Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Groin Staying

As mentioned in my last blog entry, Lillestrøm has given up on trying to land Wizards favorite Jimmy Conrad. That news alone was great to hear for any Wizards fan, but now days later, comes this great news as well.

Obviously, MLS listened to me in my last entry, and the league is looking to lock Jimmy up for the rest of his playing career.

Overall, this is probably the best move for Jimmy, while he likely coulda made more money playing soccer in Norway, it also had it's draw backs as well. Jimmy mentioned in an interview a while back in Rochester that often times, US players in the Scandanavian leagues often get overlooked when it comes time for national team camps. And as Jimmy has shown lately, he's definitly gonna continue to be a big part of the national team leading upto and into the next qualifying cycle for the 2010 World Cup.

Another draw back is the fact that Jimmy is not getting any younger, he just turned 30 years old, and his playing days aren't gonna last forever. With that in mind, Jimmy's likely also looking towards his career after soccer. He's already shown his humor in his articles on CNNSI and now ESPN, and he's done well in webcasts with Sean Wheelock. He seems to have a want, and the skill to continue to do that after his playing days are done. Staying in MLS gives him a great opportunity to get a jump on that while he's still playing.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stadium news for KC

Good news for the Wizards lately on the stadium from, as Olathe seems to be stepping up to try and get a stadium built for the Wizards. The KC Star on Wednesday, posted this article about the current process that Olathe is going through. Olathe officials basically had to get state lawmakers to alter the law for STAR Bonds to get a stadium and soccer hall of fame. Later in the same day, the Star posted this article as well. As a continuation from the first story, it discusses the fact that the Senate agreed with Olathe "that sales tax revenue could be used to pay for a professional soccer stadium there." This is fantastic news for the Wizards, as there had not been much news about a new location for a Soccer Specific Stadium since the failure of the youth soccer bill for 159th and 69 Highway back in November and the subsequent pulling of support by the Overland Park mayor of the STAR Bonds that were to be used for a stadium and commerce area.

Another exciting part of the first article, is the fact that we could a competition starting to get the Wizards. Along with Olathe working to get STAR Bonds changed so that they can work to get the team there, the article also mentions a location that had been mentioned in an earlier Down the Byline entry. Bannister Mall is apparently a very viable location for the Wizards to build their stadium. With Wal-Mart closing their supercenter in that area, the area is almost entirely empty of major businesses to hold down that 300 acre commercial area. The fact that there is more then 1 location being looked at as a site for the stadium means that people are starting to look more seriously at the effect of soccer on the community.


The Wizards have confirmed the news that was first posted on bigsoccer, then here in this blog. That news being that Alex Zotinca is no longer with the Wizards. In this press release, the Wizards confirmed that Zotinca is out, he was traded to Chivas USA where he's reunited with Preki. The Wizards in return get a conditional pick in next years SuperDraft. While Zotinca was decent for the Wizards, he was never more then a utility player on the right side of the field in the midfield and the back. But with the drafting of Michael Harrington and Jack Jewsbury apparently getting more time at right back, Zotinca had become expendable.

Some very good news for the Wizards back line, Jimmy Conrad is going to be staying with the team. Lillestrøm have apparently given up in their bid to land the KC and US center back. I hope the Wizards and the league lock him up for the rest of his career then give him a nice cushy job writing articles for MLSnet and doing commentary on MLS games.

Kansas City finally picked up their first preseason win this week against the Fire, 3-0. Although apparently a guy that was at the game said the score was 4-0. The updates from down at camp keep coming in as well, check out KC for all those entries, as I said before, good reads.

Some new info I just found out today, thanks to JoeW on bigsoccer. According to Steven Goff with the Washington Post, the Wizards are apparently interested in Luciano De Bruno of Hapoel Tel Aviv. De Bruno is a 28 year old Argentine attacking midfielder, here is a wikipedia entry on him, although it appears to be written by someone who is not a fan. There's some rather harsh language in it about him, so you have been warned. We were told that the team was looking at an Argentinian, but I'd thought it have been a player currently playing in Argentina.

