Following MLS Week 28, the Kansas City Wizards stood nine points shy of the eighth and final playoff berth with three games remaining on their schedule.
The team ahead of them, Colorado, has two games left.
The Wizards path to the playoffs was clear, if (almost hopelessly) convoluted: They needed to win out, and to have Colorado drop its last two. (That last part is not quite as farfetched as it sounds: the Rapids final two games are against the top two teams in the West, Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake.)
Last night at Toyota Park, Kansas City took the first step, downing Chicago 2-0 on goals by Davy Arnaud and Teal Bunbury. (The Wizards, by the way, lead the league in “bury”s—in addition to Bunbury, they have midfielder Jack Jewsbury.)
Chicago has already been eliminated, but they certainly did not roll over last night: they nearly took the lead 15 minutes in when DP Freddie Ljungberg found rookie and potential Name Hall of Famer Corben Bone at the top of the box. The 22-year-old Wake Forest product hit his one-timer just wide of the near post.
After that, the Wizards gradually seized control of the game and started asking questions of Fire keeper Andrew “No relation to Lenny, thank you” Dykstra.
They finally broke through in first-half stoppage time when Bunbury sprung Arnaud in the box, and the attacking midfielder—who has seven caps and one goal for the U.S. national team—struck an expert finish, bending the ball around the onrushing Dykstra and into the far post side netting.
Bunbury wrapped up the three points with a goal in the 80th minute.
Kansas City now stands six points behind Colorado with two games remaining for both.