Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes sounded frustrated, even a little angry, following The Wizards' 2-1 disheartening defeat at the hands of a desperate D.C. United. He had every reason to be.
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Leaking goals and lacking firepower, D.C. United gave 19-year-old Bill Hamid his first career start in goal and benched regular Santino Quaranta in an attempt to conjure up the club’s first points of 2010. United entered the nationally televised matchup ready to fight and claw for a result.
In the end, Kansas City practically handed D.C. the points, committing two defensive miscues that directly led to Danny Allsopp’s game-winning brace for United.
“Credit to them for getting their points,” Vermes said, “but shame on us for giving away two easy chances that should have been routine plays.”
At the center of both goals was young Wizards centerback Pablo Escobar. Allsop gave United its first lead of the season after Escobar allowed a long clearance to bounce and the Australian battled his way onto the end of it. His ensuing shot deflected past frozen KC 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen.
Allsop’s second came from an even more puzzling play when Escobar sent a casual pass intended for a teammate which instead ended up on the feet of former Wizard Adam Cristman. Cristman immediately found Allsopp unmarked at the top of the penalty area and the striker took one touch and fired a curling shot inside Nielsen’s far post.
And although Vermes made it clear that the plays leading to both goals were unacceptable, he took the brunt of the blame, vowing to correct the issues that kept the Wizards pointless on the road against a scuffling United squad.
“Shame on me,” Vermes said. “Believe me, I’m going to make sure this stuff doesn’t happen in the future because it’s not right. I take responsibility for that stuff. It should not happen.”
Just as frustrating for Kansas City was its continued difficulty putting the ball in the back of the net despite Kei Kamara’s goal in second-half stoppage time. The Wizards recorded 14 shots to United’s nine, earned 11 corner kicks and tested Hamid from all different angles.
But the young D.C. goalkeeper was up to the task. Despite Kansas City enjoying the majority of dangerous possession, Hamid's quick reactions and prudent positioning thwarted quality chances by Jack Jewsbury, Roger Espinoza and Chance Myers.
“It was good to get the goal,” Vermes said. “But we needed to get it a little earlier to put a little more pressure on them because that was what they were a little bit fearful of, us getting a goal and how they would respond.”
In a way, things have come full circle for the Wizards. After dominating D.C. United 4-0 to open the season, Kansas City are on a four-game slide in which they have only earned one point and scored one goal.
If Vermes hopes to change that, he knows step one is eliminating the kinds of mistakes that gave his team the unenviable distinction of being the victim of United’s first win in 2010.
“It’s something that we will get right,” Vermes said. “That’s for sure.”