Sunday, October 17, 2010

Playoffs Totally Out of Reach Now

The headline on the Wizards website reads "Missed Chances Doom KC: Wizards take plenty of shots, can't convert." That headline could basically be used to describe the entire season for KC, which while it didn't end last night, their playoff chances did, as the Wizards fell 1-0 to the New England Revolution. Missing Ryan Smith again due to family illness, and Jimmy Conrad due to a concussion, the Wizards played like they did much of the season, holding possession, but poor shot selection or inability to create opportunities doomed the Wizards.

New England almost grabbed an early lead through Sharlie Joseph, as he took a shot from the top of the box that hit the post and bounced out into play. Joseph had Jimmy Nielsen beaten, but couldn't beat the post. KC controlled possession and had 1 of a few penalty shouts shortly after as Kei Kamara got pulled down a bit from behind. Kamara had another good chance in the 15th minute, when a corner by Roger Espinoza was headed back into the middle by Shavar Thomas, where Kamara couldn't direct his header on goal. New England grabbed the lead a bit against the run of play as Chris Tierney played a long ball over the top to Joseph. Thomas looked to have decent positioning on Joseph to make him go wide of goal. Nielsen though for some reason came off his line attacking the ball. Joseph took a touch to round Nielsen and put the ball into the empty net. Nielsen, who has been solid for the Wizards this season has to accept the blame on that play as he had no business coming out to get that ball when Thomas was in a good defensive position. KC came back and continued to hold possession, but couldn't create any real dangerous chances to test Bobby Shuttleworth in the New England net. The big worry of the first half, though, could be the injury that Michael Harrington sustained late in the half having to be replaced. A big disappointment for a guy that has had a superb season for the Wizards at right back.

The second half KC continued to control the tempo of the game. Kamara had a great chance in the 59th minute from a frozen rope free kick that he put just wide of the far post. KC had another penalty shout later in the half as Jack Jewsbury appeared to be pulled down from behind in the box, but Jair Marrufo didn't call the foul. KC was lucky to get away without a penalty getting called as well, as Matt Besler handled the ball in the box, but again Marrufo kept his whistle in his hand. In the 69th minute, Teal Bunbury almost pulled the Wizards back into it with a nice piece of individual skill as he turned his defender and fired a shot that he the elbow of the post and bounced out of bounds. KC continued to press the game, and had a great opportunity early in stoppage time as Bunbury was played behind the New England defense. Bunbury was pulled down by Emmanuel Osei in what looked to be a denial of a goalscoring opportunity as Bunbury only had Shuttleworth in front of him. Marrufo though only gave Osei a yellow card. Not that a man advantage would have helped KC that late in the game, but an inconsistent call by the referee in a game where he was nothing but inconsistent for both sides. The ensuing free kick amounted to nothing and KC's playoff chances were completely gone. Not that they wouldn't have ended later in the day yesterday as Colorado came out and beat LA 3-1, which would have ended KC's hopes even if they had won last night. Last night was just another one of those games that explained the entire season in a 90 minute period. And when the team needed a goal in the second half, the only offensive sub they bring on is Graham Zusi, who happened to be the only real credible offensive threat on the bench anyways. Chance Myers came in and immediately slotted in at right back while Jonathan Leathers slide into the center of defense, there were no real tactical changes because there were no offensive options on the bench.

Wizards Man of the Match - Shavar Thomas - Shut down New England's attack and if not for a brain fart from Nielsen likely would have prevented Joseph from scoring the Revolution's lone goal.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 4, Harrington 5, Thomas 6, Besler 5, Espinoza 5, Arnaud 5, Jewsbury 4, Rocastle 4, Kamara 5, Bunbury 5, Wolff 4. Subs Leathers 5, Zusi 4, Myers 4.

1 comment:

Moop said...

Admittedly, The White Puma made a bad call on that play. However, I would question how much of that reaction in that situation has been learned this year. The way the central defenders have made mind-numbing "brain farts" repeatedly this season, I wonder if Nielsen saw the one-on-one and though, "oh no, not again." Instead of letting it happen like usual and having to deal with a shot within the 18, he decided to try his luck earlier (albeit, unsuccessfully). I'm not defending him, I'm just thinking out loud. I'm not saying our central backs haven't played bad this season, necessarily, but they have had a tendency to put our keeper in bad situations randomly this year.

Props to the Wizards for keeping the playoff hopes alive this long, in spite of some depressing results early in the season. Looking forward to the season's last game and next year in the new stadium.