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Wizards Advance to Open Cup Semifinals with 2-0 Shutout Over Milwaukee Rampage


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Saturday, August 24, 2002) - The Kansas City Wizards scored two goals in the first 21 minute to shutout the Milwaukee Rampage 2-0 in the Quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup on Saturday night. Eric Quill opened the scoring just 46 seconds into the match and Preki added the second goal of the night in the 21st minute. Goalkeeper Taly Goode, making his first appearance in a Wizards uniform, needed just one save to earn the shutout and lead the Wizards into the Semifinals of the 2002 U.S. Open Cup. The Wizards will now face the Columbus Crew in Columbus on Tuesday, September 10th. The match will kickoff at 8:00 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Espanol.

Milwaukee won the opening toss and kicked off the first half, but from that point on, the Wizards took over and controlled every facet of the game from ball possession to the final score. In the opening minute, Kansas City midfielder Chris Klein stole the ball from Rampage midfielder Sinisa Angelovski and made a run down the right flank. Klein sent a perfect cross to Eric Quill, who was alone on the left side of the box. Quill one-timed a left-footed shot and placed the ball perfectly inside the near post and out of the reach of Milwaukee goalkeeper Dan Popik to give the Wizards a 1-0 lead just 46 seconds into the quarterfinal match. The goal snapped the Rampage's 430-minute shutout streak in Open Cup play.

The early goal for the Wizards set the tempo for the remainder of the match as Kansas City continued to pressure the Rampage end of the field and controlled the flanks on both sides. The Wizards strung together short, crisp passes and kept the possession in the Rampage end for much of the opening half. When the Rampage was able to penetrate the Wizards back line, the team quickly reacted and were able to force Milwaukee to turn the ball over.

In the 17th minute, Preki made his trademark step over move to shake off Milwaukee defender Jeremy Aldrich and chip a ball past the goalkeeper to the far right corner of the crossbar. Preki's shot looked as if it would find the upper corner, but instead banged off the crossbar and back into play. Four minutes later, Preki tried the exact same shot from 20-yards out, this time the ball slipped under the crossbar and into the back of the net giving the Wizards a 2-0 advantage just 21 minutes into the match.

With a two-goal lead, the Wizards continued to defend well and maintain the edge while finding space to attack the Milwaukee end. For the remainder of the first half, the Wizards used short passes to keep Milwaukee moving and didn't force anything into the box. Kansas City kept control and maintained the two-goal advantage going into the half.

The second half was much of the same for the Wizards, constant pressure in the Rampage end and not allowing Milwaukee to create any chances. The Wizards offense used pinpoint passes to cause fits for the Milwaukee players. On the defensive end, Kansas City closed off nearly every opportunity before the Rampage could create any plays.

The best opportunity for Milwaukee came in the 74th minute when a Rampage sent a corner kick into the box where defender Jeremy Aldrich was positioned. Aldrich rose up and sent a header towards the far post, but the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and down to the ground. The Wizards were able to easily clear the play and end the Rampage's best chance of the night.

Milwaukee picked up the pace in the closing minutes, but the Wizards defense followed step by step and didn't allow another Rampage chance for the remainder of the game.

The Wizards were without a couple of players attended to personal matters on Saturday. Midfielder Francisco Gomez remained in California following the Wizards Wednesday match in Los Angeles for his wedding. Goalkeeper Tony Meola left Milwaukee late Friday night and returned to Kansas City to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple's third child, a boy named Aidan Jack.

Prior to the match, Wizards Head Coach was inducted into the Milwaukee Rampage Hall of Fame. Gansler, a native of Milwaukee, coached the Rampage from 1996 to 1998 and led them to an A-League Championship in 1997. Gansler has also coached the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Bavarian Soccer Club in Milwaukee.

Source: http://www.kcwizards.com/

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