Kansas City Fall 1-0 to Crew

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Nate Brinson

Wizards Unbeaten Run Extends to 7

For the Kansas City Wizards, Sunday’s game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark against the Columbus Crew seemed like a recurring nightmare. The home side had more of the play and created more scoring chances than their opponent and seemed the livelier of the two sides. Once again, however, lack of finishing and an error in the back gave the Wizards a disappointing result.

This time, it was a wide open Emilio Renteria header midway through the second half that gave the still unbeaten Crew the victory over Kansas City and left the Wizards looking for answers.

“I am very frustrated,” said head coach Peter Vermes. “There are a lot of games where have played well. We just haven’t gotten it.”

Vermes made three changes in his starting lineup from last Saturday against Chicago. Jonathan Leathers received his first start of the season in place of Roger Espinoza, who is currently with the Honduran National Team. Matt Besler regained his spot in the back line in favor of Pablo Escobar, who seemed particularly at fault for several opposition goals, and rookie Teal Bunbury, who set up the late equalizer against the Fire last week, started in place of veteran Josh Wolff.

Kansas City looked to apply pressure early and often against a Crew side that had played only three days prior against New York. Columbus was able to absorb most of the pressure thanks to a back line anchored by Andy Iro, and in the tenth minute, they nearly capitalized on the Wizards high defensive line. Guillermo Barros Schelotto played in Eddie Gaven behind the Kansas City defense, but Jimmy Nielsen denied the Crew winger and kept the game scoreless.

For the rest of a rather first half, Columbus seemed content to sit back and preserve their energy on a warm, humid afternoon, and the home side were relegated to hopeful shots from distance. In the last minute of the first half, the Wizards nearly had the breakthrough. Graham Zusi, getting his second consecutive start for the injured Stephane Auvray, stormed down the left side and played a ball to Kamara at the top of the penalty area. Kamara laid the ball back to an onrushing Davy Arnaud. Arnaud’s wicked drive beat goalkeeper Will Hesmer, but the ball glanced the goalpost and out for a goal kick.

Kansas City maintained their pressure after halftime, and they nearly broke through again in the 47th minute. Bunbury beat Danny O’Roarke to the byline, but his cross was just off the mark as Kamara could not direct his header on goal. Less than a minute later, Bunbury stormed forward through the middle of the field. Bunbury control, but was able to tap it back to Zusi, who blasted a shot just wide from 20 yards.

Poor defending, however, reared its ugly head once again for the Wizards in the 64th minute. From a Schelotto corner kick, substitute Emilio Renteria was left criminally unmarked in the six yard box, and the Venezuelan headed home his second goal in as many games.

The Wizards had two opportunities to equalize in the later stages of the game. In the 71st minute, Ryan Smith’s tempting cross looked like it would result in an easy Kamara goal, but Iro intervened with an excellent last ditch header. In stoppage time, substitute Birahim Diop played a ball into fellow substitute Wolff. Wolff controlled the ball well, but he could not direct his half-volley on target. The last chance came one minute later when Kamara’s low cross just missed a sliding Wolff as Hesmer secured the loose ball and the Crew victory.

In the end, it was a game that seems to separate the top teams from the rest of the league. The Crew had everything going against them in this game, but they found a way to steal three points. For all of the Wizards efforts, they simply could not get a postive result, which has become a rather disturbing pattern for the club.

“I think we are a better team than our record shows right now,” said Arnaud after the game. “But having said that, we have got to get results.”

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