Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stealing a Point

It wasn't really deserved, but the Wizards stole a point in Chicago last night, coming from 2 goals down to salvage a 2-2 tie. Chicago started out completely dictating the tempo of the game and were rewarded in the 13th minute thanks to some miscommunication between Kevin Hartman and Jimmy Conrad. Hartman came a long way to claim a lofted ball into the box. At the same time, Conrad went up to head the ball away. The two collided and the ball fell to Wilman Conde who squared to Brian McBride who slotted the ball to the far post for the lead.

Chicago continued to control the tempo of the game, getting into KC's defensive third of the field and getting a few more shots, while KC struggled to just get out of their half of the field. Wizards' rookie, Matt Besler seemed to be the main target for Chicago as they continually attacked down KC's left side. In the 20th minute Chicago doubled their lead thanks to a free kick. Blanco played a long ball into the box where it was met by McBride, who unmarked put his header into the far post to make it 2-0 Fire. While Chicago didn't have many chances through the rest of the half, they continued to control the game, it took until the 42nd minute and a blast from well out by Jack Jewsbury went well over the bar for the Wizards to record their first shot of the game.

In the second half KC started playing a bit better, but it was Chicago that was the one that continued to pressure. Blanco put one over the bar early in the second half, and Hartman came up with huge saves on John Thorrington, Blanco, and Patrick Nyarko to keep the game tied at 2-2. Finally in the 75th minute KC started to pick up their play and were actually able to get some good possession into Chicago's defensive third. A turnover in the Fire's end of the field in the 78th minute fell to Claudio Lopez, who moved further wide left and played a cross into the box, where Josh Wolff connected first time putting the ball past Jon Busch and giving KC a lifeline. After that KC continued to control the game, a short corner by Lopez to Michael Harrington led to a shot by Harrington that looked to strike the arm of a Chicago defender, but referee, Hilario Grajeda, did not make the call. Herculez Gomez took a long shot that Busch paried into the path of Michael Kraus, but a recovering defender knocked the ball away before Kraus could get a shot off.

KC continued to push and in the 89th minute the ball came wide to Harrington who played a ball deep into the box where Wolff met it with his head, it deflected off a Fire defender and into the net giving KC a shocking second goal. The Wizards and Hartman had one more steal to make though. Deep in second half stoppage time, a ball on the left was played into Chris Rolfe who headed the ball on goal and it looked destined for the net, but Hartman got up very well and got a finger tip to the ball knocking it wide and preserving the point for KC.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Hartman - The miscue with Conrad aside, Hartman played well, especially in the second half making some huge saves to keep KC in the game. He stood on his head in the second half, giving KC the chance for the tie.

Honorable Mention - Josh Wolff

Player Ratings - Hartman 6, Watson 4, Conrad 4, Hohlbein 4, Besler 3, Gomez 4, Jewsbury 5, Hirsig 3, Wolff 6, Arnaud 5, Lopez 5. Subs Harrington 6, Kraus 5, Espinoza NR

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another great post.

What do you guys think of Curt Onalfo's sub pattern. Maybe I am wrong but Kraus does not impress me, and Harrington should be a starter. Other teams must be salivating when they play against us because we don't have strong outside backs