Even before Kansas City departed Houston smarting from a 3-0 defeat, the team’s scoring drought was a minor concern. Fast forward a few days, and the Wizards are now facing an 312-minute streak in which they haven’t found the back of the net. The longer that streak goes, the more concern there will be.
The Wizards’ first opportunity to break that streak comes Wednesday at RFK Stadium against D.C. United, their week-one whipping boy against whom they scored four goals.
“The negative thing would be if you’re not creating chances,” coach Peter Vermes said. “I think anybody would say that we are creating chances.”
At the very least, Kansas City are certainly testing opposing goalkeepers. Despite having only two shots on frame against the Dynamo, the Wizards are third in the league in shots on goal with 29. The problem is those shots aren’t regularly resulting in goals.
Vermes’ team is averaging one goal for every 5.8 shots on target. As a point of reference, Houston average one goal every 2.3 shots. Only D.C. United have worse stats than Kansas City in this regard.
While four goals to open the season against D.C. United was an offensive highpoint, the Wizards haven’t come close to matching that since. Kei Kamara scored against Colorado to eke out a 1-0 victory almost a month ago, but there’s been a three-game dry spell since that header, and it’s little coincidence that the side has earned only one point from nine available in the period.
Just as concerning is the fact that last season’s leading scorer, Josh Wolff, has yet to find his scoring touch, testing the goalkeeper just twice in five games while playing on the wing instead of his customary central striker role.
“For us, it’s going to come from different areas of the field,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. “If Josh can get on fire, that’s great."
Wolff scored 10 league goals last season, most of which came in spurts. He said Kansas City simply needs to be a little more composed in the final third to open up opposing defenses.
“We’re all trying to press and push and get the goal,” Wolff said. “But sometimes you need to make another pass and sometimes you need to slow it down. It’s not just one thing.”
Whatever it is, it has also seemed at times like Kansas City cannot buy a break. Exhibit A came a little more than a week ago against the Galaxy when Kamara whiffed on the goal line, knocked the ball in with his trailing arm and became an Internet sensation in the process.
“Some days everything you hit goes in,” Davy Arnaud said. “And some days you miss one that’s on the line. It’s soccer. That’s the way it is.”
The Wizards just hope they started getting the breaks at some point. But in the end, it all comes down to players making plays, and that mean’s taking advantage when the opportunity presents itself.
“The key is that when we do get in these positions, we stick the ball in the back of the net,” Vermes said. “That’s the key ingredient.”