Monday, December 31, 2007

Bannister Petition Keeps Coming

More news today about the petition to save Bannister Mall from being redeveloped by Lane4 and the Wizards. Today comes the news that the petition has cleared the first hurdle, and that's get 100 valid signatures. The group had 148 out of the 191 that were on the petition that they originally turned in. 77% of the signatures were valid. If that holds true for the rest of their petition gathering, they'll have to gather just over 11,000 to really have the 8500 required by the city to force a vote.

Tolbert and the rest of the Save Bannister group are continuing to try and make this into a racial issue like they did back in October. "It is wrong to destroy an asset that could be valuable to the black community." It's funny he says that, when you read the comments for the past few articles that were posted by the Star on this topic, or talk to people that were at the city council vote. Much of the black community around Bannister Mall is FOR the redevelopment. They see it as a chance for the area to start over and become a good shopping area again. They claim to be fighting for the black people, when just as many black people seem to be fighting against them and this petition.

If anyone has a way to contact him, please send it my way, or ask him this. What is his plan for Bannister Mall? What will this group do to make sure the area becomes a strong shopping area like it was before? How are they going to fill the mall up with enough businesses to make it economically viable for the owners of the mall to reopen it?

These are questions I really want to know. Especially the first and last one. The only plan I've heard from this group is to just reopen the mall, cut the grass, put on a fresh coat of paint and people will come flooding back. The last question is also important. Bannister Mall is not a small building. It probably costs quite a bit of money to run electricity, as well as to heat and cool the building. I don't think that they can find enough local businesses to move in there to make it worth it for the owners of the mall to reopen it.

As I've said before, this isn't about the stadium for the Wizards as much anymore, as it is about redeveloping a part of the city that has become the butt of jokes, and become an eyesore on the city. I would think the black community in that area would want to try to remove some of the stigmas that there are about the area.

I'm serious about that contact information too, if you have it, please pass it along.

Conrad & Johnson Called into January Camp

Bob Bradley has named a 26 man roster for the first camp of 2008. The team will report to camp January 3, and it will culminate in a friendly against Sweden on the 19th.

Two Wizards players were named to the 26 man roster. Wizards captain, Jimmy Conrad and team MVP in 2007, Eddie Johnson. With Under-23 players like Kljestan, Edu, etc, called in, I'm kind of disappointed that Michael Harrington didn't get a call up.

The interesting questions will come when the January transfer window opens up tomorrow and the rumors of Johnson heading to Europe begin again. Or does Bradley know that Johnson isn't going to be heading to Europe, and that's why he chose him for the camp.

Congrats to both Jimmy and Eddie.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2008 Wishes for the Wizards

After looking through how my wishes for 2007 went, it's time to make my wishes for the upcoming year in regards to the Wizards.

1. Save Bannister Mall Petition Fails - This is a great location for the stadium, but more then that, this is a part of Kansas City that needs to be redeveloped. It's a huge eyesore on Kansas City, and if this petition gets enough signatures, the plan for the area will basically be dead due to the time line that the Wizards have. If that happens, nothing of value is going to be in this area for another 10-15 years.

2. Public Ground Breaking for the Wizards SSS in Early 08 - I want to be there when the shovels hit the earth for the first time in the construction process. Leading to the Wizards opening up their new soccer specific stadium for the 2010 season.

3. Eddie Johnson Stays in KC - I'm torn on this one between club and country. Johnson needs to go abroad to become a better striker for the US National team, but he's proven that he can be a good goalscorer in this league. I know I'm in the minority of Wizards fans, but I'd rather have Johnson up top next season then a forward who has not proven himself in MLS and will take time to adjust to the league (Sergio Galvan Rey anyone?). I have a lot of doubt that we'd be able to find the next Luciano Emilio.

4. More Consistent Goal Scoring - Johnson's form was crap down the stretch, compared to Scott Sealy, who was in crap form to start the season. Whether Johnson is here next season or not, the Wizards need more consistency out of their strikers.

