Saturday, April 28, 2007


The Wizards played the role of spoilers today as Toronto FC opened their new soccer specific stadium, BMO Field. Eddie Johnson's third goal of the season in the 81st minute to give KC the 1-0 win. This game was much more difficult for the Wizards then their 3-0 win at Arrowhead on Wednesday.

Toronto came out pumped for this game, and a sell out, boisterous crowd at BMO Field helped to create a fantastic atmosphere for TFC as they opened their home stadium. In the first half, KC looked completely out of the game, as TFC fed off the noise and energy from the crowd to dominate possession. TFC had a few decent chances, including Maurice Edu going close, and Jack Jewsbury saving a goal off the line late in the first half. The first half was marred by fouls as there were 23 combined fouls in the first half, including a rather rough foul on Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman by TFC forward Danny Dichio. Hartman came out of the box to clear the ball with his head. Dichio came into Hartman not going for the ball with his forearms up around his head pushing into Hartman, who hurt his shoulder on the play. As if not playing well in the first half was enough, Carlos Marinelli came out after only 16 minutes with a tweaked hamstring. It doesn't sound serious, but you never know.

In the second half, it was a completely different game, the Wizards came out confident and controlled the possession of the game. Unlike the first half, the Wizards spent the majority of the half in the Toronto end of the field. Johnson throughout the game had a few chances in each half, but put the ball at Sutton's feet on each those chances. Until the 81st when he made it into a box on a cross by Michael Harrington. Johnson cut inside his defender and then beat TFC goalkeeper Greg Sutton near post to make it 1-0. The Wizards were able to hold off a late onslaught by TFC to win their second road game of the season. That second win is the same number of wins the rest of MLS has in away games this season.

The best part of the game was at the end when all the Wizards players got together at the end of the game. Davy Arnaud is then seen on camera motioning for the rest of the team to come join them in this as the team had a conversation. This shows a great team spirit between the team as they look to be really together and ready for the season. And after an intensity filled game in a hostile environment, even if the team isn't that good (let's face it TFC is not that good a team), it shows that the team is together.

3 Stars of the game
1. TFC Fans - Toronto - Can't give it to anyone but them, the entire stadium was loud and active, it was one of the best atmosphere's I've seen for an MLS game, kudos to them.
2. Eddie Johnson - KC - Even though he missed 5 chances, he finished the one that counted and KC took the win. Eddie looked very good today outside the finishing, the main thing he needs to improve on is just not shooting at the keepers feet.
3. Michael Harrington - KC - The assist man on KC's goal, Harrington had a great game for KC. In the fourth week of the season it currently looks like the Rookie of the Year race could be down to Harrington and Dane Richards.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Away Leg

The Wizards go on the return leg of their home and home with Toronto this week. TFC will be opening up BMO Park at 11:30 central time tomorrow morning when the Wizards take the field against TFC. Not much has changed since these 2 sides met on Wednesday night at Arrowhead, heck even the weather may not change much as there is a chance of rain of up in Toronto tomorrow morning.

Toronto will likely make a few changes now that new forward Danny Dichio is available for them tomorrow, likely knocking Edson Buddle to the bench. Also Toronto will be without Paulo Nagamura due to yellow card accumulation. The other change from Toronto's lineup on Wednesday will likely be Adam Braz moving to the bench as he is battling the flu it seems. I would think Andrew Boyens would take his place. The Wizards, I expect to be fielding the same lineup that they fielded on Wednesday night, when the Wizards beat Toronto 3-0 on goals by Johnson, Zavagnin, and Movsisyan. That lineup looked like this:
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Burciaga
Victorine - Marinelli - Harrington
Johnson - Arnaud

The Wizards will still be without Scott Sealy who is still battling his ankle problem.

The sellout crowd in Toronto will definitely want to play a major role in the game tomorrow, the Wizards will need to come out and do like they did on Wednesday and score an early goal to try and take the fans out of the game. I do expect Toronto to finally get themselves on the board in this game, as the Wizards have allowed 2 goals in each of their 3 away games this season (2 league, one USOC). With that said though, Toronto is still lacking in the back, and while adding Dichio up top will help them some, I still think the Wizards will take this one.

KC - 2 (Johnson, Marinelli)
TFC - 1 (Dichio)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wizards/Rain wash away TFC

The Canadians came into Kansas City, and were beat all over the field, as the Wizards went on to a 3-0 win over the expansion side. The Wizards started early, as Davy Arnaud picked out an overlapping Sasha Victorine who played the ball into the box, where it was headed in by Eddie Johnson, who has now equaled his goal output for all of last season in the first 3 games of this season, which is a good sign for Wizards fans. Through the rest of the half, Carlos Marinelli dictated much of the Wizards play, having a stellar match in his first MLS start. The Wizards though were unable to grab another goal. But unlike the first 2 games this season, the Wizards did not concede a goal in the first half, even though Toronto had some decent chances.

