Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Love for the Cauldron

I've been a member of the Cauldron for about 4 seasons now. Starting back in 2004, I have not missed a game standing with friends cheering my lungs horse there. Finally after 4 seasons we finally have probably the best article ever written about the supporters group. Author Andrew Wiebe does a good job of capturing the group as a whole and what all goes into the game day atmosphere that the Cauldron creates. He gets a great quote from Anthony Frei about the sheer excitement that comes over you when a goal is scored.

“Whenever a goal is scored it’s pandemonium,” Frei said. “There’s a huge amount of joy. In football, basketball and other sports your team scores at regular intervals. It’s all of that packed down into the one moment you are all waiting for.”
He also gets great quotes from Davy Arnaud and Kerry Zavagnin on the team's perspective of the group, which is always great to hear.

This isn't Wiebe's first article on the Cauldron either, he wrote one a week ago chronicling the where the Cauldron got it's start, from the Mystics and moving into the present with the Cauldron. Growing from a hand full of people to the 450-500 that were at the game last Saturday night against Chivas.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chivas Report Gives Wizards Good News

It looks like the Kansas City Wizards have just gotten a big boost in their efforts to make their 1-0 series lead against Chivas USA stand up. According to freelance writer Jamie Cárdenas, there was big news from Chivas today. Cárdenas, who was at Chivas practice today, filed this report on his blog. It looks like Chivas will once again be without their two top scorers for the return leg on Saturday. Preki has already ruled out Ante Razov for the game on Saturday, and Maykel Galindo looks unlikely to suit up for the game either, due to what he's said is a sports hernia that he will need to be operated on. If this is all true, then the Wizards chances of advancing to the conference finals just went up. Without Razov and Galindo on the field on Saturday the Chivas offense lacked punch.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wizards Take Advantage to LA

The Wizards will carry a one goal advantage into the second leg of their conference semifinal series next weekend with Chivas USA thanks to a Davy Arnaud free kick. Chivas USA played last night without their two top scorers, Ante Razov and Maykel Galindo, and without them, their offense struggled to get a good string of offensive chances going.

While the Wizards had the run of play in the first half, they were only able to get the one goal. In the 35th minute off of a free kick, Arnaud found net thanks to a bit of a deflection. Overall it seemed like Brad Guzan read that one late, expecting more of a cross from that position instead of a shot from the Wizards midfielder. Chivas' best shot at an equalizer came in the second half, when John Cunliffe's shot glanced off of the bar in the 61st minute.

Overall, Kansas City looked satisfied with the result late on, as they started to play like the Wizards under Bob Gansler, bunkering, absorbing the pressure, and trying to counter. Chivas as well seemed to be ok with the result as well, especially with their team being undermanned. It should set up a very nice return leg in LA next weekend.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Davy Arnaud - KC - The heart award winner showed it tonight. And any time you get the winner in a playoff game, that's a good game.
2. Francisco Mendoza - Chivas - I really like this guy, he's quick and plays the game really well. Each time the Wizards have played Chivas this year, he's been one of their best players.
3. Kevin Hartman - KC - Two straight shutouts for Hartman, a good night at the office, made the saves when he was called upon, which is what the Wizards brought him in for.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Playoff Time

The Wizards return to the playoffs for the first time since their MLS Cup loss in 2004. They'll take on the Western Conference Champion, Chivas USA, tomorrow night at Arrowhead. Chivas comes into the game after drawing 0-0 with Houston at home. The Wizards come in after beating FC Dallas 2-0 to get into the playoffs.

Chivas will be without two fairly regular starters, Lawson Vaughn is suspended for the match in Kansas City due to a red card in the match against Houston. The more important loss for the Goats, though, is the loss of second leading scorer, Ante Razov. Razov has been the main attacking problem for the Wizards in their matches against Chivas, as he helped to set up Chivas' first in KC, and scored both goals in the game in LA.

As for KC, they'll be without Carlos Marinelli, who injured his ankle again in the win over Dallas. The Wizards rest of the starting lineup should be ready to go.
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Harrington
Arnaud - Morsink - Victorine
Sealy - Johnson

Chivas is fighting the injury bug right now, not only is Razov out, but Maykel Galindo and Jesse Marsch are also fighting the injury bug. If the Wizards want to stand a chance in this series they need to take advantage of the injuries this week. Too do that, both Johnson and Sealy need to be on mark.
KC - 2 (Johnson, Sealy)
Chivas - 1 (Galindo)

Year End Awards Part 2

A day after I released the Down the Byline End of the Year Awards, the Wizards released their End of the Year awards in the post season media guide that is online.

