Kansas City made it to the playoffs for the second year as the Fire crushed the Red Bulls, 5-2. The moment was especially sweet for Kerry Zavagnin, KC's leader in all time minutes played as he declared this would be his last season.
But if one had to personify grit and determination in this squad, it would be Jimmy Conrad, who has led by example.
The last match belonged to Claudio Lopez who scored a goal and assisted in two more as KC doused out San Jose in the dying minutes of stoppage time. But all these heroics are iridescent in the background that Conrad has quietly put up. He has started all 29 matches and played injury free for 2610 minutes. Only Clyde Simms, Jay Heaps, Brian Carroll, and Nat Borchers can claim such durability.
Conrad has discovered his sharp shooting skills too in his sixth season with KC. Six goals scored which ties him with Davy Arnaud as the team's leading goal scorer. The most goals scored by a defender so far this season which includes none bigger than his game winning header against New England which kick started their playoff hopes. These goals have kept afloat an anemic offense which needs to be compensated for by a water tight defense anchored by Conrad. He celebrates goals in eye catching fashion that ranks up there in Neon Deion territory.
Off the pitch, Conrad is self effacing and low key. He has a witty and quirky way with words in his column Conrad's Corner for ESPN Soccernet.
As it turned out, it wasn't Beckham at all. "Everybody was screaming David's name, but it was some other player, and there was a big letdown in the crowd. Also, I don't know if this other player knew this or not, but he had a little stain by his crotch area."
Q: Landon Donovan really is way, way meaner than everyone thinks he is, right?
What I said: Actually he's quite the guy. He walks little old ladies across the street, rescues kittens that are stuck in trees, stands outside grocery stores with a little bell for the Salvation Army, misses penalty kicks so the opposing team can feel the thrill of victory, buys Girl Scout cookies by the truckload, knows all the answers on Family Feud and single-handedly repaired part of the ozone layer.
What I should have said: He's the biggest jerk I know.