In the second half, Marinelli continued to dictate the tempo, but it was an unsung player who got goal number 2. Eddie Johnson drove into the box and has his shot saved by Sutton, the ball fell to Marinelli, who's volley was blocked on the line by TFC keeper Greg Sutton, the ball bounced right out to Kerry Zavagnin who settled, turned and put the ball into the far right corner for his first goal since the 2003 season, to make it 2-0 Wizards. The Wizards dominance continued, as Marinelli found Johnson again but his finish was off, and a Marinelli corner was headed into the cross bar by Jimmy Conrad. Finally in the 70th minute, the Wizards finished the game off. A long ball from Michael Harrington found Yura Movsisyan, who beat his defender then beat Sutton near side to make it 3-0.

The shutout by Kevin Hartman was his 63rd of his MLS career, giving him the all time shutouts record, passing former Wizard Tony Meola.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Carlos Marinelli - KC - Dictated possession for the entire game for KC, his passes were on all night and should have had 2 assists, setting up both Johnson and Conrad who didn't finish.
2. Kevin Hartman - KC - The Wizards keeper gets his first shutout of the season, the 63rd of his career, setting a new MLS record.
3. Eddie Johnson - KC - With his goal tonight he equaled his goal output for all of last season, and still looked dangerous the rest of the game, he made the 2nd goal happen with his drive into the box.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Canadians are coming, eh?

Finally the Wizards are coming home to KC for their home opener. This year the Wizards open on a Wednesday against expansion club Toronto FC. Let's forget the fact that MLS had the bright idea to schedule KC's opener for a Wednesday night (expect the "move KC" people to come back out after this game, especially if the forecast for tomorrow remains true). After opening up with a big win in DC, KC has fallen twice, once in the US Open Cup to Real Salt Lake, and last Saturday to Chicago, both by the score of 2-1. The Wizards will now play their 4th game in 12 days, in their stretch of 5 in 15. All this does not bode well for a stellar performance.

It looks as though the Wizards will be without Scott Sealy again for this match, even though the preview for the match tomorrow on MLSnet says he's probable. What this means, is that Yura Movsisyan will likely get another start even though he did not impress at all in the game last week in Chicago, before being subbed out at halftime. We're also still not likely to see Carlos Marinelli start as he's probably still not up to full match fitness quite yet, although after his performance in Chicago and in Salt Lake, it's gonna start getting hard not to start him soon. I'd expect the same lineup as Saturday against Chicago, if Sealy is indeed out.
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Bruciaga
Arnaud - Victorine - Harrington
Movsisyan - Johnson

As for Toronto, they're on 10 days of rest after losing 4-0 to New England, and have since that time made 3 trades and one signing, bringing in Marvell Wynne from New York for an allocation and a draft pick, Kevin Goldthwaite from Houston for Richard Mulrooney, they traded Conor Casey to Colorado for a draft pick, and Riley O'Neill. Finally, Toronto announced the signing of Daniele Dichio from Preston North End. I'd expect Wynne and Goldthwaite to be in the lineup, but it appears that Dichio won't have his visa ready in time to play Wednesday. The Wizards are also likely to see this years first pick in the draft Maurice Edu who had missed the preseason with a groin injury. Also, while MLSnet lists Ronnie O'Brien and Chris Pozniak as being out for this match, TSN is reporting that both will be available for the game tomorrow.

Anything less then a win tomorrow is a major disappointment for KC. They're at home, and they're playing the leagues newest team. I expect KC to come out and get the win fairly easily, although I see them conceding Toronto's first ever goal at the hands of Alecko Eskandarian (pun intended).

KC - 4 (Johnson, Arnaud x2, Marinelli)
TFC - 1 (Eskandarian)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fire down the Wizards

The Wizards still can't play well in Chicago. Last night the Wizards lost to the Fire 2-1, with goals by Chad Barrett and Chris Rolfe (PK), and the Wizards tally coming from Carlos Marinelli.

The Wizards looked like they were tired tonight, which is not surpising, considering only 2 players that played last night didn't play in the US Open match against Salt Lake that went to extra time.

The Fire looked more rested and better prepared for this match. Eddie Johnson was almost completely neutralized, and never really got a chance to turn and go at defenders. Instead, a Chicago defender was on Eddie's back all night. The Wizards never really had any threatening chances until the second half and the introduction of Marinelli. Looking at the match, KC missed Scott Sealy last night. What it proved is that after Johnson and Sealy, there is a big drop off when you reach 3rd strike Yura.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead a little after the half hour mark, as Rolfe stuck in between 2 KC players and won the ball to Chris Amras who released Chad Barrett who beat the offside trap and was in alone on Hartman, and he finished. Chicago doubled their lead in the 73rd, when Nick Garcia made a late tackle on Ivan Guerrero that Guerrero hammed up, even though replays showed Garcia didn't touch him. KC was able to salavage a goal in the 90th, when Marinelli took an elbow to the face from Dasan Robinson in the box, leading to a PK.

