Thursday, December 28, 2006

2007 Wants and Wishes

So it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2006 and hello to 2007. Normally at this time of year, people put out their wishes and wants for the coming year. Naturally, I’m gonna do that as well. So without further ado here are my hopes and wishes for the new year in the realm of soccer and the Wizards.

  1. The Wizards Announce 2007-2008 home. We know the team will be in KC next season, and with the renovations to Arrowhead, playing there is not an option. At the season ticket holder Christmas Party back on December 20th, season ticket holders were told that the location should be announced in January. Get it announced soon we're all ready to know where we'll be playing next season. The final 3 locations seem to be Ray-Pec High School, College Boulevard Atletic Complex, and Rockhurst High School.
  2. Announcement of Plans to Build Wizards SSS. The whole thing with 159th and 69 highway is over, time to look towards other things. Here's to hoping that in 2007 we get to hear the great news that the Wizards will be building a Soccer Specific Stadium. OnGoal LLC has continued to work since the failure of the youth soccer complex initiative back in November to find a location for an SSS. Here's to hoping it's announced early in the year and possibly even a ground breaking later in the year.
  3. Return to the Playoffs for the Wizards. Two years in a row now the Wizards have failed to make the playoffs. In the parity that is MLS, that is unacceptable. Definitly don't want to make it 3 years in a row without a playoff appearance. The Wizards have made 1 change that I feel will definitly help with this. The trade for Kevin Hartman is a major upgrade of the keeper position for the Wizards. For the past 2 seasons, Bo hasn't seemed like a starter, he is a good back up and can play well when called upon that way, but when he's named the number 1, as he was from MLS Cup 2004 on, he showed he wasn't a true starting keeper.
  4. Return to form for Eddie Johnson. For the Wizards to be successful this season, Eddie needs to get back into form. With Josh Wolff gone, Eddie becomes the focal point of the attack, and here's hoping he responds in kind. With Scott Sealy and Dave van den Bergh, an in form Johnson could make the Wizards offense extremely potent. Course this was what was expected last season and we all saw what happened. So here's to a return to form for Eddie Johnson along with some making up with teammates over his attitude late in the season that led to his suspension at the end of the season.
  5. Jamie Trecker Exposed for the Pompous Ass He is to the Entire World. Not just for getting all of Americas hopes up by saying that Klinsmannas US Men's National Team Coach was a done deal, but for years of being probably the stupidest soccer journalist I have ever read. Then his latest column, where he continues his hate for Kansas City and his crusade to have the team moved. You can read it here, if you dare. WARNING, this is linked to a Trecker article, BEWARE.
  6. US Men's National Team Gold Cup and Copa America Success. I want the US team to get back on it's feet after a very lackluster 2006 World Cup. The team has 2 federation tournaments they are competing in this year, a chance to find some redemption. That said, I don't want them to do too well. The hiring of Bob Bradley was a huge mistake in my opinion, and I fear a good run in both tournaments would turn Bradley into the permanent coach, which would be terrible for the US team. Bradley is in the Arena mold, he's worked under Arena and has a similar style, he's not the one to take the US to the next level.
  7. The Wizards Bring in an Attacking Midfielder. The Wizards have had a lack of creativity out of the midfield since Preki retired. At times Davy Arnaud has shown flashes of creativity, but not enough. With Coach Curt Onalfo's attacking style that he says he's bringing to the team, the Wizards will need someone in the middle of the park that will distribute the ball. Here's hoping Onalfo and Peter Verme's trip to South America was productive and they found a player that can fill that spot who will come to KC.
  8. A Friendly Against a European Team for the Wizards. At the season ticket holder party on the 20th, Wizards season ticket holders were told that the Wizards are working on getting a European team to come to Kansas City next year to play a friendly against the Wizards. As well as setting up a possible home-home series with said European team. Here's to the Wizards finally getting a game against a foreign team in Kansas City.
So those are my main wishes and hopes for the coming year in MLS and US soccer.

Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

2006 average attendance

So, recently I went through all the games played this season that are up on MLS' website. I took the attendance for each game and came up with the average for each team this season as well as the average league attendance. These results, though, are not complete, as MLS' website is missing the attendance for 4 matches this season. Houston's game against Chicago on May 20th, Real Salt Lake at LA July 8th, and Chivas USA at Dallas August 16th. Not counting those 4 games, there were 189 games played this season. The league average attendance this season was 15,518. Which is an increase over last years number of 15,108. More info can be found here, although it appears he's found the elusive 3 games I was missing to complete the season. His numbers knock the season average down 16 people to 15502. This number also is higher then the average attendance for MLS history, which according to Kenn's site 15,058. The median attendance this past season was 14,175. Again higher then the median attendance average in MLS history which is 13,289.