5. Good Start to US Qualifying for South Africa 2010 - The US will start their qualifying process for the 2010 World Cup in 08. The US shouldn't have much trouble this year in qualifying, but it'd be nice if they didn't leave much doubt in these early games.

6. Some Silverware - Last year I just asked for a return to the playoffs. This year I'm wanting more. I want to celebrate some silverware this coming year. It's been 4 years since the Wizards hoisted the Open Cup title, it's time to get some more trophies for the trophy case.

7. A Friendly Against a Foreign Team for the Wizards - I asked for it last year, and I'll continue to ask for it until a foreign team comes and plays in KC against the Wizards. Many European teams come over to the US in the summer for preseason training, show off that new training facility by having a team come and train there, and set up a friendly against them.

8. Sell Outs at CAB - With only 10,000 seats, and more time to get a friendlier schedule this season, I want to see the 12-14 sellouts at Community America next season.

What are your wishes for the next year for the Wizards?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Update on Fromer Wizards

Doing the quick article on Onandi Lowe, got me thinking about an entry I did earlier this year about former Wizards still playing the game around the world. Now that the majority of them are done for the year, I figured I'd give an update of how the players faired.

Antti Sumiala - Porin Palloilijat (Finland) - If I'm reading my Finnish right on Porin's website (which I doubt I'm doing 100% correctly) Sumiala had 12 goals and 8 assists for the third division Finnish side in 36 games.
Chris Klein - Real Salt Lake/LA Galaxy - Split time between the two MLS sides, scoring 2 goals and recording 4 assists in 32 league games.
Dave van den Bergh - New York Red Bulls - Cooled, after a strong start, finishing with 2 goals and 8 assists in 29 games. Although he spent a lot of that time later in the season back on defense.
Stephen Armstrong - Charleston Battery - Had the second most goals of former Wizards this past season, scoring 10 goals and recording 2 assists in 27 games for the USL-1 side.
Carey Talley - Real Salt Lake - Three goals and 1 assist in 26 games for Talley.
Kevin Friedland - Minnesota Thunder - Never played a game for the Wizards, but played in 26 games and got 1 goal for the Thunder this past season.
Andrew Gregor - Portland Timbers - 8 goals and 5 assists for Gregor this past season.
Diego Gutierrez - Chicago Fire - Had only 1 assist in 23 games this past season for the Fire.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - No goals, but helped to anchor a very good Chivas defense this past season.
Alex Zotinca - Chivas USA - Joined Thomas in the back for Chivas USA under former Wizards player, Preki.
Chris Brown - Real Salt Lake - Scored 5 goals in 22 games, but was waived by RSL at the end of this past season.
Brandon Prideaux - Colorado Rapids - Twenty-one games played this season, and Prideaux still doesn't have a goal in MLS. He's got to be approaching or passed Nick Garcia's record for games played without having scored.
Jay Alberts - Vancouver Whitecaps - Another guy that didn't play a game for the Wizards, but had 2 goals and an assist this past season in 20 games for the Whitecaps.
Will Hesmer - Columbus Crew - In 20 games for the Crew, Hesmer went 8-7-5 with a 1.45 GAA.
Khari Stephenson - AIK (Sweden) - Had 1 goal in 18 games with his new club, AIK.
Josh Wolff - 1860 Munich (Germany) - Has 4 assists in 14 games for the Bundesliga 2 side, which is currently in it's winter break.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC (Australia) - Hasn't been run out of Australia yet, his team is in the middle of it's season right now, he currently has a goal and an assist in 12 games. BTW, he goes by Diego over there.
Matt Taylor - Chivas USA/Portland Timbers - Split time between the two clubs after being cut by Chivas. Taylor had 1 goal in 11 games with Chivas, and had a goal and an assist in 11 games for the Timbers.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View FC (Jamaica) - Back in Jamaica, Hue played in 8 games for DC United's first round opponent in the CONCACAF Champion's Cup.
Ihor Dotsenko - Richmond Kickers - A player I missed last time I did my list. He came out of retirement last year to be a player coach for the Kickers. He played in 7 games, mostly as a sub for the Kickers this past season.
Taylor Graham - New York Red Bulls/Seattle Sounders - Played only 5 games, recording 1 assist with the Red Bulls before being cut. He then went back to Seattle where he'd been USL Defender of the Year. Playing in 12 games he scored 2 goals.
Vincente Figueroa - California Cougars - Has not featured for the Cougars in the current MISL season, but is still listed on the team's roster.
John Wilson - DC United - Did not feature for DC this past season.

