Kansas City's Roger Espinoza (left) battles Atiba Harris of FC Dallas on Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Jamie Squire/Getty

KC Breakdown: Wizards doomed against FCD from the start


3-1 defeat on Saturday night against FC Dallas (11-2-13, 46 points) at CommunityAmerica Ballpark

Table position…

Third place in the Eastern Conference on 33 points (9-10-6)

Three things to take away…

1) The Wizards’ lack of early focus was demoralizing for fans, players and coaches alike.

For a team that has shown so much promise, fight and determination in the last two months, the first 15 minutes of Saturday’s game were out of character and wholly disappointing. The display harkened back to earlier in the season, when Kansas City was giving up soft goals and struggling to create chances on the other end of the field.

And although the Wizards had the same sort of letdown against Houston, they couldn’t manufacture a miraculous comeback this time against a vastly superior FCD side. Predictably, the locker room was pretty down after the loss, but the team has no choice but to bounce back quickly with a visit to New York looming this weekend.

[inline_node:316737]2) Kansas City will need some help to make the playoffs, even if they take care of business

Here’s the good news: the Wizards remaining home games are against Seattle and San Jose, so destiny is still in their hands to a certain degree. The bad news? Manager Peter Vermes’ side is most likely going to have to win at least twice on the road against New York, Chicago and New England to have a decent chance of sneaking past the Sounders, Rapids or Earthquakes.

And even if Kansas City handle business at home and get some results on the road, they still have to come back from at least a three-point deficit to Seattle depending on upcoming results, a five-point gap behind Colorado or somehow recover a full six points from an in-form San Jose.

3) A full week of training will do wonders for the team’s legs and mindset.

As deflating as Saturday’s defeat was, six points from nine possible in a week’s stretch isn’t anything to scoff at. Kansas City simply ran out of steam against a FCD squad that has received some amazing performances from fringe players and David Ferreira during the past few weeks. With a full week to recover and prepare for the Red Bulls, the Wizards can recharge and wipe Saturday from their memory before a breakneck October arrives.

Two players who stood out…

Forward David Ferreira

This space is usually reserved for Wizards players, but Kansas City fans might have gotten a glimpse of the kind of effect Omar Bravo will have next season as Ferreira directed FCD’s attack and took the reins in killing off the game. The diminutive Colombian has been one of league’s best creators this season and delivered two more assists against KC. The first helper especially was a piece of pure brilliance, as his delicate chip dropped to Marvin Chavez in stride.

Forward Birahim Diop/Teal Bunbury

Vermes has been using Diop as a starter in large part because his ability to put some strain on opposing central defenders during the first half makes Teal Bunbury more effective as a substitute. The problem, though, is that Diop simply hasn’t produced since scoring twice against New England, and the Wizards are at a point when they need all the firepower they can muster, especially when the opening goal can make all the difference. With five games left, it will be interesting what direction Vermes goes with the center forward position the rest of the way.

[inline_node:312142]One play that changed the game…

The moment Chavez’s volley slipped inside the near post, the odds were strongly against the Wizards. Wednesday’s victory against Houston was the team’s first after allowing the opening goal. With FCD riding such a wave of momentum and form, it was going to take an absolutely flawless performance to salvage a result, something KC couldn’t muster for the second time in four days.

Final verdict…

Sure, the defeat was disappointing, but all is not lost … yet. The most important thing now is how Kansas City react with a tough slate upcoming as the season winds down. If the Wizards can upset the Red Bulls, there is no reason to think the belief the team has cultivated during the past few months won’t be back as strong as ever.

Next up...

Saturday at New York Red Bulls (13-8-5). As hot as FCD were, the Wizards aren’t getting a break when it comes to facing teams with momentum. New York took a huge step towards cementing their elite status with a victory at LA on Friday. And that was without Thierry Henry. Back at Red Bull Arena, Hans Backe and his crew will be fully prepared for Kansas City and won’t give up any points easily.