Wizards fall to United
The Kansas City Wizards suffered another disappointing road loss on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium, falling 2-1 to D.C. United thanks to two first-half goals by Danny Allsopp.
Kei Kamara scored his third goal of the season to get the Wizards on the board in second-half stoppage time, but the Wizards' comeback attempt fell short.
Though Allsopp scored the goals, United goalkeeper Bill Hamid could very well have been D.C.’s man of the match. The 19-year-old shot-stopper was making his first appearance in Major League Soccer and showed well, pulling off a several key saves to deny the Wizards’ scoring opportunities.
The first half started at a furious pace, with both sides looking to establish an attacking rhythm early on. As a result, there was much back-and-forth play in the opening 10 minutes, but United was the first to get on the board thanks to Allsopp’s first goal in MLS.
Allsopp’s goal came in the 12th minute thanks to a long ball played out of midfield. The striker controlled the ball, muscled his way past Pablo Escobar, and hit a powerful shot that deflected off Jimmy Conrad and into the upper corner past Wizards goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
Kansas City nearly responded in the 16th minute, as Roger Espinoza hit a skillful, sliding chip across the United penalty area to an onrushing Chance Myers at the far post. Myers managed to direct his effort on frame from a tough angle, but Hamid came up with a big diving stop from close range to deny Kansas City a goal.
Roger Espinoza gave the Wizards more hope in the 26th minute with a powerful strike from 40 yards out. The shot tested Hamid, but in the end the young goalkeeper was able to tip the ball out for a corner kick.
Despite the Wizards’ chances, United managed to double their advantage in the 34th minute. It was Allsopp who came through again, thanks to a timely interception by Adam Cristman in the Wizards’ defensive third. Cristman played the ball ahead for Allsopp, who took a touch past Escobar before coming through with a clinical finish past Nielsen to bring the score to 2-0.
The Wizards had a chance for a response when Jack Jewsbury was left wide open at the top of the six yard box for a header, but the ball sailed just inches over the head of the Wizards' midfielder.
Jewsbury would get another golden opportunity to get the Wizards a goal in first half stoppage time. Josh Wolff found Jewsbury with a deft flick-on header in the United penalty area, but Hamid made another excellent save to stop Jewsbury’s well-placed shot from close range.
Wizards Manager Peter Vermes gave his team a decidedly more offensive flavor in the second half with the introduction of forward and leading scorer Kei Kamara for Santiago Hirsig at halftime. Kamara wasted little time making an impact on the game, taking control of the ball of the kickoff and rifling a shot at Hamid that the young goalkeeper could only palm out for a corner kick.
Kamara would test Hamid again not long after, running onto a good feed from Wolff on a breakaway. The Sierra Leone striker had time and space in the box, but his low rolling attempt hit side netting.
Kansas City controlled the flow of the next 15 minutes of the game, holding possession around the United penalty area but struggling to create meaningful scoring chances. Instead, it was United that had the best chances on goal despite seeing less of the ball. Allsopp saw his wide open shot in the 18 yard box saved by the fingertips of Jimmy Nielsen, while Clyde Simms’ effort from distance whizzed just wide of the goalpost.
After numerous chances, Kamara got Kansas City on the board with a consolation goal in second half stoppage time. Teal Bunbury and Josh Wolff were the architects of the move, with Bunbury turning in the center of the park and feeding Wolff on the left sideline. Under pressure from the United defense, Wolff hit a sliding service into the box that found its way past two D.C. United defenders and to Kamara at the far post. The big forward made no mistake with his finish, tapping the ball past Hamid to make the score 2-1.
"I thought D.C. came out hard, which we expected to. We expected them to play pretty direct. You can’t give up two chances to them the way we did because teams are going to capitalize," Wizards head coach Peter Vermes said. "We made some silly mistakes that you can’t make at this level because if you do, you get punished. We almost got the one (goal) right before halftime, the one by Jack Jewsbury but it was a great save by the ’keeper. That would have helped a great deal because it would have gotten us into the flow of the game and put a little pressure on them. We got the goal a little too late. If we would have gotten it a little earlier it would have changed the mood of the game. But credit to them. They were chasing it and they took advantage of the opportunities we gave them."
The Wizards next play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark against the Chicago Fire.