Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Open Cup Run Over

Well that didn't take long. The Wizards trip into the 2010 US Open Cup is over before it officially got started as the Wizards were knocked out in the first round of MLS qualifying by the Colorado Rapids tonight, 2-1 on the back of two Wells Thompson goals. The game started very brightly for KC, as in the 5th minute, Teal Bunbury made a nice solo run down the left wing and played in a lofted cross. It was a poor cross that appeared headed right for Steward Ceus in the Rapids goal made a complete mess of the cross though and it went through his hands and into the net to give KC the very early lead and Bunbury his first professional goal.

Like the first game between these two teams on Saturday it was a very physical game, and the referee was letting the teams play, which led to many tackles and challenges that would at other times be fouls allowed to play on. This played more into the Rapids style of play, and the Wizards started to give up more possession. As the Rapids held more possession, the Wizards sat deeper and deeper and started to give away a few corners. On one corner, the ball was partially cleared and sent back across the box where Menhdi Ballouchy fired the ball across the face of goal, but no Rapids player got on the end of it and it was cleared for another corner. On that corner, the ball was played to the back post where Thompson headed the ball into the net to level the scores.

The goal seemed to wake the Wizards back up and they began to press again and should have added two more goals before the break. Josh Wolff played a nice ball in behind the Rapids defense that Chance Myers got on the end of, but then couldn't get a shot off to finish. Wolff himself had a chance as well on a beautiful cross field ball from Graham Zusi. Wolff's first touch off his chest though was too hard and ended up in the hands of Ceus.

At half time, coach Peter Vermes pulled Korede Aiyegbusi and Sunil Chhetri (who didn't look bad, but didn't really do much to impress in his debut) for Michael Harrington and Kei Kamara. The Wizards once again started the half as the stronger side with Kamara almost getting on the end of a Harrington cross as Ceus again spilled the ball. As the second half wore on though, it was the Rapids who started to really press the game, as Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa both pushed the Wizards back line, getting called offside a number of times, but also getting their chances pushing shots just wide or forcing Eric Kronberg into saves. KC had a few chances of their own, with Zusi forcing Ceus into a decent save. The introduction of Claudio Lopez around the 80th minute turned the game as with basically his first touch he played in Thompson who beat Kronberg and gave the Rapids the lead. With the lead, Colorado was the ones who sat back and tried to absorb the pressure and did a good job of it, although KC had their chances, as Stephane Auvray had a shot blocked and it rolled just wide of the post. Then late in second half stoppage time, KC had a couple more chances, as a header was tipped over the bar by Ceus, Leathers had a shot on goal saved off the line by a Rapids defender, and another header went just wide of the post. In the end, KC couldn't find the net and Colorado advances to take on New York, Philadelphia or New England.

Wizards Man of the Match - Craig Rocastle - Rocastle was a calming, direct influence on the field tonight, he did a good job of breaking up plays and starting Wizards attacks. He also looked good with his feet, doing well to evade defenders and try to find the open man. At the same time he just collected and distributed the ball around. Nothing overly flashy, efficient.

Lineup - Kronberg 5, Aiyegbusi 4, Conrad 5, Escobar 4, Leathers 5, Rocastle 7, Zusi 6, Chhetri 4, Bunbury 5, Wolff 6, Myers 5. Subs Kamara 6, Harrington 4, Auvray 5, Diop NR.


MOUFWASH said...

Runs up top were bad, Wolff kept dropping to much into the midfield; effectively guarding our own players.

Agreed on POTM, Rocastle looked like one of the few that was comfortable on the ball.

Chhetri will need to adjust to the being roughed up more during games, but he seemed to get a bit more comfortable as the game went on. It was really hard to tell though as Wolff kept dropping into his space.

Overall it was just ugly, the ball seemed to really take off on the turf and they didnt see comfortable with it. Shooting/Finishing was bad, most chances were wasted by players trying to hit a 1 time ball coming across their body and bouncing; not something really possible on turf.

Jimmy said...