Here is the list of teams in the order of average attendance, again these numbers are minus the games I am missing attendance figures for above.
  1. LA - 21109
  2. Chivas - 19839
  3. Houston - 19147
  4. DC - 18152
  5. RSL - 16365
  6. Dallas - 15299
  7. New York - 14569
  8. Chicago - 14088
  9. Columbus - 13293
  10. Colorado - 12055
  11. New England - 11785
  12. KC - 11082
So there are your average attendance numbers for each MLS team this past season.

This did get me thinking though looking through the attendance figures, New York had attendance's of 35793 and 52425, their next highest attendance number was 19780. The first two were a special event concert on open day, the second was a double header with Ecuador and Colombia. Without those 2 matches, that knocks NY's attendance all the way down to 10349, which would have had them at last place in all of MLS. I give the benefit of the doubt on the first game of the season, even though it was affliated with a concert and other events on that day. What I decided to do, was to see where the average attendance for teams were minus the big special event games, ie, double headers.

There were 4 double headers this past season, New England at Chivas USA which drew 92650 in a double header that invovled Chivas Guadalajara vs. Barcalona. The second double header, was LA at Houston which along with Barcalona vs. America drew 70550. The third match, was the afformentioned Ecuador-Colombia match which was played in conjuction with FC Dallas at New York. The final double header, was Chivas USA at Colorado combined with San Luis vs. Club America which drew 28215.

What does dropping these 4 double headers do to team and league average?

From 15518 that I got for the 189 games I found, the loss of the 4 double headers would drop the league average nearly 1000 fans, to 14536.

What about the teams?
  1. LA - 21109
  2. DC - 18152
  3. RSL - 16365
  4. Houston - 15476
  5. Dallas - 15299
  6. Chivas - 14985
  7. Chicago - 14088
  8. Columbus - 13293
  9. New York - 12045
  10. New England - 11785
  11. KC - 11082
  12. Colorado - 10978
Changes: Chivas is the biggest loser, losing almost 5000 fans, and falling from second to 6th. Houston loses 3600, but only falls from third to fourth. New York falls to 9th losing just over 2500 fans. And Colorada falls into 12th losing 1077 fans off their average.

Just some interesting stats for you on the season.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

RIP Lamar

For those of you that haven't heard yet, Lamar Hunt passed away tonight, Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006. I had been planning on talking about his recent bout with cancer today, but now it looks like unfortunately I'm writing a kind of obituary for a great man who has done so much for the sport of soccer in the US. Starting with his involvement in the old North American Soccer League becoming owner of the Dallas Tornado. Since then he's had a huge influence on the sport of soccer over the years. In 1996 with the formation of Major League Soccer, Lamar became a principal investor in the league, and owner of the Kansas City Wiz(ards) and Columbus Crew. Over the years, Lamar acquired ownership of the Dallas Burn(later renamed FC Dallas). His love for the sport of soccer helped keep MLS afloat in a time when lesser men would have walked away and let the young league go under. He was elected in the US Soccer Hall of Fame, as well as having the US Open Cup named after him in 1999. After the 2004 MLS Cup Final, he announced that the Wizards were for sale, which brought out anger and rage from many Wizards fans towards Lamar, myself included. He was not the most well received person with many Wizards fans. While he did put the team up for sale, though, it was his love for the team that helped keep the team in KC. If Lamar did not love the Wizards and believe that they could succeed in KC, he never would have sold the team locally, heck they probably would have been sold to out of town investors long before August of this year when OnGoal LLC purchased the team. He wanted this team to stay in KC, and while we didn't get the stadium that he built in Columbus or in Dallas, he did give the chance of that still happening by keeping the team local, and I would hope Wizards fans will never forget that. As a Wizards fan, a US Soccer fan, a Chiefs fan, I will never forget Lamar Hunt, he truely was a great man and will be missed in many circles.

If you wanna read more on Hunt's contribution to US Soccer, read Frank Dell'Apa's column on

Hard to go onto other news after that, but I had wanted to touch on this very quickly. After Joe Cannon was traded to LA, it certainly looked like El Gato, Kevin Hartman, was on his way out of Planet LA. Two locations looked likely, Columbus to add to their soon to be roster full of keepers, or KC, who had 1 keeper on their roster. It appears that it will be the later. Hartman will be joining the Wizards for an unanounced draft pick. Overall, while I'm not a huge fan of Hartman's my hate mainly comes from his days with the Galaxy. While he's not good in the air on crosses, he is definitly an upgrade over Bo, so that can't be all bad. In the end, I think this will be a major plus for the Wizards, and if Onalfo and Vermes find some decent talent on their current scouting trip, then the Wizards could very well be in business to be back competing in the playoffs next year. Can someone just please tell Hartman that the whole frosting/bleaching your hair went out years ago?