Honda MVP - Eddie Johnson
Budweiser Golden Boot - Eddie Johnson
US Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year - Jose Burciaga Jr.
Defender of the Year - Jimmy Conrad
Kansas City Wizards Heart Award - Davy Arnaud
Rookie of the Year - Michael Harrington
Kansas City Wizards Reserve Team Player of the Year - Ryan Pore

I can't argue with any of the choices in these awards. Considering each player that I handed an award to earned the same award for the Wizards. As for the awards I didn't hand out, Burciaga is definitely the humanitarian of the year, throughout the season we heard about Jose's trip down to New Orleans and his work with his foundation, the Jose Luis Burciaga Foundation both great causes. The heart award should be renamed to the Davy Arnaud Heart Award, because if it was handed out every season, Davy would likely be the winner every single time. As for the reserve player of the year, Pore once against lead the Wizards reserves in scoring, with 7 goals and 3 assists.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wizards Year End Awards

The regular season is over, and that means that it's time to hand out some awards for the season. For the Wizards, Down the Byline will be handing out awards for Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year, Goal of the Year, and MVP. So let's get to it.

Rookie of the Year
Michael Harrington
Really it came down to two players, Kurt Morsink, and Harrington. Over the course of the season I have to give it to Harrington, he came in from day one and claimed a spot on the left side. He's played both on the wing and in the back. He had a great start to the season, scoring the fastest ever debut goal 2 minutes into his MLS career. Over the course of the season he seemed to hit a wall, but he's been the Wizards best rookie this season.

Defender of the Year
Jimmy Conrad
Not a great year for the Wizards defense. Allowed the third most goals in MLS this year, with pretty much the same back line that was stellar in 06. The change in tactics by Curt Onalfo, though, had the Wizards defending less. Conrad has become the face of the Wizards over the past few years, and while this wasn't his best year, Conrad was the Wizards best defender.

Goal of the Year
Kerry Zavganin vs Chivas 7/29
What more can you say about this shot, but incredible. It's up for goal of the year and is one of the top 5 goals of the year.

Eddie Johnson
Yes, he's not been great late in the season. But tell me this, where would the Wizards be without Eddie? My guess, around RSL and TFC level. Johnson has been the Wizards go to forward, and without his 15 goals the Wizards are not the same team. He's definitely been the Wizards most valuable player.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yahoo Best XI

Found this Yahoo article tonight with the Best XI this season for MLS, voted on by Martin Rogers (Yahoo! Sports), Grahame Jones (Los Angeles Times), Steven Goff (Washington Post), Greg Daurio (, Scott French (MLS Magazine), Frank Dell'Apa (Boston Globe) and Michael Lewis (New York Daily News).

So here's the roster
Brad Guzan
Michael Parkhurst - Wade Barrett - ClaudioSuarez - Jimmy Conrad
Shalrie Joseph - Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Ben Olsen - Cuauhtemoc Blanco
Juan Pablo Angel - Luciano Emilio

No Wizards made the "bench." Now, I love Jimmy, he's probably one of, if not, my favorite players ever to wear Wizards blue, but he is not deserving of being on the Best XI this year. Off the top of my head I can think of at least one defender I'd rank ahead of Jimmy this year, and that's Eddie Robinson of Houston. But it's how those guys decided to vote, so congrats to Jimmy on being named to this team.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Grant Wahl's Playoff Incentive

Thanks to Pete Grathoff's Tor! Tor! Tor! blog for this nice little tidbit. Apparently Grant Wahl has given the Wizards some nice incentive for the post season in his latest writing for, Greatest American Heroes. If you go to page three of the article, the second to last question, you'll see this question:

I hear you wear a scarf all the time. Any truth to that?
--Tim, St. Louis

Here is Wahl's response to the question.