Overall, the Wizards didn't look terrible, but they definitly didn't look like the team that beat DC 4-2 last weekend. Johnson was completely neutralized and he missed Sealy, who we saw tonight is VASTLY underrated.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Chad Barrett - Chicago - Barrett gave the KC back line trouble all night, he got Garcia an early yellow for a poor challenge, and then shreaded the KC defense to soccer the first goal.
2. Chris Rolfe - Chicago - Playing deeper then he normally does as a forward, Rolfe did really well in that position, setting up the first goal, as well as stepping up to bury the PK that doubled Chicago's lead.
3. Chicago Backline - Chicago - Completely shut down the KC strikers and didn't allow much of anything past them. A solid performance.

Yes, no KC players deserved to be mentioned as a star of the game, they were all just adequite tonight.

On to the 4th game in 12 days.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wiz on the Fire

Kansas City Wizards (1-0-0) vs Chicago Fire (1-0-1)

The Wizards roll into Toyota Park after bowing out of the US Open Cup in the qualifying stages, to Real Salt Lake. The Wizards now can concentrate on the MLS season, where they are coming off their big 4-2 win in DC on opening day. The Fire come into this match up having drew with 10 man Colorado out at Dick's. The Fire won their opening game of the season, taking down New England 1-0 on a Logan Pause goal.

Chicago as a whole has never been a friendly place for Kansas City to play in, the Wizards are 1-11-1 in Chicago since the Fire joined the league in 1998. The only time the Wizards have taken points off the Fire in Chicago, was in the 2005 season when they got their only win and draw in Chicago. History is not on the Wizards side in that regard, although the Wizards two trophies have come at the expense of the Fire. The Wizards won the 2000 MLS Cup and 2004 US Open Cup against the Fire.

Overall, I'd expect the Wizards to be putting out what should be their best lineup, except with the possible exception of Carlos Marinelli, who still lacks match fitness. Although I would bet that the Wizards Argentine will make his MLS debut tomorrow. The Wizards will likely come out in this lineup tomorrow:
Jewsbury - Garcia - Conrad - Burciaga
Arnaud - Victorine - Harrington
Sealy - Johnson

The only question mark will be the health of Scott Sealy after the knock he took out in Utah on Wednesday, although the MLS preview says that Sealy is probable. Mixed news for all Wizards fans as well about this game, as our favorite munchkin, Michael Kennedy is on the game. The good news though is that he is the fourth official, so he'll have little to do with the game itself.

This is an early test for the Wizards, their history in Chicago has not been bright, but under a new coach, things can change. The Wizards will likely get to face off against another 3 man back line, but this one should be better then the abysmal defending we saw out of DC last week. That said, Johnson could have another big day against this back line.

KC - 1 (Johnson)
Chicago - 1 (Rolfe)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bannister Mall Closing... Wizards Stadium Coming?

Tonight I had this article from KMBZ emailed to me. I've spoken in the past about the possiblity of Bannister Mall being a location for the Wizards, and now things look like they could be moving in that direction.

Apparently, the mall will be closing in about a month's time. The current tenants of the mall, 50 out of 134 retail slots, were sent a letter April 17th telling them of the plans of Donaldson Properties to close the mall. The closing of the mall basically closes all the commercial in an area that for the past 7-10 years has seen a massive down turn in business. At one time, Bannister Mall was the center of shopping for much of the KC area, now it's mainly empty as are the rest of the buildings in the area, as businesses like Montgomery Ward, Wal-Mart, JC Penny's, Toys R' Us, and Best Buy have all moved or just closed.

This paves the way for a possible Wizards stadium. This plan has been rumored for a while. The talks heated up when the Wizards hired Lane4 Property Group to look into the property as a future home for the Wizards. Since then, Lane4 has held one meeting with a local community group about the plans for the area.

The idea of using TIFs to help fund the building of the stadium and commercial complex was supposed to be on the agenda last night at a TIF meeting, but was pulled from the agenda a week ago.

We shall see where this leads, but things are definitely starting to look like KC proper is the favorite to land the Wizards stadium right now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wizards vs RSL

The Wizards bow out of the US Open Cup tonight 2-1 after extra time, to Real Salt Lake. While there was no TV for this game, fans were able to listen to the radio broadcast, featuring Sean Wheelock and Brian Roberts.

Salt Lake took the lead after Kevin Hartman brought down Freddy Adu in the box, leading to a PK that was converted by Jeff Cunningham. The Wizards best first half chance came when Eddie Johnson was able to round Chris Seitz and have an open goal, only to have Daniel Torres recover and clear the ball away before Eddie could shot.

In the second half the Wizards came out pressing more, and almost equalized when Ryan Raybould's 20 yard blast hit the cross bar. Carlos Marinelli got his first run out with the Wizards tonight as well, coming on in the 61st minute. Listening to the broadcast it sounded like Marinelli did a great job and really changed the game when he came on. Some RSL fans who post on bigsoccer gave their thoughts on Marinelli in this thread, and this thread. Finally in the 88th minute, Marinelli helped set up the equalizer, as he turned Kenny Cutler, laid the ball off to Davy Arnaud, who crossed in to Will John. John's shot was saved by Seitz, but Victorine was there to put the ball in the net.

