Friday, September 28, 2007

Reds and Missed Chances Doom Wizards

The Wizards saw 2 players sent off and missed numerous good first half chances which ended up dooming the Wizards in front of 32,000 plus fans. Jimmy Conrad and Davy Arnaud both saw red for challenges on Peter Vagenas in the second half.

While Wizards fans will argue over whether the challenges were really red cards or not, I believe that both were certainly justifiable reds. Both were reckless challenges, Jimmy came in with his studs up, while Davy came into his challenge very late. Some days, those calls are just yellows, and some days they are red, last night they were both red carable.

Those cards likely wouldn't have happened, though, if the Wizards had taken advantage of their numerous chances in the first half. The Wizards could have had a goal within the first few minutes on an own goal as a Wizards cross was deflected onto the cross bar. Joe Cannon was under more pressure from his own team, as he had to come up with a big save on another almost own goal. Eddie Johnson hit the post in the first half, and Davy Arnaud also went close.

In the second half, the Wizards best chance fell to Eloy Colombano, who received a through ball and rounded Cannon, only to try and blast the ball into the net instead of trying to slot the ball home side footed. The Wizards paid when they went down 1 man, as Gavin Glinton scored on a header to give the Galaxy the only goal they needed.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Joe Cannon - LA - Made the saves he needed to make to preserve the shut out, inlcuding from his own team.
2. Chris Klein - LA - The Wizards former winger helped to shut down the Wizards attack.
3. Nick Garcia - KC - The Wizards defense stepped up last night stopping the Galaxy attack almost all night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Brit is Co... Oh Wait, He's Not

The LA Beckhams come to KC to play the Wizards tomorrow night on ESPN2. Now the Beckham's are Beckhamless for the game tomorrow night due to his knee injury, but that's not going to stop me from continuing to refer to them as the Beckhams.

The Wizards come in after a heart breaking 2-1 loss in LA against the good LA team, Chivas, on a late Ante Razov goal. The Beckhams come in after beating FC Dallas in LA on Sunday.

Scott Sealy looks like he could miss this game as well, as his injury plagued season continues as he has a quad problem. With Ryan Pore out due to a concussion, it looks like many Wizards fans, including yours truly, will get to see Eloy Colombano make his first Wizards start. The Beckhams meanwhile have a rather long injury list, including multiple players that would likely be starting for them. That's good news for the Wizards, as having to deal with Ty Harden and Troy Roberts is better than dealing with Abel Xavier. As for the Wizards lineup, I'd expect to see something similar to the way the team played after Pore went out in the game against Chivas.

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

This is a very big 3 points for the Wizards, as they can put a little more space between themselves and 9th place. They're magic number is currently 8 I believe, and a win here would mean big things for the Wizards in their hopes to end their 2 year playoff drought. The Beckhams are to injury riddled right now for the Wizards not to pick up 3 points, even with Landon Donovan on the team.

KC - 3 (Johnson, Arnaud, Colombano)
Beckhams - 1 (Donovan)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beckham Not Coming, But That's Not the News

It's officially been announced that David Beckham will in fact NOT be in Kansas City for LA's game against the Wizards Thursday night. This isn't surprising, it was always gonna be unlikely that the former English captain would be in KC after he hurt his knee in the SuperLiga final.

The Wizards officially announced that today, and to try and ease the back lash the team will take, they've announced a few changes and additions to the pre-game and in game experience for the fans.

The Wizards have gotten rid of the parking charge for the game Thursday, like the rest of this season, parking will be free. They have also instituted a playoff package plan where people can show their Beckhamless game ticket stub and get one free playoff ticket when they buy a playoff ticket. The team will also hold a drawing where 3 kids 14 and under will win the honor of having a Wizards starter come to their school.

The team has also released their full day of activities that will be going on for the game.
• Parking lots open: 3:30 p.m.
• Soccer Celebration: 4-7 p.m.
• Liverpool (A Tribute to the Beatles): 4:30-6:30 p.m.
• Stadium gates open: 5:30 p.m.
• Players warm-up: 6:05-6:43 p.m.
• Cobi Jones tribute: 6:45 p.m.
• Jet-pack delivers game ball: 6:58 p.m.
• Kickoff: 7 p.m.
• Fireworks show: 9 p.m. (approx.)
• Wizards autograph session: 9:15-9:45 p.m. (approx.)
• Post-game celebration at Martini Corner: 10 p.m. - close

Through all this glitz and glamor, though, I have a few problems with what the team is doing here. Of the 3 changes the team has made for the game, how does that benefit season ticket holders? Yes, I know that season ticket holders got tickets to this game at a cheaper price then those that bought their tickets afterwards. But as season ticket holders, we've already paid our $10 parking fee for this game.

