Recap: Wizards 1 - Crew 0
A scoreless drought, a long winless streak for Columbus and a three-game losing streak all ended when rookie Teal Bunbury scored in the first half and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made it stand with seven saves as the Wizards beat the Crew, 1-0, on Wednesday.
Nielsen made six saves in the second half, including a right-toe stop of Guillermo Barros Schelotto in the 70th minute, a left arm stop of Emilio Renteria eight minutes later and a Steven Lenhart header in stoppage time.
The Crew outshot the Wizards 15-4 after the break and 19-8 for the match but did not convert any of their eight corners.
Bunbury returned to Ohio where he played last season for the University of Akron and scored his first MLS goal in the 14th minute to end KC's 339-minute scoreless streak.
The Wizards (4-8-3, 15 points) beat Columbus for the first time since posting a 0-5-1 mark over the past meetings.
Columbus (8-3-4, 28) failed in their game in hand against New York and were unable to increase their two-point lead atop the Eastern Conference. The two teams play Saturday in Crew Stadium.
The Crew pressured early and had four corner kicks, including a corner kick in the opening nine minutes.
It was just after a second corner that KC struck. Schelotto sent the corner across the field to the right sideline where defender Frankie Hejduk corralled the ball, but an errant back pass went straight to former Ohio State midfielder Roger Espinoza.
The counterattack was on and Espinoza quickly spotted Ryan Smith at midfield. Smith got the ball past two Crew players on the right side and Bunbury did the rest. He dribbled into the penalty area and slotted the ball between the legs of goalkeeper William Hesmer.
Adam Moffat nearly tied the game in the 18th minute, but Neilsen came up big on a strike from 22 yards.
KC tried to increase the lead in the 28th minute but a Kei Kamara header, coming just after Gino Padula almost headed the ball into his own goal, was stopped on the line by Eddie Gaven.
Wizards coach Peter Vermes had made two changes to the starting lineup from last week’s 2-0 loss to Chivas USA, with midfielder Craig Rocastle going for Jack Jewsbury and Bunbury taking the place of forward Josh Wolff.
The moves worked well with Bunbury being effective—as too was Espinoza, the first OSU player to appear in the World Cup when he played 135 minutes in two games for Honduras in South Africa.
The Crew used the same starters from the 0-0 tie at Houston on Saturday.
Kansas City play Saturday at Colorado.
Kansas City Wizards 1, at Columbus Crew 0
Columbus Crew Stadium
Kansas City Wizards (4-8-3)
Columbus Crew (8-3-4)
KC -- Teal Bunbury 1 (Ryan Smith 6, Roger Espinoza 1) 14
CLB -- Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Tackle) 40
Kansas City Wizards -- Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Roger Espinoza, Ryan Smith (Birahim Diop 88), Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray (Korede Aiyegbusi 83), Craig Rocastle (Graham Zusi 64), Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury.
Substitutes Not Used: Jack Jewsbury, Jonathan Leathers, Josh Wolff, Eric Kronberg.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk (Emmanuel Ekpo 75), Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Gino Padula, Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Adam Moffat, Robbie Rogers (Emilio Renteria 65), Jason Garey (Steven Lenhart 66), Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Brunner, Danny O'Rourke, Shaun Francis, Andy Gruenebaum.
Referee: Steven DePiero
Referee's Assistants: -Greg Barkey; James Conlee
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:55
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-85-degrees