The Wizards finally broke their 9 game winless streak last night with a 2-0 win over the expansion Philadelphia Union. Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi scored for the Wizards, giving them enough for the win. They also got some help when Michael Orozco Fiscal was sent off late in the second half for a second yellow card offense.
Things started brightly for the Wizards as they pressed the game from the start of the game, controlling the game. The Wizards were rewarded in the 9th minute with their first goal. Ryan Smith started the play on the left side of the field playing the ball across the middle to Davy Arnaud who picked out Kamara as he streaked into the corner of the box and fired a 1 time shot past Chris Seitz to give KC the lead. After the goal the Wizards sat back and let Philadelphia bring the game to them. The Union were able to create some half chances that tested Jimmy Nielsen, but KC was able to withstand the pressure. KC started to get some breaks on the counter through all the Union's possession, and in the 35th minute, KC doubled their lead. Smith received the ball in the offensive half of the field, dribbled at his two defenders before a slide tackle took him out he laid the ball off to Zusi who was making his way into the box. Zusi took a touch and slotted the ball past Seitz for his first career goal to give the Wizards the 2-0 lead.
Along with the goals, the first half also saw a lot of fouls, some particularly hard ones that saw some of the Wizards players, particularly Smith, need some treatment before the half time whistle. The Union paid for their physical play though, as in the 42nd minute, Orozco Fiscal brought down Josh Wolff near the sideline with a scissor tackle. The tackle was could have been a straight red, but Orozco Fiscal was shown his second yellow card and given his marching orders, the second time in as many weeks the Wizards have been up a man in the first half. KC almost made Philly pay in first half stoppage time, as Smith picked the ball up just inside the Wizards half dribbled deep into the Union's end and fired a shot that went just wide of the post.
While the first half the Wizards were able to pick up a couple goals and grab the lead, the second half was very disappointing considering the Wizards were a man up. KC seemed content to let Philadelphia have possession and dictate the game with 10 men while the Wizards sat back and absorbed pressure. And while it didn't come back to bite KC in the ass, it made for a very dull second half. The best chance for KC in the second half came in the 59th with Kamara and Korede Aiyegbusi played a one-two into the Union's box and while the play was broken up Kamara got the ball back, turned and fired a shot that went well over the goal. As the second half wore on the Union continued to get half chances that Nielsen dealt with to preserve the shut out and send the Wizards into the World Cup break with a win. And while the win is nice, it's disturbing that the Wizards allowed the Union so much possession and control of the game, especially up a man. It seemed that the Wizards grabbed the goal and then decided to try to kill the game off. It succeeded this game, but that's not going to be something the Wizards can expect to do against most teams, a lot of teams will punish the Wizards for giving up that much possession, especially in their own half of the field.
Wizards Man of the Match - Ryan Smith - He only played 53 minutes due to a minor knock from the rough treatment from the Union, but Smith showed more flashes of what he really can do. It's disappointing that we only get to see flashes instead of regular consistent play, but picking up 2 assists and being a few inches away from a goal is a nice way to finish the game.
Honorable Mention - Jimmy Nielsen, Kei Kamara
Player Ratings - Nielsen 7, Myers 6, Conrad 6, Escobar NR, Harrington 5, Jewsbury 6, Arnaud 6, Zusi 7, Wolff 6, Kamara 7, Smith 7. Subs Besler 5, Aiyegbusi 5, Leathers 5.