Jimmy Nielsen
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KC Breakdown: What went wrong in Houston

 

Result…

3-0 defeat on Saturday night against the Houston Dynamo (3-2-1) at Robertson Stadium 

Table position…

Tied for third in the Eastern Conference on seven points (2-2-1) with the New England Revolution

Three things to take away…  

1) Don’t read too much into the loss. Not many teams go in to Houston and leave with points, especially when they go down a man in the first half. The Wizards weren’t exactly bossing the game when Davy Arnaud was shown a red card, but manager Peter Vermes’ team did get the better of the play before the end of the first half. No, Kansas City couldn’t maintain that in the second half, but few teams can playing with 10 men against Dominic Kinnear’s men.

2) Kansas City need to start putting the ball in the back of the net. Rewind three weeks ago and the Wizards were flowing on offense, creating chances and scoring goals. The chances haven’t evaporated, but the goals have in the last three games. Playing at Seattle, at home against Los Angeles and at Houston was a tough stretch, but Kansas City can’t go much longer without scoring before it becomes a serious concern.

3) The Wizards are far from the final product. Clearly, this one goes without saying. The season is only five games old at this point, and Kansas City are still busy mixing in a bumper crop of new arrivals. That said, the Wizards haven't scored in 312 minutes and have taken just a point from their last nine possible. Vermes will have plenty of time to work with his squad following Wednesday’s matchup with D.C. United. Realistically, it is just going to take more game time for this squad to begin showing its full potential.

Two players who stood out…  

Jimmy Nielsen: The White Puma won’t be happy with conceding three goals, but the reality is that this game could have easily been 5-0 or 6-0. Nielsen made some spectacular reactionary and positional saves and has quickly developed a burgeoning fan club in Kansas City drawn to his quirky personality and straight talk.  

Luis Landin: Normally these spots are strictly reserved for Wizards players, but Landin’s contribution to the Dynamo (one goal and one assist) was so surprising that he snuck in here. Perhaps it was appropriate that he would leave the game with an injury, but his opening goal was very well taken and he finally showed some glimpses of what convinced Houston to give him Designated Player status. Whether he can keep that up is anyone’s guess.

One play that changed the game…

Vermes called Arnaud’s dismissal “a little ridiculous,” and it’s hard to disagree. Yellow card and a stern warning? No doubt. It just seemed a little overzealous for the referee to produce red when Arnaud was chasing a 50-50 ball and seemed to attempt to play the ball until the final second when Pat Onstad barely beat him to it. All in all, it changes the game completely, and that’s unfortunate for Kansas City and anyone looking for an evenly matched game.

Final verdict…

Losing 3-0 was disappointing, but taking too much away from the performance would be irresponsible. Kansas City played down a man for most of the match and outplayed Houston in stretches before Brian Mullan’s goal early in the second half put the game away. That’s not to say there aren’t some concerns. Kansas City need to get points on Wednesday against winless United, and it has to start finding the back of the net again or three points will be hard to come by.

Next up...

Wednesday, May 5 at D.C. United (0-5-0) on ESPN2. Kansas City began United’s terrible stretch with a 4-0 drubbing on opening night, and things have only gone downhill from there for Curt Onalfo’s side. The Wizards are still searching for road points and haven’t won in three games. Wednesday’s game looks like a prime opportunity to accomplish both.