Friday, November 30, 2007

No One taken in Waiver Draft

While there is no proof on MLSnet, but the Wizards apparently did not select anyone in the expansion draft on Thursday. Actually NO players were taken in the waiver draft. All those players are now free agents and have the ability to sign with any team. Although their past team has first right of refusal for the next 12 months.

Of the 4 Wizards players waived (Edson Elcock, AJ Godbolt, Willy Guadarrama, and Chris Konopka), I don't see the Wizards re-signing any of them. Especially since considering how low the 4's salaries were.

Edit: Sorry for any confusion this caused with it saying expansion instead of waiver.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Harrington with the U-23's

A few days ago, I posted how both Michael Harrington and Aaron Hohlbein were invited to the U-23 preliminary camp. Well apparently either the Wizards were late on getting the news out, or it was a VERY short preliminary camp, as US Soccer has the 22 man roster out for the camp, and Harrington's name is on there, but no Hohlbein.

The roster is predominately MLS players, with two players from foreign leagues, a college kid, and a high school kid. This roster, though, is unlikely to be the final roster for the Olympics, as there's no Adu, Bradley, or Feilhaber on this roster, all of whom are under 23, but are busy with their European clubs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Waiver Draft Tomorrow

The MLS waiver draft takes place tomorrow at 2 PM central time. The Kansas City Wizards will have the 11th pick in the draft due to their being the worse finisher of the two teams that were eliminated in the conference finals.

Four Wizards are available for the waiver draft this year, all of them rookies from this past year. The most high profile is the Wizards 3rd round pick, Edson Elock. The other 4 were supplemental draft picks. Third string keeper, Chris Konopka, AJ Godbolt, and Mr. Irrelevant from last seasons draft, Willy Guadarrama.

There are one or two interesting names on the list, but the only one that I'd be really interested in seeing the Wizards draft is Chivas USA forward Laurent Merlin. Depending on his salary, Merlin could be a very good 3rd forward coming off the bench for the Wizards. Considering our third forward late in the season was Ryan Pore, I think Merlin would be a nice upgrade, IF the price is right. We'll find out tomorrow if the Wizards take anyone, or if it's like most waiver drafts, and no one is taken.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Harrington and Hohlbein Called into U-23 Camp

In the Wizards weekly update this week, there was some big news for two of the Wizards rookies. Michael Harrington and Aaron Hohlbein were both called into camp for the US Under 23 team, that will attempt to qualify for next summer's Olympics in China. Neither is assured a place on the team as this is the only the preliminary roster, but it's still an honor for both players, specifically Hohlbein, who is getting his first call in to the US camp at ANY level.

Harrington has figured most predominately at the left back spot for the US team. This was the spot he fell into late this past season, as Jose Burciaga's form slid. Hohlbein is listed as a midfield/defender on the Wizards roster, but saw all his action this past season at the central defense position. Good luck to both of them in their attempts to make the roster.

Kings Announce Roster

The Kansas City Kings, the local PASL indoor soccer team has named their roster for the 2007/2008 season. Fans of KC soccer will likely recognize 2 or 3 names on the list. Three of the players have played professionally in the Kansas City area before. Two, Drew Perkins and Joshua Shreck played for the old KC Comets before they folded a few years ago. The third, Brian Roberts, played a few seasons for the Wizards, and this past season had been the team's color man in the broadcast booth. The Kings will also have one player who played at least at a semi-professional level in England, Colin Bulwich, played with Rossendale United FC, of the NPL Division One North, England's 8th division. The rest of the team looks to be current or recent college graduates, and a few players from the Soccer Domes better teams. Play will begin in December.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Post Season Player Grades

It had slipped my mind to post my post season player grades for the Wizards, but I'm on top of things now. Here are my mid season player grades. So let's see if players were able to improve on their mid-term grades.


Kevin Hartman - Did what was expected of him, he was an improvement in net over Oshoniyi, though the stats do not show it. Will be interesting to see if age continues to catch up with him over the course of next season. B-

Eric Kronberg
- Did not play a first team minute this season. INC

Chris Konopka - See Kronberg. INC


Jimmy Conrad
- Not the Groins best season in KC, but Captain Kansas has continued to be a rock in the middle of defense for Kansas City. B+

Jack Jewsbury - Jack did well in his first season after making the move from midfielder to wingback. Was able to still get into the attack some, as well as making some good defensive plays. I still don't think he's the long term answer at that position, but he certainly showed himself capable of playing there. B

Aaron Hohlbein - After appearing in 5 games early in the season, Hohlbein disappeared from the team for the rest of the season. He did not make a first team appearance after July. Still some good quality minutes from the rookie, and some high hopes for the future. B-

Tyson Wahl
- Seemed to gain the number 3 center back spot from Hohlbein around the midpoint of the season, as Wahl was the only one of the two to appear after the midpoint of the season. Did well in his few appearances, but I'm still not sold on the guy. B-