Hmmm ... any chance you're referring to the Jimmy Conrad column where he descrbies the unnamed "bald fellow who ... wears cool, hip clothes to every event I see him at. The guy loves the scarf. Pouring rain, scarf; denim-on-denim, scarf; 112 degrees, scarf."
Wahl goes on to give Jimmy a little jab for the Wizards lack of making the playoffs, and then goes on to give the Wizards some incentive for the playoffs.
Welcome back to the postseason, Jimmy! (Good thing you never had to wear the Toucan Sam rainbow-sleeved Wiz get-up K.C. had back in the old days, or it might be hard to take you seriously as a fashion arbiter.) Anyway, just as a playoff incentive, if you and the Wizards reach the MLS Cup final I'll promise to wear a rainbow-striped ascot this time around.
Sounds like a challenge to me. I look forward to seeing Mr. Wahl in a rainbow-striped ascot at MLS Cup.

But what's this about Jimmy never having worn the Toucan Sam rainbow-sleeved Wizards jersey?

Sorry Jimmy.

Sealy named Player of the Week

Scott Sealy was named the MLS player of the week this week for his two goal performance against Dallas, in what was basically a do or die game for the Wizards. The two goals were Sealy's 2nd and 3rd of the month of October, 3 quarters of the Wizards goal out put this month.


A testimonial match is a way for a club to show their respect for a player for his service to the club. Recently, DC United put on a testimonial match for DC great, Marco Etcheverry, on the 20th, before the team's match with the Columbus Crew.

This got me thinking about who, if anyone on the Wizards, would deserve such an honor. According to the wikipedia article I linked, testimonials are usually given for 10 years of service to the club. No one has played for the Wizards for 10 years though.

One former Wizards player, though, in my opinion is definitely worthy of a testimonial. That is Wizards' fans' hero, Preki. The current Chivas USA coach is more than worthy of a testimonial match in my opinion. He has scored 71 goals and 98 assists for the Wizards in his 9 seasons with the club (1996-2000, 2002-2005) . And until this season, he had been the Wizards leader in appearances with 218. Preki has the pedigree and history in the league and with the Wizards, just as Etcheverry does with DC. If there is a more worthy candidate, I do not know who.
The question becomes, would the Wizards be interested in doing such a thing? Personally I think the player that holds almost every offensive record for the Wizards deserves the chance the honor of a testimonial in his honor. Preki certainly has the ability to still get out on the field and kick the ball around a bit and be part of a testimonial match. In fact, I can even think of the opponent for the match. It should be a friendly between the Kansas City Wizards, and Preki's current team, Chivas USA. Kind of like the recent testimonial for Roy Keane, this would be a fitting way to honor the career of the greatest player to ever put on the Wizards blue.

Monday, October 22, 2007

2007 MLS Average Attendance

The regular season is over, the playoffs are about to begin. But first I wanted to go back to something I started last year, and that's posting the average attendance of the league.

Overall this year, MLS' average attendance was 16670, the highest average attendance for the league since the inaugural season back in 1996, when the league averaged 17406.

Here are the team break downs.

1. LA - 24252
2. DC - 20967
3. Toronto - 20130
4. New England - 16787
5. New York - 16530
6. Chicago - 16490
7. Salt Lake - 15960
8. Houston - 15883
9. Columbus - 15230
10. Dallas - 15145
11. Colorado - 14749
12. Chivas - 14305
13. Wizards - 11586

Yes, the Wizards are at the bottom of the table again this year in terms of attendance. That got me thinking, though, about the Wizards schedule this weekend. I couldn't remember many Saturday games, so I began to look at that. The Wizards had the most random schedule of any team in MLS. The Wizards played on 5 different days of the week (only not playing on Monday or Tuesday). They also played at varying times, 4 Saturday night, 1 Saturday afternoon, 4 Sunday evening, 1 Sunday afternoon, 1 Thursday evening, two Wednesday evening, 1 Wednesday afternoon, and 1 Friday evening.

Definitely not having a set start time has hurt the Wizards. What also hurt the Wizards, was the fact that they waited so long to decide on a venue for this year. If the Wizards had picked a spot sooner, chances are they would have had a few more Saturday night games, and a few less Wednesday and Sunday games.

If you want more information on attendance, particularly the Beckham effect, check out this post on bigsoccer. That post does show a good sign for Wizards fans, though, even with the crap scheduling, the Wizards increased attendance this season.

Not wanting to be a blog Nazi either, but any posts left here that are just move KC posts will be deleted. I'm tired of dealing with you guys and most Wizards fans are tired of dealing with you, we're not going anywhere.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Former Manchester United Player Gives KC Playoff Opponent

No, not THAT former Manchester United player, I mean John Thorrington. Thorrington, a former reservist for the Red Devils scored the game winning goal in second half stoppage time to give the Chicago Fire the 1-0 win and a date with DC United in the playoffs.

