense has led the team of
late with a current 336-minute scoreless streak. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman set
the new MLS shutout mark with two clean sheets against Chivas. He now has 14
career postseason shutouts (12 with the Los Angeles Galaxy). He also extended
his leads in career postseason wins (22) and saves (147).

defeated FC Dallas 4-2 on
aggregate to advance after trailing 1-0 after leg 1. Dynamo capitalized on a
red card to FCD midfielder Arturo Alvarez early in the second half and scored
two goals to send the series to extra time. In the extra time period, Dynamo
received goals from Brian Ching and Brad Davis to win the game.

organizations have met two times previously in the MLS Cup playoffs when the
Dynamo were the San Jose Earthquakes.
San Jose

Kansas City
on its way to MLS Cup 2003 in the Western Conference finals. Current Dynamo
midfield Brian Mullan scored a goal in the Earthquakes 3-2 overtime victory. In
Kansas City defeated

San Jose in the conference semifinals on its
way to a runner-up finish in MLS Cup 2004. The teams meet again with a berth in
the league championship game on the line.

Both teams
should be near full strength.

will be without midfielder Ricardo Clark due to a nine-game suspension he
received late in the regular season. No other players will be suspended for the
match. Both teams are relatively healthy.

City attacking midfielder Carlos Marinelli is
returning to form after suffering a sprained ankle in the regular-season
finale, and he will be a gameday decision.

match-up will feature goalkeepers who own the two best regular seasons in MLS
history. The Wizards Kevin Hartman set the standard for MLS ‘keepers with a
0.91 goals against average in 1999 while with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Pat
Onstad of

broke Hartman’s record this year, allowing only 22 goals in 2,418 minutes for a
0.82 goals against average. Hartman won goalkeeper of the year for his
performance in 1999. Onstad won the award in 2003 and 2005 when Dynamo were
still the Earthquakes.

The game
will also feature attacking players with international credentials. Strikers Eddie
Johnson of
Kansas City and Brian Ching of

Houston are both regulars
on the U.S. National Team. Both have also won MLS Comeback Player of the Year
honors. Ching won the award in 2004, and Johnson was named Monday as the 2007
comeback player after a season in which he set new career highs in goals (15)
and assists (6) and led MLS with six game-winning goals.

Kansas City
captain Jimmy Conrad played with many
players while the team was in

San Jose.
He was a central figure on the Earthquakes’ 2001 MLS Cup title team before
joining the Wizards in 2003.

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