Nick Garcia - Has really started to show his age this season. He's not the same player he was a few years ago. How much longer he remains a starter remains to be seen, but another season like this one could see Nick playing a lot less. C+

Ryan Raybould - Played a much bigger role in the second half of the season, after a slow first half. Was a very serviceable sub, being able to play both wingback and the wing. C+

Jose Burciaga Jr.
- Onalfo finally got tired of the mistakes that Jose was making from the left back slot. He lost the spot to Michael Harrington, and was moved into the midfield, where he still had trouble. Finally after two costly mistakes in New York, Burciaga was benched and only got garbage minutes the rest of the season. Very easily could be his last season in blue. D+


Michael Harrington - The Wizards first round pick showed himself to be a fantastic selection with the number 3 pick. He was second on the team in appearances, 5th on the team in goals and assists. He did start to fade late in the season, which likely cost him the rookie of the year. Still a good season by the rookie. A-

Davy Arnaud
- Continues to be the heart and engine of the Wizards. Seems to be giving his all in every single game. He's not the most talented player, but is that blue collar player that fans love. B+

Sasha Victorine - Found himself in a role of coming off the bench late in the season due to the emergence of Morsink, but was still able to be second on the team in assists. A good season by the veteran, but he's likely going to be the supersub/bit starter from now on. B

Kerry Zavagnin
- Zavagnin was able to come back from a poor season last year, and picked up his play this year. He set a career high this year with 3 goals, all 3 of which were highlight worthy strikes. He's moving into more of a mentor role for Morsink now, as Onalfo has said that him(Morsink) and Marinelli are his midfield pairing of the future. B

Carlos Marinelli - Had a bright start to the season, and played decently. But faded drastically as the season progressed. Too many injuries, and too much time to get to full fitness. He'll get at least 1 more season to prove that he can stay fit, if not, we'll see why he hasn't been with any of the clubs he's played with very long. C+

Kurt Morsink - The Wizards 4th round pick got a lot of playing time as the season progressed. He still has plenty of stuff he needs to improve on, specifically his passing, but for where he was drafted, the Wizards got a lot out of him. C+

Eloy Colombano - Joined the Wizards late on in the season, and only played in 310 minutes, but showed a lot of promise, and looked to remind a lot of fans of Arnaud with his hustle and work ethic. INC

Edson Elcock - Did not appear for the first team this year. INC

A.J. Godbolt
- See Elcock. INC

Will John - 3 games, 26 minutes, not enough to give a proper grade. INC

Michael Kraus
- See Elock. INC

Amir Lowery
- See Elcock. INC

Ryan McMahen
- Missed the entire season with an ACL tear. INC

Lance Watson - 2 games, 23 regular season minutes and a token substitute appearance against Chivas in the playoffs for Scrappy is not enough for a proper grade. INC


Eddie Johnson - Was a leading MVP candidate over the first half of the season, but after my first half player grades, Johnson only scored 6 goals the rest of the way. That's not the output you want or expect from an MVP candidate. Still miles ahead of his performance in 2006 though. B

Scott Sealy - At the mid point of the season, I was ready to give him a failing grade, but he came back and picked up greatly when Johnson started to struggle. Scored two of the Wizards biggest goals in a while in the 2-0 win in the season finale in Dallas. B

Ryan Pore - Seventeen games this season, zero goals for the Wizards forward. Not exactly the output you expect from a forward. He had a chance to really step up and state a claim for the number 3 striker spot when Yura Movsisyan was traded, but he couldn't do it effectively. C

Willy Guadarrama
- Did not make a first team appearance this season. INC


Curt Onalfo
- Looked like either the league caught onto his tactics as the season progressed, or he didn't have the right personnel for the system he wanted to play. Either way his early season success was tainted by the way that the Wizards finished the season. Still, he's definitely got a keen soccer mind and will come back with something new next year. B-

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ruiz to Wizards?

Could possibly happen, if you believe Not Doug Logan and his blog Logan's Revenge. Apparently FC Dallas is looking to offload the striker, and the Wizards are pursuing him. The Wizards are looking to fill the possible hole that would be left in the forward line if Eddie Johnson goes abroad. That's what this entire rumor hinges on. If Eddie goes to Europe, the Wizards will apparently look to replace him with the Fish. Over the years, Ruiz goal output has dropped, from 24 his first year in the league to 15, 11, ,11, 13, and then only 7 this past season.

Is this a case of the game finally catching up with Ruiz, was this just a down season, or has the league finally completely figured the Fish out?

I'm not really for this move, besides past connotations of Ruiz, he certainly seems to not be the same player that he was even 2 years ago. I think he is starting to get past his prime. I think Kansas City could find a cheaper, younger, more productive player scouting around South America like they did last year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wanna Play for the Wizards?

