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.