Then there is the playoff ticket deal. As season ticket holders, we have our special game A and special game B tickets which as of this posting have not been used for any friendlies. Usually these tickets have doubled as your tickets for playoff games. So there's really no reason for a family that already has season tickets to one more to get one free when they likely already have their playoff tickets with their special game tickets.

As for the children's deal, I don't see much benefit in that for many season ticket holders. Me, I have no kids and I doubt it'd have as much of a WOW impact if a player came to my work.

These 3 benefits for Beckhamless game ticket holders seem to neglect the Wizards season ticket holders who have already paid for the benefits that are being handed out by the team.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Fight for the 7th and 8th Seed

Seven points seperate the team in 7th place with the team in 10th place in the MLS single table. The Wizards sit on 36 points, while the Colorado Rapids are siting on 29 points. In between, the Chicago Fire are on 32 points, while the Columbus Crew sit on 31.

Four playoff spots have already been clinched, and FC Dallas and the Red Bulls look to be safe enough where they'll make it as well. That leaves the Wizards, Rapids, Crew, and Fire fighting for the two remaining playoff spots. All 4 teams have 4 games remaining on their schedule. The Wizards, finish with LA and DC at home then travel to New York and Dallas to end the season. The Fire play @ Chivas, home against New England, @ DC and end the season at home against LA. The Crew play LA and Dallas at home before traveling to New England and DC. The Rapids end of season run sees them travel to New England, home to Toronto, @ Chivas, and home against RSL.

Of the four teams, Chicago has the most difficult, having to travel to both DC and Chivas, two teams that will be fighting for the Supporters Shield. Kansas City's schedule isn't much easier, having to take on three teams that are likely gonna be in the playoffs. Columbus' looks to be as hard as KC's as they play 3 of the 4 teams the Wizards do. The Rapids, would on the surface, appear to have the easiest schedule playing Toronto and RSL at home. But the RSL-CO games are always intense match ups.

Here's how I see the last four games working out for the 4 teams. KC should take 3 points off LA, be able to get a point against DC at home, and grab a point in one of their last two games against either NY or Dallas. I don't see Chicago getting points in either of their two remaining away games, but see them getting all 3 in each of their last two home games. Isee Columbus getting the full 3 points in their two remaining home games, taking a point on the road against a New England team that has already clinched a playoff spot, but dropping their final match against DC. As for Colorado, I see them only getting points out of their two home games.

With those predictions, I see the final playoff spot breaking down like this.

KC - 41 points
Chicago - 38 points
Columbus - 38 points
Colorado - 35 points

These results would eliminate Colorado and make KC the 7th seed. The 8th seed in the playoffs would come down to the head-to-head tiebreaker between Columbus and Chicago. The Fire would get the 8th playoff spot due to their 2-0-1 (W-L-D) against the Crew.

The Wizards definitely have the advantage heading into these last 4 games, with their 4 point lead over the 8th place Fire.

Wizards Given Taste of Stoppage Time Winner

Last week the Wizards scored twice in second half stoppage time to get the full 3 points off Columbus. This week, the Wizards were on the other end of that result. Tied with Chivas at 1-1 in second half stoppage time, Ante Razov curled in a great shot from outside the box to give Chivas their first win against the Wizards, 2-1.

The way the Wizards played last night, this was a rough result. They'd been able to hold the Chivas attack in check for much of the game. The first half, the Wizards dominated the flow of play and were able to hold possession like I haven't seen them do most of this season. Inside the first few minutes, Ryan Pore could have put the Wizards up 1-0 when he was put in alone with Brad Guzan, but Pore scuffed his shot wide. Pore left the game soon after with what was said to be blurred vision from a knock to the head. This brought on Eloy Colombano for his longest run of playing time since joining the Wizards.

