Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blame Canada

Toronto FC returns to KC tomorrow to take on the Wizards for the third and final time this season. This, though, is not the same Toronto FC team that the Wizards beat a combined 4-0 earlier this season. TFC coach Mo Johnston has continued to make trades as the season has gone along, and has definitely improved the team. Along with Jeff Cunningham, some new faces the Wizards might see this weekend include Todd Dunivant and Collin Samuel. Also seeing action this time around will be Ronnie O'Brien, who missed the first 2 encounters due to injury.

The Wizards will be without arguably their two best players, as Eddie Johnson and Jimmy Conrad are playing with the US national team at Copa America. Toronto will be without Marvell Wynne who is also down in Venezuela with the US team. The Wizards could also get themselves a favor if Danny Dichio, who was a force for the KC back line to deal with up in Toronto, misses the game. Right now he's listed as questionable.

As for the Wizards lineup, with the rust that Scott Sealy has shown lately, I'd like to see him come in off the bench, and Yura Movsisyan start. My guess though is that Sealy will start again up top with Carlos Marinelli. I don't like him playing up top as a withdrawn striker, but it looks like Onalfo likes him there. So I'd expect a 4-1-3-1-1 type formation.
Jewsbury - Hohlbein - Garcia - Burciaga
Arnaud - Victorine - Harrington

Toronto has 1 point on the road so far this season, and has never led. That said, this game is a little worrisome for me. If Aaron Hohlbein and Nick Garcia can shut down Jeff Cunningham and whoever is up top with Toronto, the Wizards will stand a very good chance. While TFC has shored up their back line, it's still unimpressive, and without Wynne, it is a major plus for the attack minded Wizards.

KC - 2 (Arnaud, Victorine)
TFC - 1 (Cunningham)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Quaranta NOT to KC?

The KC Star may have spoken too soon when they reported on Monday that Santino Quaranta would be heading to KC for a draft pick. Today news came out from Ives Galarcep's blog, Soccer By Ives, that Santino will be joining Red Bull New York, not the Wizards, for a conditional fourth round pick.

I trust Ives on Red Bull news more then I trust the Star on Wizards news, so this holds a little more water in my mind than the Star report.

What happened with the Wizards deal? My best guess is that Eloy Colombano has impressed enough in his trial to get KC to look more at him to help their offense then Quaranta, who was reported to have shown up for LA preseason out of shape. Will be interesting to see where this goes now. According to Ives, Quaranta is joining New York for their game against the Crew tomorrow, so we'll see if MLS actually reports the trade.

School in Session

Coming into Copa America, everyone knew the match against Argentina would be a tough one for the young roster that Bob Bradley named for the competition. The US though played well in the first half, challenging for the ball and creating some chances. They even managed to grab the early lead, as Eddie Johnson was brought down in the box. Johnson converted the PK, and the US had an early 1-0 lead. That lead did not last long though, as all it seemed to do was wake the Argentine's up. A Juan Roman Riquelme free kick in the 10th minute was flicked into the box, where Kasey Keller appeared slow off his line to try and punch the ball away. This led to the ball bouncing around in the box, where Hernan Crespo finished it. The US though was able to show good defensive shape the rest of the half, bending but not breaking under Argentina's attack, including a great save by Keller on a Juan Sebastian Veron shot.

Just after the hour mark, things started to fall apart. The US looked tired and worn out from having to chance the Argentine's all over the field. Crespo scored his second in the 64th minute as he was able to get himself alone just outside the US box, and was found with a through ball by Lionel Messi. Argentina's third goal came in the 78th from Pablo Aimar, who scored on a header after out racing his defender, Ricardo Clark, into the box. To add insult to injury, the US conceded a fourth in the 85th minute. Substitute, yes I said substitute, Carlos Tevez beat the offsides trap, when Jay Demerit was slow to pull with the rest of the line. Tevez walked in alone on Keller and easy slotted the ball past him. The loss is the first for the US since the 2-1 loss to Ghana at the World Cup, and the first under Bob Bradley. That said, this was easily the hardest team the US has faced under Bradley.

It's hard to be overly disappointed with this result. Sure we got our butts handed to us after the hour mark, sure the US looked tired and worn out by then, but did anyone really have their hopes up for this match? I mean when I saw the lineup for the tournament, I almost immediately knew we were in trouble, if the US didn't care enough to send a stronger lineup, why should I care so much when the young lineup we put out there lays an egg? The 10 starting field players last night had a grand total of 140 combined caps. The majority of those cap coming from 4 players (Jimmy Conrad 21, Ben Olsen 35, Eddie Johnson 27 & Taylor Twellman 26), the rest of the starting lineup each had under 10 caps.

The 3 subs (Eddie Gaven, Kyle Beckerman, & Herculez Gomez) were even less experienced, with a grand total of 4 caps between the 3 coming in. Look at it this way, in the 79th minute, the US subbed in Beckerman for Clark, at the same time who did Argentina bring on? Tevez... Defenitely shows the difference in the quality of the 2 sides.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Update on 2007 Wants and Wishes

We are about half way through the year 2007, so I thought it was due time to review my wants and wishes for 2007 that I posted back in December.

1. The Wizards Announce 2007-2008 Home. Well this was partially filled. We found out in February that the Wizards would play 2007 in Arrowhead. That still leaves the question of 2008 and probably 2009 since the Wizards haven't started work on a soccer specific stadium yet. So this want has been half way filled.

2. Announcement of Plans to Build Wizards SSS. Still waiting on this one, although the news continues to be positive. Robb Heineman recently said plans are for a 18,500 seat stadium. There are also apparently 4 possible locations for the stadium, 2 each side of the state line. I still have hope that we'll hear an announcement before the end of the year. The fact that the Wizards training facility is built already gives a major kick in the crotch to those that think the Wizards will move.