Gary Glasgow - Joe Public FC (Trinidad) - Couldn't find any stats for the Trinidad league, but Glasgow is still playing there.
Onandi Lowe - Portmore United FC (Jamaica) - The player that got me thinking about this, is still with Portmore, but I can't find any stats on his current play.

Lowe Arrested

I'm a little late getting this posted, mainly because it honestly didn't shock me at all when I read the article.

Anyways, former Wizard, Onandi Lowe was arrested on Christmas Eve for marijuana possession. According to the article, Jamaican police found 42 marijuana cigarettes in Lowe's car. Seriously, they found 42! This doesn't surprise me, because of the previous charges that were filed against him in England back in 2004, for attempting to smuggle crack cocaine out of the country while he was playing with Coventry City, although he was cleared of those charges in February 2005.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Year End Wants and Wishes Review

Back in December, I posted my wants and wishes for 2007. Then in June I made a midyear review of those wants and wishes. Here we are in December again and I'm ready to go through these one last time to see how well my wants and wishes were fulfilled this year.

  1. The Wizards Announce 2007-2008 home. - The Wizards played the 2007 season in Arrowhead due to delays in the renovations. The Wizards announced in early November, though, announced the team's home for the 2008 and 2009 season. The team will be playing at Community America Ballpark, home of the T-Bones.
  2. Announcement of Plans to Build Wizards SSS. - It was late in the year, but the Wizards did announce plans for a SSS in Kansas City. All year rumors had swirled about the possibility of using the Bannister Mall site, which closed in May. The site passed the city council on December 13th, and is now awaiting state approval for the Super TIF. While there is still opposition, the team is still positive about the plan.
  3. Return to the Playoffs for the Wizards. - A trip to the Western Conference finals is a good way to get back into the playoffs. While the team didn't seem to show up for the final game against Houston it was definitely a plus to get back to the playoffs. Next year let's get ourselves some hardware.
  4. Return to form for Eddie Johnson. - I'd say that this came through pretty nicely. 15 goals, 6 assists, MLS Comeback Player of the Year, team MVP. A nice year for Johnson, even though he did fade a bit down the stretch unfortunately. If he's here next year I'd hope he can be more consistent.
  5. Jamie Trecker Exposed for the Pompous Ass He is to the Entire World. - The Wizards are staying, Trecker was wrong, that's enough for me to prove he's a pompous ass.
  6. US Men's National Team Gold Cup and Copa America Success. - This one was half right, the USMNT won the Gold Cup in dramatic fashion thanks to Benny Feilhaber. Unfortunately, the team didn't seem to show up for the Copa America, going 0-3 down in South America, only scoring 2 goals.
  7. The Wizards Bring in an Attacking Midfielder. - At the midpoint of the season, it certainly seemed like Carlos Marinelli was the answer to this want. As the season wore on, it became apparent why Marinelli has been on so many different clubs. I'm willing to give him another season, and a full preseason this year to get worked in more with the team. But another performance like his second half of the season performance this season, and I think it will be time for KC to look elsewhere.
  8. A Friendly Against a European Team for the Wizards. - The one want/wish that didn't come true at all, in any form this year. There were plenty of teams over here for preseason training, but the Wizards didn't play one of them. At the least I had hoped for a friendly against our new partners, Atlas.
I'll be back later this week with my Wants and Wishes for the year 2008, so stay tuned.

