Sunday, April 25, 2010


Kansas City continued their home shutout streak last night against LA, but could not find the net themselves as the two teams finished last night 0-0. The big question coming in, was how KC was going to stop the LA attack, specifically Edson Buddle, especially without Jimmy Conrad in the lineup. But Pablo Escobar and Matt Besler did a very good job of shutting the striker down, allowing him only 1 shot the entire game. Stephane Auvray and the two center backs also did a good job of keeping Landon Donovan from stepping up and being the difference maker as well.

KC started the game well enough, and should have taken the lead in the 17th minute when Davy Arnaud was played in on goal, Arnaud's original shot was partially blocked by Donovan Ricketts and was rolling along the goal line just needing a touch to put KC up. Kei Kamara came running in for the final touch, but slipped, missed, and then slide through the ball knocking it in with his hand. A horror miss for Kamara, how can't really explain what exactly happened on the play. The rest of the first half, KC and LA traded chances with Jimmy Nielsen and Ricketts both making saves to keep the game tied. KC tested Ricketts as much as he'd been tested the past 4 games combined annd Ricketts passed the test.

In the second half, KC continued to push for the goal and had plenty of chances to grab a goal, with Kamara, Jack Jewsbury, Davy Arnaud, and Roger Espinoza all have chances saved by Ricketts. Jewsbury had the best of those chances with Ricketts making a diving save and another that went into the hands of Ricketts. LA's best chance of the second half came from one of KC's chances as LA did a quick counter that Donovan got to, but Nielsen basically sat on the ball as Donovan tried to 5 hole him. KC continued to push, but their attack didn't seem the same the last few minutes after Kamara was subbed out for Birahim Diop. Diop just didn't seem into the game and struggled to provide the same knock down service that Kamara had been providing as a center forward. A nice statement game for the Wizards defense, a defense that has allowed a total of 1 goal in 4 league games this season, and last night it was done without the team's leader on the back line, Jimmy Conrad. The offense though needs to pick it up a little bit though, as the team has scored only 1 goal in the previous 3 league games. Smith hasn't been as involved the past few games, I'd like to see him go at more defenders during the game, I think that was an area he could have exploited last night but he didn't go at defenders enough I thought.

Wizards Man of the Match - Matt Besler - Was an anchor in the back for the Wizards defense last night, together with Pablo Escobar and Stephane Auvray, and later Aaron Hohlbein, Besler shut down the LA front line of Buddle and Donovan.

Honorable Mention - Auvray, Nielsen

Player Ratings - Nielsen 7, Harrington 6, Escobar 6, Besler 7, Espinoza 6, Arnaud 5, Auvray 7, Jewsbury 6, Smith 5, Kamara 5, Wolff 5. Subs Hohlbein 6, Myers 5, Diop 4.


Ron Bishop said...

Agree with your analysis. Biop was a non factor coming in.

I've been impressed with Auvray. He has done a good job shutting down key players on the other teams; a solid midfielder.

There seemed to be some spirited discussion between Auvray and Smith/Kamara. While I've been impressed with Espinoza, he had some crosses that went Wizards around?!

Kamara shouldn't worry about being "selfish" - make sure the ball gets into the net! That's what he's paid to do. We need some offensive production.

Maybe Meyers can provide the spark that Zoltan would bring to the game? He had the diving header attempt late vs Rapids at UMKC. He brought some fire versus Seattle. Last night he was in for 8 minutes.

MOUFWASH said...

5? I thought Davy and Jewsbury both played well, both probably should have had a goal but were both workhorses in the midfield. Auvray has a couple turnovers in bad situations every game that kind of bug me.

Smith needs the ball more

Wolff's touch was bad, and his crossing worse.

First time this season I dont agree with your ratings.

Ron Bishop said...

Correct - Jewsbury looked very good!

Anonymous said...

7 a little high for Auvray, did not seem in the flow of the game and still getting use to the positions of his teammates. He had several poor turnovers in KC defensive end.

Reepicheep said...

Auvray has been stellar, he greatly aids the centerbacks and is a key reason for the defensive improvement we have seen.

Escobar is seriously fast.

Right on about Diop. Myers might have been worse. I'd much rather see Chetri if we have to sub Kamara. Kamara was dangerous throughout, despite the inexplicable miss. Myers just doesn't seem to be getting better.

ESPINOSA did an excellent job (please note my new found enthusiasm about Espy!)

One of the best games I have seen from Jewsbury.

To bookend my opening comment- I think Auvray also helps the mids/forwards going forward. He's so mobile and sturdy on D, it seems to let Jewsbury play with a more forward mindset. Smith is a talented pick up-indeed a "steal" for the Wizards, but Auvray may prove to be the the Wiz MVP this year. Let's see...

hartley said...

Hmmm. Good point taken from the Gals.

Auvray did have some turnovers in bad spots in the first half but seemed to iron things out for the second half. I prefer him to having Jack in the back of the midfield or HIrsig.

Davy and Jack were again very good in midfield. Josh just didn't have good touch. Kamara was good but should have finished the sitter.

I a bit disappointed with Ryan Smith. I agree he needs to get touches, but when the ball is on the opposite side of the field, he needs to be getting into the box to get the ball — not hanging back. He is playing with the ball too much when he does get it. In the 4-3-3 he is a forward and needs to get up in the six like he is a forward.

In fact, when he had success in the first game of the season it is because he was more forward in getting the ball. He was getting behind the defense instead of playing around with it as defenders gang up on him.

Besler was a rock. Pablo did well. But I must say, I would rather see Conrad in there with Besler. That worked in game 1.

If Josh is going to come off, then Teal should replace him. Then you have speed on both wings. And Chance is still playing like a defender not a forward wing.

Or…if Josh is coming off, you could push Davy or Jack out wide and bring on Hirsig or Rocastle.

Just saying…thanks.

Nathan Martin said...

The more I see Smith, the more I wonder what he would look like in the center of the field (the striker in our system). Instead of beating defenders for a cross or shot from a tough angle, he would have a great look at goal.

Another thought would be to put him on the right so that he could shoot with his left as he cuts into the middle of the field.

Basically, Smith is dangerous on the ball and neither Wolff nor Kamara have finished particularly well so why not take a look at him in front of goal.

Anyone else have thoughts on the center forward position because we've created havoc up to the 20 yard box but still don't seem to have that pure finisher who can get the ball across the line in whatever way that is necessary.

bstoeff said...

Harrington got burned baaaaaad a few times I think 6 is to high and Espinoza I thought had an outstanding game and played some really nice balls to run onto. Also I hated Besler last season but I am quickly jumping on his band wagon he has played very well so far this season.