Wizards 4. Houston 3.
A high-intensity, physical, seven-goal bonanza with a last-gasp stunner 6 minutes into stoppage time. For good measure, it kept the Wizards playoff hopes alive and, just maybe, gave them them a jolt of electricity to keep their recent run chugging along.
It was the kind of game that a few soccer haters claim never happens and the sort of affair that some soccer lovers want to see more of.
I only wish I could've been there to experience live. A feed on an Internet web site couldn't do justice to the craziness of Josh Wolff's last-minute stunner.
To quote my friend Andy on Twitter: "That Just Happened!"
Let's try to put the "Houston Game" into context in short bursts, because, honestly, an essay on a game like this could wander north of 3,000 words:
• Kansas City finally showed they could battle back to win a game in which they didn't score the first goal. First time they've rallied to win a game in which they trailed at halftime in 2010 too. They also showed they have the steel to get results from a game when they weren't playing their best.
• The results sort of mask a few issues, notably speedy guys like Dominic Oduro still give central defenders Jimmy Conrad and Shavar Thomas absolute fits. (If Robbie Findley were still alive, I'd be afraid if KC drew Real Salt Lake in the playoffs.)
(That video showsexactly
why you shouldn't do a coach interview during the run of play.)
• It actually happened -- Stephane Auvray had an off game last night. He wasn't Ricardo Clark... but he wasn't exactly the Edgar Davids Without Goggles we've grown to love in KC. His substitution at halftime was an absolute necessity.
• While we all might remember "The Diop Game" with the same fondness as the Christmas we got our first Nintendo, the simple truth is this: Teal Bunbury is a Playstation 3.
• Tip of the hat to Peter Vermes for making the right tactical decisions and half-time talk. Wag of the finger to Peter Vermes for sticking with the un-dynamic* Diop at striker. Of course, KC is 4-0-1 when Diop starts this season. Of course (x2), KC is 4-0-0 when Teal Bunbury scores.*See what I did there? That's the kind of wordplay you pay good money for at this blog!
• Kei Kamara is the team's MVP. James Starritt and I argued about this a bit as guests on The Byline to Backpost podcast a bit ago, but I believe Kamara's stamp on this game as the only player willing to attack the goal with reckless abandon (while also working hard up and down the right wing to defend and create) gives my argument more bite. If he doesn't get that goal to pull it 2-1, do the Wizards really have the guts to keep fighting in the second half?
• It has to be said that Roger Espinoza shouldn't have finished the game. His straight-leg, studs up tackle was dangerous and reckless. Should've been his second yellow. The fact that he didn't make contact with the Dynamo player should be irrelevant. Intent was there.
• With 33 points right now, KC is just three points back of San Jose and Seattle. They've played one more game than San Jose, one fewer than Seattle. It's starting to look like 45 points would mean playoffs for KC -- which means 12 points in the next 6 games.
• I'd like to recant the tweet I made about Josh Wolff not making much of a difference. I made a huge mistake. Of course (x3), Wolff did his part to make it interesting by heading away the potential game winner in regulation.
Did You Know?
• The Wizards are 6-1-3 in their last nine MLS matches, and 7-1-3 in their last 11 overall when including the victory over Manchester United.
• Kansas City has outscored its opponents 17-8 over the last 10 MLS matches.
• Kansas City is 3-1-0 in midweek matches this season. The Wizards played their first weeknight home match since a 2-0 victory over Philadelphia on June 10.
• Kansas City beat Houston at home for the first time in the series and is now 1-3-1 in five home matches, and 2-5-3 all-time, against the Dynamo.
• The Wizards are unbeaten in their last five MLS matches, setting a new season high.
• With the victory, Kansas City has earned 400 points at home in club history. Only four other MLS teams have reached the mark: LA (433), D.C. (418), Colorado (407), and Dallas (402).
• Prior to the Wizards win, no team in MLS had overcome a two-goal deficit to win this season.
• Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad played the 200th regular season game of his Kansas City career on Wednesday, tying Chris Klein for fifth on the Wizards all-time regular season games played chart.
• Conrad will be recognized for the milestone prior to Saturday’s home game at 7:00 p.m. against FC Dallas at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
• Wizards captain Davy Arnaud started the 200th game of his MLS and Kansas City career, including postseason competition, on Wednesday.
• Wizards defender Michael Harrington has started every match for Kansas City this season, the only field player to have started all 23 games. Harrington has played 2,157 of a possible 2,160 minutes.