In extra time a good combination from RSL led to Andy Williams beating Hartman for what proved to be a winner.

Overall, the lineup was not entirely what I expected, 6 of the starters started the game on Sat, 8 of the 13 players used against DC started tonight, and 11 of the 13 played tonight, only Aaron Hohlbein and Jose Burciaga did not.

Since I can't comment more on the game, I'll comment on the announcing. Sean Wheelock can be really great at times, he does really well at capturing the excitment, there were times when he'd call players names who had been subbed out as the action got faster, the goal in particular. As for Brian Roberts, he did ok for his first radio broadcast. He stumbled through the first 45 minutes or so having to clear his throat a lot and mumbling, not finishing his sentences, but he got better over the course of the game.

My stars of the game tonight are all based on first hand accounts or from what I gathered from listening to the radio.

Stars of the Game
1.) Jeff Cunningham - RSL - scored the first goal, and seemed to give the Wizards back line trouble most of the night.
2.) Carlos Marinelli - KC - The game completely changed when he came in the game, I recall 4 or 5 times when Wheelock said he turned his mark inside out to get by him. This is a good sign and gets me more excited to see him play in person more.
3. Andy Williams - RSL - The match winner, also helped to change the game when he came on, Roberts mentioned in the broadcast that he was able to find a lot of room on the right side of the field and eventually he exploited it.

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

Kansas City Wizards (1-0-0) vs Real Salt Lake (0-0-2)

Tonight the Wizards begin their US Open Cup run out in Salt Lake as they take on Real at 6 pm central time. While there is no TV for the game, Wizards fans can listen to the game on 97.3 FM.

KC comes into the game on a high after defeating almost everyone's pick to win it all this season, DC United. How KC plays this game will be very interesting, this will be the Wizards second game of 5 games in 15 days to start the season. The Wizards will be in Chicago on Saturday for their second MLS game of the season before returning home for the first leg of a home-home run with Toronto FC. It's likely that we'll see plenty of reserves get the run out tonight against RSL. It's hard to guess on the lineup though, as it is currently unknown how Curt Onalfo and the current Wizards organization view the US Open Cup competition wise. Will they take it seriously, or will they use it as just a place to get some reserves some experience. Some things I think we can figure on though, is Eric Kronberg to get the job in net tonight, Ryan Raybould will probably be starting at right back, Will John and Kurt Morsink will be in the midfield, as will Edson Elcock, and Yura Movsisyan will be up top. The rest of the lineup I am not sure of, although it wouldn't surprise me to see one a lot like the lineup used against Evansville.

Salt Lake I would think will have the majority of their starters play in the Open Cup match, as this game is the first of a double header tonight. The other game is Salt Lake vs the Fiji National team. So I would think that Salt Lake will be putting out almost their best 11, although I'm sure a few players will be held back. According to a poster on bigsoccer who was listening to the radio in Salt Lake, Chris Seitz will get his first professional start tonight against the Wizards. Other then that though I don't have enough information on the Salt Lake team to make a good guess at the lineup, as I don't know how John Ellinger plays the US Open Cup either.


As I said I expect mostly reserves for the Wizards tonight, and overall my hopes aren't too high at all for this one.
KC - 1 (Movsisyan)
RSL - 2 (C. Brown, Rowland)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pardon the Interruption

Anyone who's ever read this blog knows I concentrate my writings on soccer, specifically the Wizards. I don't claim to be up to date on current world events, I don't know what's going on with whoever's presidential campaign and the immigration debate, I'm not a social commentator. If you want more of that, check out Tony's Kansas City. I write about what I know, and that's soccer and the Kansas City Wizards. That said, there are certain events that when they happen cause everything else around you to seem so small and insignificant. Today unfortunately one of those events occurred.

As almost all of you probably know by now, this morning, a gunman at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University opened fire at two locations on the the schools campus, the first at West Ambler Johnston Hall, one of Tech's larger dorms on campus. The second was in Norris Hall, one of the campus' engineering buildings. As of the posting of this blog message, deaths are currently numbered at 33 and as many as 28 injured. Making it one of the largest mass shootings in American history. Details are still so sketchy at this time that it'd be almost a waste to post the details as they are right now.

You can't put into words what the people on Tech's campus must be going through right now, and I can't even begin to think about what they could be going through. All I know is that I have that sickening, depressed feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you read and hear about things like this.

As a person who has recently graduated from college, it's a scary thing to think about, you start to look at your college life in a different way, you hear about what is happening and you begin to put those events in play on your campus, and it makes you even sicker. This isn't suppose to happen in college, in college you have the rest of your life ahead of you, you're shaping your life for the future, and to have so many young lives ended is such an immense tragedy. It just brings up so many questions about this incident and what happened here. The biggest being the question WHY? Why would someone do this sort of thing to other human beings? What could drive a person to do this? Was it a girlfriend problem, as some would suggest the dorm shooting was? Was it a grade issue, as people think the shooting in the classrooms were? Why was the school put off of lockdown after the first shooting occurred in the dorms? Were there signs that this was going to happen and could anyone have stopped this? There are so many questions right now, and no where near enough answers. Hopefully in the next few days, some answers will start to come out. But right now it's time to morn the losses that have occurred today.