In the second half, the Wizards continued to have the run of play, Eddie Johnson had a shot saved by Guzan, and the majority of the play was in Chivas end of the field. In the 69th minute though, against the run of play, Chivas found the opener as Razov had the easiest of finishes after a cross had beaten the Wizards defense. The Wizards didn't take long to respond, though, as Jose Burciaga found Johnson on a ball over the top. Johnson turned Claudio Suarez inside out and shot, only to have it deflected onto the cross bar, where if then fell to Colombano, who tucked it away to level the game. After the goal, Chivas began to get more of the possession and continued to attack. The Wizards were able to absorb most of the pressure, except for that late strike by Razov.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Ante Razov - Chivas - Two goals for the Chivas forward, on this two best chances of the game. Other then that, though, Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia held him in check.
2. Eloy Colombano - KC - Got well over an hour on the field last night, and probably proved that he deserves to start. Played incredibly well, taking players on, and putting in good crosses. Got off the mark with his goal too.
3. Carlos Marinelli - KC - Showed the poise and control in the midfield that he showed earlier this season. Didn't try to do too much, but was very active playing great balls through most of the game.

Friday, September 21, 2007

KC to Take on Preki and Chivas

The Wizards travel to LA to take on Chivas USA tomorrow. Chivas has yet to lose a home game this season, while the Wizards have yet to be defeated by Chivas in any game. Something is going to give this weekend most likely. Jesse Marsch will miss this match due to yellow card accumulation. The Wizards will be without Kurt Morsink.

Without Morsink, Coach Onalfo is going to have to switch up his lineup, as Morsink has started the past few games. Overall, though, I think the team will be fairly similar to the way they started against Columbus last weekend. I would like to see Eloy Colombano start, but I don't think he will.

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

The Wizards have struggled on the road this year, and Chivas is VERY good at home. Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov are clicking together up top, and their defense is very strong. I just don't see the Wizards being able to pull out 3 points in LA tomorrow night. I'd like to see KC win, but I'd be happy with a point on the road. In the end, though, I think the Wizards will drop all 3.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New TIF Policy Passes

Tonight, Mayor Mark Funkhouser and the City Council approved the new TIF policy for the Kansas City area.

While the new policy leans towards helping small businesses, there are parts that look like they will benefit the Wizards in their push to get TIF help in renovating the Bannister Mall area. The new TIF policy is set to also help the cities blighted and distressed areas. The Bannister location has become a rather big blighted area, as in the past 10 years or so it's gone from being one of the main shopping areas in the KC metro area to being nearly deserted.

The approval of this policy was coming, as the recently elected Funkhouser had run on a platform to reform the TIF policy in Kansas City. The big news on the Wizards, Bannister Mall, and the possible TIF will come in October when the decision is expected on the Wizards and Lane4's plan for the area.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Fun in Dreaming

Yesterday I stumbled upon the fact that Pete Grathoff, of the KC Star now has his own blog. He's joined the likes of Ives, Goff and numerous other writers who focus on MLS in the blogsphere.

In only his second entry, he adds some fun speculation and dreaming about what the Wizards could do. His focus is on the fact that DC United look like they are closing in on the signing of Juan Veron, which would likely leave current DC United midfielder, Christian Gomez pushed out of the team. Grathoff speculates on the Wizards being a possible location for Gomez to move to.

While Gomez has proved himself in MLS and done some great things for DC over the years, he does turn 33 in November, and we'll likely see his skills start to deteriorate if they haven't already started to. While Gomez would definitely be an upgrade of Carlos Marinelli, would he be worth the DP money he is rumored to want at the age of 33? Personally I don't think he is, the DP money is to help bring in name players who will not only up the level of play, but bring in more fans to the stadiums. Gomez has the skill to up the level of play, but he doesn't have that name recognition.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sealy Player of the Week and up for Goal of the Week

After his two goal performance in the Wizards 3-2 win over Columbus on Saturday night, Scott Sealy was named MLS Player of the Week for week 24.

Not only that, but Sealy's brilliant free kick is up for Goal of the Week this week, so get out and vote for the Wizards forward.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Undeserved? Probably, but Wizards take 3 Points Off Columbus

The Wizards first blew a lead, then came from behind with two goals in stoppage time to get a much needed 3 points against the Columbus Crew last night at Arrowhead Stadium. The win helps to move the Wizards 1 step closer to ending their 2 year playoff drought.