Well now is your chance. The Wizards will be hosting open tryouts coming up in February. This is the first time in years, that the Wizards have had open tryouts. The last time was, I believe, back in 1996 or 1997. The team is only accepting the first 300 registrants. To sign up, it will put you back $125, but if it earns you a pro contract, that's certainly worth it. One Wizards staff member says that the team already has registrants from France and Chile signed up to come to Kansas City for the tryouts. Finalists will be brought back in March to train with the first team. Good luck to all those that decide to participate.

San Jose Wants No Wizards

Today was the MLS Expansion draft for San Jose to pick their first 10 players, in the rebirth of the Earthquakes. The 'Quakes did not choose any of the Wizards players that were left unprotected by the team. Here is the list of players that San Jose did choose.

1. Ryan Cochrane (Houston Dynamo)
2. Clarence Goodson (FC Dallas)
3. Ned Grabavoy (Columbus Crew)
4. James Riley (New England Revolution)
5. Joseph Vide (New York Red Bulls)
6. Ivan Guerrero (Chicago Fire)
7. Brian Carroll (D.C. United)
8. Jason Hernandez (Chivas USA)
9. Gavin Glinton (LA Galaxy)
10. Chris Pozniak (Toronto FC)

This left KC with Salt Lake and Colorado as the three teams that did not have a player chosen by the Earthquakes. Players like Jose Burciaga, Kevin Hartman, and Eloy Colombano, the most attractive potential picks for the 'Quakes will now return to the Wizards. I'd expect the Wizards to test the trade waters to see what they can possibly get for Burciaga. Hartman and Colombano I expect to be back in Wizards blue next season.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wizards Expansion List is Out.

Thanks to Sam Pierron, I have the list of protected players by the Kansas City Wizards, for Wednesday's expansion draft. The list that I created was not very far off the list that the Wizards ended up going with. Here's the list of protected players, those bolded were ones that I did not protect in my list.

Davy Arnaud
Jimmy Conrad
Nick Garcia
Michael Harrington
Jack Jewsbury
Eddie Johnson
Carlos Marinelli
Kurt Morsink
Scott Sealy
Sasha Victorine
Kerry Zavagnin

Those two replace Eloy Colombano and Kevin Hartman. Below then, is the list of players that the Wizards have left unprotected for the upcoming draft.

Burciaga, Jose
Colombano, Eloy
Elcock, Edson
Godbolt, AJ
Guadarrama, Willy
Hartman, Kevin
Hohlbein, Aaron
John, Will
Konopka, Chris
Kraus, Michael
Kronberg, Eric
Lowery, Amir
McMahen, Ryan
Pore, Ryan
Raybould, Ryan
Wahl, Tyson
Watson, Lance

Of the players on this list, there are a few that are more likely to be taken then others.

Jose Burciaga - I think he's the favorite to be taken. He's fallen out of favor with Coach Onalfo, and seems to be on his way out. Is a good attacking option out of the back.

Eloy Colombano - With the possible expansion on the number of foreign slots a player like Colombano could be a pretty good pick up for the Earthquakes.

Kevin Hartman - Of the guys I'm writing about here, he seems to be the most unlikely, even though he is a California boy. His age and his salary are probably the two big turnoffs for the 'Quakes.

Aaron Hohlbein - Maybe it's me, but I like this kid, I think he could be a good starter in this league. He started 4 games this season for the Wizards and looked pretty good doing it. Could fit in on the 'Quakes backline.

As you can see by the first link I posted, all the exposed players are listed there. There is some good talent available from the different teams. Houston in particular I see decent talent on there to be drawn from. Craig Waibel, Zach Wells, Corey Ashe, and Ryan Cochrane could all be taken. LA could see Kevin Harmse, Steve Cronin, Josh Tudela, or Kelly Gray taken. Definitely some decent talent in the draft. It will be interesting to see if Yallop plays it like Toronto did or how Salt Lake/Chivas did.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

And if Eddie Comes Back...

He will not be counting as the Wizards designated player next season. Johnson was suppose to count as a DP for the 2008 season, along with Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz, they were grandfathered in for 2007. The MLS Board of Governors voted on Friday, though, that Johnson, Donovan and Ruiz would all not count as DP's for the 2008 season.

It would have been fun to watch the Galaxy squirm while trying to find a team to trade them their designated player slot, but I would guess that the league is just stalling until they can get a second designated player slot passed so that the Galaxy don't have to get rid of Donovan or trade for a DP slot.

Eddie Johnson Transfer Rumors are Back

After his 15 goal, 6 assist, MLS Comeback Player of the Year, Wizards MVP season, the transfer rumors are back. Johnson turned down a move to Derby County back during the summer transfer window, and now that the January transfer window is fast approaching, the rumors are starting up again.

