Sunday, March 28, 2010

Exciting, Attractive, and Attacking

Wizards fans finally got to see the exciting, attractive, and attacking soccer that was promised by Curt Onalfo when he was named coach before the 2007 season. Who knew it wouldn't appear until Onalfo was actually on the opposite sideline for KC. For the first time since August of 2006, the Wizards won a match by more than 3 goals as they took out Onalfo's new team, DC United 4-0 at CAB to open the 2010 season.

KC started the game in a 4-3-3 with newcomers Jimmy Nielsen, Stephane Auvray, and Ryan Smith all starting their first game. The game early on was a little back and forth, with Nielsen having to make a good early save on Jaime Moreno in the 3rd minute. KC came back the other way, with Smith showing good pace, working a give and go with Josh Wolff before forcing Troy Perkins into a good save. Jack Jewsbury was the next to test Perkins only seconds later, but Perkins pushed the ball wide for a corner. In the 9th minute, the Wizards grabbed a deserved lead, as Jewsbury found Smith on the opposite side of the field with a nice pass across the top of the box, Smith dribbled into the box and once again forced Perkins into a save, this time the rebound fell right into the path of Kei Kamara who had an open net to put the ball into for the team's first of the season.

DC had thought they'd found the equalizer in the 14th minute when a Santino Quaranta free kick was cleared only as far as Andy Najar. The 17 year old let rip with a nice dipping shot that beat Nielsen, but not the post. The rebound fell to Chris Pontius who headed the ball into the net, but was ruled to have been offside when Najar's original shot took place. KC continued to press the game against DC, and doubled their lead in the 35th. Once again Smith was the creator, as he received a long ball from Auvray. Smith held the ball up and laid it off to an onrushing Davy Arnaud. The Wizards new captain took a touch and fired the ball low into the far corner making it 2-0 to KC.

Early in the second half, Smith got the goal that he deserved after his work throughout the game. Michael Harrington and Kamara worked the ball down the right before Kamara crossed into the middle trying to get the ball to Josh Wolff. Perkins got down and touched the ball away, but it went right into the path of Smith who was the trailing runner. Smith just placed the ball into the net making it 3-0. Even up 3-0, KC continued to push the game and were going for a fourth goal. That goal would come after Dejan Jakovic was called for a hand ball in the box, raising his arm up while going for a header with Kamara off a KC corner kick. After a little discussion over who would take the PK, Jewsbury stepped up and buried the ball to Perkins right as he went left.

Throughout the game KC was clearly the more dominate side, DC never seemed to really get into the game, especially after having Pontius' goal called back. There wasn't really any doubt once KC went up 2-0. The team overall on the field looked completely different. In previous years, while the Wizards may have won this guy, they likely would have given up a goal or two themselves in the process as well. The fact that they kept the shutout is well is a very good sign for the rest of this season. And while it's only one game, it certainly gives everyone that was picking KC to finish in 6th or worse in the East something to think about.

Wizards Man of the Match - Ryan Smith - Created 2 goals and scored one himself in his MLS debut before leaving the game due to injury. He was absolutely amazing last night and could have had multiple goals if not for some good saves by Perkins. Hopefully he doesn't become a victim of some of the leagues more physical players (I'm looking at you Dema Kovalenko as well as Philadelphia's entire roster). He could have himself a very good season.

Honorable Mention - Stephane Auvray, Davy Arnaud

Player Ratings - Nielsen 7, Harrington 7, Conrad 7, Besler 8, Espinoza 7, Jewsbury 6, Auvray 9, Arnaud 8, Smith 10, Wolff 5, Kamara 7. Subs Leathers 6, Bunbury 6, Aiyegbusi NR


Anonymous said...

Good stuff Mike! Game gallery is up.

J said...

very exciting indeed. Given the nasty weather, I didn't use my tickets sadly. But the HD broadcast on the CW was great to watch.

Reepicheep said...

In addition to being very pleasantly surprised by the Wizards intensity, chemistry, and the play of Ryan Smith- was anyone else struck at how flat DC looked. They ran straight lines, no creativity, overall very crappy.

hmmmm...what does that remind you of? Just like the last couple of years in KC. We know the common denominator.

Looks like a great year is at least potential for the Wiz.

Nathan Martin said...

What a great start. It'll take a few games to see if we're really that good with the new players and formation or if DC is really that bad (I knew they were trouble when I saw that Morsink was a starter).

Nobody cares who the captain is in a 4-0 blowout.