The Wizards started off strong, and Scott Sealy got the Wizards on the board in the 31st minute on a brilliant free kick. The Wizards continued to attack, but the half ended with the Wizards only up by the one goal. Here's a fan video of the goal taken from the Cauldron.

In the second half, the Crew came out and took the game to the Wizards, creating some good chances. When Alejandro Moreno scored in the 65th minute, it was no less then the Crew deserved. They'd been pushing the entire half and were rewarded. The goal though has been a bit of a talking point about what counts as the goalkeeper having control of the ball. As Moreno looked to kick the ball out of Kevin Hartman's hands. Andy Herron gave the Crew the lead only two minutes later off of a corner.

Things were looking down for the Wizards as the minutes ticked by, it looked like the Wizards were going to be the same team that we'd seen for the past 2 years, folding down the stretch to miss the playoffs. Then in the 3rd minute of stoppage time, Kerry Zavagnin was fouled in the box by Stefani Miglioranzi. The PK will be another talking point of the game. Wizards fans see it as a makeup call for Moreno kicking the ball out of Hartman's hands, while Crew fans will see Zavagnin fishing for the penalty in that situation. Either way, the PK was called, and Eddie Johnson converted for his 15th of the season to give the Wizards what looked to be an undeserved point. Less then a minute later though, a quick play down the wing found Eloy Colombano all on his own. He whipped in a great cross that Sealy met with a textbook diving header that he buried into the net to give the Wizards the full 3 points.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Scott Sealy - KC - Can't argue with 2 goals for the TnT striker. The first was a beautiful freekick, the second a great diving header to give the Wizards the full 3 points.
2. Alejandro Moreno - Crew - Picked up the scraps to get his goal. Did well to put the Wizards 2 center backs under pressure all game.
3. Eddie Johnson - KC - Goal and an assist for the Wizards MVP this season, was dangerous all game and helped to free up the players around him.

Garcia Sets Mark

Wizards defender, Nick Garcia set the Wizards record for most appearances tonight in MLS games for the Wizards, with 219. He breaks Preki's record of 218. Congrats to Nick for setting the mark.
A full match review of the Wizards 3-2 win tonight will be up tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Movsisyan Traded to Salt Lake

According to a poster on bigsoccer, the Wizards have traded forward Yura Movsisyan to Real Salt Lake. Apparently the Wizards have traded Yura and a youth international slot for 2 seasons to RSL for part of the Freddy Adu allocation, and two draft picks (2009 3rd round and 1st round supplemental).

Call me extremely underwhelmed and almost pissed off. Movsisyan looked to be finally starting to break out this season. He's currently the Wizards second leading scorer, with 5 goals. After underwhelming in his rookie season last year, Movsisyan's play started to improve this year. Unless the Wizards have plans for that allocation money already this trade doesn't make much sense. With Eddie Johnson likely heading abroad in January, the Wizards starting forwards for next season look to be Scott Sealy and either Davy Arnaud or Eloy Colombano, and Movsisyan could have contributed significant minutes next year. Hopefully Coach Onalfo and Peter Vermes have someone already in mind.

Here's the Press Release announcing the trade.

Wizards Look to Push Themselves Closer to Playoffs

The Wizards are back in action tomorrow against the Columbus Crew. This match is a big 6 pointer for the Wizards, as the Crew are currently in 9th place in the league, 5 points behind the Wizards, who are in 7th. A win would push them 8 points clear and closer to ending their 2 year playoff drought.

The Wizards ran into some good luck as well, as the Crew will be without two of their best players for the match. Both Frankie Hejduk and Guillermo Barros Schelotto will miss the match in KC due to yellow card suspension. The loss of these two players will greatly affect the Crew, and a result for the Wizards is greatly helped by their suspensions.

The Wizards best 11 should be available, the only major injury concern, is Sasha Victorine who is listed as questionable. I could see Onalfo continue to start Kurt Morsink in the midfield. Personally I'd like to see Carlos Marinelli back on as a starter.

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

Without Hejduk and Schelotto, this game is the Wizards for the taking. The Crew's defense is injured and vulnerable. With the Wizards interest in attack this should be a great chance for the Wizards to get a big win.

KC - 3 (Johnson x2, Arnaud)
Crew - 1 (Moreno)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Crew Interested in Victorine?

