Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wizards Handle RSL

The Wizards went into Salt Lake City last night and came away with a 2-0 win, the first regular season loss by Real Salt Lake at their new stadium, Rio Tinto. Two goals by Josh Wolff led the Wizards to the big win in probably their best performance of the season. Early on KC controlled the tempo of the game, and were rewarded for it with a very nice counterattacking goal. Jack Jewsbury intercepted a pass in his defensive half of the field and played a long ball over the top to a streaking Josh Wolff. Wolff dribbled in on goal in a scene that brought back memories of his goal against Mexico in 2002 World Cup Qualifying. Wolff's touch to get around RSL goalkeeper, Chris Seitz, was saved by the RSL keeper, but the ball went right back off of Wolff and past Seitz. Wolff got one last touch, sliding the ball into the empty net to give KC the early lead.

After this, RSL started to come into the game and started testing Kevin Hartman. He did well to get down and save a Robbie Russell shot in the 36th minute and then saved Kyle Beckerman's header on the ensuing corner. KC was able to hold on and go into the half up 1-0. In the second half, RSL continued to push for the equalizer and KC's back 4 held on and were able to keep RSL out. In the 67th minute KC again hit on the counter. Michael Harrington won the ball in the defensive half of the field and then ran down the right side before crossing into the middle where Wolff had lost his mark and was able to get a toe to the ball knocking it past Seitz and into the net for the 2-0 lead. RSL continued to push and but were held back by KC's defense, Hartman, and the post. RSL also had a goal called back for offsides during the second half as well. KC continued to try to go on the counter and probably should have had a 3rd in the 84th minute when a cross found Herculez Gomez on the right side. Unfortunately, even with time, Gomez put his shot over the bar. Still, the two goals from Wolff were enough to give KC the win.

Wizards Man of the Match - Josh Wolff - Wolff not only had the brace, but was dangerous at other times during the game as well. He's hit a very good run of form right now and will hopefully be able to keep it up in the coming weeks. The move back to being a forward has really helped Wolff.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Hartman - You don't often make 7 saves, get the shutout, and not win Man of the Match.

Player Ratings - Hartman 8, Watson 6, Conrad 7, Hohlbein 6, Besler 6, Arnaud 6, Hirsig 6, Jewsbury 7, Espinoza 6, Lopez 6, Wolff 8. Subs Gomez 4, Harrington 6, Kraus NR

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