Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Post Season Awards for Brass Players

The season did not end as well for the KC Brass as they would have liked, but 3 Brass players earned post season awards for their play this season. The Brass started the season with 11 unbeaten, but after that, fell off the pace, and ended in 3rd only 1 point out of the PDL playoffs.

Defenders, Josh Howard and Josh White, as well as midfielder Keith Gorzcyca were named to the All-Central Conference team. Howard, a senior at William Jewell College in Liberty, also was named to the All-PDL team, one of three Central Conference players to be named to the team.

Congrats to all 3 of them on the accomplishments.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fines, Suspensions Handed Down from League

The results of what was said and done during the KC-Colorado game a few weeks ago have finally been made known by the league. The biggest news, is that Mehdi Ballouchy is getting a 2 game suspension and a $1000 fine for his high elbow on Sasha Victorine right at half time of the match. Honestly I'm disappointed that it was only 2 games. Andy Herron was given a four game suspension for a similar elbow to New England's Jay Heaps earlier this season. I felt Ballouchy deserved at least the same length of suspension that Herron got for that elbow.

Curt Onalfo and Nick Garcia were also given fines. They both got fined for their post game comments criticizing the refereeing of the match. Onalfo was handed a $1000 fine while Garcia got a $250 fine. I posted their videos in my post game report of the game. Honestly it doesn't surprise me that either one got fined for their comments. Onalfo especially, as he was very critical of the referee's performance.

Finally Tim Weyland, the referee for the Colorado game may have gotten a suspension as well. Going into this weekend, I thought I'd read that Weyland was suspose to be doing the Chicago-Toronto game this weekend. Well if you look at the post game report, you'll see that Jair Marrufo refereed the match. I can't confirm that as the preview put up by MLS is not available anymore to see. It would not surprise me though if he was taken off the game, Weyland lost control in the game and it got incredibly out of hand.

Zavagnin up for Goal of the Week

Kerry Zavagnin's 30 yard bomb from last night's game is up for Goal of the Week, along with Yura Movsisyan's game winner. Personally I am voting for Zavagnin's blast, it's just as good if not better than Dwayne DeRosario's goal that won him goal of the week.

Back and Forth Encounter, as Wizards Top Chivas

The Wizards are now undefeated in 4 games, after both coming from behind and blowing a lead in their 3-2 win over Chivas USA last night. The game overall was one of the more exciting games I've seen in a long time. It had almost everything you'd want to see in a game, it had goals, it had good goalkeeping, it had amazing goals, it had 2 sets of cheering supporters, it had some passion to it, and it had some hard tackles, it was a good game. Chivas opened the scoring in the 17th minute as Jonathan Bornstein found net. The Wizards though picked up the attack after that, and were awarded a PK after Davy Arnaud was taken down in the box. Carlos Marinelli stepped up, but went for placement over power and his weak PK was easily saved by Brad Guzan. That PK miss, though, made the game tying goal look that much sweeter. In the 38th minute Kerry Zavagnin received a pass from Sasha Victorine from about 30 yards out, took a touch and then blasted an absolute rocket into the upper 90 of the goal, an amazing GOLAZO.

The Wizards continued to pressure as the second half started, and it paid off in the 53rd minute when a foul by former Wizard Shavar Thomas gave the Wizards a free kick about 25 yards out from goal and on the left side of the field. Arnaud hit a fantastic free kick behind the defenders, but far enough out to keep Guzan on his line, a sliding Jimmy Conrad also froze Guzan as he had to wait to see if he'd get a touch. In the end, Conrad did not, and Arnaud's free kick went untouched into the side netting to make it 2-1. That lead lasted less then 2 minutes, though, as John Cunliffe tied the game in the 55th.

It looked like the Wizards were gonna tie their 2nd straight and 3rd in their last 4, but in the 89th minute, Yura Movsisyan found himself on the wing with two Chivas defenders. Movsisyan cut back away from goal and took a shot from about the corner of the 18 that was gonna be easy pickings for Guzan. The shot, though, took a deflection of Thomas, and sailed past Guzan into the net to give the Wizards the win and the 3 points. And they were able to do it without a goal from Eddie Johnson, and a sub-par game from Marinelli.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Davy Arnaud - KC - Works his butt off every game, and this time got rewarded with a goal. Another solid performance from Davy.
2. Kerry Zavagnin - KC - His stunning strike camped off a strong night by the Wizards defensive midfielder.
3. Brad Guzan - Chivas - This guy is a stud of a keeper, he'll be getting a lot of call ups in the future.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wizards Take on Chivas

The Wizards are back at home for the third straight game to take on Chivas USA on short rest. Chivas comes in after earning only their second road win of the season in New York on Thursday night. This is also Chivas' second of 4 straight road games. The Wizards will be without Jose Burciaga due to his red card he picked up against Colorado. The 3 Wizards injured in that game are all listed as questionable for this game. Eddie Johnson with the ankle injury he picked up on the first goal. Sasha Victorine with a clavicle contusion, that he picked up on the cheap shot by Mehdi Ballouchy, who did not get further punishment then the yellow he received during the game, which a crap call by the league. The third Wizard is Yura Movsisyan who hurt his ankle on a challenge in the Colorado game, and only played for 8 minutes before having to be subbed out. So with those injuries and Jose's suspension, the lineup could look a little different. I'm expecting Eddie to come through his injury and still start, but the other two I doubt will.

Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Harrington
Arnaud - Marinelli - Morsink
Pore - Johnson

Yes, I have Pore starting, Scott Sealy has a hip flexor problem, and if Yura can't go, Pore's the next forward on the depth chart. And with Victorine's injury, I think Arnaud would be more helpful in the midfield.

The Wizards are suffering from the injury bug again, Sealy is still hurt, Johnson, Victorine, and Movsisyan are all still carrying last week's injuries, and Burciaga is suspended for this game. All this could spell trouble for the Wizards. IF Chivas was a better road team. That win in New York aside, Chivas hasn't been a good road team this year, and them winning two road games in a row would be a bit of a surprise. I think Chivas will have a bit of a let down, and the Wizards will pull this one out.