Stadium Renderings Timeline

Thanks to Wizards president, Robb Heineman, we now have a date for when the new stadium renderings will be out for the stadium at Bannister. He expects the renderings to be ready by Jan 31st at the latest, and says there is a good chance they'll beat that date.

It looks like there will possibly be a Cauldron/season ticket holder sneak preview of the renderings coming before the renderings are released publicly. Down the Byline will be there and will hopefully have picture to bring you of the new renderings.

For reference, this is the rendering that was brought out last November when the location of the stadium was going to be around 69 highway and 159th St.
And this is the current place holder design for the stadium, which will not be what the final renderings will look like.

Save Bannister People Are Back

You knew this was coming. You may not wanted to have admitted it, but you knew it was coming. The Save Bannister Mall Group Inc, is attempting to block the destruction of Bannister Mall and adjacent Benjamin Plaza to build a new complex that would include the Wizards stadium.

The group has filed a notice of intent to circulate a referendum petition. The apparently turned in 191 signatures on Sunday. If 100 of those signatures are validated, the group will have until late January to get 8475 people to force an election on the issue. This will be a test of how strongly this is supported in the city. We've heard all this talk from the city council members, especially in the 6th district that this project is being very well received by people in the area. Now is the time that we will see if this is true.

The best part of the article, though, is at the end, where it says;

his group objects to the destruction of a valuable community asset to make way for a project that will not produce revenue for several years.
I find this just hilarious. I can't see how that area was producing revenue at all over the past several years, and he's complaining because this new project won't do the same for a few years? After those few years this project has a much better chance of producing revenue then to just leave the mall there. Most of the area has been empty for years. Who are they going to get to fill these box stores where Toys R Us, Just for Feet, Best Buy, Hypermart, JC Penny's Circuit City, Jones Store, Dillard's, Montgomery Ward and Sears used to be?

This isn't even about the stadium any more when it comes to dealing with these guys. It's about the pigheadedness of some people that can't see how much good this redevelopment will do for an area that sorely needs it. Instead, they're happy to continue along with the status quo, with a huge eyesore on the south side of Kansas City.

Monday, December 24, 2007

End of Borgetti Rumors

The denial from Wizards president Robb Heineman didn't seem to stop the rumors of Jared Borgetti possibly coming to Kansas City. But this news certainly will. Borgetti has signed with Mexican first division side Monterrey. In the end my feeling is that the whole Borgetti to MLS thing was just posturing by Borgetti and his agent. So the Wizards continue to search for players to bring in next season.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Brazilian Wizards

Making the rounds in most of the soccer blogs recently has been this website that lets you put your name in, your number and will then come up with your Brazilian soccer name. So being a little bored, what I did is I took the Wizards roster and figured out their Brazilian names.

Davy Arnaud - Arnaincha
Jose Burciaga - Josaça
Eloy Colombano - Ela
Jimmy Conrad - Conrosa
Nick Garcia - Nildo
Michael Harrington - Harringtcos (Wow, that one is weak)
Kevin Hartman - Hartmisco
Aaron Hohlbein - Hohlbea
Jack Jewsbury - Jewsbaldo (probably my favorite one)
Will John - Jinho
Eddie Johnson - Eddiinhosa
Michael Kraus - Michaisco
Eric Kronberg - Kronbinho
Amir Lowery - Amildo
Carlos Marinelli - Carlson
Ryan McMahen - Ryiano da Costa
Kurt Morsink - Morseiro
Ryan Pore - Porinhosa
Ryan Raybould - Ryisco
Scott Sealy - Scildo
Sasha Victorine - Victorinson Peres
Tyson Wahl - Wito
Lance Watson - Watsosa
Kerry Zavagnin - Ka (simple enough?)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More Color

The rumors that I've been hearing since late last season have turned out to be turn. Late in the season I'd heard the rumor that the Wizards would be adding yellow to their team colors. Today after we finally got word from a Wizards staffer in print that the team would be adding the color. Over at Oz City, futuregrace has had a few entries looking at the addition of yellow in the uniform.