It's senseless when things like this happen, you can't even begin to think about it. All you can do is to pray for everyone involved in any way in this incident and to morn those that have died.

My prayers and thoughts go out to those families, friends, and anyone else whose life has been altered by the events today.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

KC vs DC postgame thoughts

Wow I was way off when I predicted this game. Only thing I got right was both of DC's goal scorers and one of KC's.

4-2 final.

What can I say other then, PLEASE let this be the Eddie we see all season. Eddie Johnson showed the type of player he can be tonight, he was strong on the ball, fast, attacking players, beating players one on one, passing well, and finishing. A good night for one of the major scapegoats of last season.

The Wizards came out strong early, as Michael Harrington received a flick on header from Eddie, drove down the line beating Facundo Erpen, who slipped, and then beating Troy Perkins 5 whole to put the Wizards up 1-0 in just the third minute.

Five minutes later, a quick counter from a DC corner had Scott Sealy on the left side crossing to Johnson who clamly brought the ball down, looked up, and found Sasha Victorine making a run down the right. A nicely slotted ball later, and it's 2-0 Wizards and it looks as if the route is on.

It wouldn't last long though, as Luciano Emilio pulled one back in the 11th on a goal that appeared to be offside, but none of the replays from FSC showed a definitive view to say he was on or not.

In the 34th, things were all even. Christian Gomez broke away from the midfield, and was bearing down on Jimmy Conrad when Sasha Victorine gave a slite tug on Gomez's jersey and Gomez goes down earning the free kick and Sasha a yellow. Two things wrong with this, 1 why is Sasha pulling on Gomez, I mean he's going right at probably the best center back in the league, I had all the confidence in the world that Jimmy would have stood Gomez up. Two, what a weak foul that was. The goal was just as weak, as the free kick went to Hartman's right, Hartman got in front of it, but his parry of the ball went under him and into the net to make it 2-2.

In first half stoppage time, a take away off of Gomez in the midfield put Johnson in one on one with Perkins, and Eddie made no mistake slipping it under Perkins to restore the Wizards lead heading into halftime.

In the 54th minute, KC was able to put the game away, again it was Eddie Johnson making it happen, a long ball from the midfield found Eddie behind DC's defense, Perkins saved his first shot, but the rebound went right to Sealy who made no mistake.

Overall my thoughts on the game are a bit mixed. While I'm happy that the Wizards won and played well at times, there were a few things that bothered me. The first was the amount of possession we gave up. Yes we were leading and trying to protect the lead, but DC spent way to much time on the ball, especially in our own defensive third. Also, while overall Hartman played well, that gaff on the second goal could have cost us. I'll give his play at the end of the game though making up for it. Other thoughts on the game: DC's defense is horrid, Erpen got beat way too many times tonight, I'm starting to see why DC fans get so frustrated with him. The KC defense locked it down in the second half, after a shaky start, Hohlbein played well filling in for Nick Garcia.

1.) EDDIE JOHNSON - Kansas City - No contest here, easily his best game ever in Wizards blue, he looked like the Eddie of old running at defenders, using skill and speed, it was a thing of beauty, a goal and 2 assists, as well as basically setting up the fourth is nice.
2) SCOTT SEALY - Kansas City - Held the ball up well and played great off of EJ. Had a great cross into EJ that set up the second goal, and did what every good striker is taught to do on the fourth, follow the play.
3) CHRISTIAN GOMEZ - DC United - A wicked freekick for the second DC goal. Gomez played well in the middle of the field helping DC to keep possession and keep KC trapped in their own end of the field, especially in the second half when KC had trouble clearing it out.

Wizards to trade DP slot........ to Chivas?

This is like 4th hand news by now, but I wanted to post this. According to a poster on bigsoccer, on ESPN Deportes yesterday, Chivas is in negoiations with the Wizards to get the Wizards designated player (DP, Beckham rule) slot.

This move makes no sense to me from the Wizards perspective. Wizards coach Curt Onalfo looks to be wanting to get more out of Johnson, and if he does, then next season the Wizards are gonna need their DP slot for Johnson, as the grandfathering period for players like Johnson, Donovan, and Adu end.

But for a minute let's forget that and take a look at Chivas' roster and see who in the world they could trade to KC to get the DP slot. The first name that sticks out on the list, is Jonathan Bornstein. Last years rookie of the year, started the year by getting his first 2 caps with the US National Team. A move for him is unlikely mainly due to the fact that the Wizards already have Jose Burciaga Jr, who the coaches still seem to be high on, as well as Michael Harrington, the Wizards first round draft pick this year, who can also play left back. It doesn't make sense to bring in another player that can play left back, no matter what people think of Jose's play.

