Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poor Start Dooms Wizards

For the second time in 4 days the Wizards made a poor start to the game. Unlike Wednesday's 4-3 win over Houston, the Wizards were unable to recover against the more talented FC Dallas team. Only 4 minutes into the game KC found themselves trailing a goal as Dallas passed around KC like they were traffic cones. Marvin Chavez played the ball to David Ferreira who chipped the ball into the box as Chavez continued his run. Chavez easily beat Jimmy Nielsen to the near post giving Dallas the early 1-0 lead. I had said pre-game that the Wizards couldn't afford to have a half like they did against Houston. Unfortunately in only the 12th minute KC found themselves once again down two goals. Milton Rodriguez made it 2-0 when Atiba Harris flicked on a Jackson Goncalves pass. On the play Jimmy Conrad committed to Harris and when he didn't beat him to the ball the ball got through to Rodriguez, who took a touch and then beat Nielsen to the far post. Those were Dallas' only two shots on goal in the first half. Dallas started to sit back holding onto their 2-0 lead. As an effect of that KC held more possession and created some chances. Unfortunately with the chances they did create they didn't really threaten Dario Sala in the Dallas net. All their good chances were right at the Dallas keeper.

KC made 1 change after only half an hour bringing in Wednesday's hero Josh Wolff for Stephane Auvray in what appeared to be a tactically move as Auvray had not been having a good half. But the goals don't really fall on Auvray as much as the complete lack of speed from our center backs. Conrad and Shavar Thomas have been protected a bit during this good run of form thanks to Auvray's good play. But with Auvray's form taking a bit of a dip lately KC's defensive liabilities are more apparent.

For the second game in a row, Birahim Diop was subbed out at half time for Teal Bunbury. I'd harp more on the fact that Diop continues to get starts when he's uneffective, but no one offensively was really effective last night. Still it's time to drop this love affair with starting Diop, and maybe now with the Wizards not being "unbeaten" when Diop starts will change that.

In the second half, KC continued to control possession and were creating a few more dangerous chances compared to the first half. Some of the Wizards best chances ended up not even being on goal. Thomas put a header just wide of the post early in the second half. Shortly after Thomas' chance, Bunbury forced a good save from Sala on a shot from outside the box that Sala didn't see until late. Shortly after KC got themselves on the board after Ryan Smith played the ball to Kei Kamara who picked out Wolff. Wolff's first touch was heavy but took the ball back into the path of Smith who one timed his shot on goal. The shot took a deflection that took it past Sala and cut the lead in half.

KC continued to press the game, Conrad put a ball just wide of the post off a Davy Arnaud corner kick. Later Kamara also put a header just wide of the other post. In the 82nd minute, Dallas put the game away as Ferreira found Jeff Cunningham down the left wing. Calls of Cunningham being offside were misplaced as he was held on by Thomas. From a sharp angle Cunningham beat Nielsen and restored the 2 goal lead. Soon after Eric Alexander could have made it 4-1, but Nielsen came up with a good foot save.

The loss seemed to be a return to form from May and June when KC would hold possession but wouldn't really create many dangerous chances. the result for the Wizards and the other results around the league leave the Wizards playoff hopes just hanging on. The Wizards are 5 points out of a playoff spot, behind Colorado who currently holds the 8th spot.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - Kamara was all over the place last night although not really successful. Kamara continues to put up an MVP performance for the Wizards this season.

Player Ratings Nielsen 4, Harrington 5, Conrad 4, Thomas 3, Espinoza 5, Auvray 4, Rocastle 5, Arnaud 5, Kamara 5, Diop 3, Smith 5. Subs Wolff 5, Bunbury 4, Jewsbury 4.


Reepicheep said...

Your analysis concerning Auvray's dip in form exposing the slowness of our centerbacks is spot on.

I return to what I have said for some time- If the Wizards miss the playoffs, it is time for Vermes to go.

His novice was exposed last night on several fronts, but mainly by his continued insistence on starting Diop. One 2 goal game does not merit what he has been doing regarding Diop starting. Bunbury is more effective, period. Bunbury didn't get anything going yesterday, but subbing in is very different from starting, especially for a young guy who has been starting games since he was in U-6. The other evidence for coaching inexperience is going with Josh Wolff instead of someone like Jewsbury or Zusi. Wolff was dwarfed by the FC defenders (and pretty much everyone else), not to mention he is too slow to give the spark we need. His goal the other night was great- but not worthy of his being inserted so quickly when two faster center mid type players were on the bench. Putting four fowards up was unnecessary so early. They simply needed to replace Auvray with a more offensive minded CM.

I have a sense Ongoal doesn't want to make a change with the coach heading in to a new stadium, especially if he almost makes the playoffs. I don't relish calling for someone's job...I'm just being realistic about what I've seen so far.

I hope I'm totally wrong about Vermes. If so, I will definitely recant.

Anonymous said...

I disagree about Josh Wolff.

I think when he came on, both for Wednesday and yesterday night, he passed quickly and made combinations that opened of the defense of Houston and Dallas.

Anonymous said...

I'll go back to what I said months ago...Thomas needs to spend some quality time on the pine and let a faster more controlled defender like Besler back in the starting lineup. Many of the goals let in by the current defensive lineup are a result of Thomas' lack of speed, or poor clearances (ex: one of the Dallas goals was a poor header clearance). I believe 2 of the Houston goals can be linked to Thomas. As for the attack, Craig Rocastle is a big strong presence, but Zusi, when he is given more that a few minutes, generates more dangerous opprtunities and connects better with the forwards. Diop was a fluke and should not be starting infront of Bunbury. I think PV and his staff have not shown how to adapt to different teams or any tctical awareness in his subs. To sub late in the game ie: Jewsbury or Zusi in the 87th minute is a waste unless you are managing the clock. Thime for new leadership.