3. Wizards Return to the Playoffs. We'll we're not half way through the season yet, but the Wizards are in a good position right now to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Hopefully the recent lack of results does not continue, and the Wizards can get back on track to challenging for the MLS Cup again.

4. Return of Form for Eddie Johnson. Well so far this is an emphatic yes. 9 goals so far this season, including 2 hattricks. Eddie has looked a lot better this season then last season or the season before. The Wizards though will have to live without him for at least 3 more games though as he's with the US at Copa America.

5. Jamie Trecker Exposed for the Pompous Ass He is to the Entire World. Still waiting on this one, but he has been fairly quiet when it comes to sticking his foot in his mouth in his articles.

6. US Men's National Team Gold Cup and Copa America Success. Well I'd call a win over your rival in the finals of the Gold Cup a major plus. Copa America is getting ready to start, the US's first game is tomorrow against Argentina, but the younger roster that the US is putting out for the tournament will probably lead to an early exit.

7. The Wizards Bring in an Attacking Midfielder. This can be answered with 2 words, Carlos Marinelli. He's been a great central midfielder so far this season, giving the Wizards a stronger midfield then they've had in years. Hopefully his continued play will help lead the Wizards in the midfield in a way we haven't seen since Preki.

8. A Friendly Against a European Team for the Wizards. This hasn't been fulfilled, which is kind of sad with teams like Aston Villa, Benfica, Celtic, Chelsea, Cracovia (Poland), and I'm sure there are others. Other teams are playing Mexican league competition. Yet still the Wizards sit, not having had a home friendly since 1997 or so. There is still talk of a friendly with new Mexican League partner, Atlas, but there has not been news on that since the deal was signed.

I'll visit these wishes at the end of the year to see how these have gone after a year. Hopefully they'll all be fulfilled.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Update on Eloy Colombano

The Wizards weekly update has given us an update on Wizards trialist Eloy Colombano. He's in training with the team right now. He played 60 minutes in the reserve match on Monday against the Springfield Demize of the PDL, scoring a goal, as the reserves won 5-0. The match was the first exhibition played at the new Swope Park training facility.

I still don't have a whole lot of current information on Colombano, but if he's putting the ball in the net, that's always a good thing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quaranta to KC a Done Deal (KC Star Report)

I've been sitting on this story all day, waiting for an official word, but since it's almost 5:30 local time, I kind of doubt something will be announced tonight. Anyways, according to Bob Luder with the KC Star, he's confirming that the story that I wrote about last week. Apparently Santino Quaranta will now be on his way to KC for a draft pick. According to the Star article the deal was suppose to be announced today, but has not as yet.

Depending on what draft pick KC is giving up, this could be a good deal for KC. While Quaranta has not lived up to expectations when he joined the league at 16, he has a good relationship with Eddie Johnson, and a reuniting of the duo could lead both to new heights. Although according to LA fans, he's put on some weight and came into preseason out of shape. Quaranta has 11 caps with the US Men's National Team, the last of which came on 2/19 against Guatemala in Dallas, although he is still listed on the national team player pool.

Do the Wizards have to give up a draft kick to get Quaranta if they really want him though? Steven Goff, a few days after he originally broke the story, he posted this about the possible Quaranta move.
*MLS gossip: L.A. continues to shop Santino Quaranta, but if the club is unable to reach a deal in the next few days, it could end up waiving him before July 1, the day all contracts are guaranteed for the season. If Quaranta were waived, he would be available to the rest of the league.
Could the Wizards just wait until July 1 and see if the Galaxy waive Quaranta and then pick him up? Do the Wizards want Quaranta that bad? We'll find out in the next few days, if the Wizards make this deal.

Other News
In other news, I was informed today that Eloy Colombano, the Defense and Justice forward who Robb Heineman mentioned last week around the time the Quaranta deal broke, was at the Wizards game on Sunday afternoon. Colombano apparently watched the game with Wizards Technical Director Peter Vermes.

US Take Down Mexico, Win Gold Cup

The United States came from a goal down yesterday to beat rival Mexico 2-1 to win their second consecutive Gold Cup. Jose Andres Guardado scored the opener for Mexico, after Nery Castillo had beaten Oguchi Onyewu and put in a cross to the far post, where Guardado was completely unmarked. It was the first goal scored by Mexico on the US, outside Estadio Azteca since 1999. A span of 9 games, Mexico went scoreless against the US outside of Mexico City.

In the second half, though, the US turned the game around. A long ball in to Brian Ching in the box, led to a PK, after he tried to turn his defender, and was brought down. Landon Donovan stepped up and froze Oswaldo Sanchez on the ensuing PK, to tie the game at 1-1. The US grabbed the lead in the 73rd minute on an absolute GOLAZO by Benny Feilhaber, the video of the goal is below. A Donovan corner was partially cleared by a Mexican defender, out of the box. The header though fell right in line with Feilhaber's run, he one timed it out of the air from about 20-25 yards out, beating Sanchez, and giving the US the 2-1 lead. The US was able to hold on, including a point blank save from Tim Howard on Adolfo Bautista, which lead to a US break for Donovan and Damarcus Beasley. The two had missed a breakaway against Canada on a Donovan wiff. This time it was Beasley who missed, putting his shot on an open net into the cross bar.