Continuing down the roster, is Amado Guevara, this is an unlikely move, as Chivas traded their DP slot to New York to get Guevara this season. Plus with the signing of Marinelli I doub tthe Wizards would want to bring in another attacking midfielder.

Brad Guzan, another player with a bright future, he's unlikely to move, as the Wizards have already brought in a new goalkeeper this season in the form of Kevin Hartman, bringing in another starting caliber goalkeeper would not make sense for the Wizards.

Sacha Kljestan, is probably not worth a DP slot alone. Add that with the fact that, like Guevara, he plays the same general position as Marinelli makes a move for him unlikely.

Finally there's Ante Razov. I just don't see this as a move that would make sense for the Wizards. As I mentioned earlier, the coaching staff seems to feel that Johnson will come around this season. Add in last seasons leading scorer, Scott Sealy, who is looking to become a full time starter now, it doesn't make sense to bring in a forward like Razov. The rest of Chivas' roster doesn't strike me as anyone worthy of a DP, and a few of the players I've listed above aren't even worth a DP slot, but we'll see what comes of this one.

If anyone can think of any kind of deal with Chivas for our DP that makes sense, feel free to post it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Kansas City vs DC United preview

The last of MLS's 13 teams kicks off it's season this Saturday in DC as the Kansas City Wizards take on DC United. This is the Wizards first game of the season after sitting out league games last week due to an odd number of teams this year. Meanwhile, DC was at the opening of Colorado's Dick's Park, where they lost 2-1 to the Rapids.

Kansas City comes into the game after beating USL-1 side, the Seattle Sounders 3-2 last Saturday at Blue Valley District Athletic Complex. The Wizards will be without defender Nick Garcia who's red card at the end of the season against New York carries over to this season. New signing Carlos Marinelli is not likely to be playing with the team either this Saturday, although according to Wizards president Robb Heineman, Marinelli's visa is processed and done, so he should be playing soon, so who knows he could make an appearance. Those 2 I would expect will get their first run out in the US Open Cup match against Salt Lake next week. This week though, what can we expect for a starting lineup? Hartman is easily the number 1 choice in net. According to Curt Onalfo last night on the Wizards Weekly show on Metro Sports, Aaron Hohlbein will get the start alongside Conrad since Garcia is out and Tyson Wahl is coming back from a broken leg. So basically the lineup will be the same for this game as it was for the start of the game against the Sounders.
Jewsbury - Hohlbein - Conrad - Burciaga
Arnaud - Victorine - Harrington
Sealy - Johnson

While DC comes into this game 0-1 this season, they're still the team to beat in the East this season. They're a very talented attacking team, with 3 of the best attackers in the league (Christian Gomez, Jaime Moreno, and Luciano Emilio). They've also got the Brazilian Fred who played in Australia last season and should be working himself into the starting lineup soon I would think. My feeling on their last result is that they were physically and metally worn out from their CONCACAF Champion's Cup match in Mexico against Chivas. The weak point of the team is likely their defense, which seems to be guility of at least 1 or 2 brain lapses a game. The Wizards will need to take advantage of those. As for what DC will come out in:
Erpen - Boswell - Namoff
Simms - Carroll
Olsen - Gomez - Gros
Moreno - Emilio

While I wanna be postive about this match, it's hard to be. DC is a very strong team, one of the strongest ever in MLS if they play up to their potential. Hohlbein will get a rude awaking to MLS going up against Moreno and Emilio, Conrad will definitly have to help him out in the middle of the defense.

Wizards - 1 (Sealy)
DC - 2 (Gomez, Emilio)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Marinelli and Bannister Mall

If you look on the Wizards website tonight, you will see that the Wizards are gonna finally announce the signing of their newest player, Carlos Marinelli. The new Wizards player got 45 minutes in the reserve game against Evansville last Saturday night and looked very good at times. The only thing that looks to be lacking right now is some match fitness as he had his hands on his knees during the game against Evansville, trying to catch his breath. If he plays this weekend, I would assume it would be as a late game sub.

In other news, it looks like things are moving forward in the Wizards stadium discussion, particularly the possible Bannister Mall site. According to this article on, the Wizards have hired a developer to look into the development of the area. Lane4 Property Group is the group that will look into the redevelopment of the area. According to the article, the area used in the redevelopment would be the mall, the Benjamin Plaza shopping area, as well as the Benjamin Ranch property. The new complex would include "400,000- to 500,000-square feet of retail space, up to 800,000-square feet of office space and residential development. An amateur soccer complex with 12 fields also is envisioned."

Looks like though if this site was going to be used, construction would not begin until the summer of 08, meaning that a likely opening wouldn't happen until late 2009 but more likely 2010. It'll be worth the wait if it insures the Wizards stay in KC for good. All this is still not a permanent signing of a deal to be at the Bannister location though, as Olathe is still working to secure STAR Bonds for the building of a facility for the Wizards.