RIP LAMAR, you will be missed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Klinsmann, Trecker Wrong, and the Wizards

So today it was announced that Juergen Klinsmann has taken his name out of the running for US National Team Coach. This is a bit of a shock considering just a few days ago, it was reported that he was gonna be excepting the position. This is a blow to US soccer, as it seems that this was all ready to be signed and delievered. I thought this would have been a good move if the US had been able to get Klinsmann to become the next coach. It just seemed a good match, considering he already lives in the US. He also proved at the World Cup he has the ability to coach. True some of his early moves left some Germans a little perplexed, and the results did not immediately fall their way, but that was all forgotten when the German team which many expected to underachieve (by German expectations) over achieved, taking third place, losing only 1 game, to eventual champion, Italy in extra time. I felt it was time for the US to go to a foreign born coach, no Sigi Schmidt, no Bob Bradley. It's time to get some different ideas in the national team, Bradley is a Arena protege, and Schmidt has coached the national team at the youth levels, it's time for some new blood. And apparently, is reporting that Bradley will now be the interim coach with an option to be made the full. Just what the US needs a guy that worked under Arena quite a bit running the national team. This move is not one that I'm happy about as a US fan, Bradley isn't an improvement, at best it's a level move, at worst it's a big step back.

Onto the Wizards...

Seen in an online interview with new Wizards coach Curt Onalfo, Wizards starting goalkeeper the past 2 years Bo Oshoniyi, was waived. Combine that with the move of Will Hesmer to Toronto FC in the expansion draft, he was then traded to Columbus, and the Wizards are left with 1 goalkeeper on their roster, Eric Kronberg, who spent part of last season on loan with Miami FC of USL-1, where he did fairly well. I would think though that the Wizards are looking to bring in a more experienced keeper to lead the team. The lead option now might appear to be Kevin Hartman. "El Gato" as he's been called in LA seems to have become expendable after LA's acquisition of Joe Cannon from Colorado. Personally I've never thought much of Hartman and his frosted hair, and while he would probably be an upgrade over Bo, he wouldn't be much of one.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

MLS/MFL, CONCACAF Champions Cup, and Champions League

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, this title may seem like a big thing, but they are all combined into 1 thing. I will explain.

So recently, the blog, Logan's Revenge came out with a list of teams that are believed to be competing in the tournament to bring out as many people as possible. Those 4 MLS teams, DC United, LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, and Chicago Fire. The 4 Mexican teams that they will supposedly play against, are Chivas, Club America, Cruz Azul and Morelia. The teams would be divided into 2 groups. According to Logan's Revenge, next year there would be a qualifying process to qualify for the challenge.

Also recently, CONCACAF held their draw for the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champion's Cup. MLS Supporters Shield winner, DC United will play CD Olimpia of the Honduran league. MLS Cup winners, Houston Dynamo, play Costa Rican side, Puntarenas FC. To get to this point, the 2 MLS sides qualified through their awards in the MLS season. The 2 Mexican sides, Pachuca CF, the Clausura winner, and whoever
wins the Apertura. CD Olimpia and Puntarenas FC qualified by making it through the Central American qualifying bracket. Puntarenas originally made this group by taking second in last seasons Costa Rican league. CD Olimpia qualified by winning the Honduran leagues Clausura and Apertura last season. CD Olimpia and Puntarenas FC then went into the qualifying against teams from the other Central American leagues. Both teams made it through the first round, quarters, and semis to qualify for this seasons CONCACAF Champion's Cup.

Whichever team takes third out of the Central American group between
Deportivo Marquense of Guatemala and CD Victoria of Honduras. The final spot will go to the winner of the Caribbean qualifying group. Which starts with with 15 teams going for 1 spot in the CCC. After a group phase, the 4 group winners move onto semis, and finals to decide that spot.

With the current lack of interest in the CCC, and the establishment of the MLS/MFL tournament set up, CONCACAF looks to be reacting to this new tournament. In a presser they released that I heard about here, the federation is quoted as saying "
at the next Exco meeting, a proposal by the CONCACAF Secretariat to develop the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup™ into a larger “Champions’ League” style event, beginning in 2009."

So CONCACAF wants to make the Champions' Cup into a bigger event, great. Most people I know would love to have a Champions' League for CONCACAF, and currently the system is a little drab. Here's what I would do personally and this is my own opinion to get the teams for the tournament.