With that result, the Wizards will now be hosting Chivas USA some time next week between Thursday and Sunday in the first leg of their playoff series.

Wizards Win, Playoffs Ahead

For the first time in three years, the Wizards are returning to the MLS Cup playoffs. The Wizards took care of business down in Dallas last night, with two Scott Sealy goals. While the Wizards had everything to play for, Dallas had nothing but pride to play for, and it certainly showed in the way that Dallas played the game.

From the start KC came out trying to dictate the tempo of the game. Less then a minute into the game, Davy Arnaud had put a shot over the cross bar. The Wizards best chance at a goal came in the 30th minute, when Sasha Victorine played Eddie Johnson in alone on Ray Burse. Johnson rounded Burse, but then over thought his shot and skied it over the goal. Lucky for Johnson and the Wizards, about 10 minutes later, the Wizards had their deserved opener. An Arnaud cross found Scott Sealy alone on the right. Sealy brought it down with his chest, took a touch and then curved it around Burse and into the net for the 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the Wizards continued their pressure, Sealy should have added a second on a long ball by Arnaud, but his finishing was off. It wasn't off in the 55th minute, though, as Arnaud found Jack Jewsbury streaking into the box. Jewsbury completely shanked what looked like a shot, but it was ok, as it right to Sealy who just had to get a redirection on it to put it in the net. With the 2-0 lead, the Wizards sat back a little bit more and absorbed some of the pressure from Dallas. Dallas, though, never really got into the game, and the Wizards held on for the 2-0 win.

The bad news out of this game, is that the Wizards had to use two of their three subs on injuries. Late in the first half, Carlos Marinelli had to be subbed out due to an ankle injury he picked up on a tackle by Arturo Alvarez. Then in the second half, after only being on the field for 7 minutes, Eloy Colombano pulled up lame with what looked like a hamstring injury. So the Wizards two Argentines were subbed out and will certainly be big question marks for the up coming playoff series against either Chivas or DC United.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Scott Sealy - KC - Two of the biggest goals of the TnT strikers career, as he showed composure on finishing the first and was in the right place at the right time to finish the second.
2. Jimmy Conrad - KC - Shut down Dallas' offense for the entire game. Dallas never had a really good look at Kevin Hartman's goal last night.
3. Davy Arnaud - KC - Two assists for Davy gave him the team assist title for the season. I'd still like to see some better finishing out of him, he had some poor ones last night.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wizards Need Win in Season Finale

The Wizards end their 2007 regular season tomorrow night in Dallas against FC Dallas. A win would see the Wizards clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time since they made the MLS Cup Finals in 2004. A draw or a loss in Dallas, and KC will have to wait and see how the other results go over the weekend, to find out whether they make it in or not.

Hopefully the Wizards can just take the result into their own hands and win this weekend. Dallas is already in the playoffs and could rest some starters for the upcoming playoff series with either Houston or Chivas. Dallas will also be without Bobby Rhine who is suspended due to a red card.

As for the Wizards, Kerry Zavagnin is suspended for this game due to yellow card accumulation. Other than that, the Wizards should likely have everyone available for this game. The only other change I possibly see being made is Jose Burciaga Jr moving to the bench after his howler of a game in New York last weekend.

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

KC - 1 (Sealy)
FCD - 1 (Oduro)

The Wizards need this result more than Dallas does, but the Wizards have had their road problems this season. While I'd love to see us get the win and secure our playoff spot so that the team can relax on Sunday instead of stressing through the LA-Chicago game, I just don't see it happening with the way the team has been playing. The Wizards will once again be sweating on Sunday waiting to see how other results fall.

That Déjà vu feeling

Anyone else getting that déjà vu feeling right about now? The Wizards head into their last game of the season in the same way they have headed into their last game the past 2 seasons. More so, it's really starting to resemble the 2005 season. Just like this year, in 2005, the Wizards were heading into their last game of the season, also against FC Dallas, controlling their own destiny. A win and the Wizards would have gone into the playoffs, a draw and the Wizards would need help to get into the playoffs.

In 2005, the Wizards fell behind 2-0 early in the second half, only to fight their way back for a 2-2 tie, with Wizards legend, Preki scoring the game-tying and last goal of his fantastic career.
While the Wizards got a point, the Wizards missed the playoffs thanks to former Wizard, Tony Meola, standing on his head against Chivas USA the next day as New York won 1-0 to knock KC out of the playoffs.

