Peter Vermes made his first appearance on the sidelines as the Wizards interim coach today as the Wizards took on the Fire at Community America Ballpark. Unfortunately for Vermes and the Wizards, the team continued their losing trend, falling 2-0 to the Fire. KC is now winless in 5 in the league and winless in 10 in all competitions (the PK win over Minnesota is officially a draw).
Chicago came out as the more aggressive team early in the game, pressuring the Wizards and testing to see how they'd do under the new coach. The Fire took advantage of that pressure in the 13th minute when Chris Rolfe got in behind the Wizards defense and beat Kevin Hartman. Hartman got caught cheating to his far post on the play, as Rolfe went to Hartman's near side to make it 1-0 Fire. As the half continued, both teams were getting half chances, testing the opposing keeper enough to keep him awake, but not really force him into any big saves. The Fire almost made it two though in the 41st minute, when Marco Pappa drove in front the Wizards left, but his shot hit off the post back into play.
In the second half, the Wizards were the ones that were pressuring the Fire and almost capitalized after the team won a free kick down by the end line. The ball got played on the ground through the box where it eventually fell to Aaron Hohlbein. Hohlbein showed why he's a defender, though, as he took too much time to get his shot off allowing a Fire defender to slide and block the shot. Zoltan Hercegfalvi got his first minutes of the season and showed well for the time he was on the field. He had a good touch, an ability to play with his other teammates, and almost had an assist when he got a step on a Fire defender and crossed to Roger Espinoza, who couldn't get contact with the ball as he tussled with a Fire defender for the ball. Zoltan, though, didn't get to finish the game though, as in the 85th minute, Zoltan was red carded for a tackle from behind on Mike Banner. The Fire took advantage of the man advantage soon after as Logan Pause crossed for Banner, who easily beat Hartman to seal the game.
Overall, the team played better than they have previous few games. There was some good passing and build up, along with some good pressure. Unfortunately it looks like in the 2 weeks the team had off, they still didn't do a whole lot of work on shooting because while KC had 5 shots on goal today, none of them were a big test for Jon Busch in the Fire net. If they can improve their shooting, maybe they'll at least end the season on a high note, even if the team doesn't make the playoffs (which is looking more likely with each passing week). As mentioned earlier, I liked what I saw from Zoltan minus the red card tackle and hope to see more of it on the 29th against RSL.
Wizards Man of the Match - Lance Watson - Watson continues to play well for KC, he's able to get forward and into the offense while still being competent on defense. Today he did well to push the Wizards offense up the right side and to close down the Fire's attack on the right.
Player Ratings - Hartman 3, Watson 5, Conrad 4, Hohlbein 4, Besler 3, Hirsig 4, Morsink 4, Jewsbury 5, Espinoza 4, Wolff 3, Cristman 4. Subs - Harrington 4, Hercegfalvi 4, Gomez 4.