Oh Yeah it's a Hot One

Kansas City wilted in the Sunday afternoon heat, losing to the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at Arrowhead stadium. The loss, the Wizards second in a row, was again due to a lack of offensive punch. The Wizards rarely seriously threatened Pat Onstad in the Houston goal. The best chance came in the first half, when a misjudged long ball fell to Scott Sealy, who's shot went just wide of the far post. Houston scored on a corner kick in the 81st minute, Patrick Ianni was the scorer. This game was definitely not a show case game for the league, as the 90 degree weather at Arrowhead sucked most of the excitement out of both teams very early in the game. By the later stages, both teams just looked to be going through the motions on the field.

The shutout was the first time the Wizards have been shutout this season, the last team in MLS to be shutout. Overall though, this result is continued to trouble for the Wizards. While they've been near the top of the East, the Wizards only have 2 wins in the last 7, and have not won in the last 3. Their streak of not scoring the first goal continues as well, it's reached 7 games.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Patrick Ianni - Houston - Scored his first MLS goal, and helped to anchor the Houston defense that shutout the Wizards for the first time this season.
2. Sasha Victorine - KC - Was into the game all day, receiving passes all over the field and distrbuting.
3. Carlos Marinelli - KC - Continues to be impressive on the ball, but needs to help create more chances. He can have all the skill in the world, but if he just does it around midfield, it doesn't help put points on the board.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

KC Returns Home to take on Dynamo

The Wizards return home tomorrow to take on the Houston Dynamo. The Wizards are coming in after losing 2-1 to the Crew on Wednesday, with Houston comes in on a 4 game winning streak, the latest of which was a 4-0 drubbing of Chivas USA at home on Thursday night.

This will be the Wizards last game with Jimmy Conrad for a while, the Wizards captain was called up to the US National team for the Copa America that begins next week. The Dynamo have both their Canadian internationals returning for this game, after being knocked out of the Gold Cup Thursday night. I'd expect to see Pat Onstad start in net for the Dynamo, but I'd figure on Dwayne DeRosario probably coming in as a sub for this one.

The Wizards have to find a way to score, and I'd love for them to find a way to score first, considering they haven't done that since early May. I would not be surprised if we see a bit of a lineup change tonight, Scott Sealy hasn't shown much in his 2 starts since coming back from injury, and it might be time to give Yura Movsisyan a start. The other question is, do you play Carlos Marinelli as a with drawn forward again, or do you play him at attacking midfield, where I think he is better suited to play? I'm hoping central midfield, so that's what my projected line up is showing:
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Arnaud - Movsisyan

The Wizards looked terrible against Columubs, and the way Onalfo has coached the team this season, I don't think he'll let the team come out and play like that again. I expect a much more intense team to come out tomorrow. The Dynamo look to be riding a major high after that 4-0 win over Chivas, but they're due for a fall some time, and I'd love to see it happen tomorrow.

KC - 3 (Arnaud, Marinelli, Movsisyan)
Dynamo - 1 (Mullan)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Eddie and Jimmy both gone for Copa America

Well good think Eddie Johnson scored a hattrick in his last game with the Wizards, cause it'll be the last memory Wizards fans have of Eddie in Wizards blue for a little while longer. Johnson, and Jimmy Conrad were named to Bob Bradley's 22 man roster for the Copa America that is set to start June 28th in Venezuela against Argentina.

Looking at the roster, I don't see the US doing very well, which is a good sign for Wizards fans, as if the US goes 3 and out, Johnson and Conrad will only miss 3 games for this tournament. The duo will miss the game on July 1st against Toronto FC, July 4th against DC United, and due to travel, will likely miss the July 7th game in LA. Toronto will be without Marvell Wynne for the game in KC, DC will be without Bobby Boswell and Ben Olsen as well as Bryan Arguez for U-20 duty, and LA will be without no one, as Landon Donovan cried his way out of going to South America, but that is another debate entirely. The most matches they'll miss, is 4 if they happen to make the final or third place match. The fourth game they'd miss would be against Real Salt Lake on the 14th, who also had no one called up to Copa, but will be without Nathan Sturgis, Freddy Adu, and Chris Seitz as they'll be with the U-20s in Canada.

The US opens with Argentina in Maracaibo on the 28th, play Paraguay July 2nd in Barinas, and finish group play against Columbia July 5th in Barquisimeto. Should the US advance as either the one or two finisher in their group, or the best or second best third place team, they'll play July 7th or 8th. But with this roster and the way the US has been playing as of late, I don't think the US advancing will be a problem.

US into Gold Cup Final

The US advanced to the Gold Cup Final yesterday with a 2-1 win over Canada. Frankie Hejduk and Landon Donovan had the goals for the US.

Throughout this Gold Cup, the US has shown an extreme lack of form in the tournament, they've never really played an opponent off the field, they've played down to their opponents level most of the time. Last night was no exception. While Canada has improved, the US should not have made the game this close. Canada domindated for long portions of the game, and probably deserved more then the loss that they got.

If you read any other soccer blogs you've undoubtably heard or seen the offsides goal that was called back on the Canada. Yes, it probably should have been a goal, even if you interpret Oguchi Onyewu's header to be a deflection and not an actual play of the ball, Atiba Hutchinson was onside when the original ball was played through. That said, you can't say how Kasey Keller or the rest of the defense would have played had the flag not gone up.

On another note, yes the referee's in CONCACAF have left much to be desired in this tournament, but as a person that's refereed soccer in the past, I'm not gonna harp on them too much, and besides, the US has had plenty of crappy calls go against them over the years, it's about time a game decided crap call happened in our favor.

As for the Wizards player, Eddie Johnson, he played 80 minutes before being subbed out of the game. Johnson did well with his runs, although again he started some too early, getting caught offsides 3 times. The US will now play Mexico in the Gold Cup Final

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wizards Linked with Another Attacker

It's been a busy few days for the rumor mill when it comes to the Wizards. In the past week, they've been linked with Eloy Colombano, Daniel Osorno, and the continued link with Idan Shriki. Now they've been linked with a current MLS player. According to Steven Goff with the Washington Post, the LA Galaxy are shopping Santino Quaranta to make room for Chris Klein's salary. According to Goff, the Wizards appear to be the target location, for draft picks.