Fast forward to 2007, and the Wizards are again heading down to Dallas. As with 2005, the Wizards can clinch a playoff spot if they take care of business and get a win down in Dallas. Should they not, the Wizards will again have to wait and see on Sunday. On Sunday Chicago plays LA, and if the Wizards don't get a point on Saturday, LA could hop over the Wizards and into the final playoff spot.

Will the Wizards take care of business on Saturday? Or will the Wizards again have to wait until Sunday, and will history repeat itself?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Newcastle in Johnson Chase?

According to Ives over at Soccer By Ives, a Newcastle scout was at the KC-New York game this past weekend to scout Wizards forward Eddie Johnson. The scout also met with Red Bull forward Jozy Altidore, but according to Ives, Johnson was his main focus.

Not the greatest performance for Johnson, though, in front of the Toon scout, missing a PK and ultimately being invisible for most of the game, although his yellow card for diving was rather harsh after viewing the replay. Live I would have agreed with the referee though.

This is a bad move for Johnson in my opinion, there's already 4 strikers with national team caps on their roster, 3 of whom are easily still first choice strikers for their national team. Is Johnson really going to surplant Mark Viduka, Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins or even Alan Smith, to get significant minutes for the gordies? I doubt it, Johnson just isn't that good of a striker to beat out those guys for playing time. Even if the rumored move of Owen to Manchester City goes down, Johnson isn't going to see a ton of playing time on Tyneside. All of this is why I just don't see the move happening, Newcastle is stacked at forward right now, and I don't see Big Sam going after a striker that would likely fight with Smith to be the number 4 striker on the team.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Calling Out the Leadership

No, this entry is not about calling out the Cauldron leadership, the Front Office or any such off the field organization that I could possibly call out. This entry is calling out the Wizards team leadership, namely, those veteran players on the field.

This goes out to all the veteran leaders on the team, Jimmy Conrad, Kerry Zavagnin, Nick Garcia, Sasha Victorine, Davy Arnaud, and Kevin Hartman. In my eyes, these 6 players are the leaders of this team. And it's time for them to step up. Aside from Hartman, these guys have all been here for a while and have been here especially over the last 2 years, when the team has missed the playoffs due to late season collapses.

Two seasons ago it was an 8 game winless streak to end the season that kept the Wizards out of the playoffs, last year, it was a 9 game winless streak in the middle of the season that likely doomed the team. This year, the Wizards have won only 3 games since the all star break, back in July. They've gone from looking like a team that was gonna compete for a possible chance at the MLS Cup, to a team that's just fighting to make the playoffs.

If these veteran leaders want to have a shot at the playoffs, it's time for them to step up.
Time to get in your teammates faces, time to be the one to step up in the locker room and tell the team what is expected of them. Tell them that you're tired of missing the playoffs, that this could be the third year in a row that the Wizards have missed the playoffs. Tell them that is completely unacceptable for a team that has 4 US National team pool players, 3 other capped US players, 1 TnT international, and 3 more players who have been capped at the youth level for the US team to miss the playoffs for the third straight year.

It's time for these leaders on the field to step up and show that they are leaders. If they aren't going to step up and lead the team, then get someone in who will, someone like a Mo Johnston, who won't take shit from people. If they aren't going to lead this team, then it's time for some of these elder statesmen to move on. I hope they step up this week in practice and Saturday they take care of business in Dallas, because I have a feeling many of their jobs are on the line.

Playoffs? Playoffs?

The Wizards for the third year in a row are pissing it down their leg. Needing to get some kind of point last night to help their push for the playoffs, the Wizards come up with nothing, and lose 2-1 at New York, thanks to two gifts by left back Jose Burciaga Jr.

The first gift, was when former Wizard, Dave van den Bergh tried to send a cross into the box. The cross hit Burciaga's arm as he was sliding in, PK called. Second time this season the Wizards have had that PK called on them. Juan Pablo Angel put the PK away making it 1-0 New York. Less than two minutes later, KC was level, as Davy Arnaud found Jack Jewsbury on a free kick, that Jewsbury was able to bury with a strong header.

The Wizards weren't level for long, though, as Burciaga slipped on the ball while trying to control it in his defensive third, giving the ball up to Dane Richards, who was 1 on 2 with Jimmy Conrad and Angel. Richards slotted the ball to Angel who easily beat Kevin Hartman for his 19th of the season, and 5th against KC.