First, you'll want a group stage of I'd say 16 teams with the top 1 maybe 2, depending on how big you want the tournament, qualifying for the knock out round.

To get those 16 teams, you'd have some automatic qualifiers from the 2 biggest leagues in the region, Mexico and the US, give each of those 2 automatic spots, so we're up to 4. Also give 1 automatic qualifying spot to the champion of Costa Rica and Honduras who always seems to be competitive in CONCACAF competitions. So where do we get the other 10 spots from?

Like the Champions' League, I would have some qualifying rounds first, with the smaller leagues, and secondplace teams from leagues playing to qualify. You would have 20 of the second place and those from the smaller leagues face off in a first round play in game. Then take the remaining 10 teams, which would include the runners up in both series of the Mexican League, and the US Open Cup winner, the Canadian Champion, and have them play the 10 winners. The winners of those 10 games then qualify for the group stage with the 6 teams that automatically qualify.

So you're 16 spots would look like this:
  1. Mexican Clausura winner
  2. Mexican Apertura winner
  3. MLS Supporters Shield Winner
  4. MLS Cup Champion
  5. Cost Rica Champion
  6. Honduras Champion
  7. play in winner
  8. play in winner
  9. play in winner
  10. play in winner
  11. play in winner
  12. play in winner
  13. play in winner
  14. play in winner
  15. play in winner
  16. play in winner
There you'd have your 16 teams for the group stage. You'd then divide them into 4 pots, and have them drawn out for the group stage.

The one problem with this, is when do you start said tournament, as many of these countries run different schedules in when the league occurs. The best bet would be to have the 2 play in rounds in the fall sometime between Sept and Oct. The group stage would then start when the current quarterfinals start for the Champions' Cup.

My humble attempt at creating a Champions' League for CONCACAF.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Expansion Draft

So yesterday MLS released the list of players each team made available for the expansion draft on Friday. I'm not gonna pretend that I know enough about each team to break down each player available for the expansion Toronto FC to choose from, but I will go through the Wizards players left available and give my idea of who might be selected.

Wizards Players Available

Matt Groenwald - The Wizards starting right back on opening day of the season, showed flashes and looked to be a good late round pick. A few things later in the season seemed to go against his season. The first was the birth of his daughter. This caused him to have to leave the team, leaving his spot. (Side bar: I am not saying this wasn't the right thing to do, because it 100% was the exact thing he should have done.) The other thing was the replacement of Bob Gansler as coach, once Brian Bliss took over, Matt's minutes decreased. Matt could be a cheap pickup for Toronto, but doesn't seem to likely as it doesn't seem overly worth it to spend a YI spot on a player that many see as dime-a-dozen in MLS.

Will Hesmer - The Wizards back up keeper and platoon keeper for a few games. Will got his first MLS start this season, but is unlikely he'll be choosen as there are a number of better keeprs available.

Eric Kronberg - The Wizards third string keeper that spent time with Miami FC last season. Even less of a chance then Hesmer as he's still unproven.

Ryan McMahen, Sergei Raad, Brian Roberts, Stephen Shirley - I've listed all these players together because none of them got any significant league minutes, in fact, only Raad and Roberts played in an MLS match this season, for a combined total of 39 minutes. None of these guys will be going to Toronto.

Bo Oshoniyi - The Wizards number 1 the past 2 seasons. He's likely being listed because the Wizards see no risk in leaving him available. There are better keepers available in the draft this season then Bo, including 2 players with National Team experience, Nick Rimando and Zach Wells. Plus with the rumors of Toronto signing Greg Sutton, chances of them taking Bo are slim, although many Wizards fans would not shed a tear if he was picked up.

Ryan Raybould - Came on and played right back for most of the late season run. Like Groenwald, though, he's one of those players that the Wizards could find a replacement for fairly easily, but he won't be going to Toronto either.

Dave van den Bergh - The weirdest of the Wizards exposed player picks, was leaving van den Bergh available. After joining the team during the summer transfer window, van den Bergh had a good run to end the season at left forward. Due to his likely salary and his SI status, it seems unlikely that he'd be taken ,but he's the one that I am the most afraid of losing, as I think a full season with him could go very well.

Tyson Wahl - Got some significant minutes while Jimmy was at the World Cup, being the first defender off of the bench. Will he be selected? There's a chance, but I don't really see Toronto wasting a YI on him.

Lance Watson - "Scrappy" seemed to lose his place in the side once Bliss took over for Gansler, there are better players then him available in this draft.

Alex Zotinca - Alex could be a useful pick up for Toronto due to his experience and his salary which isn't too high. Chances are, though, TFC won't look his way.

