Ten teams will be in action this weekend for Major League Soccer’s second round of matches. The Kansas City Wizards will not be one of them.
Fresh off thrashing D.C. United 4-0, Kansas City won’t have another chance to build on its fast start until April 10 against the Colorado Rapids at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
That gives manager Peter Vermes and his coaching staff plenty of time to polish some of the blemishes that got lost in the shuffle after such a one-sided contest.
Even though the Wizards largely outclassed United, the visitors were dangerous early on in both halves, hitting the crossbar and forcing goalkeeper Jimmy Niesen into action more than once.
“I would just say that you are trying to put parts of your game together that eventually add up to 90 minutes,” Vermes said. “There are times when we get stretched out because we’re not connected on the defensive side, and there’s a snowball effect, and they start to break us down.”
Kansas City’s pressure and ability to put the ball in the back of the net meant D.C. was never able to maintain any sort of real threat. But the Wizards know a more clinical team may not have succumbed so easily and one game is no guarantee of future success.
With so many new additions in the mix, the team is still in the development stages until it can test itself against league opponents with something on the line. Four goals against D.C. was certainly a pleasant surprise, but Vermes said there is room for growth on the attacking side of the ball as well.
“There were a couple instances through the game where it was almost like we could have just gotten a ticket, sat in the stands and watched the whoever had the ball,” Vermes said. “That’s not the way we want to be playing and moving off the ball.”
The Wizards will travel to St. Louis on Saturday for the return leg of the Supporters Showdown against AC St. Louis. Vermes said the team would use the exhibition to continue getting acclimated to the rhythm of a long season and prepare its new additions to play on the road in the league.
The bye week will also give the training staff extra time to patch up Ryan Smith (ankle), Chance Myers (hamstring) and Birahim Diop (knee).
Wizards notch 5-1 exhibition victory against Tulsa
Kansas City made easy work of the University of Tulsa in front of a few hundred fans at the team’s Swope Park Training Facility in a match that featured goals by both sides from nearly midfield.
Josh Wolff, Igor Kostrov, Teal Bunbry, Korede Aiyegbusi and recently signed-signed Indian star Sunil Chhetri scored in the win for Kansas City. Chhetri was active during his time on the field and showed an ability to connect with teammates and create chances.
“We already knew he had a really good pop on his shot,” Vermes said of Chhetri. “One thing he does really well is that the second he gets the ball he recognizes where the best player is to play is, and he gives it at the right time. It’s not take a touch, take a touch and somebody gets to him.”