This team is not good. Today in Houston, it was abundantly clear, as the Wizards fell to Houston 3-1. In hot an humid conditions down in Houston, the Wizards lost Matt Marquess to cramps before the game had even started. When the game started the team came out a little sluggish, Houston did at the same time though, and it was a rather dull start to the game. As the game went on, it was Houston who asserted themselves, forcing Kevin Hartman to make a few good saves to preserve the shutout. It wouldn't last forever, though, as in the 28th minute, Kei Kamara beat the offside trap the Wizards were running and found Brad Davis who powered his shot past Hartman leaving him with no chance. The Wizards were able to get out of the heat and into half time without allowing any more goals, mainly thanks to Hartman's play. Two half time changes, including the introduction of newly acquired Abe Thompson, hoped to add some punch to the lineup. It was the Dynamo, though, that grabbed the second goal. In the 54th minute, a play down the right by Stuart Holden and Kamara pulled the defense over, leaving Nate Jaqua pretty much alone in the middle of the box, and when Holden's ball found him, he easily beat Hartman for the second goal.
Houston continued to push the game, and got their third in the 67th minute, when Jaqua was played in over the top. Jaqua was easily able to hold off Chance Myers and beat Hartman to end all drama in the game. As the Dynamo sat back after the goal, the Wizards were able to get more possession but were unable to get many chances. The best came in the 80th minute, when Claudio Lopez was played in over the top, but his shot hit the near post and bounced out. In the 87th minute, though, the Wizards were able to avoid the shutout when Davy Arnaud pushed through the Dynamo defense, and past Wade Barrett before slotting past Tony Caig to give the Wizards something out of the game.
Overall, the game was a massive disappointment, the playoffs seem like a complete pipe dream now, even with 5 of the last 7 games at home, the Wizards are going to need something like 17 points from those 7 games to even have a shot at the playoffs. With this team, that just doesn't seem likely. The offense can't score goals, the midfield play has been poor enough that the Wizards have had to rely mainly on lofted balls from the defense over the top and hope that our fast forwards can get to the balls. The defense is prone to inexperienced mistakes, Myers was at fault for two of the goals, keeping Kamara onside on Houston's first and not being stronger on Jaqua on the second. These young defenders may be good eventually, but right now they're too young and inexperienced. I feel sorry for Hartman, who would be considered a league MVP for the way he's saved the Wizards over and over this season.
Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Hartman - If not for Hartman, this game would have been a lot worse. Today Hartman made 7 saves, pushing him even closer the league saves record, currently held by Tony Meola. Hartman's got to be frustrated with some of the play that he's seen from his back line this season.