Monday, July 06, 2009

Midseason Report

The Wizards season is now half over with their 15th league game last Saturday night against Houston. I wrote a break down of the first half of the season over on Bigsoccer that I'll repost here. The Wizards are 5-6-4 for a total of 19 points. This is one point behind last year's pace at this time (5-5-5). We've scored 19 goals while allowing 18. Good news is that we've scored 5 more goals than this time last year while allowing the same number. Also our leading scorer at this point in the season at least isn't a defender.

KC is 3-3-2 at home this season. They've already lost 1 more game at CAB than they did all of last season. Obviously CAB isn't as big a home field advantage as it was last year. .500 soccer at home is going to get you no where near the playoffs. KC has lost 13 points at home already this season (3 on a loss, 2 on a draw). They lost 14 at home all of last season. Currently the Wizards are 2-3-2 on the road, they've at least equaled their win total on the road from last season already and are only 3 points behind the team's road point total for all of last season (11 points in 08 on the road).

Half way through the season, we've also already lost 2 season series against conference opponents, losing the season series to both Toronto and Columbus with our early meetings. As for the other conference opponents, we hold the advantage on NY and Chicago for winning at home and drawing on the road respectively. We currently have the advantage on New England, although we still have to play them twice in New England, where we have technically done historically well. With DC we're probably trailing in that series, because they're our "rivalry game" that's at home, meaning we play them twice at CAB. We already gave that up with our home draw to them.

And here are my midseason grades for the Wizards players.

Davy Arnaud - B - Davy is second on the team in goals with 5, he's shown an ability to strike from distance regularly now which is something the Wizards always seem to lack. But his one assist this year is concerning for a player who's spent plenty of time this season as an attacking midfielder.

Matt Besler - B+ - The Wizards first round pick has adjusted well to the level of play at the pro level and is showing well since taking over the left back slot. No major mistakes that have cost the Wizards games and has shown an ability to get forward from time to time.

Jimmy Conrad - B+ - Conrad is having another solid, if not unspectacular season this year, no goals, but has been a rock in the middle of defense. His grade got a bump from a B to a B+ after seeing how much his lack of leadership in the middle effected the defense against Houston.

Adam Cristman - INC - Almost back from his injury, but still has no played since moving from New England.

Roger Espinoza - C+ - Espinoza has shown continued improvement this year, he's smarter with his play and able to keep his cool better as well. He's also another player that's willing to take a shot when it comes up.

Herculez Gomez - C+ - Gomez has had a good season so far in the midfield, but his contribution on offense hasn't been what most people expected out of him after having a full preseason to train.

Michael Harrington - C- - Harrington lost his starting spot at left back due to injury and has been unable to get it back. Since then, Harrington has played on both sides of the midfield. He continues to not look extremely comfortable on the right side of the field.

Kevin Hartman - B+ - Early in the season there were a few goals that I thought Hartman could have done better with, but overall this season Hartman has probably been the Wizards most consistent players, continuing to prove that he is one of the best goalkeepers in league history.

Santiago Hirsig - B - Has been a calming influence in the midfield for the Wizards. While he might not contribute as much offensively as people would like, his ability to control the ball and slow the game down is a nice skill to have.

Aaron Hohlbein - B - Hohlbein has taken the starting role next to Conrad and has done a decent job with it. Still, without Conrad, Hohlbein showed to struggle with leading the middle of defense.

Jack Jewsbury - B- - Jewsbury has been consistent this year, he has scored yet, but he is tied with Claudio Lopez for the team lead in assists with 4.

Michael Kraus - C+ - After making his first MLS appearance for the Wizards in the playoffs last year, Kraus has been a late game sub for much of this season, scoring his first goal against Colorado early in the season.

Eric Kronberg - INC - On his way recovering from shoulder surgery, will likely not get any first team matches this season though.

Jonathan Leathers - D - Leathers started the first two games this season, both Wizards losses, and hasn't played in a league game since. He played in the Open Cup last week in his first first team appearance since then.

Claudio Lopez - B - 4 goals and 4 assists for the former DP. Lopez has shown flashes at time and at times been frustrating. Lopez himself has shown his own frustration many times when players don't see the same thing he does on plays.

Matt Marquess - INC - Only minutes so far this season was last week in the Open Cup.

Rauwshan McKenzie - D+ - Struggled greatly against Santos Laguna in the SuperLiga when he replaced Conrad. Looked ok against Minnesota in the Open Cup. And had some moments against Houston. Will get plenty more time to prove himself the rest of this month.

Kurt Morsink - INC - One league minute played and 120 in the Open Cup not enough to grade the midfielder.

Chance Myers - INC - The closest of the Wizards long term injury issues to returning, Myers still hasn't played yet.

Boris Pardo - INC - Looked decent enough in the Open Cup against Minnesota, but one game is not enough to earn a grade.

Nelson Pizarro - INC - Was waived back in May.

Kevin Souter - INC - Has only played 61 minutes so far this season, and is now out with injury after a sports hernia surgery.

Abe Thompson - C- - Finally scored for the Wizards in the Open Cup last week, but still struggles when in league games. He is still the Wizards only target striker option currently healthy though.

Lance Watson - B+ - Watson has been a pleasent surprise at right back. While he might not be the long term answer there, he's certainly shown that he belongs on the team and has earned his starting spot.

Josh Wolff - B - Wolff has cooled off since scoring 6 goals in 6 games around the middle of the first past of the season. He's still the Wizards leading scorer but hasn't found net since getting that red card against Chivas USA.

Graham Zusi - C- - The Wizards other rookie had a very good preseason for the Wizards, but his play during the season has left a little to be desired. He shows plenty of skill and potential, but he's struggled at times during his rookie season.


PVFC said...

Harrington should be playing CB or something while Jimmy is gone. McKenzie is horrible if the ball isnt on the ground, he did do a great job defending 1v1 and stepping in that last game but that header he missed that caused the Houston goal was a laugh at basically any level. He whiffed on more than a few in prior games as well. I just dont think he is ready to be playing hte MLS, plain and simple. While it gives up some size putting Harrington there he is still like 6 foot and pretty strong, and he acutally understands spacing and has above average skills.

Anonymous said...

Or put Besler at center back and put Harrington at left back.

Anonymous said...

Both of you are on the mark, but in Curt Onalfo's world Harrington is a midfielder even when he's played his worst games in that position.

I will say McKenzie's 1 on 1 has gotten better since the Santos game, but the move Oduro put on him in the second half looked just like what the Santos forwards did all game.

Whatever happens, if we lose tomorrow the seat should start heating up for Onalfo and Vermes. I see Houston with no DP's, few internationals throughout the years and all I can say is Kinnear is miles ahead of Onalfo.

Anonymous said...

The seat will only get hot if they actually play that game. I bet we play the end of the bench and not care about the Open Cup. So the seat won't get hot at all.