KC - 2 (Johnson, Arnaud)
Chivas - 1 (Galindo)

Stadium Plans for Wizards Coming Soon

It looks like Lane4 Property Group, the group hired by the Wizards to look into the development of the Bannister Mall location, are on the verge of being able to release the plans that they have for the site. As has been known, the group plan on applying for Tax Incentive Financing(TIF) for the location. According to the article, that means that they'll have to submit their plan 45 days before the issue can be discussed at a TIF Commission meeting, which meets the first Tuesday of the month.

For the October meeting, which the group is likely shooting for, the plan would need to be submitted by the 26th of August, if I have my math right. So dealings with the Bannister Mall, things are starting to look bright.

After the issues in DC, though, the Wizards don't seem to be throwing all their eggs into one basket, the article also has quotes from Wizards President Robb Heineman, saying that the team is not just looking at the Bannister site, that there are also other sites in Kansas that the team are looking at. This is a good plan, they don't want to lock themselves into one plan and then have it fall apart on them, like Heineman says in the article: “We will not be homed in on one site until we’ve got a deal done. We’ve got no incentive to. There are multiple options, and we’ve got to keep them all on the table for now.”

Friday, July 27, 2007

Blackburn Now After Johnson?

The rumors about Eddie Johnson just will not stop. We've all heard by now that Johnson turned down a move to Derby County, said he followed his heart. Well would his heart lead him to Blackburn? Because apparently the Wizards striker looks like he's a target of Mark Hughes and Blackburn. I'd hate for Eddie to leave, but I think that Blackburn might be a better fit for him. We'll see what happens in the next few days or so.

Update: After spending a day thinking about it and actually waking up, I've realized this isn't really a good move for Eddie. Blackburn currently has 7 forwards on their roster, McCarthy, Derbyshire, Nonda, Roberts, Gallagher, Jeffers, and Rigters. There's also the fact that they are looking to sign Roque Santa Cruz from Bayern. So Eddie going there would put him well down on the depth chart.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wizards vs LA Ticket Sales

The Wizards have currently sold over 20,000 tickets for their game against the LA Beckhams on September 27 of this year. The Wizards have stated that they want to break 40,000 for this game, or at least want to break the record for largest crowd for a soccer game in Kansas City. The record is currently 37,319 for the US-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifier back in 2001. The largest MLS crowd is 30,309 back in 2003 against the Crew.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Johnson Turned Down Derby

Over a week after I posted on this blog that Eddie Johnson was the one that turned down the move to Derby County of the English Premier League, major news outlets are picking up on the story. The KC Star and Soccernet both have articles about Eddie turning down the move.

My opinion on the situation has not changed, I'm glad Eddie is staying. With the season he is having, he's likely gonna get a better offer in January then what Derby was offering for him. I also think that his daughter played a role in his decision. Eddie said that he went with his heart, and a child can be a big pull on your heart. I still think he will move to Europe sooner rather then later, he's stated before that he wants to play in Europe, but I think that with his confidence where it's at and the freedom he has on the field under Coach Onalfo is not something that Eddie is quite ready to give up.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wizards Jersey

Today in the KC Star, Wizards Notebook, there was quite a bit of talk about the Wizards uniform. The most interesting part, was the fact that the Wizards have apparently had 4 "good discussions" with possible jersey sponsors, according to Greg Cotton, Wizards executive vice president. The article mentions possibilities like Cerner, Garmin and Hallmark as some of the authors ideas for a sponsor. Last year when it was announced that teams would be allowed to have kit sponsors on the front of the jersey's there were a lot of discussion on the Wizards boards on bigsoccer, including mocked Wizards jerseys with local sponsors on them. I can't find the thread now, but here's one of my favorite ones, for Boulevard.

Continuing in the article, Cotton also mentioned that the Wizards are looking at having a third jersey for next season. Let's hope it's good, like Chicago's flag jersey, and not like their McDonald's wannabe jersey.

There's also some good news buried on the second page of that article, apparently the Wizards are hoping to make announcements on both their location for next season, and plans for a SSS in the KC area. Cotton says hopefully by the end of the summer. This is fantastic news, I hope it comes out sooner rather then later, with the news that DC's Popular Point stadium location fell through, MLS needs some positive stadium news to help lift spirits.

Overall a lot of good news coming out of that article today, let's hope for more good news by the end of the summer.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rapids & Referee Keep Wizards from Full Points

I don't like to blame referees for their performance in games, cause I'm a referee too and know the troubles that they deal with during games. Well last night is definitely the exception to the rule. The best games for referees, is when you don't remember who he was. If you remember his name, you know he did something that was controversial. Tim Weyland will now be booed any time that he ever comes back to KC after his performance last night.

Nine yellows and a red card, at least 2 other challenges by Colorado players that could have been red cards, a questionable PK, and an utter lack of keeping the game under control. Colorado took the game to the Wizards for the most part at the start of the game, but in the 24th minute minute, a great through ball from Sasha Victorine found Davy Arnaud on the wing. Arnaud cross into the box was met by Eddie Johnson who beat Boune Coundoul near post to give the Wizards the lead. The goal was Johnson's 11th of the season, tops in MLS. The Wizard continued to have the run of play until the 42nd minute, when Weyland made himself known for the first time. As Herculez Gomez was heading towards the box, he got bumped by Jimmy Conrad, and even though Gomez had no chance of getting to the ball ahead of the onrushing Kevin Hartman, and that the foul likely started outside the box, a PK was called. The 4th PK against the Wizards this year, all of which have gone in.

Less then a minute later though, Arnaud had a shot go off the post, right to Johnson who put the ball in the net to make it 2-1 Wizards. Weyland made himself heard as the halftime whistle blew. As the whistle went, Rapids midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy landed a direct elbow in the throat of Victorine. Looking at the replay, how Weyland only gave Ballouchy a yellow for it is beyond me. It looks just as bad as the Andy Herron elbow on Jay Heaps earlier this season.

