Ned Dishman and the Wizards fell to D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Wednesday night.
Ned Dishman/Getty

Loss to D.C. tough to swallow for struggling Wizards

Result…

2-1 defeat on Wednesday night against D.C. United (1-5-0) at RFK Stadium

Table position…

Tied for third in the Eastern Conference on seven points (2-3-1) with the New England Revolution

Three things to take away…

1) Kansas City has some work to do.

A loss to a floundering United team would normally be more than enough to support this assertion, but losing the way the Wizards did cements it. United capitalized on two inexcusable errors at the back by central defender Pablo Escobar and hung on for their first result of 2010. After the game, manager Peter Vermes was noticeably frustrated by the lack of concentration and execution from his team. Afterwards, he swore it would be corrected. Luckily, Kansas City has a week and a half to do that.

2) Finishing is becoming a concern.

Kei Kamara bagged a meaningless stoppage time goal to end the Wizards scoring drought on the road, but the goals must start coming more steadily if Vermes’ team wants to get back to winning. Kansas City’s four goals against D.C. to start the season are a distant memory at this point, and the team has just two goals in five games since that March 27 meeting. Have the Wizards created chances during that time? Sure. But chances alone don’t mean much if they aren’t being converted.

3) After a four match winless stretch, frustration is growing.

Two plays stood out. The first came in the opening 45 minutes, when an errant pass by Roger Espinoza prompted an angry outburst by forward Josh Wolff. The second came when Ryan Smith needlessly hacked former Wizard Kurt Morsink down from behind with Kansas City trailing 2-0 in the second half. After all the good vibes that came out of the Wizards’ first two games – both victories – the mood has soured a little. It will be up to Vermes to smooth those ruffled feathers before his team takes on the Chicago Fire on April 15.

Two players who stood out…

Defender Pablo Escobar

In the long run, Escobar is going to be fine, but Wednesday night certainly won’t be a night to look back at fondly. The young Colombian’s misplays gave United an early 2-0 lead, their first advantage of 2010, and D.C. Vermes has raved about Escobar’s play so far this season, but the center back is going to have to clean up his game and avoid silly mistakes if he wants to continue seeing the field.

Goalkeeper Bill Hamid

What looked like a desperate move for Curt Onalfo turned out to be a stroke of genius. Hamid had a few shaky moments -- he was making his first career start in MLS -- but the youngster made every save he needed to for D.C. and was only minutes away from his first career shutout. He was a physical presence in the box and exerted himself well on the Wizards’ 11 corner kicks. Most of all, he looked comfortable in his surroundings

One play that changed the game…

Hamid was solid all night long, but his save on Jack Jewsbury at the end of the first half was probably the most important play of the night. If Kansas City had snatched the momentum back and reduced United’s lead to one going into the locker room, doubt might have crept in for the home team and the second half could have been entirely different. Instead, Hamid made a magnificent reaction save on Jewsbury’s volley, and the Wizards played catch up until Kamara finally beat the 19-year-old in stoppage time.  

Final verdict…

There’s no point in pretending this was just another defeat. This one hurts for a variety of reasons. It hurts because United was by far the worst team in Major League Soccer through five games. It hurts because the defeat means Kansas City has lost three of four and has yet to earn a road point. Most of all, it hurts because the Wizards essentially handed D.C. the points. It’s only one game, but Vermes’ team needs get back on the right track as soon as possible.

Next up... 

Saturday May 15 against the Chicago Fire (2-2-2) at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. After two straight road defeats, Kansas City returns to CAB with a chance to stay unbeaten at home. The Fire will pose a difficult test with a number of in-form attackers hoping to breach the Wizards unblemished home defense.