Found this article while on the Columbus Crew boards on bigsoccer reading their pregame thread for the game this weekend. Interesting reading, apparently Crew coach, Sigi Schmid, is looking to pull in some of his former UCLA players, including current Wizards, Sasha Victorine.

Honestly this trade makes no sense at all for the Wizards. First, the Wizards are in the middle of a playoff race with the Crew. Both are attempting to end a two year playoff drought. Trading a player like Victorine late in a good season would be stupid. Victorine is leading the team in assists this season and has been a major asset for the Wizards. Second, I'm not sure who the Wizards would get in return. Eddie Gaven? Ned Grabavoy? Andy Herron? Kei Kamara? Those players all have their upside, but I'd rather have Victorine then those 4 right now. Down the stretch I think that Victorine will be a lot more important for us.

Wizards Stadium Competition

The Wizards and Lane4 presented their plan for Bannister Mall yesterday to the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission. The committee, though, has put off making a decision on the plan until their meeting in October.

The news, though, is that there are 2 other plans out there for the Bannister Mall site. The first is from Lakepointe Development LLC. The first phase of their concept is to build a resort and convention center along with an 18 hole golf course. Does Kansas City really need another convention center? I mean besides smaller locations that can hold some events, Kansas City already has Bartle Hall and the Overland Park Convention Center. Does Kansas City get that many conventions that a third big convention center needs to be added?

The other competition for the Wizards is the "Save Our Bannister Mall" group. The group seems to be made up of local business owners who want to reopen the mall with locally based businesses. The belief by them seems to be that the new development would have rent too expensive for the local businesses to afford to set up shop there. Maybe it's just me, but wasn't this basically what Bannister Mall was before it closed? Made up of mainly local businesses? I seem to remember that being the setup of the mall before it closed. The mall was nowhere near capacity in this situation, and I have my doubts that they'd get many more stores other than the ones that were there before the mall closed.

I wouldn't mind seeing the developers talking to this group and possibly having a few areas for local business in the shopping center. And if not all the businesses can get in there, there are other parts of south KC that could use development. The Loma Vista shopping center is near by, as is the shopping around I470 and Blue Ridge Road. Both those areas could use an influx of businesses to that area as well.

In the end something needs to be done with the area. It's gone down hill quite a bit over the years. Honestly I don't see the "Save Our Bannister Mall" group putting up much of a fight in this situation. While they want to keep local businesses around, they don't seem to have much of a plan to redevelop the area, just leave it the way it is.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

US Falls to Brazil

I've been delaying writing this article, as I've had a difficult time deciding how to view the game. The US had bright moments, but ended up giving up 4 goals to the number one ranked Brazil. Of course it was the number 1 ranked team in the world, and the US held their own for quite a bit of the game. Although for many parts of the game, it didn't look like Brazil was actually trying and only turned it on when they needed to.

These are some of the things that have been going through my head when I look at the game and try to decide how the US played.

In the end I think I've decided that it was a good performance by the US. There were moments when the US was definitely outclassed by the Brazilians, but there were moments when it looked like the US could get at least a draw out of the game. In fact, if not for a poor non call on a PK, the US could very well have gotten a 3-3 draw out of the game.

The US had the lead at 1-0 on a Carlos Bocanegra goal off of a corner kick. An Oguchi Onyewu own goal leveled the score. The first controversial call came right before half time when Robinho beat two players in the corner and was driving along the end line and then flopped over Onyewu's foot. Robinho was in the air diving before he even made it to Onyewu. He got a yellow for the attempt. Brazil took the lead off of a corner. The goal was scored by Lucio.

The US had chance to equalize when a Heath Pearce shot was parried by Brazil's goalkeeper into the path of Josh Wolff, who had an empty net. Wolff, though, was tackled from behind in the box. No call was given for the foul, though replays seemed to show that it was indeed a foul. A great give and go by Wizard, Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan set Steve Cherundolo free down the right. He found Clint Dempsey who leveled the game at 2. Two minutes later, another controversial foul called on Bocanegra was converted by Ronaldinho to make it 3-2. I never saw a replay of the foul, but from what I've been told there was no foul there. Brazil finished the scoring in second half stoppage time on an Elano penalty kick, after a Michael Bradley foul.