KC's offense looked anemic for most of the night, playing mostly route 1 soccer over the top trying to pick out Scott Sealy or Eddie Johnson, neither of whom were able to do much with it. The Wizards had a chance though in the second half, as Sealy was pulled down by Carlos Mendes, and exaggerated it enough to earn a PK. Johnson stepped up to take the PK, and promptly put the PK right at diving height, about 2 feet to Conway's right, making it an easy save for the Red Bull keeper.

The Wizards are now in the same position they've been in the past 2 seasons, going into the final game, a result will put them in the playoffs. If not, they have to hope for other results to fall their way for them to get in. Will the Wizards finally step up and play late in the season for once, grab the bull by the horns and get in the playoffs? Or will they wilt and hope to back in, like they have tried the past 2 seasons? If they do, will results fall their way for once?

3 Stars of the Game
1. Juan Pablo Angel - NY - The new KC killer, Angel's stats vs. KC this season, 3 games played 5 goals scored. Five of NY's seven goals against KC have come from him.
2. Jon Conway - NY - While Johnson's PK was pathetic, Conway still had to make the save, and others to help preserve the result.
3. Kevin Hartman - KC - The only Wizards player who seemed to give a damn the entire game, would have been worse if he'd not been in net, can't be faulted on either one of the goals NY scored.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wizards Look to Get in Playoffs

For the third straight year, the Wizards have making the playoffs in their own hand. Two years ago, all the had to do in the last two games of the season was win one game. They ended up losing and drawing those two games, and missed the playoffs when the then Metrostars beat Chivas. Last year, the Wizards just needed a draw in New York on the final day of the season to get in the playoffs. Two pk calls later, the Wizards were again sitting at home for the playoffs. This year, the Wizards can clinch a playoff spot without any help with a win this weekend against the Red Bulls. A draw and the Wizards can clinch a playoff spot with help, I break down what they need in this entry.

The Red Bulls are on a run of bad form right now, they are 1-4-3 in their last 8, including being the team that allowed Toronto to end their long winless run. This is a game the Wizards definitely have a chance to take. The Wizards should be able to put out their best starting 11 for this match.

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

The Wizards need this game more then New York does, New York is in the playoffs, and while a win will put the Wizards over the Red Bulls for the third seed, the Wizards HAVE to want this more. In the end, I think the Wizards are going to get a point and have to take that one baby step towards the playoffs.

KC - 1 (Sealy)
NY - 1 (Angel)

Be Gentle Angel

This picture has been making the rounds in soccer circles, from the Daily News. About Jimmy Conrad's mom telling Red Bull New York striker, Juan Pablo Angel to take it easy on her son Jimmy tomorrow in New York. In reality, this probably isn't a bad request from Momma Conrad, in two games so far this season, Angel has scored 3 of New York's 5 goals against the Wizards. So asking him to be gentle may be a good idea.

Course in the end, this looks like Jimmy being Jimmy. Making jokes like he always does. Frankly I thought it was hilarious.

New Addition to Website

I have just added the Wizards fan Vortex to the page, just under the stats for this season. Personally I think it's a fairly cool application, it gives Wizards news from MLSnet, along with some videos.

What do all of you think of the it? Is it worth it? Should I dump it? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Kansas City Witches?

The screaming pre-teen girls may be coming back to a local soccer stadium near you. On Goal LLC is apparently interested in having a women's soccer franchise in Kansas City, once the Wizards get their new stadium built. The team would join the new league that is being formed currently in the US, with plans to start play in either 2008 or 2009. The Kansas City franchise would not start play until 2010 at the earliest, because that's likely the earliest that they could get the stadium completed by.

Is this a smart move for KC and On Goal? The US women drew well here in their hey day, after the 1999 World Cup, but one off events like friendlies are not indicative of how attendance for league games would be. Personally, I'd be at a few of the games, especially if they were double headers with the Wizards, but I likely wouldn't be a full time season ticket holder.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bannister TIF Decision Delayed

I was all ready to post this link from Baine's Thought Collective, about the agenda for the TIF meeting on the 10th, when the Three Trails project, aka the Wizards project, was to be discussed. Unfortunately it looks like his link may be a little bit off, as this article was also released tonight.