In the second half there was at least one blown offsides call as Johnson raced in for his 3rd goal of the game. Weyland's next mistake was in the 62nd minute, when Johnson raced in on Coundoul, Coundoul tripped up Johnson, but as the last defender, Coundoul only received a yellow. Then in the 67th minute, Jose Burciaga was red carded for a scuffle in the box with Coundoul. While I don't have a problem with the red card on Bruciaga, he deserved it. The problem though was that Coundoul did not even get a yellow card himself for his part in the situation. Colorado was finally able to take advantage of the man advantage in the 77th minute to level the score.

The refereeing was so bad that both Curt Onalfo and Nick Garcia are likely going to be fined by the league this week due to these comments after the game on Metro Sports. Thanks to Lucid on bigsoccer for posting them.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Davy Arnaud - KC - While his late opportunity left something to desire, Arnaud was all over the field causing CO problems.
2. Eddie Johnson - KC - All he does is score goals. In his last 4 games with KC, he has 9 goals. In those same 4 games, the rest of the team has 1 goal.
3. Carlos Marinelli - KC - Despite having Pablo Mastroeni hanging all over him all game, Carlos still found plenty of space to work with, and certainly needs to be rewarded with another goal soon.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kansas City take on Struggling Rapids

The Wizards host the Colorado Rapids tomorrow night, in the Wizards first game since the All Star game. Of the combined 4 All Stars from the two teams, only Jimmy Conrad played the full 90 minutes, Eddie Johnson played 65 minutes before being subbed out, while Kevin Hartman was a half time sub. Colorado All Star, Pablo Mastroeni, came on in the 60th minute.

Coming into the game tomorrow, Colorado is winless in 8 games, their last win came at home against LA back in May. The Wizards meanwhile, got their first win in 7 games against Real Salt Lake. It's no surprise that the win coincided with the return of Eddie Johnson. The Wizards should be able to field the same lineup that they did against Salt Lake.

Jewsbury - Conrad - Garcia - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Arnaud - Johnson

A wounded animal is the most dangerous, and the Rapids are wounded badly, they haven't won since May, and recently made a big move by trading Kyle Beckerman to Salt Lake for Mehdi Ballouchy. This game looks like it could be a bit tricky. The Wizards still don't have their best shooting boots, as they continue to out shoot opponents (20-5 against Salt Lake), but can not muster the goals that so many shots should be producing. Hopefully the Wizards break out of that funk a bit and can put a few into the net on Sunday.

KC - 3 (Johnson x2, Movsisyan)
CO - 1 (Gomez)

A Little Bit of Everything

The whole thing about the Cauldron tickets has had me not spending as much time on other topics. Anyways, here's a few Wizards related notes from the past few days, "In Case You Missed It."

Eloy Colombano update. It's been quiet on this front, not much news has been reported lately, and he hasn't been seen since this picture was taken at the Toronto FC match July 1 by Yellow Card Journalism photographer, Wade Jackson. After questions on bigsoccer wondering what was going on, Wizards president, Robb Heineman posted in the thread saying that they are just waiting on a work permit for the Argentine forward.

Eddie Johnson to Porto? I've chronicled the possibly move by Eddie Johnson to Derby, which apparently ended in Johnson nixing the move to the promoted side, but Steve Davis, with ESPN, has another rumor that was making the rounds at the All Star game this past week. According to Davis, the two time defending Portuguese Liga champions are interested in the Wizards striker. While I see a move for Eddie coming, I hope it is at the end of the season, after spending the rest of the season with KC. I think Eddie realizes that if he continues to play well this season, he'll start getting more attention then what he is now. The funny thing about the Porto rumor, is that in the same article has Freddy Adu rumored to be going to Portuguese club Benfica.

Back to the previous topic for a minute. Thanks to an anonymous poster on my last post, there's another blog that has picked up the whole discussion on this blog from the past few days. The blog, Baines Thought Collective, makes some good points about the ticket price issue, as well as the comped tickets issue. Very nicely done article, let's hope he keeps the blog up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Response to Yesterday's Post

DISCLAIMER: The below is an email response I received to my post yesterday "A few things bothering me." The following is from Sam Pierron, Account Executive - Group Sales for the Wizards, and a member of the Cauldron for many years. I appreciate receiving his counter point to the comments and concerns I have stated about the situation with the Argentine's, and ticket prices in the Cauldron. So here is a guest blogger tonight on Down the Byline.

On the matter of the alleged comping tickets for La Porra, I have a few things to say:

1. Much of the time, it's both inaccurate and unfair to paint anything that comes out of the front office as "the FO doing X". We can't coordinate everything, no matter how hard we try. The decision-making is not monolithic.
2. Nobody is getting in by waiting around and going in 15 minutes late. That's a particularly unfounded and harmful accusation. See, there are ticket takers there until halftime.
3. We did, in fact, comp tickets to draw new Cauldron folks in this year, with some success; many of the new high school-aged folks, in particular, stem from a few of the people that took advantage of that program. They are now paying attendees and regulars.
4. Whatever happened before, and I am not in possession of all the details, no group of fans standing in The Cauldron is being comped tickets by anyone in the front office going forward.

Just about everyone who reads this knows me personally, and has my email, cell phone, AIM, etc. When have I ever not given a forthcoming answer when I could on behalf of the club? And occasionally when I maybe shouldn't?

Now, on to the issue of the season ticket/game-by-game comparison.

Let's take a look at what it would cost for one person to have bought an individual ticket in the Cauldron for each game this season, and compare it to somebody who bought game-by-game.

(The $3 order charge began for the June 24 game).

Apr. 25 $10
May 5 $10
May 12 $10
June 2 $10
June 24 $13
July 1 $13
July 4 $13
July 14 $13
July 22 $13
July 29 $13
Aug 19 $13
Aug 22 $13
Sep 15 $13
Sep 27 $28
9/27 Parking $10
Oct 5 $13
TBA 1 $23 (likely)
TBA 2 $23 (likely)
Total $254

The total for the individual who bought the Cauldron season ticket was $255.

For a different comparison, and one that would make your point stronger, let's say that 2 people did it together. Then you're looking at a total of $459, as opposed to the 2 ST total of $510. So
we're talking about $50, more or less.