The other news is that the Wizards will be changing to a darker shade of blue this coming season. Personally I like our shade of blue, it's unique. And if we go a lot darker, with the yellow, we're going to start looking like the Galaxy. And who the hell wants to look like them?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Corner Trouble

What were you doing on September 9, 2006? For the Wizards, this was the last time that the team scored on a corner kick. Davy Arnaud volleyed home a Jose Burciaga Jr. corner to put the Wizards up 3-1 against the Colorado Rapids, in a game they won 4-1.

Since then, the Wizards have had a total of 182 corners, 161 this past season. The Wizards scored on none of them. The closest the Wizards have come, was their home opener this past season, when Jimmy Conrad hit the cross bar.

The streak without corners stretches over a full year. The Wizards have played 34 games in league play. 38 in all competitions (1 USOC, 3 playoff). They were the only team in the league this season to not score a goal off of a corner.

The real problem was that many of the corners didn't even look dangerous. Regularly corners were played either too long, over the heads of all the attacking players, or were played too short and didn't make it over the first. Another problem for the Wizards was their size on corners. It's hard to challenge hard for the ball in the air when you only have two really true threats on corners (Sasha Victorine and Conrad). What makes it worse, is the fact that in that same length of time, the Wizards have given up eight goals off of corners, all this past season. Seven of them came in the regular season. The 8th came in the conference finals, against Houston.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What is and What Will Be

Today after I got off of work, I made a trip over to Bannister Mall to take a look at the area as it is now, and how I remember it as a kid (except busier back then). I brought my camera along to get some pictures of what the place is like now and wanted to compare them to how the area will be once the 3 Trails Development takes place. Apologies in advance for the very long post, it's mostly due to the pictures.

Starting on the north side of the project, you have the Days Inn and the Super 8 Motel in that area.

Those hotels will be torn down, and in their place 2 hotels, with a combined 240 rooms, and some retails buildings will be built.
To the East of that, you have what is now Benjamin Stables. The ranch will be torn down, which in my opinion is the real sad part of this development.

In it's place, there will only be parking and a few office complexes.
From there we move to the spot where I'll be spending the majority of my time out at this complex, and that's the soccer specific stadium for the Wizards. The stadium will be going in north of where the mall currently stands, taking out some of the buildings for Benjamin Plaza, including the old Toys R' Us and Just for Feet. This picture is taken from across Hillcrest looking back towards where the stadium will be.
Along with the stadium, there will be a 7 story hotel, likely the hotel that will be used by visiting teams when they come to play at the new stadium.
Across Hillcrest from the stadium, where the old Hypermart currently sits, will be an office complex made up of 3 to 4 story office buildings. This picture is taken from where the soccer fields will be just south of the office complex. As well as a picture taken from just south of where the stadium will be.
And here's a general idea of what the complex will look like when the entire project is completed.
Moving just to the south of the offices, are the 12 tournament quality soccer fields that will be put in. They'll be built on the site of the rest of the Benjamin Plaza shopping area and the restaurants closer to Hillcrest. This picture is taken looking south at where the fields will be. Followed by what the fields will look like when the project is finished.

Then we have the main shopping part of the district, where the mall currently stands in all it's empty, plywood covered, weed infested parking lot glory. With pictures both looking south from where the stadium will be, and west from across Hillcrest.

And here's an outline of how the area will look once the mall has been torn down and the new shopping has gone in.Unfortunately by this time, my camera batteries died, and without replacements I was unable to get photos of the redevelopment of the area south of the mall, including the K-Mart location.
I also missed getting pictures of what will become another office complex, south of where the fields are, in an area that is currently an open field.

