Ryan Smith had a stunning game debut game: 1 goal, 1 assist and brought loads of offensive spark to the attack. He's an instant fan favorite.
He went off late in the game with what appeared to be a knock to his ankle. He was hobbled and looked in pain. I've been told he has a lower leg contusion. No word on when he'll return to the field. Chances are it won't be this week's exhibition game in St. Louis.
To see what everyone's saying about the lad do as Van Halen hath commanded.
Head coach Peter Vermes:
"[Smith's] an extremely dangerous player, especially one versus one. It’s hard to control him, you could say that by how many fouls were created by him. He was also very locked into the game defensively, so it was a very good debut for him."
Shane Evans at Goal.com:
"The MLS debutant was all over the pitch for KC in their 4-0 rout of D.C. United," said associate editor Shane Evans. "Setting up goals and scoring one himself, if the Englishman can play like this all season, the Wizards may have a legitimate game-changer on their hands."
Mike at Down the Byline:
"Created 2 goals and scored one himself in his MLS debut before leaving the game due to injury. He was absolutely amazing last night and could have had multiple goals if not for some good saves by Perkins. Hopefully he doesn't become a victim of some of the leagues more physical players (I'm looking at you Dema Kovalenko as well as Philadelphia's entire roster). He could have himself a very good season."
"I think it is safe to say this was the strongest start of any eastern conference club this year, yes even stronger than Columbus. The Kansas City Wizards made a statement on Saturday over D.C. United in their 4-0 win. Newcomer Ryan Smith had a lot to do with it. His pace and control in the midfield set the tone early for the Wizards. It also didn’t hurt that D.C. looked awful in the back."
Soccer By Ives has listed him in his Best XI for the weekend.*
*While we're talking about Ives' Best XI, here's an interesting thing to note: Nine of his players are not American born. The entire midfield is international. Doesn't say a lot for Americans does it?
Not everyone loved him, however. Some people loved Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales enough to name him MLS player of the week. Smith was the likely runner up. While I whole-heartedly agree with each and every speck of praise, (and really believe it's in America's best interest to explore his potential citizenship) I think somewhat lost in this Smith lovefest is that Stèphane Auvray was probably the more integral player. As my friend/colleague Matt Schofield thinks we should call him Edgar Davids Without Goggles. His first touch is great, his footwork is sparkling, he has a great motor and he tracks back as well as he pushes forward.
With Smith in the fold, the Wizards merely have a better attack than last year. With Auvray, the Wizards are a completely different team.