Although this rumor comes from The Sun, I figured I'd post this information. Apparently Derby County is still in the running for Eddie Johnson, but also, Reading is in the race to sign the Wizards striker, for the fee of 2 million pounds.

It's not surprising that Derby is still interested, they're having enough trouble scoring goals this season. Reading, though, is a bit of a surprise, as Johnson had trained with them during the offseason last year, and Steve Coppell didn't seem interested in signing him to a deal. Maybe that's changed.

Johnson would be the third American on either of those teams, joining Benny Feilhaber and Eddie Lewis on Derby or joining Marcus Hahnemann and Bobby Convey on Reading. I still don't see joining the sinking ship that is Derby as a good move, but I think a move to Reading would be a good move for Johnson, Coppell is a good coach and could definitely get a lot out of Johnson.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wizards Rookies

Earlier this year, the Wizards drafted 10 players in the combined Super draft and Supplemental draft. How did these 10 players perform in their first year as professional players. I'll go in the order the player was drafted.

Round 1 (Pick 3) - Michael Harrington - Harrington played in 33 of 34 games for the Wizards this season getting 3 goals and 4 assists this season in 2812 minutes. While he started off strong, he faded down the stretch. In the end, though, Harrington was a great pick up at the number 3 slot and should give the Wizards a good option on the left for years to come.

3 (29) - Edson Elcock - The Wizards second pick of the draft did not play a minute with the first team, but played 599 minutes for the reserve team, recording 1 assist. Showed some good speed this season, will be interesting to see if he gets time on the wing next season.

4 (42) - Kurt Morsink - Came on late and started many of the games for the Wizards late in the season. Raked up 1845 minutes playing 32 games for the first team in league, US Open Cup, and playoffs, along with the reserves.

Supplement 1 (3) - Aaron Hohlbein - Started 4 games for the Wizards early in the season, but tapered off as the season went on. Didn't play in a game for the first team after the July 1st game against Toronto. Did start 9 games for the reserves, though, scoring 1 goal.

2 (16) - Michael Todd - Never made the roster, haven't been able to find any information on him.

3 (29) - Chris Konopka - The Wizards third string goalie this season. Came off the bench in 3 of the Wizards reserve team matches, getting 135 minutes.

4 (30) - Eric Frimpong - Was drafted by the Wizards, but never made it onto the team's roster. Part of that had to do with the Frimpong's legal trouble. Unfortunately I haven't found any more updated information then that.

4 (32) - AJ Godbolt - Another player who only appeared in reserve team matches, playing in 6 of them.

5 (48) - Michael Kraus - The MO Valley Conference player of the year last year didn't play in a first team game, but was able to make the bench this season after impressing with the reserves. He was one of only 2 rookies (Elcock the other) to play in all 12 reserve games. Had 2 goals and 4 assists in those 12 games.

5 (52) - Willy Guadarrama - Mr. Irrelevant, the last player taken in last years draft tied Harrington for the most goals scored by a rookie, scoring 3 in the reserve league while playing in all but one of the reserve games.

Overall, a decent rookie class this year. The Wizards got first team contributions out of 3 of their rookies. All 3 looked like they'd be able to contribute in the future. Will be interesting to see if their contributions continue next year and which, if any, of the other rookies will be able to contribute next year.

More Bannister Stadium Stuff

Some more great information from Pete Grathoff's blog, Tor! Tor! Tor! about the potential stadium at Bannister Mall. Pete posted some interesting facts about the stadium, including:

The average paid attendance is expected to be 13,500 for 20 Wizards games.
I think this is likely a rather low attendance guess for the team. Considering back in 2003 and 2004, when Lamar Hunt was actually actively promoting the team, the team averaged 15,573 and 14,816 respectively. Both over that average. In a 18,000 seat stadium, I think expecting less then 15,000 would be a failure.

Average ticket price: $20.
Well ticket prices are going up this coming season, so expecting them to average $20 in a new stadium is not unacceptable.

Parking would likely be $3, but would be rolled into the ticket price -- so it'd still be free.
Due to the layout of the facility in the renderings that I've seen. It will be like Colorado's Dick's Sporting Goods Park with all the other activities around the stadium.

The stadium will have 30 luxury suites and 400 club seats, which would generate an estimated annual premium revenue of $646,000.
Generating more money is always a good thing.

Here would be 12 women's pro games (expected attendance: 5,000).
Looks like KC is heading towards getting itself a team for the new women's league as well. At least they have low expectations for that team.

Naming rights for the stadium would bring in $800,000 in 2010 and rise to $900,000 by 2014.
I'm hoping this is a low ball estimate like the attendance average from earlier, I would think stadium naming rights would get them at least $1 million.