The article from the KC Business Journal states that the proposal for the Bannister site has been tabled for another month. The article gives no reason as to why the proposal was tabled for another month. Was it to allow more time for discussion? Was it because the plan is lacking something? Is it because the council doesn't see this deal as being viable? Or is it for some other reason that I am forgetting? We'll find out in another month. Such is the pace of government.

Wizards fans now have another month of waiting and wondering what will come of this situation. At least they know where they are playing next year.... oh wait, they don't know that yet either...

Wizards Control Destiny

The Wizards have complete control of their own playoff destiny. This weekend they will control their own ability to make the playoffs. Last weekend the Wizards could have made it into the playoffs, but they would have needed help to make it last week. This week, a win, and the Wizards are into the playoffs for the first time in 3 years, since the Wizards made MLS Cup 2004. There are also two other scenarios that will put the Wizards in the playoffs.

The first involves the Wizards tying New York. If that happens, then the Wizards need both LA and Colorado to fail to win. If that happens, then the Wizards are in. The other, is if the Wizards happen to lose. If the Wizards lose, they need CO to not win, and LA to lose this weekend. That would put the maximum points those teams could get, at 36, one point behind the Wizards current total of 37 points.

With two games remaining, the Wizards remain in a good spot to end their playoff drought.

Check out Jimmy Conrad's latest effort.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Morsink for National Team?

Thanks to a poster on bigsoccer, I've found this article about Wizards midfielder, Kurt Morsink. Morsink, holds dual citizenship in both the US and Costa Rica. The article is about Morsink possibly one day playing for either the US or Costa Rican National team. From my rough translation of the article, Morsink says that he'd love to represent Costa Rica on the world stage, but would play for whichever country calls him up first. Apparently US coach, Bob Bradley, inquired about Morsink to Coach Onalfo recently about his play. The question that comes to me about that, is whether that was for the Brazil game or not? If it was, then I'm not surprised. The Wizards were the one MLS team off for that weekend and it would have made sense for Bradley to look at bringing in KC players to help fill out his roster.

Now the question is, is there really a race to get Morsink on the national team? Morsink has had some bright moments and looks like a very capable squad player, but right now looks nothing like a player that will eventually be a national team player, at least for the US, there is too much talent at the midfield position for him to honestly compete for time. With Benny Feilhaber and Michael Bradley being the first choice central midfield pairing of the future, and guys like Ricardo Clark and other central midfielders, I just don't see Morsink really being able to break into the team. Unless he turns into a late bloomer like Jimmy Conrad he's gonna have to hope that Costa Rica calls him up.

Wizards Close in on Playoffs with Point

So I did a fairly good job of predicting last night. Not only did I predict the lineup pretty much exactly correct, I also predicted the draw and DC's goal scorer Gomez. Go me.

As for the game itself, it wasn't the greatest performance from the Wizards, but it was enough to get part of the job done. The Wizards came out slow early, and DC almost made them pay a few times, but El Gato, Kevin Hartman, proved tonight why he was brought in to take Bo's place. Bo doesn't make all the saves that Hartman made tonight, and the Wizards likely lose this match if Bo is in net.

Just before half time, the Wizards grabbed the lead. Kerry Zavagnin played in Eddie Johnson over the top, who drew 2 defenders and then laid the ball off to an on rushing Scott Sealy who blasted it into the net from about 19 yards out. The Wizards were able to hold on to the lead until the 56th minute, when Christian Gomez took advantage of the amount of space that Tyson Wahl gave him, turning at the top of the box, and beating Hartman to knot the game at 1-1.

Overall, while the point won't put the Wizards into the playoffs this weekend, it does make things very hard on the chasing pack that have hopes of making the playoffs. The Wizards are now 6 points clear of 9th place Columbus. It means Columbus has to go on a 3 game unbeaten run here at the end of the season to possibly knock the Wizards out of the playoffs, as KC owns the tie breaker on Columbus. For LA to catch the Wizards, they need to continue their 3 game unbeaten run to close the 10 point gap between them and KC. Colorado has the hardest path of the 3, they'd have to win their 3 remaining games to have a chance at catching KC.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Kevin Hartman - KC - Without him, this is another loss for the Wizards, his big saves are what got the Wizards the point tonight.
2. Christian Gomez - DC - With Nick Garcia having to cover Emilio, Gomez got to have his way with Wahl for most of the night, and he finally made the Wizards pay when Wahl gave him too much space.
3. Scott Sealy - KC - A great finish from Sealy, his 5th of an injury shortened season. Sealy has been the guy keeping the Wizards in the playoffs right now, and was very deserving of the September Man of the Month.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wizards Close Out Home Season

The Wizards will close out their home season tomorrow night against DC United. The two teams have split the season series so far. The Wizards opened the season with a 4-2 win at DC, and loss 1-0 in KC on the Fourth of July. This match will decide the season series between the two teams.