Heineman on 3 Trails

Last week, Robb Heineman was on Sports Radio 810 here in Kansas City, on Between the Lines with Kevin Kietzman. The Wizards have posted the interview on their website, you can listen to it here.

Overall the interview is really well done. Kietzman, who I'm normally not a fan of, asks some very informative questions to get more information out of Heineman about the project. Basically, the interview was a rehash of a lot of the information that this blog has already brought you. The project is almost a $1 billion project, OnGoal is putting up about $750 million of that themselves, with $273 million coming from the TIF.

In the interview, Heineman discusses OnGoal's plans for the area. They want to make it a high performance entertainment area, with retail, soccer tournaments, night clubs, concerts, etc. A lot like the Legends, but different. OnGoal wants to make this area more of a walking campus, more like downtown and the Power and Light District in that regard.

The interesting part for me, was the fact that the members of OnGoal were originally brought onto this idea by Lamar Hunt, who was looking for investors for building a soccer specific stadium. So OnGoal basically came in originally as real estate investors.

Heineman ends the interview explaining a bit more about how the plan will work, and hyping the fact that the risk is falling squarely on OnGoal. The plan is a pay as you go plan, and if the district does not reach it's projected potential, then OnGoal is not going to be reimbursed the money that they put in. As Kietzman says near the end, it certainly looks like all the risk is falling on OnGoal.

Competition Guideline Changes

Today MLS announced some changes to their competition guidelines. The new guidelines were voted on and approved by the MLS Board of Governors during their meeting before MLS Cup 2007 in Washington DC.

The big part of the announcement in regards to the Wizards, is some changes to Eddie Johnson's classification with the team. As we found out back in November, Eddie Johnson will not count as a designated player again next season if he is still with the Wizards.

The MLS Board of Governors ruled that Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Carlos Ruiz, who had high-salaried contracts with the League prior to the adoption of the Designated Player rule, will not occupy a Designated Player roster position for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. These players will, however, become their individual team's financial responsibility to the extent their actual salaries exceed their budget charge.
Basically, the way I'm reading this, is that while Johnson will not count as the Wizards DP, the Wizards could still find themselves paying more of Johnson's salary. Currently the Wizards pay only the $400K, league max for Johnson. The way it sounds, under this guideline, all of Johnson's salary will count against the Wizards cap. And any amount that the Wizards are over the cap due to Johnson's salary will cause the team to have to pay those overages. At least that's my understanding of this change.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Borgetti Rumor Still Around

The rumors of Jared Borgetti coming to MLS and Kansas City have not gone away. A new article out today states that the deal is done for Borgetti to come to the league. Thanks to fireEagleCuauhtemoc on bigsoccer, we have a summary of the article. As I mentioned in a previous article, Colorado and KC are the favorites to land the Mexican striker. According to the article, Borgetti says that Kansas City has shown the most interest in getting him.

This is contrary to what I posted last Wednesday with help from Wizards President Robb Heineman. Heineman had said that the Wizards were not going to be signing Borgetti. Heineman has given me no reason to doubt his word in this situation, so I'll continue to believe his word in this process, and that Kansas City is not going to be signing the Mexican international.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Offseason Roster Movement

I've added another page element on the right side of the page. This is for roster changes that take place during the offseason. I'll keep it updated with the list of players that the Wizards bring in and move out over the course of this offseason.

U-23's Draw China Again

The US Under 23 team drew against China late Saturday/early Sunday in China, in the team's second game of their tour of China. The United States jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half thanks to goals by Robbie Rogers, Patrick Ianni, and Charlie Davies.

To start the second half, coach Peter Nowak made 6 planned substitutions, one of which included Wizards midfielder/defender Michael Harrington coming on for Mike Randolph. Harrington, though, was the victim on the first goal as he didn't shut down his man on the left wing, and China pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute.