Concession revenue would be split 50-50 between the Wizards and the stadium owners (the city).
This would be a great deal for the Wizards, the split revenue would give KC a bit more money, and since it's likely that the Wizards wouldn't be controlling the stadium in any regard getting half the revenue would be a good thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Expansion Time

The expansion draft is right around the corner. Steven Goff stated in his Soccer Insider blog that the draft would be held a week from today, the 21st. He's also posts that the rules will likely be the same as last years expansion draft for Toronto FC.

  • Current teams cannot lose more than one player.
  • Teams can protect 11 of 28 roster players.
  • Each team cannot leave more than one senior international player unprotected.
  • Generation Adidas players are safe from selection and do not need be among the 11 protected.
So who are the Kansas City Wizards going to protect? I have my own opinions on which players we will protect, but below is the list of players that I think the team will be protecting.

First, the Wizards currently have 2 Generation Adidas players. So unless both Ryan Pore and Will John are graduated from the program, both will be automatically protected. Of the two, Pore is the more likely to be graduated.

So here's the 11 guys that I think that the Wizards will protect in the expansion draft.

Davy Arnaud
Jimmy Conrad
Michael Harrington
Kevin Hartman
Kurt Morsink
Scott Sealy
Eloy Colombano
Jack Jewsbury
Eddie Johnson
Kerry Zavagnin
Carlos Marinelli

At least that's my guess at the 11 players, although I could see a change or two made. I could see Zavagnin, Marinelli or Johnson being dropped for a younger player like Aaron Hohlbein.

If that's the 11 players, that would leave the following players available to be picked in the expansion draft.

Jose Burciaga Jr.
Edson Elcock
Nick Garcia
A.J. Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Aaron Hohlbein
Chris Konopka
Michael Kraus
Eric Kronberg
Amir Lowery
Ryan McMahen
Ryan Raybould
Sasha Victorine
Lance Watson
Tyson Wahl

If that happens to be the list, the most appealing player on that list of available players, is Burciaga. He's still relatively young, as well as being experienced. Burciaga also seems to be out of favor with the team, having only played garbage minutes after 2 errors cost the Wizards two goals in LA. If not Burciaga, then I could see San Jose taking someone like Hohlbein, who started 4 games for the Wizards this past season

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kansas City's Indoor Soccer Team

The Kansas City Comets folded a few years ago. Since then there's been no professional indoor soccer in KC. This year, though, there will be indoor soccer in KC. The Kansas City Kings, an expansion team in the Premier Arena Soccer League, will start play this season at the KC Soccer Dome. The PASL is the largest international amateur indoor soccer league in the world, and the Kings will be in the league's Midwest division with Piasa FC , Springfield Spirits, and Swanner United Futbol Club.

I haven't seen a schedule for the team's 2007/2008 season, but the team has released a release on their myspace page about upcoming tryouts for the team. The tryouts will be held on November 21st. You can read more about the tryout in their release, here.

Edit: I apologize, I forgot you had to be a friend of theirs to see their myspace page. You can view most of the information they have there on their page on the KC Soccer Dome's website.

3 Trails TIF Plan

Today on Mayor Funkhousers blog, he posted an analysis of the 3 Trails TIF plan. Included in the plan, is how it's going to affect many things, including how many jobs this development will create, how it will help to reduce crime, help to improve the blighted area, among other things. It's a good read for any Wizards fan interested in finding out more about the TIF plan.

The plan is going to create a projected 6573 jobs in the area. An area that has lost quite a few different jobs over the course of the year. With the closer of the mall, the HyperMart, and most of the other stores in that area, it's probably lost a couple thousand jobs. It is unknown, though, how many of those jobs will qualify as "quality jobs."

As for the real and perceived crime in the area, that's going to be a major point of the develpment. Lane4 is working with city officials on incorporating CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) concepts into the development of the area.

The site has been identified by the city council as a blighted area, prime for redevelopment. Overall, Lane4's plan answers the majority of the questions asked of it. The only draw back, is that the area is not "economically distressed" as according to the ED&I Policy.

Enjoy the read.

Suspend Jaqua

Yesterday in my post game thread, I talked about how Houston forward Nate Jaqua should have been red carded for his flying elbow on Jack Jewsbury. Apparently I was not the only who thought that Jaqua should have been red carded for it. Greg Lalas agrees that it should have been a red card. Lalas says the league should revue the game film and retroactively suspend Jaqua for the final. I've quote the entire part of his article where he discusses it below.

Referee Jair Marrufo was rightly praised 10 days ago when he courageously called off Christian Gómez's winning goal for D.C. United against the Chicago Fire for a handball. But on Saturday night, he undid all that. After Houston's Nate Jaqua slammed a vicious forearm shiver into Jack Jewsbury's head, Marrufo showed the big Houston attacker a yellow card.

It was a gutless decision, and I find it hard to believe that none of the referees on the field at the time saw the play sufficiently to advise a straight red.

