Sunday, June 07, 2009

Shut Out at Home

Despite having 17 shots last night, and being a man up for almost 40 minutes, the Wizards were unable to score and ended up losing to the Columbus Crew 2-0, meaning the Crew sweep the season series with the Wizards. The Wizards came out trying to push the game and were able to get into dangerous positions, but either wouldn't pull the trigger and shot, or pulled their shots wide. The Crew picked their attacking moments, and capitalized on a come cluster f*ck by the Wizards back line. A long clearance deep into the Wizards end bounced once and was heading into the box. Two Wizards defenders and Kevin Hartman all converged on the ball. Hartman calls the 2 defenders off, but both collide with Hartman. The ball fell to Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who had an open net to just slot the ball into to give the Crew the lead. The Wizards continued to get some chances, but they all were blocked by Crew defenders before they got to Andy Gruenebaum in the Crew net.

In the second half, the Crew pushed early to try and get a second, with Emmanuel Ekpo forcing a good save out of Hartman. In the 51st minute, the game took a turn, as Chad Marshall kneed Aaron Holbein, earning him a straight red card. The knee came after Hohlbein had basically been hugging Marshall in the box to keep him from getting by, but it was the knee that referee, Baldomero Toledo, called. A man up, the Wizards tried to push the game more, but still weren't producing many quality chances. In the 63rd minute, the Wizards dug themselves deeper, when Matt Besler was called for a foul on Eddie Gaven in the box, giving the Crew a PK. The penalty was boarder line, as Gaven jumped into the ball, and was very close to not even being in the box when contact was initiated. Unfortunately for the Wizards, the Schelotto stepped up and buried the PK to give the Crew a 2-0 lead.

At this point, the game completely changed. The Crew were more than happy to sit back and defend their 2 goal lead, getting numbers back into the box. At times all 9 field players were back inside their own penalty area. The Wizards were getting the ball and playing in cross after cross and playing around the top of the box trying to break open the Crew defense, but they held firm. Most of the chances the Wizards did get ended up being blocked by Crew defenders on their way in, although Gruenebaum did come up with some good saves as well, and was helped out by the wood work when a Josh Wolff shot banged back into play off the crossbar. In the end, the Wizards were unable to break through the Columbus defense and fell to the defending champs 2-0, losing the season series. A frustrating performance all around by the Wizards team tonight, as they struggled to get quality chances and seemed hesitant to shoot at times.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Hartman - Can't fault him on either goal. You watch the highlights and you clearly hear him yell "keep" as a warning to his players to get out of the way of the ball, but neither did. He only made 1 real save, but with the way the rest of the team seemed frustrated and without much creative thought against the bunkering Crew, Hartman will get the man of the match award.

Player Ratings - Hartman 5, Watson 4, Conrad 4, Hohlbein 3, Besler 3, Jewsbury 4, Arnaud 3, Hirsig 4, Gomez 4, Wolff 4, Lopez 4. Subs Thompson 5, Harrington 4, Zusi 4

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