For that $50, you got:
1. 2 T-shirts (value $30)
2. Media guide (value $20)
3. Car sticker (value $5)
4. Merchandise discounts (the discount value varies from $5 to $20 at every game)
5. Not having to call every time for your tickets and pick them up at will call (whatever that's worth to you).
6. Unused ticket exchange.
7. Preseason Christmas party
8. Access to the videos from Argentina
9. Upcoming renewal party (details forthcoming)

As I said, we fully recognize that we want to do something else for people in this situation. I've had discussions with several people about solutions, and I think we have a really good one lined up—next year's jersey at cost. The only thing holding back finalizing it is figuring out the supply schedule from adidas. This is a considerable savings for those folks, who are, of course, the people most likely to buy the new jerseys anyway. Everyone I've talked to about it, which
is everyone who has asked, has thought it's a reasonable suggestion. Even with the current price break, season tickets still represent both an excellent value and an expression of support in the team and in new ownership.

Further, it isn't like price was the primary reason to get season tickets, anyway. It was $1 cheaper than buying game-by-game. People bought season tickets because of the total package of being a season ticket holder, or so I would assume, because price wasn't really a

You know who's getting the absolute best deal? It isn't the people who just buy tickets game-by-game. It's half-season ticket holders and season ticket holders buying additional tickets. They aren't getting charged the $3 order charge for the additional tickets they
buy, because we wanted to reward the people who bought season ticket packages.

I'm still a paying season ticket holder in The Cauldron, despite my Arrowhead credential and my four employee season tickets. I was a paying season ticket holder (almost) all those years I had credentials for one reason or another. A lot of you are the same way. You paid even though there was a truly ridiculous alternative, the Zard Card. Why did you do it? To show support for the club. For the goodies like those above. And so on.

All I ask is that you have all the facts on hand, and think the numbers through, before accusing the organization of massively undercutting season ticket holders or longstanding Cauldronites.


Wizards Juniors U-17's miss out on SUM U-17 Cup

The Wizards Juniors U-17 team lost in the finals of the SUM U-17 Cup to DC United today, 3-0. The Juniors had made the final by beating Dallas and New York and drawing Chivas in their group play. The team then moved on to the semifinals and defeated the Columbus Crew 3-2 to make the finals. The team is coached by former Wizards player, and former KCFC coach, Paul Rideout. The team is actually most of the players from Rideout's KCFC team.

A nice set of results from the Juniors though.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A few things bothering me

I'm a season ticket holder. I'm in my second season as one. I've been coming to games though since the 96 season. Some seasons more than others. Some seasons I've been to every game at home. I see the benefits of being a season ticket holder, supporting the team, every game. I also see the benefits that are supposed to be awarded to season ticket holders. Normally season ticket holders will pay less for their tickets as a whole since they buy them in advance and as season ticket holders. Some times there are deals involved as well for season ticket holders, like free copies of the current media guide or discounts on merchandise. These seem to be the normal things that are expected with being a season ticket holder.

That's not all true when it comes to the way the Wizards are doing things lately. Before the season started, the Wizards said that there would be the 3 pricing structures, 1 for reserved seating, 1 for General admission, and 1 for the Cauldron, which would be the same price as GA. They said there would only be deviations from these ticket prices for special event tickets, that the team would sell. Well in an effort to build the size of the Cauldron for one game, the Wizards offered $10 tickets into the Cauldron. That went over so well in that one game, that this promotion now occurs for every game. So tell me, what was the point of buying season tickets in the Cauldron in the first place, when I could have bought the same ticket for a lesser price? What's the incentive for me being a season ticket holder in that regard, when I'm paying 1/3rd more than people that bought their ticket by 3pm the Friday before the game? This isn't the way to keep season ticket holders in the Cauldron coming back as season ticket holders. I've spoken with a few that have already said they won't be renewing their season tickets and will instead wait for whatever promotion the team does next year as it will likely be cheaper then season tickets. Yes the front office has said that they'd find a way to reimburse those season ticket holders, but how? The discount on merchandise? Yes, let's discount merchandise by $5 making it seem more appealing to buy it so that the team gets more money. The rumor I've heard is that those season ticket holders will be allowed to buy next year's jersey at cost. How nice of them, getting us to spend more money to show their appreciation.

The other thing that we as season ticket holders were told, was that this season there were going to be few, if any, comp tickets to fans this season. That sounded like good news, for too many years, Hunt Sports Group had been comping tons of tickets and reporting that as actual attendance, when in reality, few of the comps ever showed. So this was a practice we thought was done with. Then came in La Porra, the Wizards, mainly Argentine, supporters group. That added great atmosphere and noise to the Cauldron, making it a very fun place to be during the course of the game. They always made a grand entrance about 9-10 minutes into the game, marching in. Last Saturday, they didn't come in until almost the 30th minute, and that started to make some in the section wonder why they'd taken so long. Apparently the Argentine's were being comped tickets to the games. I thought the purpose of comps was that you gave them to a group for one game, in the hopes that they'd enjoy it so much that they'd come back again and buy their own. That didn't turn out to be the truth with the Argentine's, who had been getting comped tickets all season. But now it appears they will not be coming back, as the team is not going to be giving them comps any more.

My question is, why do they get comps and the rest of the Cauldron doesn't? They help to bring just as much atmosphere to the section as the Argentine's do, and many of them have been doing it since 1996, so what makes the Argentine's so deserving of these tickets and not the rest of people adding to the atmosphere?

Welcome Back San Jose

Don Garber had his state of the league press conference today, and the big news, was the announcement that next season will see the return of the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes moved to Houston before the 2006 season, but will be returning to the field in the 2008 season.

I'd like to say congrats to the San Jose fans who had to deal with losing their team, that's something no fan should have to deal with it.

Welcome back.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eddie Nixed Derby Move

In the ongoing saga of Eddie Johnson, Derby County, and his possible move there that was killed, this news comes out today. According to that article, the transfer was approved by the league and by the Wizards, but it was Johnson himself that turned down the move to the newly promoted club. In the article good arguments are made as to why he'd stay, Johnson is having a very good season so far, at his current strike rate, he'll finish with close to 20 goals this season for the Wizards, even while missing 6 games. A good season like that would possibly bring bigger fish to the table then Derby. Also you can see his change in attitude from last year to this year, he's out there actually trying and doing what he can to help the team.