Finally, everyone in KC should tune in to 97.3 FM on Wednesdays, as Jimmy Conrad is now hosting the Jimmy Conrad Show from the 810 Zone on the Plaza, tonight he had Bobby Boswell and Davy Arnaud on as guests, it was a good show and I look forward to it being continued in the future.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wizards vs Sounders, and vs. Evansville

At a chilly Blue Valley District Athletic complex, the Wizards played their last preseason games of the season. The first team defeated the Seattle Sounders 3-2, and the Wizards reserves tied Evansville 2-2.

vs. Seattle

The Wizards came out in a 4-4-2, with Hartman in net, Jack, Aaron Hohlbein, Jimmy, and Jose across the back, Arnaud, Sasha, Kerry, and Michael Harrington in the midfield, and Eddie and Sealy up top.

The Wizards opened the scoring in the 18th, when a throw in from Jack to Davy was played long to Eddie who was in 1v1 with the keeper to make it 1-0. In the 30th minute, the Wizards were forced to make a sub as Hohlbein appeared to hurt his calf, and was replaced by Will John, forcing Harrington back to left back, and Jose sliding into central defense. The Wizards doubled their lead in the 36th minute as Jimmy Conrad headed in a Davy Arnaud corner. Then right before half time, Scott Sealy made it 3-0, after he received a ball from Eddie as he cut across the top of the box.

At half time, another true center back, Amir Lowery, who has been training with the team. The first 25 minutes of the second half were fairly uneventful, with the Wizards continuing to attack but not finding the net. Kurt Morsink came on for Sasha in the 70th. Two minutes later, the Wizards coulda made it four as Davy drove into the box and was fouled. Sealy stepped up to take it, but his stutter step did not fool the keeper, who made a good save. In the 74th, Seattle got themselves back in the game, when Leighton O'Brien found Jacob Basagno on a corner kick to make it 3-1. O'Brien also played a part in the second goal, finding Nathan Knox who scored to make it 3-2. Things got a little testy at the end, as 4 yellow cards were handed out, including a second to O'Brien who was sent off in stoppage time.

3 Stars of the game:
1. Davy Arnaud - Wizards - Made fantastic runs all night, set up 2 of the 3 goals, as well as setting up the PK Sealy missed.
2. Scott Sealy - Wizards - If he hadn't missed that PK he probably would have been number 1, did well working with Johnson, John, Sasha, and Morsink outta the midfield.
3. Leighton O'Brien - Sounders - Even with his red card, he still gave the Wizards more then their fair share of fits. Set up both of Seattle's goals.

vs. Evansville

The Wizards reserves came out in a 4-4-2 as well for their game with Evansville. Kronberg was in net, with Godbolt, Raybould, Lowery, and Watson across the back, Michael Kraus, Morsink, Carlos Marinelli, and Edson Elcock, and Ryan Pore with Yura

The Wizards dictacted the majority of play in the first half, but were not able to create many clear cut chances. Marinelli showed some great work on the ball, but definitly lacked match fitness, as he had his hands on his knees late in the first half. The Purple Aces grabbed the lead about 4 minutes before half time off a long throw that was flicked on to the back post and finished by defender Dan Gibson.

At half time, the Wizards replaced Marinelli with Willy Guadarrama, and Kronberg made way for Chris Konopka in net. Just 3 minutes into the second half, the Purple Aces were 2-0 up thanks to Cory Elenio, who gave the Wizards two center backs, Raybould and Lowery fits for most of the night. The reserves struck back quickly though, as a cross from Godbolt was put back across the face of goal by Pore, and finished by Raybould to make it 2-1. Two minutes later, the score was level as a cross from Elcock was hit on the side volley by Movsisyan, that shot deflected off a defender to Guadarrama who scored to make it 2-2. The Wizards continued to dominate possession the rest of the game, making substitute keeper Corey Southers work to give Evansville the draw, including stopping Movsisyan on 2 occasions very late in the game.

3 Stars of the Game
1. Corey Southers - Evansville - Even though he only played a half, his play in that half, especially late in the game is what allowed Evansville to get a draw out of this game instead of a loss.
2. Edson Elcock - Wizards - Was the Wizards best player by far. The best attacks from the Wizards came down his side of the field. He has a TON of speed and he used it on numerous occasions to beat guys to balls and get past guys down the line.
3. Yura Movsisyan - The Wizards second year man didn't score, but looked much better then he did last year, he's more confident with the ball at his feet and looks a lot more mature on the field. His side volley that was deflected would have have been a very early candidate for goal of the year if it'd gone in.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wizards vs Sounders

Tomorrow the Wizards play their final preseason game of the season. While the rest of the MLS teams get their season underway, the Wizards have the first weekend off due to the league now having 13 teams. So the Wizards will be playing a friendly match at Blue Valley District Athletic Complex against USL-1 side, the Seattle Sounders. The reserve team will also be playing, taking on the University of Evansville.