One of the other half time substitutes, Hunter Freeman picked up an injury early in the second half, causing the US to have to make another sub, which brought the Wizards other representative, Aaron Hohlbein into the game. With the full scale changes to the back line, China took advantage and pulled within one in the 65th minute.

As the article states, it looked like the US then settled down and was going to weather the pressure and get out with a 3-2 win. Unfortunately, the Chinese referee had other ideas.

With the match clock reading 90 minutes, Zhenyu collected the ball at the top of the box and dribbled towards goal. Second-half substitute Aaron Hohlbein cleanly tackled the ball away, but was left to stare in horror as referee Zhao Liang pointed to the penalty spot. Zhenyu had Seitz going the wrong way as he converted the ensuing penalty to level the score at three apiece.
Hohlbein looks to have been the victim of some bias refereeing on this final call. Having fallen asleep and not seen the foul and can't make my determination, but more often then not, these articles try to remain impartial unless the call is very bad. If some highlights of the game go up I'll make sure to post them.

That was not the only drama late in the second half, as Jozy Altidore was the victim of a rather harsh challenge, that saw the teams get into a scuffle in front of the US bench. In the aftermath of the scuffle, captain, Sacha Kljestan was ejected.

Giving up 3 goals in the second half is not the way to impress the coach, but it is only one game so Harrington and Hohlbein probably haven't done irreplaceable to their Olympic chances, but they certainly did not help themselves.


Thanks to mike8219 on bigsoccer for providing these highlights. There's no replay of the PK in this video, just the US goals and the Kljestan ejection, which contrary to the article looks fairly deserved.

Edit 2:
Thanks again to mike8219 on bigsoccer for getting full highlights up, including the "PK" call, which is around 3:36 in this video. Hohlbein looks to slide in and send the ball away and the attacker just falls over him after Hohlbein gets the ball. Poor call in my opinion

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Watch Harrington, Hohlbein, and U-23 Team Take on China

For all you night owls out there, the US under-23 team takes on China's U-23 team in the second of two games in the team's tour of China. The game takes place at 12:30 central time for those of you that will be up late tonight. If you want to watch, there are a few feeds of the game that you can catch online to watch the game.

You also have the chance tomorrow to possibly watch a future Wizards player play, as the college cup final will be on ESPN2 this Sunday at 2pm Central time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Under 23's Tie China

In their first of two matches against the Chinese Under 23 team, the US team drew their hosts 0-0 in Changsha, China. The Chinese, who have already qualified, apparently fielded what could be their team for the Olympics, as they had their 3 overage players already on the team for this game. For those that don't know the rules, the Olympics is an under 23 tournament. Although at the games, teams are allowed to have 3 overage players on their roster.

Wizards midfielder/defender Michael Harrington started the game on the bench, but came on for the last 10 minutes, when he replaced Arturo Alvarez. The other Wizards player on the roster, Aaron Hohlbein, was one of 3 players that spent the entire game on the bench. The two teams will meet again on Sunday in Guangzhou for the second game of the US's two game tour.

Council Passes 3 Trails TIF

The KC City Council today unanimously passed Lane4 and the Wizards TIF plan for Bannister Mall today, 13-0. As I stated yesterday, the one doubt had been Mayor Funkhouser. Funkhouser again in the meeting today stated his stance on Super TIFs, but then stated that he realized for this redevelopment, a Super TIF was required for it to succeed.

Four members of the city council spoke publicly at the meeting, which was broadcasted live on Kansas City's website. John Sharp, the 6th district (the district the site is in) representative, Terry Riley of district 5, and at large members Cathy Jolly and Cindy Circo all spoke very highly of the project and the impact that it would have not only the district it's in, but the surrounding area.

All is not over yet, though, as the TIF has to get it's state funding. Although, as one Wizards staffer said on bigsoccer, the money is already in the state budget, earmarked for use by a major TIF in the city of KC.