The Draft

With that said here are the 10 players that I could likely see Toronto taking on Friday. This is of course expecting they don't pass on any of their picks, which they very well could.

Houston - Serioux, Adrian - One of the no brainer picks, even though Mo didn't get along with him in NY, he's the only Canadian national teamer exposed, they'll pick him up.
RSL - Williams, Andy - The other no brainer pick, as Andy was born in Toronto which classifies him as a Canadian citizen, putting him on his 7th MLS team.

From here the selection gets a bit tougher
DC - Clyde Simms - A player that people say could be a starter in this league, I think Toronto is willing to use a pick on him.
Chicago - Calen Carr - Had a productive first season coming off the bench for Chicago could be a good forward depending on what direction TFC plans to go.
RBNY - Edson Buddle - Mo really likes Buddle, I would be surprised to see him follow Mo up to Canada
FCD - Chris Gbandi - Young defender with talent, could give TFC some help along the back line in their first season.
NE - Jeff Larentowicz - Got significant minutes for New England this season, is young and is not a cap burden, could be a nice pickup.
C-bus - Knox Cameron - A forward pick up that could be used as a target forward.
Chivas - Rodrigo Lopez - US U-20 player, could be a nice pickup if given the right conditions to grow.
LA - Kyle Veris - Someone TFC could find useful if given some minutes.

Leaving KC and CO without having a player taken. Course I'm probably way off on this, but that's the fun of the expansion draft.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Congrats to the Dynamo

Congratulations to the Houston Dynamo on winning their first title in their first season in Houston. The club had perviously won 2 MLS Cups as the San Jose Earthquakes, but started their history over again this season with the move to Houston.

A fairly dull final, with some decent chances from both sides saw regulation end with the score tied at 0-0. Then in the second overtime 2 goals in the same of about a minute made the game 1-1. The first goal from Taylor Twellman after Khano Smith's run at the Dynamo defense had freed up Twellman and a great pass allowed Twellman to easily slot the ball past Pat Onstad.

Basically right from the kickoff, though, the Dynamo drove right back down the field, with Brian Ching finishing a header to knot the score at 1 a piece, so it was on to PK's.

The majority of the PK's were a clinic on how to properly take a penalty kick, well placed and with power, leaving Onstad and New England keeper, Matt Reis, with little chance on any of the PKs. A miss by Pat Noonan, and a Reis save on Brad Davis' PK put the score at 4-3 heading into the last shooter for New England, Jay Heaps. Ater the basic clinic that was put on, it was Heaps deciding PK that was the worst of all of them. Hit with little pace, on the ground, and not well placed, it was an easy collection for Onstad as it went right into his stomach and easily held. It's a PK that should be shown to all youth players as how to NOT take a penalty kick.

So New England moves to 0-3 in MLS Cups and has a total of 1 goal. Houston wins the Cup in their "first" season and gains a spot in next seasons' CONCACAF Champion's Cup along with Supporters Shield winner DC United.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

State of the League

So on Friday, Don Garber gave his state of the league address. It was suppose to be broadcast live on MLSnet, course their system didn't seem to be working properly, and I was unable to watch the address. We do have a write up on all the changes to MLS for next season, that can be found here.

Some of the highlights:

  • a 30 game season down from 32 games this season. This was due to a couple things, the addition of Toronto FC as team number 13, making an imbalanced league. Another reason was the upcoming tournament between MLS and the Mexican League. Finally less games was demeaned necessary to allow for the Gold Cup and Copa America next summer, both events the US will be participating in.
  • There will still be 2 conferences, the East will have 7 teams, as TFC will go there. The West will have 6. This is how the scheduling will break down for next season. Each team will play a home and away against every other team in the league for a total of 24 games. Then the 7 teams in the East will play 1 more game against each conference opponent, 3 home and 3 away. In the West, the 6 teams will play each team 1 more time, giving them 29. The last game will be a "rivalry game." The LA derby, the Texas derby, and the Rocky Mountain Cup will be the 3 rivalry games.
  • The playoffs also got a bit of a makeover, there will still be 8 teams, but the way those 8 teams qualify will be different. No more will it be 4 from each conference automatically. Now, the top 2 from each conference will qualify, followed by the next 4 best, meaning you could have 5 from the East and 3 from the West or any other combination.
  • The qualification for the US-Mexico Challenge Cup, will be based on league position, in the hopes of making the league more meaningful.
  • More foreign players are on their way, and the Beckham rule has been approved.
So, let's break this down, 1st, a 30 game season makes sense, with the way to break for the 2 international cups, this is what many people have been calling for, to give players a chance to compete in these events without having to miss more league games. I personally would have preferred a break during this time so that they missed no league games, but I guess that's not being done.

