Monday, June 22, 2009

Wizards, Atlas Share Points on Hot Day

The Wizards and sister club, Atlas, took a share of the points today in St. Louis as the two teams played to a rather dull 0-0 draw. KC started the same lineup that started the Wizards last two league games, as Atlas played mainly reserve players with a few first teamers sprinkled into the lineup. It was a hot day, with temperatures on the field getting to well over 100 degrees, forcing the referee to stop play once each half for a water break. "I'm sure eveyone's said some kind of adjective that's relative to the word hot. So I'll probably just keep it simple and say it was hot," Jimmy Conrad said of the conditions today. The first water break didn't come soon enough for Herculez Gomez, who soon after the first water break was subbed out due to him feeling light headed. "Ten minutes before I came out I started getting dizzy. I tried playing through it, but I couldn't," Gomez said after the game. Throughout the first half, much of the play was in the middle of the field. The best chances in the half fell to Atlas on a free kick from just outside the box. The free kick was curving into the far post, but Kevin Hartman came up with a finger tip save to touch the ball around the post. The other was on a play down the wing that was crossed back into the middle where a shot skimmed the top of the bar. As the half wore on, things got a little scrappy, with Jack Jewsbury getting into a shoving match, and Aaron Hohlbein picking up a delayed yellow. The first half also saw Atlas coach, Ricardo LaVolpe thrown out for something he said to the official.

Late in the half, the Wizards started to pick up the pressure as Atlas' preseason form started to show. Roger Espinoza and Josh Wolff both had chances but couldn't put them away. Very late in the half, the Wizards had a big penalty shout, as Wolff was brought down in the box by a hard tackle when he was 1v1 with the goalkeeper. The Atlas player also got the ball, and the referee determined that it was a clean tackle.

In the second half, the level of play continued to go down as the heat began to affect the players more and more. The game slowed down and much of the play stayed around the middle of the field with little movement. "It made for a slower game. A game that had less chances, and a game in which you have to make the most of your opportunities," Coach Onalfo said. Atlas again, though, was the agressor early in the second half and again tested Hartman. A cross by Atlas should have been the first goal, but the Atlas attacker didn't reach the ball in time. Once again, the Wizards started to pick up the play as the half wore on, and started to create more chances. Unfortunately KC yet again couldn't find the net. The Wizards got through a few times, but their shooting left a little to be desired. Abe Thompson had the best opportunity when Espinoza played him in alone on the keeper, but Thompson pushed his shot just wide of the post.

Late in the half, a Wizards corner was cleared out to Espinoza, who touched and was looking to shoot. An Atlas player slide in on Espinoza, and Espinoza went down. The referee called a foul and showed Espinoza a red card saying that Espinoza had stamped down on the Atlas player. The red card seemed extremely iffy, as Espinoza appeared to be lining up a shot when the Atlas player slid in underneath Espinoza and that's how he got cleated, nothing malicious, nothing even close to what would be considered a foul, but unfortunately, that's the way it with. Atlas never got a chance to take advantage of the man advantage as the game was called soon after.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Hartman - Another clean sheet for El Gato, and he earned it with some very big saves when he had to make them to keep the game tied.

Player Ratings - Hartman 8, Watson 6, Conrad 7, Hohlbein 6, Besler 5, Hirsig 6, Jewsbury 6, Arnaud 6, Gomez 5, Wolff 6, Lopez 6. Subs Espinoza 5, Harrington 6, Thompson 6, Leathers NR


Reepicheep said...

I believe that makes 3 reds inside a calendar year for Espinoza...just saying.

Anonymous said...

You know, you tell Mike to not be so hard on Lopez. You should take your own advice about Espinoza. The red card yesterday was complete BS. The fact that you're making this comment when it was perfectly clear that it was a BS red shows that you have some stupid vendetta against him. GET OVER IT!

MVK said...

that red was a complete joke, atleast it was late enough it doesnt really matter...

Is there a worse finisher than Abe Thompson? It will be nice when Christman can finally play.

Anonymous said...

I think the red card was harsh, but look at the 2 reds at the Conf Cup. Just because players don't see reds for plays like that in the MLS doesn't mean that FIFA isn't starting to crack down on them. 3 games with "iffy cards" to players who play in the MLS is starting to look like a trend from FIFA.

I've seen the replay and I'm divided because it seems that Espinoza wants to pull his leg back but the guy slides in. I will say that the acting is Oscar-worth.