De Bruno was also involved in a recent altercation with Rangers keeper Allan McGregor in the second leg of their UEFA Cup match recently.

One last thing I wanted to post, this is the transcript of a question Steve Nash was asked recently on PTI, this is a great endorsment for the league, thanks to D at DCenters for posting it.

KORNHEISER: ...Do you seriously think that David Beckham is going to make an impact in soccer in the United States?

NASH: He will make an impact because he's a huge star regardless of the sport, and he'll put soccer in every magazine and every newspaper and TV Show. You guys will be dying to have him on PTI. He'll make an impact because a lot of people will be exposed to the sport. But I really think this sport is on its way in this country regardless. I think the talent is growing, I think they've always had the grassroots, and the professional league is building soccer-only stadiums. There's a lot of money going into it, so I think soccer is here to stay. It may never be as big as the big four, but it's definitely growing, and maybe it'll be the fifth sport. Obviously, I'm a fan and a bit biased, but I think it's really on its way.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wizards news for the week.

Well the Wizards have moved down to FL to continue their preseason preparing for the 2007 season, and here is some news about the boys in Blue. Before I start though I wanna make a note for everyone to know as I have seen mentioned quite often around bigsoccer and other forums.

Yes the Wizards have a new logo this season, it is their old secondary logo. That said, the team's uniforms will still have the rainbow logo on them for this season. Below you can see both logos.

new primary logo

old primary logo, now secondary, but will appear on uniforms

Some bad news to start with unfortunately. It looks as though Wizards defender Matt Groenwald is gonna be out of action for a while due to blood clots that were first found in his knee and now apparently found in his lung. This is sad and terrible news for Groenwald who was looking to get more minutes this season after being pushed to the bench after Bliss took over.

Continuing with some player news, apparently Alex Zotinca is no longer on the Wizards team. While there has been no official announcement from the team about this, a person that works for the Wizards posted on bigsoccer today that "He's no longer with the team." He was out of contract so it would seem the team decided against renegotiating.

Also missing from camp right now are Will John and first round draft pick, Michael Harrington, have been called into the US U-23(Olympic team) camp out at the Home Depot Center.

Speaking of Harrington, an interesting article on Yanks about the 23 players on the roster for South Africa 2010. Basically a break down of who they believe will make the 23 man roster, I assume this will be a regular column that they'll update. 4 Wizards made the list in some form. Jimmy Conrad and Eddie Johnson are both currently in their 23 man roster. On the outside, both Harrington and Jose Burciaga are listed as potential players that could move into the picture.

And back to John for a moment, there is a nice little video about him on the Wizards front page. He also had an article about him in the Star as well.

Connected with that article was a note about the other Wizards players who are from KC.

The Wizards fell in their first preseason match against Red Bull, down in FL on Tuesday, 3-1. Apparently the Wizards went with a rather makeshift lineup, especially with multiple players being away on national team duty or with injury. Red Bull apparently started the game with what looked to be their starting 11 for the regular season.

Definitly stay tuned to KC over the course of their preseason, as they've been doing a good job of giving training reports. Monday. Second Monday update. Wednesday. Thursday. These are great, it's enjoyable to know what the boys are up to and how they are doing.

Today the Wizards played the Crew in their second preseason match. According to a poster on bigsoccer who posted pictures in the Wizards forum, the Wizards lost 1-0. Here are the pictures as well as those for the match against Red Bull for those interested. (Credit to wembley on bigsoccer)

For those interested, early this Sunday morning on Fox Soccer Channel you can watch former Wizard Diego Walsh play for Adelaide United in the A-League Grand Final. Just remember you can't spell "I'm freaking crap" without Diego "I'm freaking crap" Walsh. Even if he did score in the PKs to help United get to the finals.