Personally this isn't worth it in my opinion. Quaranta doesn't bring anything different to the table then we already get out of Aranud, Harrington or Sealy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Defensive Woes Continue for Wizards

The Wizards defense continues to have trouble, and up until tonight, the offense had been pulling them out of that trouble. Tonight, though, the Wizards offense was not able to over come the problems in the Wizards defense. The Wizards back line, which supposedly got an upgrade at keeper this offseason, is pretty much the same that it was last year, when the Wizards defense seemed to be stronger. Yet this season, that same defense has looked poor most of the time. Center backs Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia are not looking like the force in the back they have been. Jose Burciaga Jr., after some shinning defensive moments earlier in the season, seems to be slipping back into his old habits. And Jack Jewsbury, while better than the platoon that played right back last season, is NOT the answer at that position.

Until tonight though, the Wizards high powered offense has bailed them out. Tonight, the Columbus Crew's defense was able to shut down the Wizards attack, and hand the Wizards a 2-1 loss. A late Jack Jewsbury strike kept the Wizards from being shut out for the first time this season. The Wizards seemed to play slow, uninterested soccer. If that's because they over looked Columbus, then that's shame on the coaching staff for letting that happen. If it's because it's their 2nd game in 5 games, then I'm really dreading Sunday when they play their 3rd in 9 days. This was the worst performance of the season I've seen out of the Wizards.

With them losing, it also brings out another point that has been apparent the last 4 games, but since they've ended up with points out of those, it's gone rather unnoticed. With the loss now, it's on the surface. The Wizards last scored first in a game, back on May 5th at home against the Crew. Since then the Wizards have started down 2-0, 1-0, 2-0, 1-0, 2-0, and 2-0. The offense can not always be bailing out the defense. I love the Wizards new attacking style, but some times I long for a well grounded out 1-0 win. Or at least a time where the Wizards don't have to play from behind.

As for tonight as a whole, Carlos Marinelli, was invisible for much of the game, Scott Sealy's touch is still not back yet, Yura Movsisyan's touch is still terrible, Davy Arnaud needs to whine a bit less when he doesn't get calls.

We can complain about possible hand balls before Gaven scored, or Ezra using Victorine as a ladder on the second goal, but in the end the Wizards didn't deserve to win this game.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Stefani Miglioranzi - Columbus - Shut down Arnaud on the wing all night, and scored a goal as well.
2. Danny O'Rourke - Columbus - Completely marked Marinelli out of the game. Never let him get into the game, got him frustrated, and in the end he was subbed out early.
3. Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Columbus - Proved to be the better of the two Argentine's tonight played well, and combined well with the other forwards.

Yes I did not give a single Wizard a mention tonight. If you think any Wizard deserved to be on the list over these 3, please feel free to make a case for any of them. The only one that comes close in my opinion is Michael Harrington, the rookie was our best player tonight, which isn't saying much, but does say a lot about the rookie's play this season.

Update on Argentine

Robb Heineman has apparently let posters on bigsoccer know who the Argentine is that I posted about earlier today. The name of the mystery Argentine is Eloy Colombano. His profile up on the Defense and Justice site says he's a 24 year old, 5'9" forward. He joined Defense this past season from Estudiantes, where he'd played since 2001. Unfortunately, he does not have a wikipedia page, and I can't find much other information about him.

Robb Heineman

Robb Heineman, the Wizards President, has quickly become a huge fan favorite, as have the rest of the OnGoal ownership group. From their drinking out of the keg at the Colorado tailgate, to Heineman's posting, and hint dropping on, OnGoal is quickly setting a standard for ownership relations with it's hardcore fan base.

It's Heineman's latest post on bigsoccer that I'm interested in talking about today.

I'm not the one flying, but a flight does land Thursday. Not a designated player, but what I think will be another really nice piece of scouting by the guys. With as well as all these guys are playing in the midfield and up-front it will be tough for this young kid. We'll see....He's a real Defender of Justice.
This first paragraph is laced with hints on the new Argentine that was mentioned in a recent MLSnet article that I mentioned here. It looks like the player is definitely on his way for at least a trial. Combine that with Idan Shriki and Daniel Osorno, the Wizards could have 3 new attack minded players coming in soon. Judging from the hints, it looks like the player is from Argentine club, Defense and Justice You can find a list of the current forwards and midfielders for Defense and Justice on this site. The question is, which of these players is the one that is coming to KC? The midfielders and forwards range in age from 30 to 21, but I'd venture to guess that it's one of the 3 or 4 guys born between 80 and 84 that we are interested in. The question is though, which one? I'm looking around the net for any mention of the move, but so far I haven't been able to find anything.

Competition is always a good thing, so it'll be interesting to see how this goes down. Personally though I'd like to see someone brought in to challenge our defenders for their position, but that doesn't fit with Onalfo's attacking style system.

I wish I could tell you more about the stadium, but all I can say is we feel really good about the three sites. From a design perspective, it's an evolving thing, but expect something in the neighborhood of 18,500, 30 suites, some really cool fieldside seating, a great area for the Cauldron and all the other supporters' groups that are spawning, a dedicated youth soccer area, a design that's very integrated to the surrounding retail and if all things come to fruition, a really cool roof design.
This was the other part of his post I wanted to talk about. In a later post he did say that the 18,500 seat stadium would be expandable, so that it could go to nearly double the size. I think 18.5K is a good size for a soccer specific stadium in Kansas City, Kansas City has never shown the ability to constantly pull in 20K, so I think it's a good idea to keep the capacity below that for the foreseeable future.

