Here are some picture of the Wizards game last night. The boys always wear one of their jerseys to the games. AJ is sporting his circa 1990 Argentinian Lopez Racing Jersey. Very cool.
The Wizards played in a qualifying match for the U.S. Open Cup. They played at a local high school stadium as they share their temporary stadium with a local minor league baseball team. The stadium was nice, but I can't stand the sports turf. Soccer should be played on real grass.
Such qualifying games have no bearing on the regular season standings but placing well in the tournament means bonus money for the players. There is a definite motive to win. The challenge with such tournament play during the regular season is not playing your regular starters too much, yet field a team that can win the game. Tonight's game went in to overtime and was decided in a penalty kick shoot out. Some of the Wizards key players were on the field all 120 minutes. They turn around and play this Saturday in a league game already. Saturday is going to come quickly for veteran players who need the time to rest and heal up. Their two most valuable veterans, Jimmy Conrad and Claudio Lopez, ran their tails off tonight. I hope they'll be 100% this weekend.
As for the game, the Wizards looked pretty disheveled and disorganized for most of the game against an undermanned Colorado team. They have significant midfield issues to sort out. Then, for the last 15 minutes they played like World Cup Champions and tied up the game to send it in to overtime. Unfortunately veteran Davy Arnaud lost his cool and got kicked out of the game leaving the Wizards shorthanded for the last minutes of the game and all of the overtime. The team pulled together and played strong in OT. The game ended in a tie and went to penalty kicks. While PK's are a bad way to decide a contest, they are exciting. The Wizards scored on all five of their kicks, the Rapids on four. The Wizards won the game and advance to the U.S. Cup Open proper.