The foul by Bradley was the one real blemish on his performance. Bradley played fantastic today and showed that he's definitely a midfielder for the future. The other player that shown was Tim Howard. Howard made some big saves to keep the US in the game. He even continued to play after he dislocated his left ring finger on Brazil's second goal when he hit the cross bar.

As for the 3 Wizards called in for the match, Eddie Johnson, Davy Arnaud, and Kerry Zavagnin, none of the 3 started. Johnson came on in the 70th minute for former Wizard, Josh Wolff. Johnson didn't do a whole lot, but his great play with Donovan on Dempsey's goal was great, one of the nicer goals I've seen the US score. Arnaud got his first US cap when he came on in the 86th for Pearce to give the US more attacking options. Arnaud showed the hustle and heart that he's shown for the Wizards for years. He did well, earning the US a corner just after coming on, and tracking back and making a great tackle on a Brazilian counter as the US searched for the equalizer. Overall I think that Arnaud has earned himself another chance to come into camp and get a cap.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More Information on Bannsiter Mall Site Out

More information about the possible development at Bannister Mall has come out today. Included in the plan, are plans to build the Wizards soccer specific stadium, and 12 tournament quality youth fields.

The project will cost about $943 million, with hopes that $267 million of that will come from TIFs. The Wizards owners are planning to contribute about half of the $140 million that will be needed for the building of the soccer stadium, which will be owned by the city, and leased back to the team. They will also pay for any overages.

As has been mentioned in the article, the Bannister Mall area is certainly a blighted area, all the major anchor tenants of the mall and adjacent shopping area have all moved out. A redevelopment of some kind is needed in the area.

The plan is before city officials now. The question is, how much resistance will it meet from Mayor Funkhouser, who has expressed an interest in lessening the handing out of TIFs. From his quote in the article, though, it looks like he will definitely consider the plan.

If the plan passed, construction would start next spring, and the stadium would be finished by spring of 2010. As I have stated in the past, I think that the Bannister location is great for the Wizards, the good highway access and visibility, gives them the perfect location. It's also going to be good to see an area that I went to when I was younger get redeveloped after the fall out that has occurred in the area.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Derby Still After Wizards' Johnson

Derby County has not given up in their bid to get Wizards forward Eddie Johnson. According to Yahoo Sports, Derby is still trying to get the Wizards forward to agree to a transfer in January. Scouts from the club will be at the USA-Brazil friendly on Sunday to scout the forward.

While Derby certainly need goal scorers, does Johnson want to go to a team that has the chance to be one of, if not the worst teams in the history of the Premiership? If he does want to leave for Europe in the January window, you would think with the season he's having he could attract some more high profile clubs than Derby County.

Zavagnin Named to US Squad

Wizards midfielder, Kerry Zavagnin has been called in to the US National team camp for the upcoming game with Brazil. Zavagnin is replacing Pablo Mastroeni on the roster for the match. He'll be joining Davy Arnaud, Eddie Johnson and former Wizard Josh Wolff on the team for the match.

Zavagnin will have the chance to earn his first cap since since playing the full 90 minutes in the USA's match against Germany back in March of 2006. With the Wizards having the week off, it's easier for Bob Bradley to call in Zavagnin then another defensive midfielder like Ricardo Clark, who's Houston Dynamo play Real Salt Lake this weekend. Zavagnin isn't totally undeserving, though, he's having a career year scoring wise, with 3 goals, his first since 2003. He's also come back with a much stronger season then last year, where Zavagnin really struggled.

Congrats to Kerry.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Debunking the August Swoon

The Wizards just finished up going 1-4 in the month of August. Most Wizards fans would not find this odd as the rumor is that the Wizards are never good in the month of August. People would say "well that's the Wizards, they're always bad in August." I started getting curious about the Wizards record in August, so I started researching the Wizards record in August throughout the years.

Going from 1996-2007, the Wizards are 29-31-11 in the month of August. In actuality, this year was the Wizards second worst August. The Wizards worst August came back in 2003 where the Wizards only picked up 2 points , going 0-3-2.