The other big hint dropped in this paragraph is the end of the first sentence. The fact that there are 3 sites for possible location of the stadium. Everyone knows that Bannister Mall is one of the possible locations for the stadium, that's been public knowledge for a while now. But what are the other 2 locations that Robb is referring to? Overland Park? Riverside? The Great Mall of the Great Plains? Downtown? The West Bottoms? Drop me a comment letting me know where you think the other 2 locations are that Robb is referring to in his post.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wizards-Atlas Partnership about to Show Results?

Thanks to a tip on in the Wizards forum about Atlas player, Daniel Osorno, it looks like the Wizards may soon reap the benefits of their new partnership with Mexican club Atlas. Thanks to that tip, I found this article on Mundo Hispano. From a weak attempt at a translation, it looks like he had a fall out with one of the coaches at Atlas, and due to that fall out, he does not want to play for the club again. Atlas apparently couldn't reach a deal to send him to any other Mexican First Division Club So with Atlas' recent partnership with the Wizards, the prospects of him coming to Kansas City became an option.

The 28 year old Osorno has played for Atlas his entire career, except for a loan spell at Monterey. According to his wikipedia page, he's played 228 games at Atlas scoring 44 goals. He also has 73 caps and 12 goals for the Mexican national team, as well as being on the 2005 Mexican Gold Cup team. After looking on, I found that apparently Osorno has an active social life, running a club called "Danny Boy" as well as DJing and playing in a band.

Wizards Continue Busy Week

The Wizards continue their string of 3 games in 9 days tomorrow, as they will be in Columbus to take on tomorrow night. Both teams are coming in off of 3-3 ties, Kansas City with New York, and Columbus with New England.

This match should be a different game than the 1-0 game back in May in Kansas City. Both team's are scoring goals on a regular basis now, as well as leaking goals. Both teams are still going to be missing their US National Team Gold Cup members, Eddie Johnson for the Wizards, and Frankie Hejduk for the Crew. The Crew, though, will be missing 4 other players who took the field against New England on the weekend. Tim Ward, Robbie Rogers, and Danny Szetela will all be with the U-20 USA Men's National team as they prepare for the U-20 World Cup. The Crew will also be missing Rusy Pierce, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

The Wizards starting 11 will probably be the same as it was for the game against New York.
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Arnaud - Sealy

The one change that could be made to the lineup, is that Sealy could be replaced by the hot hand, Yura Movsisyan.

While I think the Wizards should be able to take the full 3 points off the Crew tomorrow, I still have some worries about this game. The Wizards leaking goals is worrisome. The last 3 games, the Wizards have allowed, 3, 2, and 3 goals. For a defense that got a keeper upgrade from last season, that's rather worrisome. I'd like to see the Wizards score a few and keep the clean sheet tomorrow night.

KC - 2 (Arnaud, Movsisyan)
Crew - 0

Monday, June 18, 2007

Down the Byline on Internet Radio

I will be the Wizards' fan representative on the internet radio show, Around the League in 90 Minutes tomorrow at noon. You can listen to the show on this site, by clicking on your media player of choice under the How to Listen section on the main page. The show has a fan from each of the league's 13 teams that come on and discuss the latest match, and upcoming match for their club. I will be discussing last weekends game in New York, as well as the upcoming games against both Columbus and Houston. It looks like I will be likely coming on some time in the second half of the show, after discussion of the DC-Chicago game this past weekend, and after the New York fan gets to have his say on the game. The show will actually be 2 hours this week, instead of the 60 minutes it had been in the past. The first and last 15 minutes of the show will be for discussion between the hosts. It's a good show, and gets some good perspective on the league and the games from a fan perspective, you can listen to some of the past shows in the archive section of the site.


The show just finished up. An enjoyable first time being on the show, the show is now archived on The 2 G's website, in the archived section of the site for you to listen to.

Jimmy the Joker

Ask almost any Wizards or US Men's National team fan who the funniest player is, and they'll likely tell you Wizards defender, Jimmy Conrad. Jimmy's done articles on and now for a few years now, as well as doing his radio show on and 97.3FM here in the KC area. He's added another gem to his comedic genius on the US National team's blog.

Let me set the stage. Saturday the 16th, the blog posted a question from a fan Lindsey that took the writers by surprise.
Kudos to the boys for last night's win. More importantly, I was wondering if you could shed some light on the matter of Taylor Twellman's jersey. That [thing] was tight! And by tight, I don't mean cool. It was nipple city out there for Mr. Twellman. I looked at the other players, including those with muscular physiques such as Gooch, and sure, his sleeves were tight on his arms, but nowhere near the second skin look modeled by Twellman. Did they run out of jerseys or something, and Twellman had to wear a Youth Large from the gift shop?
Then today's entry came out, and since reading that, I haven't stopped laughing. I'm just gonna repost the entire entry and let people bask in the humor that is Jimmy Conrad

Sources have revealed to that the now infamous fan e-mail questioning the size and fit of Taylor Twellman's game jersey was secretly written and submitted by U.S. national team defender Jimmy Conrad. The item, which appeared in an earlier blog entry on the website suggested that Taylor was wearing a "Youth Large" and was purposefully trying to show off his body. The crafty defender authored the controversial e-mail under the pen name Lyndsey. Documents reveal that Jimmy's beautiful wife is named Lyndsey, and hails from California. When told of Conrad's deception, Twellman simply smiled and replied "It's on." Attempts to reach Mr. Conrad were never made.
Jimmy's made jokes about Twellman and his tight jersey, shorts, and big head before, but this is a whole new level of humor for Jimmy. Hats off to Mr. Conrad.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hey Yura, Yura

The Wizards came from 2 goals down, but then gave up a late PK to split the points with the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

The Wizards came out very slow and lazy to start the game, and the Red Bulls made them pay for it with 2 goals inside the first 15 minutes. First, Juan Pablo Angel scored in his 7th straight game in the 6th minute off of a cross from former Wizard Dave van den Bergh. In the 15th minute, the Wizards defense was again caught being lazy, as Dane Roberts dribbled across the top of the 18 yard box, before playing in Clint Mathis, who slid the ball underneath Kevin Hartman to make it 2-0.

