The Wizards played well at times, at times they looked like a very strong team, but it wasn't enough as KC fell to the Columbus Crew last night 3-2. The game started off with a fast pace, as the Crew tried to stamp their authority of the game. KC responded and played with the Crew, getting up and down the field quickly. Unlike previous games, KC seemed to be taking more shots early on, there were numerous times when players took shots from distance testing Crew goalkeeper, Andy Gruenebaum. In the 24th minute, the Eddie Gaven got in behind the Wizards defense, but Kevin Hartman was quick off his line making the save. Things, though, had started to turn as the Crew was spending more and more time in KC's defensive third of the field. Finally in the 38th minute the Crew broke through. After some good passing by the Crew on the right side, the Wizards couldn't clear a poor touch and the ball went right to Emmanuel Ekpo whose sliding shot beat Hartman, giving the Crew the lead. That lead stuck to half time.
During half time, Wizards forward, Claudio Lopez subbed into the game and seemed to bring a new energy to the team as they pressured right from the start of the second half. In the 51st minute that paid off as Davy Arnaud was fouled on the right side of the field. Lopez played in the free kick, which went just over the head of Josh Wolff, and bounced past Gruenebaum and into the net. Only 4 minutes after that goal though KC found themselves behind again as Hartman made a weak punch on a ball he probably should have caught. The punch went to Frankie Hejduk whose cross into the box was met by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who'd lost Lance Watson. The header gave the Crew a 2-1 lead. KC continued to push for another equalizer, as Wolff had a nice blast saved by Gruenebaum. Unfortunately with the push for the equalizer, KC got exposed a bit at the back. In the 78th minute a Robbie Rogers cross was met by Gaven at the far post and he calming slotted the ball past Hartman. KC responded immediately to the goal as the Wizards came right back down the field and a great cross by Jack Jewsbury was headed in by Wolff to pull the Wizards within 1 again. KC had some late chances to get the tie but couldn't find the back of the net as the Crew got their first win of the season.
Wizards Man of the Match - Claudio Lopez - He only played one half, but he was the Wizards best player, he changed the game for KC when he came on the field. Yes his corners still leave something to desire though.
Player Ratings - Hartman 4, Watson 4, Conrad 5, Hohlbein 3, Besler 4, Harrington 3, Hirsig 4, Jewsbury 5, Espinoza 4, Arnaud 4, Wolff 6. Subs Lopez 6, Gomez 4, Kraus NR
One other note I'd like to make about the game. Kudos to Jorge Gonzalez for stepping up and taking a stand against fans throwing stuff on the field. It's a problem in many stadiums, but it's been pretty bad in Columbus. A few weeks ago an assistant referee was hit with a water bottle. I was very happy to see Gonzalez pull his AR away from the situation and go talk with his 4th official and Crew staff on the other side of the field. Hopefully this is a big step in ending that sort of thing.