CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy’s once-tight grip on Major League Soccer has all but vanished after Kansas City took a relatively comfortable 2-0 win from the Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Davy Arnaud and Jimmy Conrad scored for the visiting Wizards, who continued their surge towards playoff contention, which seemed unlikely just last month. The Wizards picked up their 14th point in their last seven games and climbed to within three points of a playoff spot.
The loss, meanwhile, saw Columbus and Real Salt Lake climb to within reach of the Galaxy, whose 43 points are just two better than the Crew and three more than RSL. The defeat was only LA's second at home in league play all season.
Kei Kamara continued his torrid pace with his third assist in the last two games. In the 12th minute, Kamara raced down the right sideline as Leonardo was unable to slow the Sierra Leone international down.
Kamara whipped a ball to the center of the box to Arnaud, who was able to hold off Omar Gonzalez and tucked the ball inside the goal. Kamara has two goals and three assists in his last three games.
It was yet another early goal the Galaxy have surrendered recently. In their last two home games, against San Jose on July 22 and Chicago on Aug. 1, the Galaxy gave up goals in the second and fourth minutes. Chicago added a fifth-minute goal as well. A week ago, LA gave up a sixth-minute tally in a 1-0 loss at San Jose.
About the only defensive highlight for the Galaxy in the first half was a breakaway attempt 'keeper Donovan Ricketts thwarted. Arnaud and Birahim Diop combined on the attempt, with Diop finding himself with the ball alone on Ricketts, but the Jamaican international turned Diop away.
Chris Birchall had two chances at leveling terms in the first quarter-hour after the break, but twice, Jimmy Nielsen turned him away. First, Birchall ripped a 15-yard shot from the right side of the box but Nielsen kicked the ball clear in the 50th minute. Eight minutes later, Nielsen dived and parried the ball away as Birchall had found space inside the box. Birchall unloaded but Nielsen was in position to get to the ball.
Tristan Bowen replaced Chris Klein in the 62nd minute. Klein, who did well to generate some chances for the Galaxy, started in place of Juninho, who has been in Brazil since Tuesday tending to personal matters.
Conrad put the game away in the 70th minute as he got his foot to a free kick from Arnaud. Conrad’s shot bounced off the right post and across the goal line.
KC – Davy Arnaud 3 (Kei Kamara 3) 12’
KC – Jimmy Conrad 1 (Davy Arnaud 3) 70’
LA – Chris Birchall (Yellow Card) 69’
KC – Jimmy Nielsen (Yellow Card) 93+
LA Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant Chris Birchall (Jovan Kirovski 77’), Chris Klein (Tristan Bowen 62’), Landon Donovan©, Michael Stephens; Edson Buddle, Mike Magee (Alex Cazumba 73’).
Subs Not Used: Josh Saunders, A.J. DeLaGarza, Dema Kovalenko, Eddie Lewis.
Kansas City Wizards: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Shavar Thomas, Jimmy Conrad, Roger Espinoza; Stephane Auvray, Davy Arnaud©, Craig Rocastle (Jack Jewsbury 66’), Kei Kamara (Teal Bunbury 81’), Ryan Smith (Graham Zusi 87’); Birahim Diop.
Subs Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Korede Aiyegbusi, Jonathan Leathers, Chance Myers.