Now, predictably, the league will claim it cannot punish the player. It'll claim it would undermine the referee's authority. That's bull, and everyone knows it. TV technology allows for retrospection in cases like this. It lets us right certain wrongs. The league can and should try to rectify blatant errors like this whenever possible.

That's why I am calling on MLS officials to suspend Jaqua for the MLS Cup final. His blow was deliberate, violent, and uncalled for. It deserves to be punished.

This topic, though, shows the underlying problem with MLS, and that's a problem with the referees. The level of play in this league has grown dramatically over the past few years. The refereeing has stayed at a very low level. It's been a cause of concern all season, in multiple games. The USSF tried to start working on it by making a few of the referees full time refs, but it hasn't helped, as the referees have still been bad this season.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wizards Bow Out of the Playoffs

The Wizards bowed out of the playoffs in a weak 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo. It certainly was not one of the prettier games the Wizards have played this season. In fact it was a very weak performance by the boys in blue. Only 3 shots all game, none of them on goal, is not going to be enough to win you a game against a team like Houston.

From the beginning of the game, the Wizards looked like they were on their back foot. The team's best chance of the game came early in the first half, when a Davy Arnaud free kick was flicked on to Eddie Johnson, who's shot blasted just over the bar. KC then conceded their first goal of the playoffs in the 35th minute, when Nate Jaqua beat Michael Harrington and Kevin Hartman to the ball to score the opener. About 5 minutes later, Jaqua was lucky to remain on the field when he led with his elbow going into a challenge on Jack Jewsbury.

In the second half, while the Wizards were able to have more possession, they never looked very dangerous at all on the attack. Finally, late in the second half, the Dynamo were able to strike again, this time through Dwayne DeRosario. The win for the Dynamo sets up a rematch of the snoozefest that was MLS Cup 2006.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Eddie Robinson - Houston - Completely shut down the Wizards forwards all night, 3 shots all game for KC, can't hope for much better then that.
2. Ryan Cochrane - Houston - Robinson's partner in the back, the two of them were rocks in the back, Eddie Johnson and Scott Sealy were not able to get anything going all night.
3. Dwayne DeRosario - Houston - Scored the second, and had his run of the midfield, especially in the second half, when Kerry Zavagnin was subbed out, and Kurt Morsink was given the task of marking DeRosario.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Trip to RFK on the Line

A trip to MLS Cup is on the line tomorrow night in Houston as the Kansas City Wizards take on the Dynamo in the Western Conference Finals. The Wizards come in after beating Chivas USA 1-0 on aggregate. Houston made the conference finals by beating Dallas 4-2 after overtime. Houston won the season series with KC 1-0-1. A Patrick Ianni goal in KC gave the Dynamo a 1-0 away win. In Houston, Eddie Johnson scored his 14th goal of the regular season, but was countered by Joseph Ngwenya's strike, giving Houston a share of the points.

KC should have their full roster for this game, although Carlos Marinelli is still hobbled by his ankle sprain. I'd expect to see the same exact roster that the team started with for the two games agianst Chivas.
Jewsbury - Conrad - Garcia - Harrington
Arnaud - Morsink - Victorine
Sealy - Johnson

The Wizards will need to come out of their defensive shell to take this game. They'll need to get more possession, which the team lacked severely in the second leg against Chivas. Houston has been a rock defensively this season, breaking records set by the 2000 Wizards, so Sealy and Johnson will have to be on top of their game for the Wizards to take this. As much as I want to pick the Wizards to take this, I just see the Dynamo as too strong, and unfortunately for not just Wizards fans, we'll get a repeat of last years dull MLS Cup final.

KC - 1 (Sealy)
Houston - 2 (Ching, Holden)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Wizards Blog

The Wizards have a new blog out here on the world wide web, Oz City. The creator of Oz City is trying to get the Wizards an independent source on the team, like FC Dallas has with 3rd Degree. The blog has been added to my blog roll below, so check it out.

Yours truly has also been asked to contribute to the site, which I will do, usually by double posting my posts that I put up here. Although I will still do unique stuff here and possibly there as well.

TIF Commission Gives Wizards/Bannister Unanimous Support

A quick post. The TIF Commission has given unanimous approval for the Three Trails District TIF Plan proposed by Lane4, that includes a Wizards SSS. Big day. The plan now goes before the city council in late November/early December, and from there, goes to the state assembly for approval in early 2008. The Wizards hope to break ground in early 08 and have construction going full force later that year. The plan is for it to be open for the 2010 season.

Attention Bloggers

Over the past day or so I've seen an influx of the number of bloggers writing about the Kansas City Wizards. This has to do with the Wizards announcing their home for the 2008 and 2009 season, Community America Ballpark.