Finally, get to know the Wizards new number 1 goalie, Kevin Hartman. First through the KC Star article from earlier this week. Then through the interview on KC And speaking of Kevin, a bit of a humorous look at the lack of female compaionship for the team on Valentine's Day thanks to Sasha, Kerry, and Kevin.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

DOS A CERO!!!!!!!

The US do it again. 2-0 win over Mexico. I can't even remember the last time Mexico scored a goal on US soil.

Jimmy Conrad is the man.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wizards 2007 schedule released

The Wizards 2007 schedule was released today along with the rest of the schedule for Major League Soccer.

I personally have a few problems with the scheduling as it's come about for the Wizards, and not surprisingly most of them happen on big events.

  1. Home opener Wednesday 4/25 against Toronto FC - Great, so the Wizards home opener is on a Wednesday night while school is in session, that's a great way to get people out to the game for the home opener.
  2. Saturday 5/5 against Columbus Crew - So not only is our first home game on a Wednesday night, but our second home game is in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of spring soccer season. The reason? The Royals have a home game that night against Detroit. So then why put the Wizards at home that same weekend?
  3. Wednesday 7/4 against DC United - So you'd think 'Great, the Wizards get a 4th of July game, nice little attendance boost.' That's until you see the fact that the Wizards game kicks off at NOON that day killing any fireworks. Again it's cause the Royals are in town the same weekend. WHY have the Wizards at home when the Royals are?
  4. Thursday 9/27 against LA Galaxy - So KC gets to see Beckham, like the rest of MLS. The Wizards get to see him midweek on a school night. That's a great one. I love the fact that ESPN has given MLS their own primetime slot during the week, but seriously did MLS not think about this? The Wizards never draw well for midweek games.
  5. Finally 10/13 and 10/20 at Red Bulls and at FC Dallas - For the third year in a row, the Wizards end the regular season on the road. Seriously what do we have to do to finally have home field for the last game?
I'm not the only one that's unhappy with the schedule, many of the KC posters on bigsoccer are also not happy with the scheduling.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that the Wizards and OnGoal are to blame for some of these problems, specifically the 2 middle of the afternoon Saturday games. My guess is that these were both originally scheduled to be night games at a temporary venue, but when the Wizads moved back to Arrowhead, the Wizards were forced to change the time. The amount of time it took the team to decide on their temp venue will be something that will hurt the Wizards quite a bit at the gate this season, as those first 3 home games I listed were likely all primed for a decent turnout at the gate, but not now with the times that these games are set to take place.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Wizards After 2 Guatemalans?

A lot has been made of new Wizards coach Curt Onalfo and technical director Peter Vermes taking a trip down to South America to scout talent for the Wizards for the upcoming season.

Well the players may not be from South American, but the Wizards are being linked to 2 players from CSD Municipal in the Guatemala National League. Those 2 players both have past ties to Major League Soccer. The first one was mentioned on Red Deportiva, which stated that Mario "Loco" Rodríguez looked to be on the
verge of signing with the team. In 2005, "Loco" played for the Columbus Crew, playing in 19 of the teams games, starting 15, and scoring 1 goal. Last season, he played was on loan to USL-1 side, Miami FC. With Miami, "Loco" scored 7 goals and had 4 assists in 18 games.

The second article on this situation was on, which discussed "Loco," but also discussed another MLS Alum, Guillermo "Pando" Ramírez. "Pando" is best known for scoring the game winning goal in overtime of the 2005 MLS Cup Final between the Revolution and the LA Galaxy, who "Pando" was playing for. In that season with the Galaxy, he scored 2 goals and seemed to be an imitator of Fransisco Gomez, putting the ball into row Z more then
on goal. The article quotes Onalfo saying that he's gotten a chance to see each play while with the US National team and sees them fitting in well with the Wizards.