While this news comes with no defining quote or link with it, I'm posting on it, because I heard the exact same news on Saturday at the Wizards game, but was asked to not post about it. With the news being released by another source I can comfortably come out and talk about this news now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, Eddie Johnson is Back

The Wizards got back to winning last night with a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. The returning Eddie Johnson scored his 7th goal in 3 games for the Wizards for the only score. The game started fast for the Wizards, as Carlos Marinelli had a shot saved by Nick Rimando after just over a minute. Davy Arnaud forced Rimando into another good save as well. The Wizards continued to pressure RSL, and it finally paid off in the 19th minute. A long ball from Jose Burciaga was chested down by Johnson. Johnson's first shot went off the post, but following his shot he was able to score and make it 1-0 Wizards. The Wizards continued the pressure, but they were plagued by the same problem that's been plaguing them for much of the season, not finishing enough shots. The Wizards had 20 shots last night, 7 on goal, but could only find the net the one time.

This is the one worrying problem for the Wizards, they have a lot of trouble finishing the shots that they get in the game. Salt Lake played with 6 defenders, 2 d-mids, and 2 forwards in a 4-4-2 formation, but the Wizards should have finished more than the one shot that they did finish. It's a problem that really needs to be fixed, cause the Wizards can't be looking to get 20 shots a game. They got to be able to take better advantage of the chances they get.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Eddie Johnson - KC - Having Eddie back and the Wizards picking up the win, is the biggest news. The fact that the Wizards were winless without him and pick up a win as soon as he comes back.
2. Carlos Marinelli - KC - Marinelli looked strong especially early. He took some good shots and finally showed an ability to shoot. Once he subbed out, Salt Lake started to apply more pressure on the Wizards.
3. Nick Rimando - RSL - His early saves on Marinelli and Arnaud kept the game from getting out of hand early in KC's favor.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wizards Best 11 to be on the Field?

The Wizards match against Real Salt Lake this weekend, will possibly be the first time the Wizards will have a completely healthy starting 11 on the field this season. Eddie Johnson is back, and all the injuries seem to be healing up for the Wizards.

The Wizards have been winless since Eddie Johnson's last game with the team, the Wizards 3-2 win over New York. Since then, the Wizards have gone 0-3-3, and have gone from the number 1 seed in MLS to the number 6 seed. The perfect way to heal these ills may be coming to town this weekend. Real Salt Lake is one of the weakest, if not the weakest team in the league this season, and will be without at least 5 players. Freddy Adu, Nathan Sturgis, and Chris Seitz will play earlier on Saturday for the US U-20 team. Mehdi Ballouchy is suspended for this match due to yellow card accumulation, while Alecko Eskandarian is suspended due to a red card. While those players are all missing the Wizards will likely be fielding their best 11 tomorrow.

Jewsbury - Conrad - Garcia - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Arnaud - Johnson

Anything less then a win is a major disappointment tomorrow. Anything less then a two goal win will be a bit discouraging. While RSL knocked KC out of the Open Cup, this team is struggling, they have 1 league win this season, and didn't have to face a fit Carlos Marinelli. The Wizards should win going away tomorrow with the returning Eddie Johnson.

KC - 3 (Johnson x2, Marinelli)
RSL - 1 (Williams)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Johnson to Derby County Looks Dead

Not counting Goff's comment yesterday, I've been waiting 2 days for a credible news story on Eddie Johnson's possible move to Derby County. And today I get two of them, posted within hours of each other. The first article is from the English site, This is Derbyshire, talking about Derby's interest in the Wizards striker.

After that article was posted, came this article from American Soccer Daily, which basically states that the deal is dead, and that MLS was asking for too much money for Johnson. So it looks like Johnson will be staying with the Wizards for the the immediate future, as Goff said yesterday.

This doesn't bother me in the least, maybe I'm a bit selfish about the Wizards over the US National team, cause Johnson going to Europe would certainly help the national team, but I want the Wizards to win trophies, they're my first love, and if that means the US "suffers" cause Johnson stays with the Wizards through at least the rest of the season, that's fine with me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mid Season Player Grades

With Saturday's result in LA, the Wizards are now half way through their 30 game season. The Wizards are 6-5-4 through 15 games, with 22 points. Last year through 15 games, the Wizards had as many wins, but had lost 2 more games, to sit at 6-7-2, 20 points. Now that we're half way through the season, it's time to grade the players performance so far this season.


Kevin Hartman: An upgrade to Bo Oshoniyi in net, Hartman has had a rough go of it at times due to the Wizards more attacking style this season. But I feel much more confident with him back there then with Oshoniyi. B


Jimmy Conrad: With the new offensive minded system, the Wizards stifling defense has seen some changes, but Conrad is still one of the best defenders in the league. B+

Aaron Hohlbein: Aaron has played well in the limited time he has had this season, filling in for both Garcia and Conrad. He still looks green at times, but he's become a very serviceable back up. B

Nick Garcia: Nick has definitely seemed to have lost a step from seasons past, he's still an
under appreciated center back. B-

Jack Jewsbury: The converted midfielder has settled pretty well into the starting right back role. While he still has his troubles, he's definitely been our best option at that position this season. B-

Jose Burciaga Jr: Jose hasn't had the offensive numbers of the past, and his defense hasn't stepped up the way I think many fans were wanting him to. He's also struggled a bit with a shoulder injury that has forced him to miss time this season. C

Tyson Wahl: He looked decent against New England, but hasn't looked as good in his other appearances this season. He's not really an MLS caliber defender, he's 4th on the depth chart for center back, and with the summer tournaments over, hopefully won't be seeing much more of the field. C-

Ryan Raybould: Raybould has played a grand total of 57 minutes this season, in both the midfield and as a defender. INC.


