Greetings from Salt Lake City International Airport, sitting here waiting on my flight back to KC I figured I'd get my post game write up out. Stat report will be coming out late tonight or tomorrow depending on how I feel when I get home. I came out here not expecting the Wizards to pull this result out last night against Real Salt Lake, but the way the Wizards did it was very disappointing. A lack of basic fundamentals by the Wizards led to all 4 of Salt Lake's goals last night. From herd ball, to poor goalkeeping, to poor marking, to poor passing the Wizards just didn't look good enough at all. And that is on top of the team's continued in ability to create very dangerous chances and some piss poor touches by players all over the field (the most obvious as I look back on the game was Chance Myers twice letting the ball go out off his foot when he had no one around him). This team has a basic lack of fundamentals when it comes to basic things right now and it's hard to see those things getting fixed at this point.
The Wizards had some possession and some half chances early on but didn't really test Nick Rimando that much in the RSL net. Then in the 31st minute, the first fundamental breakdown came, as 3 Wizards converged on Andy Williams as he had the ball leaving Fabian Espindola wide open. Williams fed Espindola who beat Jimmy Nielsen to his far post giving RSL the 1-0 lead early on. Instead of staying with his runner, Jonathan Leathers went to Williams with Jimmy Conrad and Michael Harrington leaving Espindola open for RSL. Espindola was finding space down the Wizards right all the first half and if not for some close offside calls, RSL likely would have been up more early on. Still only a few minutes after RSL's first goal, Espindola once again got down the Wizards right, leaving Leathers in the dust. Espindola played a cross into the box that Nielsen tried to catch instead of punch clear. The ball went through his hands to the back post where Alvaro Saborio beat Harrington to the ball and put it into the empty net doubling RSL's lead. Salt Lake could have added a third in the first half if not for a nice save by Nielsen.
Referee Ricardo Salazar let the game play and may have let the game get a bit out of hand as Davy Arnaud seemed to get beat up quite a bit on plays without a Salt Lake player picking up a card. Eventually a persistent infringement card needs to come out, even if it's not the same player doing the fouling. Arnaud though played a big part in the Wizards goal late in the first half. Nat Borchers was lazy with the ball at the top of his own box, Arnaud came in and got the ball away from Borchers and dribbled into the box. Arnaud picked out Wolff who slid the ball underneath Rimando to give the Wizards a life line in the game.
In the second half the Wizards came out trying to find the equalizer early on. They had their chances and appeared to equalize when a long ball from about midfield looked like it drifted into the net before Rimando cleared it away. The referee didn't make the call and the linesman was poorly positioned to make a good call on the play. RSL also had their chances to add a third but Nielsen again came up big to make saves and keep the Wizards in the game. Late in the game a questionable foul on Matt Besler just outside the penalty gave the Wizards two problems, first it gave RSL a free kick deep in the Wizards area. Second, Arnaud came in to argue the call, bumped into Salazar and then made some colorful commits to the referee which drew him a second yellow for dissent and his marching orders after he'd picked up an earlier yellow on a weak call. After Arnaud had gone off the field, Javiar Morales stuck a nice free kick that Nielsen did well to keep out with a kick save. Unfortunately no one followed the RSL runners on the back side and Robbie Russell came in and knocked home RSL's third of the game.
All night KC had been playing a little dangerously with passes across the back line with passes just been a half step away from being picked off for a break away and in second half stoppage time it finally bit KC. Graham Zusi played a hospital ball back to Besler that was intercepted by Ned Grabavoy who walked in and slotted the ball past Nielsen. Zusi up to that point had actually been doing well and had made a great run earlier in the half, but it's that play from this game that will be remembered. Once again, another game that the Wizards did not deserve to win takes their winless streak to 7 games now. It's now been 50 days since the Wizards last won a game and will be almost 2 months since their last win when they take the field next Saturday against Toronto. It's to the point where it's beyond frustration for many Wizards fans, they're tired of the poor results and the lack of offensive play. This team really misses Stephane Auvray in the middle of the field, he helps keep those situations like what happened with Espinodola from happening as he's marking Morales tighter. Jack Jewsbury just doesn't control the midfield the way Auvray can.
Wizards Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - It's getting old, but without him this is another 6-0 loss against Dallas. He made some very good saves to at least attempt to keep the Wizards in the game and outside of his poor decision on the second goal there was little he could do on the other goals.
Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Leathers 3, Conrad 3, Besler 4, Harrington 4, Jewsbury 4, Arnaud 4, Wolff 4, Smith 4, Bunbury 4, Kamara 3. Subs Myers 3, Zusi 4, Diop NR.