After that, it looked like the Wizards finally woke up, they actually started playing their game, and were creating chances against the New York back line. Unfortunately, Ronald Waterreus came up with some good saves to keep the score at 2-0. Then 2 minutes before the half time break, a clever back heal to Kerry Zavagnin, who took a touch and ripped a shot into the net, catching Waterreus a bit off his line, to give the Wizards some hope heading into the halftime break.

In the second half, the game continued to go KC's way, and the introduction of Yura Movsisyan added another spark to the game. Movsisyan ran at the Red Bull back line, but there were times when his touch would let him down, or he was unable to hold off his defender. The introduction of Ryan Raybould also helped to change the tempo of the game. One minute after his introduction, Raybould's run down the right wing, and cross into the box, found Movsisyan who's little touch beat Waterreus and tied the game at 2. The Wizards started to absorb more of the pressure now, and were getting more of their attacks on the counter, Carlos Marinelli, Davy Arnaud, and Movsisyan all had some chances to put the Wizards into the lead. Finally in the 79th minute, a ball from the back by Sasha Victorine, found Movsisyan who was able to hold off his defender and chip Waterreus, who had come out to challenge Movsisyan, to make the score 3-2 Wizards.

For the final 11 minutes, the Wizards tried to absorb the pressure and get out with the full 3 points. Unfortunately, a rather dubious penalty by referee Abbey Okulaja gave Angel a chance to tie the game. Hartman guessed right on Angel's PK, but the shot was placed too well and we were tied at 3. While the PK was a bad call in my opinion, Jose Burciaga Jr. has to be smarter then that in those situations, the ball looked to be going over John Wolyniec's head, and Burciaga went clumsily into the challenge, even if it was a bad call you can't go into the challenge like that.

Overall, I thought a draw was a fair result for the game, both teams had their chances, and both teams took their chances well. This game turned out to be just as entertaining as myself and many others thought it would be. While I would have loved to have gotten out of New York with the full 3 points, the MLS East lead, and the season series with the Red Bulls, I'll take the draw, as the Wizards still have 2 games in hand on the Bulls.

3 Stars of the Match
1. Juan Pablo Angel - NYRB - All this man has done since coming to MLS is score goals, he scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season, tying him with Eddie Johnson for the most in the league this season.
2. Yura Movsisyan - KC - I've given Yura crap for a while now, I didn't think he was worth the 4th pick in the draft when Gansler took him, but tonight I have to eat crow, as Yura played well, he took defenders on and finished well. His chip over Waterreus was pure class.
3. Michael Harrington & Dane Richards - KC & NYRB - I thought the top rookies on both teams played very well tonight, Harrington was matched up with Taylor Graham, a mismatch in the rookie's favor that he was able to exploit during the match. Richards drew a harder assignment with Burciaga, but was able to give him and Nick Garcia fits, especially before the Wizards settled into the game.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wizards Hope to Cut Off Red Bulls' Wings

The Wizards are back in action this week after a week off. Kansas City will take on the New York Red Bulls. The last time these 2 teams met, Eddie Johnson went off for his second straight hattrick to lead the Wizards on to a 3-2 victory and the top of the East. Since then, New York has retaken the lead in the East. Kansas City will have to do their work this time without leading scorer Johnson, as he's still off with the US National team at the Gold Cup.

To win this game, the Wizards are definitely gonna have to get more offensive support. Johnson has scored the Wizards last 6 goals for the team. The Wizards will need Carlos Marinelli, Davy Arnaud, and Scott Sealy to step up and pick up Johnson's offensive slack. New York will just as hard as when the Wizards played them 2 weeks ago. The Red Bulls lost no players to the Gold Cup, and they are beginning to get healthier by the week. Starting goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus is back in the net for New York. Jeff Parke, who's half time substitution was part of the reason for the Wizards second half come back, is listed as probable for this game. Their left back Todd Dunivant is also listed as probable, meaning that the slower Dave van den Bergh may not be playing at left back again.

As for the Wizards, here's my predicted lineup this week:
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Arnaud - Sealy

This will be a big game for both teams, a win here by the Wizards and they take the season series. A loss by the Wizards, while it'll hurt a little won't be the end of the world, as they will still have 2 games in hand on the Red Bulls. Either way it should be an exciting game.

KC - 2 (Marinelli, Arnaud)
NY - 2 (Angel, Altidore)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Brass Cup Run Over

The US Open Cup run for the Kansas City Brass is over. The Brass fell tonight to the Cleveland City Stars 4-0. The score line was flattering to the visiting Stars though. The game was very even for much of the game, and both teams had some decent chances on goal. The Stars though were able to finish their chances, while the Brass' shots were saved the Stars keeper Caleb Patterson. With the win tonight, the Stars advance to take on last seasons USL-2 Champion, the Richmond Kickers, who beat the Michigan Bucks 4-2 tonight. You can see the rest of the results from tonight's first round of the US Open Cup on the Open Cup's website.