Michael Harrington: The Wizards first round draft pick, has been a huge revilation. Easily one of the best rookies in the league this season. A

Carlos Marinelli
: The Wizards attacking midfielder has brought a creative presence on the field that the team hasn't seen since Preki was wearing Wizards blue. That said, too much of his creativeness it taking place too far away from goal, I'd like to see it closer to the goal. A-

Davy Arnaud
: Davy has played like Davy does, with hustle and determination on the field. That only gets you so far, and while he continues to be a fan favorite, he hasn't been getting the stats that many were expecting from him this year. B+

Kerry Zavagnin: Zavagnin has had a resurgence this season, helping solidify the midfield and helping to cover for the more offensive minded attack. He's even gotten into the attack, scoring his first two goals since 2003. B+

Sasha Victorine: Victorine has been one of the Wizards more consistent performers this season, he's tied for the team lead in assists this season with 4. B

Kurt Morsink: Has usually been the first midfielder off the bench this season, as a third round pick, you can't expect much more. B-

Will John: John's played 25 minutes this season. INC.


Eddie Johnson: It could be that my expectations were extremely low for Johnson coming into this season, or it could be that Johnson really is having an MVP like season. Nine goals so far this season, and the way the offense has struggled without him, shows how important he is to this team. A+

Yura Movsisyan: Has played much better this season than he did last season when he was extremely underwhelming. He's certainly played better and with Scott Sealy's poor form, has been the Wizards second best forward. I still have my doubts about him though, as he takes too much time on the ball and his shot selection still leaves something to be desired. B-

Ryan Pore: Pore has gotten more of time on the field in the absence of Johnson, but has yet to find net for the Wizards this season. C

Scott Sealy: Started out the season looking good against DC, getting a goal and an assist, but then an ankle injury in the US Open Cup qualifier put him on the shelf for a few weeks. Sealy just now seems to be getting the rust off after the injury. D


Curt Onalfo: Came out of the gate fast, and the Wizards are now definitely a team that sends numbers forward and attack. Even though the team's on a slide, they look completely different this season then they did last year under Gansler. B+

Update on Johnson to Derby.

As I posted yesterday, the big rumor going around, is Eddie Johnson making a move to Derby County. The rumor is still being talked about quite a bit in MLS and Derby circles. The most newsworthy information on the topic I've seen, though, was from Steven Goff with the Washington Post. His quote on the topic, is that while the rumors are going around, it doesn't look like Johnson will be moving for the moment. The funny thing, though, is that the day after this rumor surfaced, this article was published on The Rams website about the team being interested in American players.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Johnson to EPL?

A new rumor has surfaced on the blog, MLS Underground pertaining to Wizards forward, Eddie Johnson. Apparently the rumor is that newly promoted club, Derby County is looking to sign Johnson. Derby was the same club that had made an offer for Wizards forward Josh Wolff last season. That deal didn't go through due to work permit issues for Wolff. The Johnson deal according to MLS Underground would be worth more than the $4 million deal that Benfica offered for Johnson back in 2005.

From a quick search of the net, I haven't found anything more then what's posted on MLS Underground. The only other thing I've found, was on a Derby County board, where the rumor is being discussed as well. I'll keep looking and see if I can find something more credible stating this rumor.

Personally I don't like this move for the Wizards. We've seen the last month or so that this team needs Eddie Johnson on the field, and him leaving would leave a huge hole up top that I doubt Eloy Colombano, or anyone else the Wizards would probably bring in could fill. I'm being a selfish fan here, but I don't want this move to happen.

Hartman Joins All Stars

Kevin Hartman has joined Eddie Johnson and Jimmy Conrad as Wizards representatives at this years All Star game in Colorado against Celtic. Hartman is a bit of a surprise pick, as his numbers this year are certainly not fantastic (22 GA, 1.47 GAA), but I think that has more to do with the different playing style the Wizards have this year, then deterioration in skills. Still, it's a surprise to see him on the list instead of guys like Joe Cannon or Bouna Coundoul. Still, congrats to Hartman.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wizards Find Net, but Can't Get Victory

After shooting the ball over 40 times the last two games, the Wizards had fewer shots against the Galaxy, but they finally found the net a few times. Yura Movsisyan and Davy Arnaud both find net in the first 6 minutes of the second half, but the Wizards were again unable to hold on to the lead, as Cobi Jones struck twice, giving the Galaxy a share of the points. The big news before the game, though, was the return of Wizards captain, Jimmy Conrad. Conrad had played the first 2 game of the USA's Copa America trip, but sat out the third game. The Wizards other US international, Eddie Johnson was given the night off to rest and recover from the tournament. Johnson has been away from the team for about 6 weeks now with the Gold Cup followed by Copa America.

The first half was a lackluster affair, with few chances for either team. The best of those few chances, fell to LA midfielder Kelly Gray, who's blast from long range was parried away by Kevin Hartman. The second half was a much more wide open affair, and that was apparent from the start. Less then 2 minutes into the second half, half time sub, Movsisyan received a cross from Jack Jewsbury on his chest, and beat LA keeper Joe Cannon to give the Wizards the lead. Four minutes later, the Wizards were continuing to press, a cross into the box was headed by Ante Jazic, back to Cannon, but the weak header allowed Arnaud to beat Cannon to the ball and then head it into the net to give the Wizards a 2-0 lead.

While the Wizards continued to attack from there on out, it was the Galaxy who had the better of the chances. Landon Donovan found Carlos Pavon streaking past Nick Garcia in the 61st minute, but his strike hit the post. The rebound fell right to Jones, though, who buried his shot in the corner to pull a goal back. The Galaxy continued to attack, and Donovan was able to have his way for the most part with Wizards rookie, Michael Harrington. In the 75th minute after a poorly cleared corner, Donovan found Jones, who beat Hartman short side to even the score at 2. For the most part after the Arnaud goal, the Wizards attack was weak and didn't lack much punch.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Cobi Jones - LA - Jones' first multi-goal game since 2002, gave the Wizards backs trouble from the time he stepped on field, besides his two goals, he almost scored another and helped to almost set up a goal for Gavin Glinton.
2. Landon Donovan - LA - Gave the Wizards left side trouble all night, especially Harrington, who was filling in again for Jose Burciaga at left back.
3. Yura Movsisyan - KC - Added a major spark to the Wizards attack when he came on at half time. The attack up to that point had been almost nonexistent.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wizards Headed to LA LA Land

The Wizards are in LA tonight to take on Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy, in their last game before Beckham arrives I believe. The Wizards are desperate for a win, and taking on LA might work to their advantage. The Galaxy are second from the bottom in the West, but have only played 11 games. In their last game, the Galaxy defended the hapless Chicago Fire 2-0 on PKs by Donovan. They'll find the Wizards offense a bit more testing, as the Fire only had 2 shots, none of them on goal. The last 2 games, the Wizards have been averaging 24 shots, so Joe Cannon will get a bit of a work out tonight. LA, though, is definitely not one of the Wizards favorite places to play, probably ranked just ahead of Chicago, the Wizards only have 4 wins out in LA.