There are a few things that I will be looking forward to seeing for myself at the match tomorrow.
  1. I wanna see how Hartman plays. I keep hearing that he's lost a step from his days when he was LA's number 1. Even if he has lost a step, he still has to be better then Bo'd been the last two seasons, right?
  2. Jack Jewsbury at right back. Last seasons right back by committee looked successful at times, and terrible at times, Matt Groenwald, Lance Watson, Ryan Raybould and Alex Zotinca are just 4 of the players who saw time there last season. Let's hope Jack is a more constant starter. Will be interesting to see how he's adjusted.
  3. Michael Harrington. The Wizards first round pick I had thought was brought in to play the right back spot, but he's apparently looking like he'll be the Wizards starting left midfielder. Personally this sounds like a good move, you put him and Jose on the same side, and while both like to attack, they're combined defensive ability may make that side look a little less exposed when one goes into the attack.
  4. Eddie Johnson. This is a big season for Eddie, he's gonna be given yet another chance to prove that his 12 goal season in 2004 was not a fluke. Is this is last shot? Possibly, but he definitly needs to step up his play. While his performance with the national team has improved lately, he still hasn't found the net in a LONG time. Hopefully Onalfo has gotten into his head and is helping him to get out of the funk he's in.
I'd like to say that I wanna see more of Carlos Marinelli, he hasn't signed a contract, although he continues to work with the team, and was at the team function tonight. So odds are against him playing. Although tonight apparently Coach Onalfo said that they are looking to work him into the midfield the first few games of the season.

Overall though I look forward to the game and will have a report up tomorrow night with my thoughts on the game.

As for a prediction, I figure the first game will go 3-1 to KC. And the reserves will beat the Aces 4-1.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wizards new signing seen at practice?

So it appears that the Wizards have a new player out at training. According to posts on bigsoccer, the player is practicing with the Wizards. Who is this mystery player that the Wizards have out there? According to pictures and first hand accounts from an anonymous viewer, who I'll call Belly Ball, the player is Carlos Marinelli. Carlos is apparently a product of the Boca Juniors system. He transfered from Boca Juniors to EPL side Middlesbrough FC in 1999 for 1.5 million pounds when he was only 17 years old. According to this site, from 1999 through the 2002-2003 season, he played 42 matches for 'Boro scoring twice, before being sent out on loan to Torino. He returned to 'Boro for the 2003-2004 season appearing in one game and scoring in that game. He transfered back to Boca in Jan. of 2004. Here is a link to a picture of him at practice today taken by Belly Ball.

Here's a 'Boro fan's look at how he did with the team. He was apparently heralded as the next Maradona when he arrived at 'Boro. While he may not have panned out at 'Boro, that coulda been seen as having more to do with his lack of adjustment to the English game then anything else. There are plenty of high quality players who have struggled to adjust to the style of play in the EPL.

According to his wiki entry, he was last playing in Portugal for SC Braga and seems to have done pretty well. Although he does not appear to currently be on Braga's roster.

He's still young, at only 25, this could very well turn out to be a great signing for the Wizards. Depending how he gels with the rest of the team and how he acclimates to the league. This could turn into a fantastic move for the Wizards. If this truely is who is out at practice for the Wizards, this could very well be the long rumored Argentinian signing.

As of this moment I'm planning on heading out to practice tomorrow to see for myself.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Kansas City and Atlas

Remember when I mentioned the note Robb Heineman posted on bigsoccer? And how they were looking to create a partnership with a team "south of the boarder? Well that came true this weekend, as the Wizards announced a partnership with Mexican club Atlas. According to the article, the deal was suppose to be announced in Guadalajara yesterday.

This is a fantastic move by the Wizards in my opinion. It creates a partnership with a recognizable Mexican league team. Along with the partnership is news of other things with the deal. Along with the regular "use of facilities" deal that you usually see with deals like this, Kansas City and Atlas will also participate in a home-home friendly series. This will give KC it's first friendly game at Arrowhead since 1997. While the crowd for this game is likely to be pro-Atlas, it will still be a great experience, and I for one am looking forward to seeing the match, hopefully some time this summer. The other thing that is part of the deal, is loaning of players to and from the clubs. It will be interesting to see how this works, but the interest in the player loaning will be something that will draw interest to many Wizards fans, as we wait and see who would come our way to help our team.

A good point brought up by MLS Underground, is the increased venom this could add to games against Chivas USA, as Atlas is based in Guadalajara, same city that USA's parent club, Chivas de Guadalajara. We'll see how that affects the coming match ups with them this season, if at all.

Another thing that is discussed in the blog that I agree with is the importance that Atlas seems to be putting on this deal, having Wizards staff down for the ceremonial signing of this agreement instead of just having it announced in KC says to me that Atlas is taking this partnership serious as well.

Finally, in the final part of that blog post by MLS Underground, is some "exclusive" information. According to MLS Underground, the Wizards are close to that "big signing" that myself and many others have been talking about, waiting on since about December. The blog mentions 3 areas where the interest seems to be, right back, forward, or attacking midfielder. The entry seems to be leaning towards the 3rd, the attacking midfield position. This is music to Wizards fans ears, as the team has lacked a real attacking minded midfielder since the retirement of Preki. I'm waiting anxiously, as I'm sure many other Wizards fans are for this hopeful announcement to come.