There’s something vaguely enlightening about catching a game midway through – though, obviously, not as enlightening as seeing one unfold from start to finish. Still, there’s this process, a step-by-step weighing of the successive moments you’re seeing on the screen against the expectations you had for the game before kick-off.
For instance, when I tuned in around the 60th minute to last night’s MLS Primetime tilt between LA and KC, I noticed the scoreline first. 1-0 (where the score would remain): this was only mildly surprising given LA’s relative improvement. At the same time, I figured one of the teams would have scored: LA by countering against KC’s weak defense or KC just by piling on an LA squad that can be nervy top-to-bottom.
That made it time to reassess. To begin, KC seemed pinned in their own end; that wasn’t so expected. For a few minutes, KC couldn’t clear the ball beyond their half line and they didn’t seem to have players forward. The mystery behind that came to an end, thanks to ESPN/Americans deep appreciation for graphic overkill: (well) within five minutes I discovered KC’s Jimmy Conrad had been sent off earlier – the 57th minute to be precise (as opposed to the 17th minute my eyes kept seeing; shit, I need new glasses).
The game went forward from there and, suddenly, what showed on the screen made sense: KC fighting off LA and breaking forward on occasion in one to three-man forays. LA attacked, but not too sharply, hoisting crosses over the scrum in front of goal again and again; in one memorable moment, (I think) Mike Randolph ran down the touch-line and, after seeming to tire, whacked to attempted crosses against a KC defender. Pretty pathetic stuff and all the above factors pointed to a goal-less draw.
With dinner in progress and things looking as they did, the motivation to stick by the TV didn’t hold. Then came the shouting – Gavin Glinton scored – and then came Davy Arnaud’s wicked challenge on Pete Vanegas, who I read was the victim of the first red-card challenge as well. Game over, really.
I think the point is, seeing the game unfold as it did gave me new things to think about KC’s defense first and LA’s offense second. I still think of KC’s defense as their Achilles’ heel, the thing most likely to keep them out of the post-season. Seeing LA’s offense struggle – and it did, awfully at times – against that defense makes reassessing the Galaxy’s capability as spoilers seem wise. And for all I heard about KC ruing blown chances from the game’s earlier, halcyon minutes, the question of whether their offense will be enough to bail out that dicey defense bears watching as well.
KC’s not in the playoffs yet. If I were a Wizards fan, I’d stock up heavily on whatever it takes to calm me.
Filed under: analysis, Jimmy Conrad, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer | Tagged: Davy Arnaud, Pete Vagenas | Leave a comment »