The schedule has been redone again in the last day. If you caught an early version of the announcement, it said that each team would play their conference rivals 4 times, and play the other conferences teams once each. So the East would have 24 games against each other, and 1 game each against, LA, Chivas, Dallas, Houston, RSL, and CO. The West would have 20 games against their conference rivals, 1 each against the 7 East teams, and the 1 rivalry game as well. Thankfully this has been dropped in favor of the newer schedule which makes more sense if they are sticking with the conferences.

I have no problem with the playoffs the way they are going to be. People will complain about there being too many teams making the playoffs, therefore making the regular season mean less, but it works the other way too though. If a team is knocked out of the playoff chase in late August or early September, that's about a month's worth of action that they won't have anything to play for. And you think the fans are going to show up for the team, even if they're still trying to qualify for the "Challenge Cup" between the US and Mexico?

I weary of the Beckham rule being put in place, I may not have been around for much of the NASL, but I've seen what they did, and I want MLS to learn from it, which they have so far. If it's done right I have no problem with it, but this is MLS, and I am not sure how well they'll do it.


In some news that will sting for Wizards fans, this was released today. The Mayor of OP has pulled his support of the STAR Bonds for the Wizards stadium. Kinda funny that he's done a 180 from where he originally was on the topic. You gotta love politics and the two faced double turns that you get. We'll see where this one goes to from here.

Right now it doesn't look the best, but remember this about the Wizards new owners OnGoal LLC, they are business men and they didn't get to where they are in the business world by only having 1 plan. They had a backup plan from the beginning in case this happened, so we shall see what their other plan might hold.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Youth Soccer Complex Voted Down

So yesterday in Johnson County, KS, Question 1 was voted down. This Question would have been a tax to fund a youth soccer complex, a park, community center, walking trail, and other amenities. The purpose of the facility was suppose to alleviate some of the pressure on the current number of youth fields. As those in favor mentioned numerous times, there is currently a lack of fields for the number of players that there are in Johnson County. These fields would also allow the Kansas City area to host bigger tournaments, like USYSA regionals and nationals, state cup competitions, or other tournaments, possibly on the scale as big as the Dallas Cup or the Schwan's USA Cup. Both of those last 2 tournaments bring in international teams from around the world to play.

The opposition to this proposal did a masterful job of confusing voters and used some misleading information that ultimately doomed the proposal. Saying that the proposal was going to help subsidize the KC Wizards MLS team or that they would be used just for Wizards youth teams. Other misleading information that was used was that each field in and of itself would cost $5 million each, not taking into account the purchase of the land and the building of the other
amenities that would be involved in the project.

Does this Doom the Wizards?

There has been talk about this dooming the Wizards and that they will now be leaving the city. This thread specifically on bigsoccer brings back the rumor of the Wizards moving to Philly, which is completely unfounded.

This question has not killed "Plan A" for the Wizards. The plan for OnGoal LLC, the Wizards new owners, is to still build a Soccer Specific Stadium in KC for the Wizards to play in. As
Robb Heineman, principal of OnGoal LLC and interim president of the Wizards, said in the paper today about the issue, "This doesn’t change what our vision is for soccer in Kansas City. The Wizards’ vision is that this is going to work in Kansas City,” Heineman said. “We’re going to push forward. … We’re going to be a world-class soccer organization, and we’re going to be in Kansas City.”

This to me seems to be a direct quote saying they aren't moving, so where does the guy in Philly get the idea the team is moving there? A few sentences earlier in the same article: "Robb Heineman, principal of OnGoal LLC and interim president of the Wizards professional soccer team, said he was disappointed, but remained resolute in getting a stadium built by 2009, but not necessarily in Johnson County."

The bolded part is the section the poster had zeroed in on, saying that this was a sign that the team was moving. All along the Wizards goal had been to get a stadium built by 2009. That plan is still there, the location has just possibly changed.

Has the failing of this ballot issue hurt the Wizards? Yes it has, it'd have been fantastic to have a youth soccer complex right next to the stadium, and that still is a possibility to have a complex like Pizza Hut Park, down in Dallas, but the stadium can still be built without the youth fields, just as the youth fields could have been built without the possibility of the Wizards being right next door. It's just back to the drawing board for the Yes on Youth Soccer people, as there is most definitely a need for the fields. And for the Wizards, it's still pressing forward with the hope of Overland Park acquiring the STAR Bonds necessary to help build the stadium and retail complex.