The Wizards record in August is not much different than their record over the course of the season, where the Wizards record is currently 149-150-63. So the Wizards always struggling in August looks to be a myth. Below is the Wizards record in August throughout their history (W-L-D)

1996 - 4-2
1997 - 5-1
1998 - 2-4
1999 - 2-3
2000 - 2-2-3
2001 - 1-3-1
2002 - 2-4-2*
2003 - 0-3-2
2004 - 3-2#
2005 - 5-2#
2006 - 2-1-3
2007 - 1-4

* - 2002 the Wizards had 2 CONCACAF Champion's Cup and 1 US Open Cup Match in August.
# - 2004, 2005 the Wizards had 2 US Open Cup matches in August.

Monday, September 03, 2007

2 Wizards Headed to Face Brazil

Two Wizards have been named to Bob Bradley's US squad that will take on Brazil on the 9th of this month in Chicago. Eddie Johnson gets a call up and a chance at his 31st cap for the national team. The other is looking to get his first cap for the US Men's National team, Davy Arnaud. Arnaud has been one of the Wizards most consistent performers this season. He's been one of those bubble players, who probably could have gotten a few call ups at least into camp, but injuries and other commitments have kept him out. Johnson and Arnaud are 2 of 4 forwards on the roster, including Landon Donovan, and former Wizard, Josh Wolff as well.

Arnaud has probably earned this call up due to the way the Wizards schedule has worked out. The Wizards are off this coming weekend, when the game will occur, and Bradley has tried to keep from calling in many MLS players that are in matches that could affect playoff standings. The only other MLS players called in are Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, and Chris Seitz. Donovan's Galaxy and Mastroeni's Rapids face each other this weekend, so that's likely seen as a fair trade off, while Seitz has more to learn being on the bench for the US then being on the bench for Real Salt Lake.

That's not to say Arnaud hasn't deserved it, his play the last few seasons has earned him at least a call up into camp for Bradley to have a look at it. It's been a long time coming.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

August Player of the Month

It's been a fairly poor month for the Wizards. Five games in the month of August and only 1 win. It's still that time to hand out the Down the Byline Player of the Month.

While his stats for this month are not the greatest, his play has kept the Wizards in many of the games that they probably did not deserve to be in. Kevin Hartman is the Wizards Player of the Month for August. While he had a 2.00 goals against average in the month, it could have certainly been a lot worse if Hartman had not been on the team. He came up with big saves in each of the 5 games that the Wizards played in August. And his PK stop in the match against Chicago helped to give the Wizards their one win this past month.

Wizards get much needed point

The Wizards got the first goal in a match for the first time since their 2-2 tie with Colorado back in July, but couldn't hold the lead. The tie, though, brings the Wizards a much needed point, especially with Chicago losing to New York last night, it helps to widen the gap between the two clubs.

The match last night had some decent chances for both sides, and the Wizards looked more likely to score than in their match at the midweek against Real Salt Lake. Eddie Johnson had a shot saved by Pat Onstad's foot early in the half. Right as first half stoppage time was about to start, Michael Harrington made a cutting run into the middle and played a perfect ball through to Scott Sealy that beat 4 Houston players. Sealy then played the ball across to Johnson to slotted the ball past Onstad to give the Wizards the half time lead. For the first time in four games, the Wizards did not allow a goal in the last 5 minutes of the half, instead they were the ones scoring in the last 5.

In the second half the play continued to be in the middle of the field for the most part. A shoving match broke out when Sealy checked Ryan Cochrane into the boards. Three Wizards were carded for their roles in the situation, yet no Houston players were given a card. In the 69th minute, Dwayne De Rosario was given way too much space and was able to dribble from the midfield line all the way to the top of the 18 before playing in Joseph Ngwenya, who had beaten Nick Garcia. Ngwenya one timed it past Kevin Hartman at the near post to tie the game at 1. Johnson should have added to his goal total in the second half when he was played in on a break away. Johnson, though, took a mistouch which allowed Houston's Wade Barrett to tackle the ball away before Johnson could get the shot off. The Wizards were able to hold off the Houston attack for the rest of the half and escaped Houston with a point.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Joseph Ngwenya - Houton - Created disorder for KC's defense all night and a class one touch finish to tie the game.
2. Eddie Johnson - KC - Scored his 14th goal of the season to tie him with Luciano Emilio and Juan Pablo Angel for the most goals this season. Should have had his 15th but for his mistouch.
3. Dwayne De Rosario - Houston - Created the tying goal and was dangerous all game.