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Wizards' Real win build confidence ahead of D.C. clash
by Ridge Mahoney, March 25th, 2008 6:45AM

TAGS:  mls


[MLS COUNTDOWN] Last year, Kansas City pounded D.C. United, 4-2, to start a season that eventually produced the Wizards first postseason appearance in three years. The Wizards will open against D.C. again when the 2008 season kicks off this weekend, and tuned up for their repeat performance by beating Real Salt Lake, 1-0, Saturday at the Saturn Cup in Norman, Okla.

Defender and captain Jimmy Conrad, playing in a revamped back line following the offseason departures of longtime teammates Nick Garcia and Jose Burciaga Jr., scored the only goal with a header on a Carlos Marinelli free kick.

Tyson Wahl, Aaron Holbein, Jack Jewsbury and Michael Harrington have all seen extensive time in the back line during the preseason, during which Kansas City completed with a 7-3-4 record. Rookie Chance Myers has been used mostly in midfield.

"We are aware of what D.C. United brings to the table," said Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. "We saw them beat Harbor View pretty badly in the Concacaf Champions' Cup, so we know they have a very potent attack.

"But, we are confident that we can play good soccer. We played great competition in the preseason, and it was good to end with a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake."
Kansas City won last year's meeting at RFK Stadium and Conrad hopes a temporary move to the CommunityAmerica Ballpark, a minor league baseball facility that can accommodate about 10,000 fans, can generate an intimidating atmosphere.

"It'll be a lot different than playing at Arrowhead Stadium," he says. "Our fans can be pretty loud, and it would be great if we could turn that place into our own little fortress."

Toronto comes off nightmare weekend

Building depth is one of Toronto FC's tenets for its second MLS season but based on results and the comments of Coach John Carver at the Carolina Challenge Cup just having enough bodies doesn't mean you have a deep squad.

With several players on duty at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers and midfielder Carl Robinson in Britain tending to personal matters, TFC failed to win a game in South Carolina and ended its stint with a 2-0 loss to the host Charleston Battery Saturday.

A Jeff Cunningham goal was waved off for offside, but Cunningham did net Wednesday in a 1-1 tie with Red Bull New York. Toronto lost to San Jose, 1-0, in its CCC opener that was cut short in the 77th minute because of lightning.

Carver tore into his players after the loss to Charleston and bemoaned the absences of Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne, who were playing for the U.S. U-23s.

Andrea Lombardo, Tyler Hemming and Tyler Rosenlund were on duty for Canada, so Carver didn't have many options.

The signing of right back Marco Velez was announced last week and he played the full 90 minutes against Charleston and the Red Bulls.

He'll add depth behind Wynne and also gives Carver the option of pushing Wynne into midfield, as Mo Johnston - head coach last year and manager this season -- did at times in 2007.

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