Monday, June 29, 2009

Wizards Fall Out of SuperLiga

The performance the entire tournament was lacking, there was little dangerous attack, and poor play overall doomed the Wizards over the course of the SuperLiga tournament. That came to an end 3-1 on Sunday at Community America Ballpark to Santos Laguna. The crowd was overwhelmingly in support of the Mexican side. My guess is that there were somewhere around 9,000 Santos supporters there yesterday.

Kansas City actually had a good chance very early, when Jack Jewsbury headed a Matt Besler ball on net that Oswaldo Sanchez parried into the path of Herculez Gomez. Gomez, though, couldn't get a shot off. From there, Santos started to take over the match, and were unlucky not to take the lead, as they hit the bar twice. The Wizards too hit the cross bar, when Gomez caught Sanchez out off his line. Each team had some chances as the first half wore on, with Santos shooting high or wide, while Wolff had a nice shot saved by Sanchez. Late in the first half, the Wizards lost defender Jimmy Conrad as he re-aggravated his hamstring that has been giving him trouble lately.

At half time, the Wizards made more changes, with Lance Watson making way for Davy Arnaud and Jewsbury moving to the right back position. It was Santos though that was producing the better efforts on goal, forcing Kevin Hartman to make multiple saves. Santos finally broke through in the 61st minute as they came right up the middle of KC's defense with Agustin Herrera getting the finish. The Wizards tried to respond but were unable to find net. In the 73rd minute, KC had a foul claim turned down by the referee just outside the Santos box when Roger Espinoza was knocked off the ball. Santos countered right back down the field and Vicente Vuoso finished off the counter with a header that beat Hartman and made it 2-0 Santos. KC finally started to create some chances, but the shots they ended up getting were weak daisy cutters that were no problem for Sanchez. KC got back into the game in the 80th minute, when a Claudio Lopez free kick curled into the net to make it 2-1 KC. After that, KC continued to up the pressure and Espinoza almost equalized in the 84th minute off a pass from Michael Kraus, but Espinoza he the elbow of the post. Kruas though wouldn't have much longer to play a part as shortly after he got into an exchange with Johnny Garcia of Santos. Kraus gave Garcia a shove, and Garcia shoved back with his forearm. Both were given straight reds, the 7th straight game KC has played in where a red card has been issued.

Very late in stoppage time, KC had a brilliant chance to make it 2-2 when Michael Harrington played a cross into the back post. Santiago Hirsig had been the offside trap, took the ball down off his chest, but the Argentine couldn't get enough on his shot, which went in weakly on goal and after a small scrum in the box was covered by Sanchez. Santos came right down after that attempt by the Wizards, as Santos again countered, and Juan Pablo Rodriguez turned and finished making it 3-1.

Wizards Man of the Match - Claudio Lopez - Great free kick for the goal against Santos and looked frustrated multiple times with the quality of crosses coming from the other side of the field. It was tough to pick a player from this game just based on the way the team played. I almost picked Jimmy Conrad because with his sub, the center of defense suffered and Rauwshan McKenzie was not able to handle the Santos forward.

Player Ratings - Hartman 5, Watson 4, Conrad 5, Hohlbein 4, Besler 4, Gomez 5, Hirsig 4, Jewsbury 4, Espinoza 4, Wolff 3, Lopez 5. Subs McKenzie 2, Arnaud 5, Harrington 4, Kraus NR

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