Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hey Yura, Yura

The Wizards came from 2 goals down, but then gave up a late PK to split the points with the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

The Wizards came out very slow and lazy to start the game, and the Red Bulls made them pay for it with 2 goals inside the first 15 minutes. First, Juan Pablo Angel scored in his 7th straight game in the 6th minute off of a cross from former Wizard Dave van den Bergh. In the 15th minute, the Wizards defense was again caught being lazy, as Dane Roberts dribbled across the top of the 18 yard box, before playing in Clint Mathis, who slid the ball underneath Kevin Hartman to make it 2-0.

After that, it looked like the Wizards finally woke up, they actually started playing their game, and were creating chances against the New York back line. Unfortunately, Ronald Waterreus came up with some good saves to keep the score at 2-0. Then 2 minutes before the half time break, a clever back heal to Kerry Zavagnin, who took a touch and ripped a shot into the net, catching Waterreus a bit off his line, to give the Wizards some hope heading into the halftime break.

In the second half, the game continued to go KC's way, and the introduction of Yura Movsisyan added another spark to the game. Movsisyan ran at the Red Bull back line, but there were times when his touch would let him down, or he was unable to hold off his defender. The introduction of Ryan Raybould also helped to change the tempo of the game. One minute after his introduction, Raybould's run down the right wing, and cross into the box, found Movsisyan who's little touch beat Waterreus and tied the game at 2. The Wizards started to absorb more of the pressure now, and were getting more of their attacks on the counter, Carlos Marinelli, Davy Arnaud, and Movsisyan all had some chances to put the Wizards into the lead. Finally in the 79th minute, a ball from the back by Sasha Victorine, found Movsisyan who was able to hold off his defender and chip Waterreus, who had come out to challenge Movsisyan, to make the score 3-2 Wizards.

For the final 11 minutes, the Wizards tried to absorb the pressure and get out with the full 3 points. Unfortunately, a rather dubious penalty by referee Abbey Okulaja gave Angel a chance to tie the game. Hartman guessed right on Angel's PK, but the shot was placed too well and we were tied at 3. While the PK was a bad call in my opinion, Jose Burciaga Jr. has to be smarter then that in those situations, the ball looked to be going over John Wolyniec's head, and Burciaga went clumsily into the challenge, even if it was a bad call you can't go into the challenge like that.

Overall, I thought a draw was a fair result for the game, both teams had their chances, and both teams took their chances well. This game turned out to be just as entertaining as myself and many others thought it would be. While I would have loved to have gotten out of New York with the full 3 points, the MLS East lead, and the season series with the Red Bulls, I'll take the draw, as the Wizards still have 2 games in hand on the Bulls.

3 Stars of the Match
1. Juan Pablo Angel - NYRB - All this man has done since coming to MLS is score goals, he scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season, tying him with Eddie Johnson for the most in the league this season.
2. Yura Movsisyan - KC - I've given Yura crap for a while now, I didn't think he was worth the 4th pick in the draft when Gansler took him, but tonight I have to eat crow, as Yura played well, he took defenders on and finished well. His chip over Waterreus was pure class.
3. Michael Harrington & Dane Richards - KC & NYRB - I thought the top rookies on both teams played very well tonight, Harrington was matched up with Taylor Graham, a mismatch in the rookie's favor that he was able to exploit during the match. Richards drew a harder assignment with Burciaga, but was able to give him and Nick Garcia fits, especially before the Wizards settled into the game.

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