First Impressions -- Kansas City Wizards 1 : 1 D.C. United
It's funny. When you don't have wins, draws don't feel particularly good, but if you win two in a row, a draw feels okay. To me, at least. It's not that I am particularly overwhelmed by United's performance, but there was good in it. And if you're offering me a draw, on the road, on short rest, without Ben Olsen and starting left back Marc Burch, well, I'll take it. Tom Soehn threw out a starting XI that bought rest for several players, including a second half only showing for Emilio, and that team was still respectable.
My general rule this year is that if the defense surrenders one goal (or less) than I am happy with the job they did, and so it is here. While Kansas City did look dangerous, and had some nice moves on the counter, their goal was on a deep turnover by Rodney Wallace and then a nice tip by Josh Wolff. And Kansas City did manufacture some chances, but not an overwhelming number. Louis Crayton made the saves he needed to make, and on a few he was careful not to spill the ball. Greg Janicki had a very strong game in his first start since he and Devon McTavish attempted a hair and skull transplant. Avery John was capable in his first minutes, but I will say that we missed Marc Burch on some set pieces later in the match.
If there is a complaint, it has to be with the offense. After Rodney Wallace and Moreno combined to bust down the middle of the Kansas City defense, our attack was well kept in check for most of the night. Part of this must be attributed to some strong work by the Kansas City midfield and backline, but part of it just seemed that United couldn't find the right way to manufacture the chance once position was gained.
Still, all-in-all, I will take this result. A 1-1 draw, and while United grew cautious (and indulged in a great deal of time wasting at the end), they never forgot that they could still attack. Good.
I'm leaning towards awarding a Man of the Match to Janicki, Certificates of Merit to Jacobson (who had a decent start for Ben Olsen), Quaranta (who was displaying wonderful vision for the first 60 minutes), Avery John (who at least proved that #5 on the depth chart isn't a gaping maw, and that would be a wonderful thing for this team), and Louis Crayton (he did his job right).