Monday, October 30, 2006

MLS Cup review

Even though my Wizards are out of the playoffs I'm still following the league's playoffs this season, and had some very entertaining games this weekend from a neutral stand point. Of the 4 teams that came into the second weekend of games trailing, 3 of the 4 ended up coming back to take the series. Two of those 3 games went down to penalty kicks, both on Saturday.

First New England overcame an early Nate Jaqua goal that put them down 2-0 on agg and came back to tie it on goals by Twellman and Noonan. On PK's, Matt Reis stopped 2 PK's and made 1 himself to help New England advance 2-2 (4-2 on penalties).

The West's 4 seed, Colorado came into Dallas and were able to force extra time thanks to 2 goals by Niko. A strike in extra time by the man formally know as Clint Mathis channeled the spirit of the old Clint and struck home a beautiful strike to force PKs as well. After 5 rounds saw the 2 teams level at 4, Dario Sala stepped up for Dallas but ended up missing his PK. Pablo Mastroeni put his attempt in the net winning the series for Colorado. Then the drama started, as Pablo and his Colorado teammates were celebrating to the side of the goal, there were expletives and gestures thrown towards the Dallas supporters. This did not sit well apparently with Sala who came over pushing 1 Colorado played and punching another. You can see a video shot by a Dallas fan here. The league has yet to release a statement on this, but you can expect something to come Sala's way in the form of a suspension and likely fine. This though is the second time that Colorado players have been involved in taunting opposing fans. In the last game of the Rocky Mountain Cup against RSL, Pablo was again the center of controversy as he taunted the Salt Lake fans.

The other game where the trailing team came back was down in Houston on Sunday. A Brad Davis penalty put Houston level with Chivas, and a VERY late goal by Brian Ching gave Houston the series and a spot in the Western Conference Finals. Juan Francisco Palencia received his marching orders early in the second half for 2 yellow cards that brought about some tustling between the 2 teams. After this game, more fisticuffs broke out, as right as the final whistle blew, Juan Pablo Garcia tackled Brad Davis right as the final whistle was blown. This led to a second tustle between the two teams, no punches thrown in this one that you can see on the video on MLS's website, but definitly more pushing, and again we will likely see something from the league on this game as well.

The final conference semifinal game was between DC and NYRB. Trailing 1-0, NYRB got a goal from Josmer Altidore that tied it on agg. But in the 85th minute, Christian Gomez sealed the semifinal with his strike that tied the game at 1 but put DC up on agg 2-1. This leads to the conference finals matches set for next weekend. New England travels down to RFK to play DC, and Colorado goes to Houston to play the Dynamo. Look for my preview and predictions on these games later this week.


Tomorrow, the Iowa Conference men's soccer tournament kicks off with the 2 first round games. Buena Vista (4-13-1, 2-5-1), the 6th seed travels to Pella to play the Dutch (12-5-2, 6-1-1), the 3 seed. These 2 teams tied 0-0 back on September 23rd in Pella. The Dutch dominated that game, outshooting the Beavers 28-5 but were unable to find the back of the net. The Dutch have the opportunity to enact revenge on the Beavers, as the draw kept Central from creating a 3 way tie for the conference title in the regular season. Both teams have a strong defense and I'd expect this to be a very tight game. BV has been a thorn for Central the past few years, with Central's only win in the last 3 years coming in 2005. In 2004, the 2 teams tied during the regular season 1-1. The teams then met up again in the conference tournament just like this year, BV came up the winner in that match winning 2-1 in overtime. Last year the Dutch won 1-0 at Storm Lake. This match will prove to be a tough one for Central, but they should pull it out. Quite a few of the starters on the team this year were part of that team that lost in the conference tourney to BV and I doubt they'll want a repeat. Central 1-0

In the other match up, 4th seeded Simpson hosts 5th seeded Luther. Luther is the most storied team in the conference, winning 6 of the first 7 conference tournaments. Since then, Luther has not made it back to the finals, losing in the semifinals twice and the first round once. This year they play Simpson, who won conference the one year out of the 7 that Luther did not. Simpson won the regular season meeting between the 2 teams 2-1 at home on Oct 4. The match was fairly back and forth, with Simpson having 2 first half goals hold up as Luther pressured in the second half. Luther always seems to turn up once tournament time comes around and you can never count against them in the tournament, but they don't seem to have the talent level as years past, and with the final four being held at Simpson this year, I believe the Storm will want to make an appearance on their home field for the semifinals. Simpson 2-1.

Friday, October 27, 2006


So this weekend, the IIAC closes out their regular season for men's and women's soccer. Both still have 1 spot left up for grabs, and some seeding left to be decided as well.

