Wizards coach, Curt Onalfo has prided himself on saying that the Wizards are a team that was going to come out this season and attack. It showed throughout the regular season as the Wizards would throw numbers forward. In the process, their defense, which had been rock solid started to leak more and more goals. Last night all that changed.
Protecting a 1-0 lead from their home leg, the Wizards brought back signs of the great 2000 season Wizards defense. After a quick 15 minute start where the Wizards created probably their best chance, the team started to go into a defensive shell. Part of the reason for this, as Onalfo explains in this audio clip from the Sideline Views blog, was the fact that the Wizards were unable to hold much possession, which forced them into the defensive shell.
Throughout the week leading up to this game, much was said from Chivas' end about how they were going to take it to KC, and that the Wizards didn't have the personnel to stop them for 90 minutes. Even after the game, Chivas coach, Preki, doing his best Jose Mourinho impression, said the Wizards were lucky to even be in the playoffs, let alone win, "They were fortunate to be in the playoffs and they were fortunate tonight. There are no excuses. We played really good, we just couldn't put the ball away. We totally dominated. We're a far better team."
Sasha Victorine had the best response to Preki's comments though, with this gem from the same link above. "Lucky my ass," he said. "They haven't scored a goal on us in 180 minutes."
The Wizards were lucky in one or two regards, though, as Chivas had two shots hit the post, Kurt Morsink saved a ball off the line, and Chivas had a handball call go unheard (It's the same call the Wizards have had called on them at least twice this season, when a cross has struck a defenders arm.). Overall, while it wasn't the type of game I think anyone wanted, the Wizards will take it and move on to Houston to take on the Dynamo for the Western Conference title.
3 Stars of the Game
1. Kevin Hartman - KC - Came up with the big saves when he was needed, including some gems in the first half. Yet another time where we see why he was brought in.
2. Jimmy Conrad - KC - Chivas continually tried to come through the Wizards central defense, and Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad, along with central defense partner Nick Garcia worked to shut them down. Specifically Maykel Galindo, who while not 100% was still a handful, but Conrad handled him well.
3. Nick Garcia - KC - Conrad's partner in the back was just as strong as Conrad helping to clog up the middle of the field and keep Chivas from getting too many quality chances.