Every week, on Tuesday, as I'm checking my RSS reader for the latest news on Major League Soccer, I see the post announcing the nominees for AT Goal of the Week. Every time, I click on it and think "I can't wait to vote for a Wizard for this honor."
Then I realize, "Oh, wait, they didn't actually score this week. You have to actually put the ball into the net to even get nominated."
. (BTW, Juan Pablo Angel absolutely owned the Wizards in that second half. His round-the-keeper move on Jimmy Nielsen is running away with the voting his week.)
Now, I realize Kei Kamara actually won this award earlier this month for the absolute screamer he scored on the Philadelphia Union. But that's hardly the point.
The point is: The Wizards have been shut out SIX times in TWELVE games this year. (If you're not a math major, they've been scoreless in 50 percent of their games.)
No, wait, the point is actually this: The Wizards have had only TWO multi-goal games (and the first of those was that 4-0 drubbing of D.C. United that feels like it was SEVEN years ago).
No, I'm sorry, the point is actually this: When the Wizards have the ball anywhere near the penalty box, I'm almost 100 PERCENT certain they
gonna score. The skill is there; this is a team that tends to have an edge in possession and seems to create excellent chances. However, if you were to put a numerical figure on the "finishing" and "composure" of the attacking players, I'm pretty sure they'd all hover around 13. Out of 100.
To sum up:
Kamara -- the most talented striker on the team -- fades in and out of games. He also becomes almost useless out wide. It's not his natural position and he lacks ideas when crossing the ball. That also draws our best aerial threat out of the box.
Josh Wolff -- the most experienced striker -- is all kinds of out of sorts in a formation he doesn't like, forced to play either by himself up top or out on the right wing.
Ryan Smith -- the slickest dribbler on the team -- will check out of a game at times depending on a) the quality of runs his teammates provide when he's on the ball or b) whether or not the refs awards him a freekick on a challenge. (Seriously, watch him the next time he gets chopped down with no call. He takes 15 minutes to get back into the game.)
Teal Bunbury -- the youngest striker on the team -- at least tries to use his athletic advantages, but lacks the killer instinct of a striker right now.
Birahim Diop -- the most un-striker striker on the team -- is not a striker.
Sunil Chhetri -- the most popular Wizard in the nation of India -- hasn't appeared in an MLS game yet and appears to be not ready for this level of play.
I've said it before, so I'll say it again: Man, I miss Zoltan.
Am I being too harsh? After all, a bounce here and a bounce there, we're talking about how Kamara is amongst the league-leader in goals (he's tied for third as it is with 6) and how dazzling Smith can be with the ball.
But we're talking about a team that's 3-6-3 with more games played than goals scored (12 > 11). Something's wrong, and it seems to be wrong in the attacking third. Something has to change.
If not Eidur Gudjohnsen, what?
I'd even settle for taking Robbie Findley off Real Salt Lake's hands.
What do you think? Is it time for Chhetri? Do we need to trade Wolff? What happens if Gudjohnsen stays in Europe? If he stays, does the team need to mortgage the future (Roger Espinoza, Pablo Escobar, Chance Myers) for an MLS striker?