Personally I'm against signing "Pando" and I don't know enough about "Loco" to make an informed decision. LA Galaxy fans have told me on a few occasions that if only Sampson had played him in the middle he woulda done better. (One, two, three) But in the article I linked above, Onalfo says he sees "Pando" on the left side of the field, meaning he'd be right back where Sampson played him. Not only am I against it because of his poor play on the left side with
the Galaxy in 2005, but mainly I'm against it because of the price tag that he would likely come with, $270,000 transfer fee for the player according to the article.

With the scouting trips that Onalfo and Vermes went on, Wizards fans were expecting new faces, not rehashed MLS players.
Here is a picture of both players, "Loco" is on the left, "Pando" is on the right.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kansas City Wizards Home for 2007 is...

Arrowhead Stadium.

Confirmed by Wizards president Robb Heineman.

Wizards Home for 2007 revisited

Recently I'd done two blog entries about where the Wizards would play their home games in 2007. With all the recent developments lately on where they'll play, I felt it would be a good time to revisit this issue, as the season grows ever closer.

The first blog I did about the issue. Came out after the superintendent of the Ray-Pec school district came out and said they were out of the running and that the Wizards were going to play somewhere in Olathe. From the 6 sites I listed in that blog, the only one that was located in Olathe was College Boulevard Activity Center. This led me to believe that the Wizards were possibly going to this site, which seemed to be a favorite among many Wizards fans.

The second, and more recent blog I did, involved the Wizards returning to Arrowhead for the 2007 season, as the renovations to the facility would not involve the seating area. With this info and some information about who the Wizards were talking with about concessions, it seemed like the Wizards could be going back to Arrowhead. Another option that pleased Wizards fans, as it meant that the fans to tailgate with alcoholic beverages if they so choose to.

Now we get up to the present, where we have some new information that has come out. Recently on bigsoccer, a person that teaches in the Ray-Pec school district posted two bits of information (one, two) that he found out about the Wizards still possibly coming to play in Ray-Pec. Not the best location for many of the Wizards fans, in the voting of the 6 locations I listed in my first blog on this topic, Ray-Pec did not fair very well as a location. One thing I found out that works against Ray-Pec is that supposedly no contracts have put in bids yet to work on adding the extra seating that would need to be added to the stadium. This process and the process of ordering the supplies can take at the least, 2 months, which would be pushing the them to be done by Cinco de Mayo, the date of the Wizards first home game. I don't know if all this is 100%, but does make the next bit of information more interesting.

The second bit of interesting information, came last night, from Metro Sports, a local sports network. Metro Sports was reporting that the Wizards would be playing their 2007 home games back at Arrowhead stadium, instead of temporary facility. As I had stated in my blog earlier, Arrowhead is still a viable option due to the type of renovations that will be occurring in 2007 at Arrowhead. The Wizards would though still have to find a home for 2008, and that coudl still be any of the sites I listed, or 2 more that Metro Sports listed that I had never even heard about being in the running, William Chrisman High School and Truman High School, both in Independence.

Finally today, to try and put some of the rumors to rest, this message was posted on bigsoccer, from Robb Heineman, the Wizards President. This is good news for Wizards fans, as it will finally bring to a close to the situation, although many Wizards fans are rightfully cautionous and won't believe it "until they get their tickets."

One last thing I wanted to touch on from the Metro Sports article, was the second to last paragraph in the article I linked above. Apparently the Wizards are interested in the Bannister Mall site in South KC. As rumors around KC have swirled on some other forums and outlets around KC as well about the possiblity of the Bannister site. Another one. A Third. This is a topic that will continue to be looked at and speculated on. Personally, I'm not sure what to think of the idea. It's a good location for a stadium, but my worry is the stigma, assumptions, or predeterminations that people have about the area, particularly Johnson County residents (people the Wizards try to get to attend games). The assumption is that the area is high crime and a "ghetto." This worries me in that it will likely keep people from wanting to attend the games.