On the men's side, Wartburg has clinched the number 1 seed in the conference tournament, as they go into the final game of the regular season at home against Central. Loras can clinch the 2 seed and a first round bye as well with a win against winless Coe at home. Central has clinched at least third and a first round home match, but still has an outside shot at the 2 seed, if Coe defeats Loras. Simpson College has locked up the other first round home spot as they are 4-3 heading into their final game with Cornell. Luther has clinched another year in the conference tournament, but does not have their seed settled yet. They are currently in fifth with a 3-4-1 record. They are the only team that has played all their games in conference and are on the sideline as the rest of the league fights it out. Their battle for 5th is with Dubuque U who they tied 1-1 in Dubuque. Dubuque closes the season on the road against Buena Vista which will be the match that will likely decide who will be the last team in the conference tournament. A win by BV will, I believe, give them the 6th seed and leave Dubuque out for another year. A win by Dubuque and they will likely take the 5th seed playing at Simpson while Luther would get the 6th seed and either be traveling to Loras, or more likely, Central. A draw would give Dubuque 6th place and Luther fifth.

While all this is going down though, Cornell still has a slim outside shot at the conference tournament. In fact they'd be in better position then BV if not for some violations of IIAC rules, which I quote here: Conference penalty structure penalizes unsportsmanlike conduct that results in teams losing standing points based on cards received.

This will be a major downfall for Cornell if they happen to defeat Simpson on Sat. Coe has been eliminated from possibly making the tournament, and unless they pull off a miracle win at Loras, will go the entire season without a win, and 1 draw.

Here are my predicitions for the last weekend of the season conference games:
Coe vs. Loras - Loras wins this one going away and clinches second.
Dubuque vs Buena Vista - This one ends in a draw as that's the main thing BV knows, and it will come back to haunt them here as Dubuque qualifies for the post season for the first time.
Central vs Wartburg - As much as I want Central to win this one, Wartburg is gonna go into the tournament undefeated in conference play, but it will be close, 1-0 to the Knights
Simpson vs Cornell - Cornell needs this for their conference hopes to stay alive, but I don't see that happening, Simpson gets the win here.

The conference tournament this year will be held at the winner of the women's regular season champion, which looks to be Simpson. Loras had a rough non-conference schedule that saw them go 2-6-1 outside the conference. Loras has though wrapped up a bye along with Simpson, and still have a chance to take first if Simpson stumbles. Luther has clinched either 3rd or 4th depending on Wartburg's result against Central at home. Coe and Dubuque are fighting for the last spot in the conference tournament, with Dubuque having the inside lane as Coe has to go play at Loras while Dubuque plays BV who has not won a game in conference this season. Central and BV have both been eliminated from play.

Also of note, Clint Schreiber
of my alma mater, Central, was named to the team of the week. See the rest of the team here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

starting over

So I'm starting over with this whole Soccer blog thing. Last time I kinda trailed off and got away from it and more towards my myspace blog. Well now I'm gonna try and seperate the 2, making this my more soccer specific blog. So let's get started...

Tonight I am gonna touch on the Wizards end of season awards.

Here is the link to the Wizards site that gives the awards.

MVP: Jose Burciaga Jr. - No real surprise here, Jose was second on the team in goals with 8, and tied for first on assists(8) with Sasha Victorine. While Jose's defensive capabilities are called into question many a times, you can not deny the affect that he had with the team this year. You can't really look at any of the other players on the Wizards roster and say that they were more important then Jose. The only one that even comes close in my opinion is Nick Garcia, but you can't pick him over Jose, especially with his offensive output this season, that brought on 4 game winning goals, while no other Wizard had more then 1 this season.

Golden Boot: Scott Sealy - 10 goals in league play, for Scott Sealy, 1 more then his total last season in league gets him this award. Scott actually scored 11 goals this season, as he also had the game winner in the USOC match against the Des Moines Menace.

Defender of the Year: Nick Garcia - For the second year in a row, Nick takes home the teams defender of the year. Also for the second year in a row, he's overlooked for the league defender of the year while teammates of his are nominated for the award. Last year while Nick won team defender of the year, Jimmy Conrad won league defender of the year. This year, Nick again won the award while Jimmy and Jose were both nominated for the league award. Has Nick's early reputation as a bit of a hack and physical defender blackballed him from this by coaches and GMs in the league? Overall in my opinion, Nick is one of, if not the best man marking defenders in the league, if not for his size, he'd be a national team central defender.

Humanitarian of the Year: Bo Oshoniyi - Bo knows being a Humanitarian. Bo supported Breast Cancer research by wearing a pink goalie jersey that was then auctioned off to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Greater Kansas City Affiliate. You can never fault a man for wanting to help raise awareness on a cause like this, even if it does involve the guy wearing pink.