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.