Sunday, May 23, 2010

Can We Finish?

It seems like there have a few games this season where KC has outplayed their opponent, but come up with nothing. Once again today out at Community America Ballpark, the Wizards controlled possession and out shot their opponents, but couldn't get anything out of the game. The Crew scored off a corner kick about half way through the second half and held on for the 1-0 win.

The best chance early on fell to Eddie Gaven who got in behind the Wizards defense on a broken offside trap, but Jimmy Nielsen came up with a big save in the 1v1 situation to avoid giving the Crew the early lead. Both teams continued to have some chances to take the lead as the half continued, as they traded possession. The Wizards best chance though would come right before stoppage time when Kei Kamara laid a ball back into the path of Davy Arnaud. Arnaud's shot sailed just wide of Will Hesmer's post and the teams went into the half tied 0-0.

The Wizards came out strong in the second half and had a few chances within the first couple minutes to take the lead with Kamara and Graham Zusi both going close on assists from Teal Bunbury. KC continued to press the attack as the second half went on, but it was the Crew who grabbed the lead in the 64th minute. On a corner kick from Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Emilio Renteria was left unmarked right in front of Jimmy Nielsen and easily headed past the Dane giving Columbus the lead. Rewatching the goal, there are a few people to blame. Jimmy Conrad didn't pick him up and Nielsen didn't force anyone to pick him up as a keeper should. Nielsen probably could have made a play to try and grab or punch the ball as well. KC continued to press after the goal holding possession and creating half chances, but no really good chances. Josh Wolff came on as a sub and looked dangerous, creating a few chances. Unfortunately the entire team couldn't create real chances to really test Hesmer in the Columbus net.

And that's been the real issue for the Wizards as of late, the team in their press releases will talk about their "offensive efficiency" and how they're putting such a high percentage of their shots on net, but the Wizards are the 3rd worst in the league when it comes to actually putting the ball in net. Only the expansion Philadelphia Union and DC United have scored fewer goals this season than the Wizards. Since the 4-0 win over DC, the Wizards have scored only 4 goals in the next 7 games. On top of that those 4 goals have only come from one source, Kamara. It's been 650 minutes since someone other than Kamara scored a goal. When the Wizards next take the field on Saturday against Real Salt Lake, it will have been 63 days since Jack Jewsbury's PK against DC.

Other than that, I really want to lay into the team, but it's hard to, the team overall played well today, the defense is strong, we controlled the ball well, we kept Columbus to mostly half chances minus the goal. It's just in the final third where things need to improve greatly. Is it time to give Sunil Chhetri a try up top in a league game, see what he can do? The question Robb Heineman posted a little while ago on Bigsoccer, do we need that designated player to just be a guy that can consistently finish? It's just frustrating watching the team play well in the back 2/3rds of the field but then fall apart once they get about 20 yards from goal.

Wizards Man of the Match - Michael Harrington - Moving back over to the left back position, Harrington had a solid game keeping track of his runners and controlling the left side of the field. He was also able to get forward some and try to bring something to the attack as well.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Leathers 5, Conrad 5, Besler 5, Harrington 6, Jewsbury 5, Zusi 5, Arnaud 6, Bunbury 6, Kamara 5, Smith 5. Subs Wolff 6, Rocastle 4, Diop NR.


Reepicheep said...

YES it's definitely time to give Chetri a chance.

I thought Bunbury was a much better threat than Wolff has been. I didn't perceive Wolff to be that dangerous except the one left footed half-volley he missed.

I see almost nothing in Rocastle.

Ryan Smith needs to pick up his intensity, he does alot of walking. A player of his skill level is frustrating to watch half jog too much.

Having said all that, the Wizards clearly had the better of possession. It was hideously frustrating to endure another loss like that.

Finally, what's up with the Wizards not playing to the whistle? It's something my 11,9, and 7 year old sons noticed today and rightly criticized these professional players. On several occasions-including the broken trap that led to the Gaven semi-breakaway-Wizards players practically stopped to wave their hands in complaint when they thought the refs should have made a call. Come on guys, play to the whistle.

MOUFWASH said...

i think its time to switch from the 4-3-3. no one looks on the same page in the final 3rd

basically we are playing pressure and pray.. dont look dangerous at all trying to build anything ourselves.

mrdot said...

I like Ryan Smith's aggressiveness and ability to run past defenders, but he needs to improve his tactical awareness and shooting. Same with Bunbury. If these guys can develop a little bit and learn to feed off of Kamara's instincts, they could be a real force.

Anonymous said...

I saw the 2 nd half online, and it seems that Columbus let us possess and just absorbed the pressure. We were extremely predictable, launching hopeful ball after hopeful ball into the box. I'm not sure Sunil will be able to do much with that formula. We seemed more dangerous when we kept the ball on the ground, but still slow and indecisive.

pbunyar said...

I thought Teal did bring some more danger to the match for us. But I keep expecting someone to be where they are not.

For example, Zusi played pretty well and was getting forward but too far forward. There were balls laid toward the back of the 18 where he should have been. Another example is when Teal or even Leathers have the ball on the right and Ryan Smith should be in the box on the opposite side -- in position to get some service or make the defense mark him and open things up for Kamara or Arnaud.

So, I totally agree that the 4-3-3 is not working for us. We cannot get into the right places to finish in this formation. No one seems to be on the same page.

I hate to say it, but it isn't even June and the Wizards are toast. I don't see us even getting a sniff of the playoffs. And that means I probably won't even attend a match again this year. I don't like being a fair weather fan, but I also don't want to spend money for only 60 minutes of pretty good play and another loss.

Anonymous said...

won't miss you fairweather fan boy pbunyar

The prohphet said...

teal looks legit, but escobar should be playing over besler, hes better in the air and a better player. the key to the wizards is YOU STILL DONT HAVE A # 10??? its been like this since chris klein was in the center and before that preki you cant win with out a creative attacking mid, thats who you need to spend DP money on. Jews, Hirsig and auvray or sold d mids, and im sure the 5 forwards will pick it up but davy is not a #10 hes a great player and should start but has no creativity. Walter Beseggio, is a #10 who is a free agent right now would not be a DP, but is as good as you can get. hes only 31 and has greaet ability on the ball, I wish Rob Heinemean would listen but give this team a #10 they can compete with anyone.Walter Bessegio, he;ll cost nothing look him up.

Anonymous said...

prophet, did you watch Escobar cost us the game in DC and the game against Chicago with his poor defending? He may be a "better" all around athlete, but he's certainly not a smarter player than Besler is.

Reepicheep said...

Prophet's right about our need for a legit #10. Problem is, that's the hardest position for the MLS to fill. A solid #10 that's under 35 generally finds a home on a team in a better league. Just sayin'

Escobar's first couple games were solid, then he blew up in the next two. Not time to give up on him yet. Besler is progressing nicely though. I don't think the problem for us has been primarily defensive.

Again, as has been the case for some time, it's in the midfield where we are experiencing our breakdowns.

I don't think the Wizards are toast yet. They are definitely a better team than last year and we almost made it. At the same time, the frustration level of watching very little progress over the last 4-5 years is growing. A new stadium will be awesome, but another season like this will squash enthusiasm quick.

Whatever the case, I'll be at every game.