The good news, is that no one is listed as being on international absences, but does that mean Jimmy Conrad and Eddie Johnson have flown straight to LA to join the team? I have my doubts that they have. I would think that Onalfo might just let them fly back to KC and recoup. Although from last year's experience, I would not be surprised if Jimmy came to LA wanting to play tonight, especially after sitting out the USA's final game in Copa America. That said, I'm predicting a lineup that does not include him, as I don't want to get my hopes up.
Jewsbury - Hohlbein - Garcia - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Movsisyan - Arnaud

Shutting down Donovan is the main goal, that task likely falls on either Kerry Zavagnin or Nick Garcia. The Wizards have the better team, but they've been the better team in their last 2 games and look what's that gotten them. I really see this one ending up in a draw tonight.

KC - 1 (Marinelli)
LA - 1 (Pavon)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Two Wizards to All Star Game, Osorno Not Coming to KC

Yesterday, the "Starting 11" were announced for the All Star game on the 19th against against Celtic. Eddie Johnson and Jimmy Conrad were both named to the team. Johnson is tied with fellow all star, Juan Pablo Angel for the Golden Boot right now, with 9 goals. Conrad is making his 4th straight appearance in the all star game. This "starting 11" is not assured of the starting the game on the 19th, as the starting team will be decided on by the all star coach, Steve Nicol.

In other Wizards news, it looks like Daniel Osorno will not be coming to KC. According to Buzz Carrick with 3rd Degree is reporting that he was on the verge of signing with Dallas, but instead, the former Atlas player looks to be signing with the Colorado Rapids.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Player of the Month - June

I've delayed writing this, as I've been trying to figure out who was worth giving it to. When the 3 finalists were posted on bigsoccer, I didn't think either of the 3 choices were worth choosing.

Yura Movsisyan scored 2 goals in the month of June. Those 2 goals came in the same game, though. Outside that I didn't see him doing anything worthy of giving him the man of the month award.

Nick Garcia certainly wasn't deserving of it in my opinion. In the month of June, the Wizards gave up 8 goals, an average of 2 goals a game. With that kind of goals against average, I don't think that the player of the month award needs to go to a defender.

Carlos Marinelli certainly was more deserving then the other 2 choices, but he just didn't seem worthy of it either. Marinelli finished the month with 2 assists.

After thinking about these 3 choices, I almost thought about not handing out an award this month, but that's not right as a fan of the team. In the end I decided to give the award to Marinelli, same as the team and Cauldron did. Marinelli played well this month overall, giving defenses fits all season. That said, I'd like to see him turning defenders inside out closer to goal then he has so far this season.

US Bow Out of Copa America
After the US was eliminated from Copa America before they even stepped on the field tonight, the US lost their last group game 1-0 to Colombia. Eddie Johnson started for the US, but Jimmy Conrad was on the bench and did not play. The US gave up an early goal, and never really had a very threatening attack. The good news is that Johnson and Conrad will be back soon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rumors of Our Success Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

The last month has not been a good time for the Wizards. Since Eddie Johnson left for the Gold Cup, after his hattrick in the Wizards 3-2 win over New York, the Wizards have not won. That continued today as the Wizards lost 1-0 to DC United in a noon kickoff on the 4th of July. The Wizards again shot the ball over 20 times today, but this time the Wizards couldn't score one goal. Twenty one shots, 4 by both Sasha Victorine and Scott Sealy, and the Wizards could not find a single goal. Luciano Emilio found the winner just before the end of the first half.

The Wizards offensive struggles are very worrisome. Since Johnson left, the Wizards forwards have scored 2 goals, both by Yura Movsisyan, both in the same game, the first game after Johnson left. In the 4 games since, the Wizards have only scored 2 goals, one from a defender and one from a midfielder. Johnson has shown how important he is to the team in the past 5 games, without even playing a minute. Movsisyan still has trouble with his shooting, he takes too long to shoot the ball quite a few times, and any time he gets the ball around the 18 yard box, you can expect him to either take the shot or lose the ball, cause he sure ain't passing it.

The rust is coming off of Sealy, but his form is still crap, he had another couple breakaways 1 on 1 with Troy Perkins today and still couldn't score. Wizards fans have got to be hoping that Eloy Colombano is signed soon, or this team is in even more trouble.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Troy Perkins - DC - While the Wizards shooting didn't do them any favors, Perkins played well today, coming up with some great stops on breakaways.
2. Luciano Emilio - DC - DC's goalscorer continues to work his way up the scoring list, he's now only one goal behind Johnson and Juan Pablo Angel.
3. Michael Harrington - KC - Wizards best player today. Playing at left back for Jose Burciaga today, Harrington still found ways to get into the attack, although the Wizards offense rarely found him when he made his runs.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wizards Welcome 2 Familiar Opponents

The Wizards will have 2 familiar opponents at Arrowhead tomorrow afternoon for their noon kickoff. The first being DC United. The Wizards defeated United 4-2 in their season opener this season on goals by Michael Harrington, Sasha Victorine, Eddie Johnson, and Scott Sealy. The Wizards continued to climb the table from there, while DC struggled. Those rolls have changed lately, though, as DC has started to climb up the table, while KC has not won a game since Eddie Johnson left for the Gold Cup (0-2-2).