Much of the discussion in these blogs has had to do with the small facility compared to the larger facility that the team had been playing in, the pros and cons of moving from the 80,000 seat Arrowhead, to this 10,000 seat facility. There are still the uninformed people out there though. People that think this is a terrible move, and that the team should be moved out of KC. My question to all those people is, who is going to move the Wizards?

The league? Well I certainly doubt that, MLS is not the owner of the Wizards, OnGoal LLC are the owners of the Wizards, and they'd have final say in any decision on whether the Wizards move or not.

The league does NOT move teams, owners do. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

OnGoal is a group of KC local businessmen, who have already put plenty of money into this team and community. For instance, building the multi-million dollar training facility that the Wizards call home. OnGoal is also working very closely on the redevelopment of the Bannister Mall site (including spending their own money to help with the designing of the project), with the hopes of building a SSS there, that would be completed by 2010. Call me crazy, but that doesn't sound like a group of owners that are looking to move the team.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Big Day for Bannister Mall Tomorrow.

The fate of Lane4 and the Kansas City Wizards plan for the redevlopment of the Bannister Mall area will likely be decided tomorrow morning. The Kansas City TIF Commission will meet tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM in a special meeting to discuss the plan. By all accounts that I've heard, the plan seems to have a good shot at passing. We will see what happens at the meeting. Unfortunately due to other commitments, I am not going to be able to make it to the meeting. Some friends of mine are going, and I'm hoping to get a report from one or both of them on the meeting. If you can make it to the meeting, get out there. The meeting is in the 4th Floor Hearing Room at 1100 Walnut in Kansas City.

More on Wizards Move to Community American Ballpark

The Wizards have released the news on their website finally to go along with the KC Star story I posted last night about the team's 2008 home being Community America Ballpark, home of the T-Bones.

From a friend of mine that posts on bigsoccer, and works for theWizards, we have this photo of not just the layout, of the field, but the ticket layout for the building as well.
Honestly, while I see the possibility of some poor sight lines at the new stadium, I think that this was the best move for the Wizards in the end. They won't be playing in a high school stadium, and the team will have all the amenities that you expect from a professional ballpark.

Speaking of stadiums, don't forget that tomorrow at 9:30 am is the TIF commission meeting about Lane4's plan for the redevelopment of the old Bannister Mall site. If you can make it, please attend. The address is in this post.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wizards 2008 Home Is.....

Community America Ballpark. At least according to this Star article from Bob Luder. This is the location that I've been hearing would be the Wizards home for a few months now in "off the record" conversations.

As the article stats, some changes will be made to the facility to make it more acclimated to soccer, including modifying the right-center field wall. Thankfully the team will be putting sod over the infield dirt, much like DC United did for their games at RFK, which they shared with the Washington Nationals.

The article also contains information on the price of season tickets for next season.
Stadium seats - $405
Bleacher seats - $325
GA on Grass berm - $150

Single game tickets
Stadium seats - $25
Bleacher seats - $20
GA on Grass berm - $15

Johnson: Comeback Player of the Year

Eddie Johnson was named the MLS Comeback player of the year today by the league. Johnson won the award after piling up career highs in both goals (15), and assists (6) and leading the league in game winning goals (6). The article says that Johnson won the award after a 2006 season full of national team call ups and suspensions. While his comeback is nice (he had only 2 goals in 2006), I would think a comeback player of the year would need to comeback from some kind of injury, not an incredibly poor season. But that's besides the point, congrats to Eddie for being out Pat Noonan and Frankie Hejduk for the award.

Speaking of the award as a whole, the article has an interesting fact. Since 2000, the Wizards have won half of the Comeback player of the year awards. Tony Meola won it in 2000, and Chris Klein won it twice (2002, 2005).

Important Dates Coming for Bannister

The Kansas City Wizards sent out an email to their email distribution list today, with information about the upcoming meetings involving the proposed redevelopment of Bannister Mall, that would include a stadium for the Wizards to play in.

Here are a few highlights of the project from that email

1. 18,500 seat soccer stadium
2. At least 12 tournament-quality soccer fields
3. 590 hotel rooms, including a new 250 room hotel attached to the stadium
4. Over 1 million square feet of mixed retail
5. 1.7 million square feet of office space

The first of the two meetings is a City Plan Commision meeting tomorrow, November 6, where they will discuss the rezoning of the properties in question and approving the plan. That meeting is at 11 am at City Hall, here is the address; 26th Floor414 E. 12th St, KCMO.

The second meeting is the big TIF meeting on Wednesday in the 4th Floor Hearing Room at 1100 Walnut in Kansas City. This is the big meeting, where we will hopefully here the TIF Commissions decision on the redevelopment of the location.

Here are some of the monitary specs, according to the Wizards email. The total cost of the project is projected to be $943.5 million, with $675.5 million - 72% of the project - to be private investment in Kansas City. The balance of $268 million, only 28% is requested to come from TIF. In addition, Lane4 is not asking the city to back the construction bonds and OnGoal, LLC has committed to paying for any cost overruns on the stadium.