In other soccer news, the US Men's National team finished off group play tonight with a 4-0 win over El Salvador. Kansas City Wizard, Eddie Johnson did not play tonight due to his knee sprain that he picked up in the match against Trinidad on Saturday. Johnson is still day-to-day with the knee injury though. The goals tonight were scored by DeMarcus Beasley with 2, Landon Donovan, and Taylor Twellman. The US will now play one of the 2 third place teams that advance to the quarterfinals. That match will be on Saturday.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

US Advances in Gold Cup

The US clinched their advancement into the Gold Cup quarterfinals with a game to play, after their 2-0 win today over Trinidad and Tabago. Both Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson found net for the US.

Unfortunately, due to family stuff, I was in St. Louis today, and was unable to find a bar or restaurant around the area that had FSC or Telefutura so that I could watch the game. So I have no other opinions on the game. From what I heard though, it was a rather uninspiring performance again from the US. Although they were not given any help from the referees. From what I've been told, the Cuban referee blew 3-4 offsides calls that were not offsides.

The one main thing I do know, is that Johnson suffered a knee injury in the second half and had to come off. According to the article, it's a mild knee sprain. So I'd likely expect him to miss the next game, but have a chance of playing in the knockout round. While it's a little worrisome, I'm not overly worried just quite yet about his return to the Wizards.

Ballot Stuffing

I really didn't want to write this but I just find the topic too funny to avoid. For those of you that don't read MLS Underground, the author of the blog recently posted about Toronto FC fans stuffing the ballot for the upcoming all star game giving votes to all their players.

While I completely disagree with most of the posters from Toronto trying to justify their voting for their players, (The funniest being the guy that said that Maurice Edu was by far the best rookie in the league. In my book he's a distant third behind both Dane Richards and Michael Harrington this season.) they're entitled to their opinion, as misguided as many people may think it is. If you don't like it, then feel free to stuff the ballot for your own team. If TFC fans think this shows their "superior" support for their team, or if they think they're players truely are deserving of being on the all-star team, that's their call.

It's funny how much this is like the situation a few years ago with Real Salt Lake, they came in the same way TFC did, bragging about how they were gonna make the playoffs and take the league by storm. They both had good home support for their matches, and both sets of fans ballot stuffed to no end for any of their teams goals of the week.

Besides, the fan voting is only 25% of the total vote, the majority of TFC's players won't get many votes from the other categories. If you don't like the ballot stuffing they're doing, either get over it, or start doing it yourself.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wizards Bringing in a New Forward?

The Wizards are gonna be without leading scorer Eddie Johnson for at least the next 2, probably the next 3 matches, as he's on national team duty for the Gold Cup. There's also a chance he could get called up to also compete in Copa America that starts right after the Gold Cup ends. With that in mind, the Wizards are looking to find a way to cope with his absence.

With that said, this article was on MLSnet today. In it you get the typical pumping up of the other strikers on the roster, Coach Onalfo says that Scott Sealy, Ryan Pore, and Yura Movsisyan are all gonna have to step up now.

The interesting part of the article is after that, where Onalfo says this; "I don't know the exact dates, but we are looking at a player from Argentina. We have established a real network of people we have worked with in Argentina, and there is a player that we liked when we were there in preseason. We want to see how he does with our guys, see if it's a good fit for him, and a good fit for us. We're always looking to enhance our team."

So the Wizards are looking at another striker to come in. This one from Argentina. This is along with the trial coming up for Idan Shriki, which was pushed back due to visa issues.

I like either or both of these moves, it shows that while the Wizards are in first place, Onalfo is not completely satisfied with his team and is still willing to make changes. With Johnson's play so far this season, European teams are sure to come calling, inquiring about the striker. So getting another striker in can definitely not hurt the team.

Uninspired US Get Opening Win

The US kicked off defense of their Gold Cup title in fairly weak fashion last night against Guatemala, winning 1-0. While the match was more entertaining then the last time these 2 teams met, it was still a poor game to watch.

The US came out with Taylor Twellman and Clint Dempsey up top, which was the first surprise to me. I had expected Bob Bradley to go with the hot foot, Eddie Johnson to start this game. Over the first portion of the game, the US controled, and in the 26th minute, Clint Dempsey scored to make it 1-0 US. After the goal though, it seemed like the US completely backed off. The rest of the game seemed to be Guatemala going at the US, who looked timid and weak going up against the Guatemalans. Oguchi Onyewu will miss the game against Trinidad & Tabago due to him picking up 2 yellows last night. Johnson came on as a second half sub, but really had no impact on the game. He looked scared at times on the field and not up to the level, which is stupid considering the Guatemalan defense is probably as good as most MLS defenses, who Johnson has torn up the past few weeks.

Overall this was a poor performance by the US and they'll definitely need to pick it up. They allowed way to many free kicks within 30 yards of goal, you can't do things like that, it's a good thing Carlos Ruiz couldn't strike a good free kick last night, or the US woulda been in trouble. Hopefully a better team will come out against Trinidad on Saturday.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Matches Played for the Wizards

I'm continuing to use the Wizards media guide to my full advantage this year. What I got this time, is the Wizards all time league appearances list. Saturday against the Red Bulls, Kerry Zavagnin became only the 4th Wizards player to play 200 games for the Wizards, Preki, Nick Garcia, and Chris Klein are the other 3. Also this Saturday, Jose Burciaga Jr. played in his 100 game for the Wizards, the 16th Wizard to accomplish that. Here is the list of players who have played at least 100 games for the Wizards.

