Crew wraps up Arizona stint with tie

[MLS] Not that preseason records mean anything, but the Crew preserved its unbeaten status by tying Kansas City, 1-1, Thursday in Phoenix. It returns home to face Toluca of Mexico Tuesday in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series.

The Crew has yet to lose against MLS and minor league opposition as it heads back to Columbus following a two-week stint in Arizona, during which it also tied Colorado (1-1) and the Galaxy (0-0), and beat Chivas USA, 4-1.

“The first half we played pretty well and Brian Carroll scored a beautiful goal,” said Coach Robert Warzycha, who gave five of his starters the full 90 minutes and switched the others in the second half. “The ball came out to Brian, he was about 40 or 45 yards out and he just hit it first-time. It was amazing, unbelievable. But overall, am I happy with everything we did today? Absolutely not.”

The ball came to Carroll from a punch by Wizards goalie Eric Kronberg, and his goal in the 17th minute withstood a pair of penalty kicks by Davy Arnaud near the end of the first half. Arnaud’s first successful effort was nullified by encroachment by the Wizards, and the second was saved by Crew goalie Will Hesmer.

Graham Zusi equalized in the 75th minute by lacing a bouncing ball from outside the box past Hesmer. He had replaced Jack Jewsbury just five minutes earlier. Kansas City will play split-squad games Sunday against Arizona of the NPSL and Grand Canyon College prior to departing the state.

Both Frankie Hejduk and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who are suspended from the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal, first leg against Toluca Tuesday, did not participate as Warzycha tested combinations for that encounter.

Warzycha praised Jamaican defender Shaun Francis, taken out of Lindsey Wilson College with the 63rd overall pick in the 2010 SuperDraft. With Hejduk out, Gino Padula moved to right back and Francis took the left corner.

“I’m very happy with Shaun," said Warzycha. "He is a typical left back, a good passer and very responsible. And he’s just a great, great kid. I think going to be he’s very, very good in the future.”

March 4 in Phoenix
Kansas City 1 Columbus 1. Goals: Zusi 75; Carroll 17.
First Half:
Kansas City -- Kronberg (Crayton 30), Harrington, Conrad, Besler, Espinoza, Arnaud, Auvray, Diop, Smith, Wolff, Chhetri.
Columbus --  Hesmer, Francis, Iro, Brunner, Padula, Gaven, Moffat, Carroll, Rogers, Ekpo, Lenhart
Second Half:
Kansas City -- Crayton (Pardo 60), Myers (Leathers 70), Escobar, Hohlbein, Aiyegbusi, Kostrov, Rocastle, Jewsbury (Zusi 70), Hirsig, Bunbury (Kraus 75), Kamara
Columbus -- Hesmer; Francis, Iro (Renteria 65), Brunner, Padula, Gaven (Oughton 80), Moffat (Burns 55), Carroll, Rogers (Duka 75), Ekpo (Herrera 65), Lenhart (Garey 65).

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