Both meetings are open to the public and Wizards fans are encouraged to attend.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shades of 2000, Wizards Defense Sees them Through

Wizards coach, Curt Onalfo has prided himself on saying that the Wizards are a team that was going to come out this season and attack. It showed throughout the regular season as the Wizards would throw numbers forward. In the process, their defense, which had been rock solid started to leak more and more goals. Last night all that changed.

Protecting a 1-0 lead from their home leg, the Wizards brought back signs of the great 2000 season Wizards defense. After a quick 15 minute start where the Wizards created probably their best chance, the team started to go into a defensive shell. Part of the reason for this, as Onalfo explains in this audio clip from the Sideline Views blog, was the fact that the Wizards were unable to hold much possession, which forced them into the defensive shell.

Throughout the week leading up to this game, much was said from Chivas' end about how they were going to take it to KC, and that the Wizards didn't have the personnel to stop them for 90 minutes. Even after the game, Chivas coach, Preki, doing his best Jose Mourinho impression, said the Wizards were lucky to even be in the playoffs, let alone win, "They were fortunate to be in the playoffs and they were fortunate tonight. There are no excuses. We played really good, we just couldn't put the ball away. We totally dominated. We're a far better team."

Sasha Victorine had the best response to Preki's comments though, with this gem from the same link above. "Lucky my ass," he said. "They haven't scored a goal on us in 180 minutes."

The Wizards were lucky in one or two regards, though, as Chivas had two shots hit the post, Kurt Morsink saved a ball off the line, and Chivas had a handball call go unheard (It's the same call the Wizards have had called on them at least twice this season, when a cross has struck a defenders arm.). Overall, while it wasn't the type of game I think anyone wanted, the Wizards will take it and move on to Houston to take on the Dynamo for the Western Conference title.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Kevin Hartman - KC - Came up with the big saves when he was needed, including some gems in the first half. Yet another time where we see why he was brought in.
2. Jimmy Conrad - KC - Chivas continually tried to come through the Wizards central defense, and Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad, along with central defense partner Nick Garcia worked to shut them down. Specifically Maykel Galindo, who while not 100% was still a handful, but Conrad handled him well.
3. Nick Garcia - KC - Conrad's partner in the back was just as strong as Conrad helping to clog up the middle of the field and keep Chivas from getting too many quality chances.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wizards Control Their Destiny

The Kansas City Wizards are looking to do the same thing that the Chicago Fire did last night, and that's go on the road, protect their 1-0 lead, and get into the conference finals. The Fire did it in DC last night, and KC will try and do it on the other coast tomorrow when they take on Chivas USA.

As I posted earlier this week, Chivas will be without Ante Razov probably, as well as Maykel Galindo, due to their continued injury issues. In KC last weekend without those two, the Chivas attack couldn't mount many quality chances. Without them at home they'll likely continue to struggle.

The Wizards will likely still be without Carlos Marinelli for this game, although the latest is that he will be travel with the team to LA and could be on the bench for the game. Other then that, the Wizards look like they will be good to go for this game. I'd expect a lineup like we saw at home to line up tomorrow night at the Home Depot Center.

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

The Wizards only need a draw to advance, but playing like that's all they need will spell defeat. I'm sure both them and Chivas watched last nights game and know that a quick start will help to see them through.

KC - 1 (Sealy)
Chivas - 1 (Bornstein)
Wizards advance 2-1

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Jose's Time in KC Running Short?

Is this one of the last images of Jose Burciaga Jr. celebrating a goal in Wizards blue? It very well could be. Burciaga has not seen the field since he was subbed at half time of the Wizards 2-0 loss at New York. In that game, Burciaga was responsible for both New York goals, giving up a PK for New York's first goal, and then slipping on the ball and giving it up for the second goal.

Since then, Wizards rookie, Michael Harrington has taken up the left back spot. The Wizards have not allowed a goal since then. So the question becomes, is Burciaga expendable? He certainly seems to be. Harrington has played well at the left back position, and while I'd prefer him in the midfield, he contributes to both sides of the ball the same as Burciaga does. The big thing he lacks is the power shot that Burciaga has.

Even before his benching against New York, the signs seemed to be there. Onalfo switched things up and pushed Burciaga into the midfield, dropping Harrington back. Burciaga did not impress in his time in the midfield, lacking the instincts that you expect of a midfielder.

If this late season benching is any sign, Burciaga could very well be on his way out of Kansas City, either in the expansion draft or by trade. He's only recently removed from being an MLS Best XI player, so he certainly has trade value. The Wizards could fill other needs on the roster with the trade of a player like Burciaga.

This is all speculation, but there certainly seem to be signs that some big changes could be coming this offseason.