I don't know how you can say Chhetri didn't look bad? He sure isn't ready to get out there and fight for the ball. I'll take Kamara.

Kay said...

Sunil wasn't impressive. But, to be fair to him, he wasn't very bad either. He is playing in a better league and different environment after a long time which isn't helping him and he needs some time.This isn't an excuse by any stretch but just the reality. This new player needs time and anyone who thought otherwise expected too much.My only complaint is his work rate, where he could have done better. I'm sure Peter is working on it but Sunil might not play his best at advanced central midfield role imho.

The game overall was OK but not our best one this season.Too bad we couldn't progress further.

And,yes, as a Chhetri supporter and a Wizards fan i'll take Kamara any day. But Sunil has just fit in and if/when he gets adjusted it will interesting to have them both.

Ron Bishop said...

As the Rapids pushed, our defenders kept getting beat. Conrad was chasing several times during the evening, leaving Kronberg alone and vulnerable.

Chhetri didn't make much difference out there. It was a start, but he will only get better. The size difference alone between him and Kamera makes a difference on corners.

Rocastle did look good out there. Good control of the ball.

Congratulations to Bunbury on his first goal!

Overall, the Wizards didn't look very good last night - even Kamera and Auvray. Seems like they weren't operating as a team - passes to open space but no one would move to be there. Would like to see the forwards take more shots, rather than pass off to someone who might have a better shot.

There were moments that were exciting, like when Meyers tried to head it in, but not a sustained effort.

I hope they got it out of their system and bounce back for the regular season.

bstoeff said...

I agree, Rocastle as pretty ill last night, he has a nice touch for how big of a player he is. I am excited to see what else he can do. I also thought Zusi played pretty well, he played a lot of quality balls that were wasted by a lack of effort up top.

Reepicheep said...

While there were flashes of good things, overall the play was very sloppy, especially in the final third.

Chance Myers is still young, but I had hoped for better play by his third season (granting he was hurt much of last year). He seemed to rush crossing every ball he could, not one was good. Plenty of chances to dribble to goal further, but crossed.

Frankly I was bummed the Wiz didn't seem to really go for this win. I totally understand saving players for regular season, but why not start Auvray, Kamara, Harrington, and maybe Arnaud or Jewsbury. Pull that at half no matter what. Give us a chance to press and score and advance. Kind of a bummer.

hartley said...

I think there were a couple of glaring problems in this loss. While playing a 4-3-3, we shouldn't be using four forwards. The middle forward and middle midfielder should not be changing places. It was more the difficult even to tell if it was Wolff or Chhetri that was the forward.

Also, Chance needs to make the most of his chances. And last night he did get forward enough. There were at least five times that if he had pushed forward where he should have been [inside the 18] then he/we could have had goals.

Disappointing loss. But I must say it was a fun match to watch and the UMKC facility is very nice.

Nathan Martin said...

I wasn't able to attend this game so everything that I know is from the typed reports.

From what I have seen this 4-3-3 increases the offensive and defensive pressure on the other team. Although at times players get caught out of position leaving gaps all the way back to the center backs. I expect to see a number of counter attack goals against us this season unless the players tighten up their shape.

Also many people really liked Rocastle's play. Do any of you guys think he will replace Jewsbury in the starting XI soon?

Reepicheep said...

Interesting question about Rocastle over Jewsbury.

Rocastle has better ball handling skills and passing but isn't very fast. Jewsbury is quicker, tougher, with a better shot.

If they stick with a 4-3-3 I say Auvray is the centermid, hands down. He functions like an old school stopper.

hartley said...

Why would anyone want to replace Jewsbury?

Nathan Martin said...

If Rocastle doesn't have a good workrate than he wouldn't fit into our midfield as a starter.

Rocastle subbed in for Jack Saturday and people praised his play so I thought it was a legitimate question. Although I thought that Birahim Diop was going start at that spot. Is he still hurt?

Mike said...

Nathan, Diop came on as a Sub Tuesday, I'm betting he traveled.