Wizards lament late breakdowns

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew, the Kansas City Wizards allowed a goal just before the break for the third consecutive match. However, for the first time in those three matches, the Wizards were defeated.

"We gave up a goal last week in the 44th minute so we talked about that this week," said Wizards coach Bob Gansler. "Obviously, the message was heard, but we didn't act on it."

On Wednesday, D.C. United took the lead in the 44th minute, but the Wizards fought back for a tie. Last weekend, Real Salt Lake scored in the same minute while the Wizards enjoyed a two-goal advantage. However, the Wizards were unable to take the lead or come back on Saturday at Crew Stadium as they were shutout for just the third time in 20 matches.

Despite a large percentage of possession and a greater willingness to attack at the beginning of the match, the Wizards had nothing to show for the early domination.

"The first 20 minutes were all ours. They didn't have a shot until the 20th minute. We have to capitalize. When you have the ball and the opportunities, you have to put some away. We didn't do that," said Gansler.

Given the nature of the match, Gansler thought the scoreline easily could have been reversed.

"If the scoreline is two for us and not for them, the way the game went you could find justice for that score as well," said Gansler.

The visitors also had a great chance to get back into the match just minutes after going down two goals. Davy Arnaud beat Jonny Walker from eight yards out after Khari Stephenson settled a cross by Chris Klein, but Arnaud's shot smacked off the post and the Crew were able clear the loose ball before Sasha Victorine pounced on it.

The result did not end as well for the Wizards as in their first Ohio trip of the season. Behind two goals from Josh Wolff, the Wizards soundly defeated the Crew 4-0 in May.

"Last time, we weren't four goals better than they were. Tonight, they weren't two goals better than we were," said Gansler. "They scored in an opportunistic fashion at psychologically important moments. It is a cruel game."

John Kuhn is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.