The other opponent on Wednesday will be referee Michael Kennedy, who is best know to Wizards fans as the referee in the MLS Cup Final from 2004, where he helped DC beat KC 3-2 in the final by not calling a hand ball on Alecko Eskandarian right before he scored one of his goals in the game. Jimmy Conrad brought the feelings of most Wizards fans out in one of his articles from after the game. With an Ode to Michael Kennedy.

“An ode to Michael Kennedy”
You are small
And I am tall.
So let’s forget
The Napoleon complex and the non-call,
I love you Michael Kennedy!

As for the lineup, we might see a few differences from Sunday's lineup, both Aaron Hohlbein and Sasha Victorine are both listed as questionable for the match. If both can't go, then I'd expect a lineup like this:

Jewsbury - Garcia - Wahl - Burciaga
Arnaud - Marinelli - Harrington
Sealy - Movsisyan


The Wizards haven't been playing very well latey, and DC has, they're defense has shored up, and their offense is scoring. United hasn't played since last Thursday against Colorado, while the Wizards played on Sunday, so the extra rest I'm sure will have an effect on the team. I wanna predict a win and a break of the funk, but I really don't see it happening unfortunately.

KC - 1 (Arnaud)
DC - 2 (Emilio, Gomez)

Monday, July 02, 2007

USA has same problems as Wizards

One day after the Wizards shot the ball 25 times, but only scored once, the US Men's National team has 12 shots, but were only able to score once, as the US lost to Paraguay 3-1 in their second Copa America match. Ray Hudson said it best during the game broadcast, "Finishing is everything, the rest is just gossip." The US played a much better match then they did against Argentina in their opening match. The team was the same from the first game, except Sacha Kljestan replaced Justin Mapp, and Drew Moor replaced Marvell Wynne. The US had the majority of play, but some poor finishing from Kljestan, and Eddie Johnson unable to latch onto a long ball from Moor, the US was beginning to look like the Wizards. Then Paraguay grabbed the lead in the 30th minute.

To their credit, though, the US team did not give up, and in the 40th minute another long ball from Moor picked out Taylor Twellman, who laid the ball back to Ricardo Clark, who squared himself, and fired, beating Paraguay keeper Justo Villar at the near post. For the second game in a row, the US went into the half tied at 1 with their opponent.

In the second half, the US continued to have a good majority of the play, Johnson in particular played well, linking up well with the midfielders. The US though was unable to find a second goal to take the lead. Paraguay made them pay, as a poor back pass from Jonathan Bornstein was played too softly for Kasey Keller and too hard for Jimmy Conrad, and a lack of communication between the 3, Oscar Rene Cardozo made them pay, putting Paraguay up 2-1. After the goal, the US continued to pressure, Clark had a great shot saved by substitute goalie, Aldo Bobadilla. Mapp also had a great chance after coming in as a sub, but his chip went over the bar. The best chance, though, fell to Moor. After a long corner came out to Mapp on the far side, Mapp put in a fantastic cross, as the Paraguayan defenders seemed to seperate away from Moor, who was alone on the 6. Moor, though, put his header right into the hands of Bobadilla. Then late in the game, the US conseded a third goal. Suprisingly though, the US is still alive to make the quarterfinals of the tournament. They'll need to beat Colombia first though and then hope.

Poor Shooting Dooms Wizards

Twentyfive shots. You would think that'd be enough to win you any soccer game. Not so Sunday for the Wizards, who drew with Toronto FC 1-1 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Wizards started the game out slow, but quickly started to turn the game around. They finally broke the game open in the 18th minute. A quick counter off of a Toronto corner, found KC in a numbers up fast break. Carlos Marinelli found Michael Harrington streaking down the line. Harrington finished the ball to the far corner to give the Wizards a 1-0 lead. The Wizards continued to threaten, during the half, but Toronto had the better chances, as Danny Dichio and Jeff Cunningham gave Aaron Hohlbein and Nick Garcia trouble. The defense though played well and held up under the pressure leading KC into the half with a 1-0 lead.

That score changed very early in the second half, as Dichio equalized on a cross by Ronnie O'Brien. The early second half strike was probably a result of a lack of communication in the back, as the Wizards subbed out two defenders (Hohlbein and Jose Burciaga) due to injury at halftime. After that goal, though, the floodgates opened in a matter of speaking. Kansas City peppered the Toronto goal, testing keeper Sam Reynolds, who was starting his first match for TFC. Reynolds though was up to the challenge, standing on his head many times, making great plays. The Wizards got more help in the 76th minute, when Andrew Boyens picked up a second yellow for a late challenge on Sasha Victorine. Reynolds, though, was able to get Toronto a share of the points, stopping Yura Movsisyan on a 1 on 1. And saving a Scott Sealy blast from 25 yards out.

That said, the Wizards only put 7 of their 25 shots on net. The shooting for the Wizards was piss poor much of the time. The shot selection was another problem. On Sealy's 25 yard blast, he was in 1 on 1 with the keeper, but instead of dribbling into the box and taking the keeper on, Sealy blasts a one timer from 25 yards out that Reynolds did well to save. I don't like making a big deal of referee decisions, but KC can't seem to buy a PK this season. Sealy basically got mugged in the box as he tried to turn on Boyens, was brought down, and later gets a lecture from referee, Ricardo Salazar, telling him not to dive like that again. It's kind of hard to dive when you mark has his arms wrapped around you.

Enough bad stuff, I did find one good point in tonight's match, the Wizards are tied for second now in the East, on 21 points with New York, and only 1 point behind first place New England, both of whom lost this week.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Sam Reynolds - TFC - The debutant in net for TFC stood on his head to get Toronto a share of the points.
2. Michael Harrington - KC - Was up and down the wing all night for KC, clinically finishing on the goal, and helped to create numerous chances when the game was tied at 1-1.
3. Carlos Marinelli & Danny Dichio - KC & TFC - Both of these guys had big time effects on the game. Marinelli can just do amazing things on the ball making players look incredibly stupid. Dichio is just a beast, his size alone is a major plus, he gave Hohlbein, Wahl, and Garcia trouble all night.