Preki - 218
Nick Garcia - 204
Kerry Zavagnin - 200
Chris Klein - 200
Mo Johnston - 149
Matt McKeon - 144
Tony Meola - 125
Davy Arnaud - 123
Chris Brown - 123
Diego Gutierrez - 119
Uche Okafor - 119
Francisco Gomez - 114
Sean Bowers - 111
Jimmy Conrad - 106
Digital Takawira - 103
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 100

The next closest current Wizard, is Jack Jewsbury with 90 appearances. Of those 16 players, 12 of them have started over 100.

Nick Garcia - 204
Preki - 199
Kerry Zavagnin - 195
Chris Klein - 183
Mo Johnston - 142
Matt McKeon - 126
Tony Meola - 125
Diego Gutierrez - 108
Uche Okafor - 107
Jimmy Conrad - 105
Davy Arnaud - 104
Sean Bowers - 104

Other News
So I had a message put on one of my older blog entries, asking what is going on with Bo Oshoniyi, is he retired, is he waiting for a team to pick him up, what? Today I was able to get a little bit of information, according to my friend he is still living in Kansas City but is looking to move to Florida. He wasn't sure exactly what Bo was doing though.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Eddie Does the Trick or We're on Top of the League

Eddie Johnson went off for another hattrick to help lead the Wizards past the league leading Red Bulls, 3-2. With the win, the Wizards are now on top of the MLS table with 19 points. The hattrick by Johnson, his second in as many games, is an MLS record.

The game started out very well for the Wizards, they tested Red Bulls keeper Jon Conway inside the first 2 minutes. Things though did not continue to go well, a poor clearance by Jose Burciaga was gathered up by Claudio Reyna. He chipped it into the box, where it was flicked on by John Wolyniec to Juan Pablo Angel who one timed it into the net to make it 1-0. The Wizards came back down, and Johnson had a header saved by Conway's trailing leg. The Wizards were starting to control the game. Then Clint Mathis got himself red carded for violent conduct after he elbowed Kerry Zavagnin in the throat. The severity of the elbow and the card will be debated by Red Bull and Wizard fans for the next few weeks. The Wizards continued to control the game for the rest of the first half, but were unable to find the net.

Less then a minute into the second half, though, the Wizards finally found the net. Taking advantage of the slower back line of New York, KC started playing more balls over the top to let guys like Davy Arnaud, Johnson, and Michael Harrington to run onto them. Johnson ran onto a long ball from Harrington, and with a deft touch, lifted it over Conway and into the net to tie the game. It was Johnson's 7th goal of the season, tying him with Taylor Twellman for the league lead. The Wizards continued to use their man advantage, and speed advantage to test New York's backline, Harrington almost gave the Wizards the lead a few minutes after Johnson, and Arnaud had 2 good opportunities to put the Wizards in front.

In the end Johnson was gonna be the hero again. a great low cross by Bruciaga made it through the Red Bull box all the way to an unmarked Johnson on the back post who calmly beat Conway to put the Wizards in front. Johnson completed his hattrick in the 85th minute on a 2v2 with Sasha Victorine. Victorine pulled one defender, and Johnson split the 2 to run onto the ball, take a touch, look up, and place it in the corner past Conway. Major celebrations had to hold out for a little while when Dema Kovalenko scored in the 88th to make it 3-2, but the Wizards were able to hold on and move on top of the league.

You could tell how much this game meant to the players after the game was over, the excitment on their faces as they thanked the Cauldron, and Arnaud's intensity on his face as he came over and thanked the group. The Wizards now have next week off to heal up completely before going to New York to take on the same Red Bulls.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Eddie Johnson - KC - All this man does is score hattricks. The Wizards though will need to find other scorers for the next few weeks, as Eddie is gone to the Gold Cup with the US team.
2. Jon Conway - NY - The game could have been a lot worse last night, but Conway stood on his head and made some great saves to keep New York in the game.
3. Michael Harrington - KC - Battled on the same wing as fellow rookie of the year nominee, Dane Richards. In my opinion, Harrington won the battle between the two of them tonight, putting him in the poll position for ROTY at the moment.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Battle at the Top

The number 1 and number 3 teams in all of MLS meet tomorrow at Arrowhead Stadium, when the Kansas City Wizards host the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls are in first place in the East with 17 points, ahead of New England on goal differential. Kansas City is one point behind New York heading into this match.

The Wizards are still suffering from the injury bug, and will be looking forward to a week off next week to help the players with knocks to heal up. But the Wizards can't look to that off week yet, with the match this weekend in front of them. The injury report almost reads like a Wizards starting 11 almost. Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga, Aaron Hohlbein, Jimmy Conrad, Scott Sealy, Davy Arnaud, and Kerry Zavagnin are all listed on the injury report for tomorrow's game. Each of those players has started at least 1 game this season for the Wizards. All but Hohlbein are probably in the Wizards best starting 11 this season.

Now will all these players not play tomorrow? I doubt it, Arnaud and Zavagnin are both probably they'll start. Conrad seems to be positioning himself to start after listening to his radio show on Wednesday. Nick is also pushing himself to start this game I think. Also you can't always trust these reports, as a few weeks ago, Sealy and Carlos Marinelli were not listed on the injury report, but neither even made the bench.

So who starts this weekend for the Wizards? This guess is gonna be completely off with the injuries, but here we go.

Jewsbury - Wahl - Conrad - Harrington
Arnaud - Morsink - Victorine
Johnson - Pore

This should be an exciting game, and if you're reading this and aren't already planning to come to the game, get out to Arrowhead. This should be an exciting one. Will the Wizards move atop the East though? I wanna say yes, but my gut is telling me now, New York looks like the best team in the league, and they aren't even fully healthy. Of course neither are the Wizards. That said I think this'll end up a tie.

KC - 2 (Johnson, Arnaud)
NY - 2 (Angel, Mathis)