Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moving to the Top

KC's games are really starting to get a deja vu felling to them, because so often the script is the same. Go at the opposing team, pressure early (some times get a goal, sometimes now), start to see back a little bit, defensive error gives opponent a great opportunity (that they may or may not put away). KC comes out for the second half and pushes again looking for a goal (or another). If they do find a goal and take the lead the final 20-25 minutes are totally nerve wracking as KC deals with overwhelming pressure and their previous defensive error only magnifies it. KC will either dramatically hold on or give up a late equalizer/winner. It's becoming almost routine for KC, and last night was no exception.

KC came out early and pressure Columbus from the start looking for the early goal. Omar Bravo in particular was extremely active throughout the first half. In the 6th minute off a long free kick, Bravo got behind the defense, took a touch and fired a shot from a tough angle that Will Hesmer blocked. Bravo created another good chance a little later, getting open and firing a cross across the face of goal, but no one was there to tap it in. One of these days someone is going to make that back post run and reward Bravo with an assist. KC's early pressure paid off in the 14th minute when KC won a penalty kick. Chance Myers stole the ball off an errant pass from Kevin Burns and played the ball to CJ Sapong. Sapong dribbled into the box at Chad Marshall, made a cut and was going by Marshall when a late challenge by the Crew captain brought down Sapong. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. After a quick discussion between Bravo and Kei Kamara, Kamara stepped up and buried the PK to Hesmer's right as the goalkeeper went left.

As the script goes though for KC, the Crew started coming back into the game, almost immediately after the goal they should have equalized when Andres Mendoza lost his marker at the back post, but his shot ended up going high of the goal. The Crew equalizer did come though in the 34th. Robbie Rogers collected the ball after a bit of a scrum in the middle of the field. He played the ball to Emilio Renteria who had made a run between Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic and fired a shot from just outside the box into the far corner beating Jimmy Nielsen. Besler looked to have gotten sucked more to the right while Sinovic had gotten caught up field a little bit leaving the space for Renteria to run into. Shortly after the goal, KC had a golden opportunity for a second. A Graham Zusi free kick was headed on goal, likely for an easy save by Hesmer. Besler had lost his marker and got a flick on the ball, but his flick put the ball over the bar. It was the second time that KC had tried that play last night and the best result of the two, but overall a good set play that would be nice to see pulled out again as both times Besler was wide open.

In the second half KC continued their renewed pressure and Chance Myers almost had a deflected shot squeeze past Hesmer at the near post, but the post came to the keeper's rescue after Zusi had played a ball towards Bravo that was poorly cleared right into the path of Myers' whose far post shot was deflected onto the post on the near side. KC found a second in the 74th minute off another of Besler's long throws, which have become one of the most dangerous weapons in the league. Besler's throw towards Kamara was cut out by Julius James, but James' header went backwards, looping over Hesmer and into the far corner of the net giving KC the 2-1 lead. It wasn't pretty, but KC was finally able to break down Columbus' defense on a set play to grab their second lead of the game when it was starting to look like they'd get only 1 point. The Crew themselves made the final 15 minutes nervy as they pressured and forced Nielsen into some good saves, the best of which came in the 85th after Mendoza was able to get past Besler after a dummy on a long ball by the Crew. The hard shot went into the chest of Nielsen and the rebound went over the goal. KC withstood the late pressure and moved into first place in the Eastern Conference.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Davy Arnaud - In his return to the starting lineup, Arnaud brought energy and tenacity that KC had seemed to be lacking a bit. Not that Roger Espinoza doesn't provide those things, but Arnaud provides them in a different way and his fight last night helped KC to control the midfield in the game where Arnaud tied the regular season appearance mark for KC.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Sinovic 5, Collin 5, Besler 5, Myers 6, Cesar 6, Zusi 5, Arnaud 7, Kamara 6, Bravo 6, Sapong 6. Subs Olum 5, Harrington NR.


JustinMayhugh said...

What a great night!

hartley said...

How can we write a new script? Shuffle the deck a little with the lineup?

I am all for trying Bravo as the attacking head of the midfield again, but I also like him out wide. I am also for seeing Jeferson get himself back out there and making that pass that unlocks the opposing defense. Who knows, maybe Joseph could do such a thing? Or maybe Saad can play in that spot and make something good happen?

Davy played great defensively and was very timely with some fouls. But his ball handling was a bit rusty.

Would really like to see Cesar with Besler in the back. That pairing seems to work best. Bring Collin on late for Cesar — taking Cesar out instead of pushing him forward as dmid. Changing the defensive assignments seems to confuse Collin, Cesar and Besler too much.

Glad for the win. Looking for another.