Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ending the Season with a Draw

The Wizards ended the 2009 season without a playoff berth, but they went out by helping to kill DC United's season. Along with other results around the league, KC's 2-2 draw with DC last night eliminated DC from making the playoffs as well. A late penalty kick by Claudio Lopez proving to be the tying goal.

Both teams came out strong from the gate trying to impose their will on the game, and it was DC United that became the more dangerous early on. Christian Gomez pushed a shot just wide of the post, and United also hit the post off a corner kick as the Wizards escaped with the game still tied. So after that, KC got themselves on the board through Kei Kamara. After Davy Arnaud was fouled on a surging run down the left, Graham Zusi played a nice free kick into the box that Kamara got his head on and redirected enough to get it past Steve Cronin in net and give KC the lead. Kamara should have doubled the lead in the 35th, when he connected well in the air on a Lopez corner. Unfortunately Kamara headed it down too much and the ball bounced in front of goal and over the bar. Still, KC went into the half time break up 1-0.

DC came out in the second half and continued to press the Wizards trying to find an equalizer. They would have had it in the 51st minute if not for an absolutely amazing save by Kevin Hartman. Jamie Morneo took a shot that was going to Hartman's right, on the way through, the ball deflected back to the left to Ben Olsen. Hartman had already left his feet to attempt to save Moreno's shot. Olsen had the whole goal to shoot for, turned and volleyed the ball on frame, but Hartman had gotten back up to his feet and made it across the goal tipping it over for a corner kick. All this happened in the matter of 2 seconds, an amazing save by Hartman. DC did find the equalizer eventually, as in the 65th, Fred got behind Matt Marquess and while the two were battling for the ball, Fred went down in the box and DC earned themselves a PK. Hartman guessed right on Moreno's PK, even got a hand to the ball, but couldn't keep it out of the net.

DC kept looking for the winner, and while they did, KC countered. Kamara had another chance to double his lead and Lopez had a screamer tipped over the bar by Cronin. Soon after Lopez's shot was saved, DC took the lead. Julius James, who was having to finish the game with a hamstring issue as DC had used all their subs by the 60th minute, took advantage of a scrum in the box and headed in over Matt Marquess. The fault for the goal has to go on Hartman for a very poor punch (after he'd had a very good game up to that point) and Marquess, who didn't attack the ball, as James did. DC sat back a bit hoping to soak up the pressure and kill the game. In the 90th minute, Lopez again had a nice shot off a free kick saved by Cronin who then kicked the ball out for a corner. On the ensuing corner, DC failed to clear and the ball fell to Roger Espinoza who one timed his shot on goal. The ball was heading into the net, but hit the elbow of Fred on the way in. The referee gave the PK and red carded Fred. Lopez stepped up and blasted the PK right past Cronin's feet and into the net. DC franticly tried to find the equalizer after that goal and almost did, as Rodney Wallace hit the post for DC for the second time in the night. DC continued to pressure until the final whistle, but KC held on for the draw.

Wizards Man of the Match - Claudio Lopez - Lopez had multiple good chances throughout the game and if not for some good goalkeeping by Cronin, he'd have had a couple tonight, the PK, despite being right next to Cronin was almost unsavable. This very well could have been Lopez's last game for KC, and he seemed to act that way a bit post game as well, but he went out with a good performance.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Hartman

Player Ratings - Hartman 6, Jewsbury 5, Besler 5, Hohlbein 6, Marquess 3, Arnaud 5, Zusi 6, Lopez 7, Kamara 6, Zoltan 4, Wolff 5. Subs Gomez 5, Espinoza NR.

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