This weekend allows the Wizards a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs, but they need to take care of their match against DC first. For the Wizards to clinch a playoff spot, they first need to beat DC on Friday night. If that happens, the Wizards will then need two other results to go their way on the weekend. The first is that Columbus has to not win at home against Dallas on Saturday night. The other result that has to go KC's way is LA can not win at Houston on Sunday. Of the two results, LA not winning is the safer beat.

Back to Friday night and the Wizards. Both Davy Arnaud and Jimmy Conrad are out for this game due to red cards against LA last Thursday. With those two out, the Wizards will have to shuffle their lineup for the game.

Jewsbury - Garcia - Wahl - Harrington
Morsink - Marinelli - Burciaga
Johnson - Sealy

A win would be huge for the Wizards both in regards to breaking out of their funk, and going a long way to help them get to the playoffs. While the other results may not go the Wizards way, a win would basically put the Wizards into the playoffs. DC is coming off a game on Tuesday against Chivas de Guadalajara in the Copa Sudamerica and may be a little tired from the trip.

KC - 1 (Johnson)
DC - 1 (Gomez)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wizards Stadium a Racial Issue

You might think that the TIF issue coming up later this month has nothing to do with race. That is, unless you think like Woody Woodruff, whose editorial reply was posted today by KMBC. From Woodruff's reply, he looks to be making this a race issue, where if you're for the stadium you are racist, because Bannister Mall reopening would be the best thing for the "black community." I'm gonna go through Woodruff's reply tonight with a rebuttal.

A better approach would be to better manage the 40 existing good buildings, simply cut the grass, and add to what is already there.
Would this really help the area? Most of the 40 buildings in the area of the proposed redevelopment are too big for most local businesses that would use that area now. And many larger, national chains have already moved in and later left that area. I mean what company would move into the former Montgomery Ward building that hasn't already at one time been located out at the Bannister Mall area? Would those businesses really be interested in returning to that area without MAJOR redevelopment done? I doubt it.
The interests of the black community and Kansas City, for good jobs, tax revenues, and economic development would be better served by reopening the mall now.
This is where Woodruff plays the race card. He makes it seem that if you're for this development, then you're against the betterment of the black community. It seems like he's trying to make this issue into an argument between the local black community around the mall, and the white soccer moms who would come to the stadium.

Good jobs? Wouldn't the black community be better served by having some new development in the area? Bringing in some new business and some old businesses that moved out of the mall area in the past? Maybe it's me, but I would think the redevelopment of the area would stand a better chance of bringing in new jobs then to just reopen the mall.

Economic development? As with the jobs, wouldn't more economic development come if there was some major redevelopment to spur on that economic development? I wouldn't think that the current standing of the area would allow for that much economic development in the area.

...and by investing time in getting the state permission to build a casino in the future.
Unless Mr. Woodruff has a grand plan to move the Missouri or Mississippi, he's gonna have a rough time getting the city and state to work on getting this done. That's because for this to even be possible, the state would have to amend the state constitution, because right now, the state only allows gambling within 1000 feet of either the MO or MS River. Trying to get the amendment changed has been tried once before, when there was an attempt to make riverboat gambling possible on the Lake of the Ozarks. That plan failed miserably if I remember correctly. Would things be much different this time? I doubt it.

The mall has only been closed for four months. Kansas City should allow more time for other ideas and proposals to emerge.
Yes, the malls only been closed for 4 months, but the mall and the surrounding area has been basically deserted for years now. The area has seen store after store leave the Bannister area. Would these same stores come back to the area? I doubt it

Yes, I have a bias view on the topic, I'm a fan of the Kansas City Wizards and would very much love to have the stadium in a central location like Bannister. Mr. Woodruff, though, is just as bias in the other direction. He's a Bannister businessman, he'd stand to benefit from the area remaining the way it is. The benefits he suggests would happen by the area just being cleaned up seem far fetched and dream like.