The loss of the team has left a few bloggers and commenters speaking of moral victories, of the small successes, and of how well the team played despite playing a man down for 61 minutes. But the goal of the game is not to play well, it isn't time of possession and it isn't to take more shots than the opposition.
The goal is to score more than the opponent. While there are several indicators that Seattle has a strong future, last night they were not the better team. Seattle suffered their first loss, and yet still set the record for most minutes to start a season without giving up a goal.
Today we will study three topic - Freddie & Fredy, the Keller Ejection and the Arnaud Goal.
Freddie and Fredy
I am only going to pay attention to the first 29 minutes to see how KC defended the duo, and how they worked together. As this was their first start we can begin to discover how Sigi will use them, their ability to work together, and lastly what opposing coaches might try to do to defend the dangerous pair.
Fredy and/or Freddie had position in an attacking manner around 8 times during that first 29 minutes. KC immediately closed tightly on Montero as soon as Ljungberg had the ball. To compliment the tighter marking KC also placed two men on Ljungberg when he had possession. This limited the options and connecting possibilities for Fredy/Freddie and the only way the Wizards managed to have those numbers was by having the entirety of the Blues on their own half.
When Montero had possession the Wizards only defended him with one, which allowed the Rave Green to make multiple runs off of Montero. At the 8th minute Montero used Freddie Ljungberg as a dummy run to insert the ball into the box. While both had pretty plays in that first third of the match, they were kept scoreless by the conservative play of the KC Wizards.
In the 10th minute we did get to see the potential for the future when Ljungberg charged with the ball splitting defenders having Montero and Jaqua in front with Evans on his left and Le Toux on the right, but it was apparent that there is still chemistry to develop as Montero and Jaqua did not run forward fast enough almost seeming to be surprised by the Freddie move.
One last note on Freddie and Fredy - Ljungberg took each corner kick even while Le Toux was on the pitch. Montero took a free kick from about 35 yards out and Ljungberg took one from barely outside the box. Since Le Toux has more height than Ljungberg, so it would make sense that the future has Freddie as the primary corner taker.
Keller's Well-earned Red Card
Kasey earned that card. I agree with CarlosT that there is some grey area, but no referee could make any other call. Because without that call the game changes dramatically for the entire league.
BUT Keller and the team may have a decent argument to get a reduction, which would get him into the next match. I would use CarlosT's argument, but I would also supplement it with the fact that there were four non-handball calls already in the game. At 15 minutes Arnaud actually uses his hand to knock down a long pass and then take a shot on goal. Gomez at 16' used his arm to win an air battle with Montero and prevent a scoring opportunity. When coaches tell their players that they have to adjust to the way a referee is calling a game, how could any player in Green think that handballs would not be allowed by that referee that night?
Ok, that would not get the Red reduced. The team should just stick with Carlos' argument, but it is notable that Wizards players used their hands to take shots and prevent them, both in the box and outside of it.
The problem here was that KC had a classic Sounders style transition play with a more players running forward than there were defenders for the Rave Green. With two players wide right Zach Scott attempted to guard both and Nate Jaqua did not come over to challenge Arnaud until much too late. At least one fan has asked me if Keller stops that shot, and I think it would be likely. Dragavon got his fingers on the ball, and if Keller couldn't have stopped it than he would not be Kasey Keller. This doesn't mean the failure was on Ben, in fact I think that maybe the team did not feel they needed to defend at that distance due to their comfort with Kasey, but in the future (likely next week) they will have to play with that necessary adjustment.