Wizards fans can celebrate the great news tonight and look forward to attending the ground breaking some time next year.

And thanks to the gallery on the Wizards website, we have this great picture of the overlay of the project on the current area.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where Will You Be?

It's been a while since I had a guest blogger, but I got an email today from a reader, and while I don't agree with them entirely, I feel they bring up some interesting points about the Cauldron, it's price, and the growth of the section. As with last time, I'll give just as much space for a rebuttal of this entry, if someone from the front office or another fan, wants to, much like Sam Pierron did last time I had a guest blogger.

I know that you haven't been wanting to post guest blogger entries, but I hope that you'd please consider posting this. This is something that I think is important for your readers to know.

As you've posted already, the Cauldron will be in what had been the left field berm. The berm will be replaced with bleachers for the Cauldron to stand on, instead of standing on the berm and it's grade. I've been to T-Bones games and sat in the berm, it's definitely steep. For doing all of this, the price for the Cauldron for season ticket holders will be $299. The raise in the price is to help to cover the construction cost of building the bleachers. If you're not a season ticket holder, and attend every game, then you'll be paying $324 for each game. Compared with the rest of the league and their seats behind the goal, the Wizards ticket price for that section puts it SECOND in the league, behind only the Galaxy (Thanks to Spoon on bigsoccer for that fact.). Call me crazy, but I don't think the Cauldron is worth that much.

Are high school and college students going to want to pay that much to stand in the Cauldron there? Unlikely, especially when they have the cheaper option of the berm on the other side of the field. The team has said that the berm will be like the rest of the stadium at Arrowhead in not allowing constant standing. How long will that last when many of the Cauldronites, La Porra, and all the high school and college kids move over to the berm because of the cheaper tickets? Especially when the tickets for the berm are going to be cheaper then the Cauldron.

I predict that by the second game there will be a large group standing, cheering, and celebrating, and the team will start to look the other way. While the Cauldron will be much smaller then the team is expecting. The reason the Cauldron was such a success last year, was because it was the cheapest ticket to be had. With that no longer the case, many of the fans are going to look for the cheap option in the stadium. What this all means, is that the team is going to end up losing money on the building of the Cauldron at CAB because season ticket holders will move. I already know of a few people that are moving their season tickets. Especially families, some of whom have been in the Cauldron for years. But without a child's priced ticket are being forced into the cheaper option to be able to come and still enjoy the game.

I worry that the entire growth from last season will be negated by the next two years because of the problem that will occur due to the price.

Thank you again for the chance to get this off my chest.

Borgetti Not Coming to KC

Call this one of the quickest rumors ever. Earlier today I posted how there were rumors of Kansas City chasing Mexican international, Jared Borgetti. Then tonight on bigsoccer, Wizards President, Robb Heineman, basically squashed that rumor in this post.

Full Speed Ahead

The Finance Committee has passed the Three Trails TIF plan today unanimously, putting to the city council for it to be passed. The other good news from this article is the news at the end of the beginning of the fourth paragraph.

But a late amendment that would give the city the opportunity to remain engaged
with the financing of the project while it is being reviewed for state
assistance persuaded the mayor to drop his objections.

So the disapproval that Mayor Funkhouser had stated last week looks to be out the window with this new amendment. For all Wizards fans, this is huge, as Funkhouser had been the big road block remaining in the process, due to his dislike of the possible Super TIF. While there are still hurdles to be passed, it is still a huge step forward in the process to get a stadium.

Below are some pictures of the development.

Borgetti to KC?

The Wizards finally look to have some credible rumors about the signing of a designated player. Hoping to have the same affect as Blanco did in Chicago, Kansas City is apparently interested in Mexican international Jared Borgetti. Borgetti has turned down offers to play in the Ukraine and Russia, and is being looked at by both the Wizards and Colorado about him coming to play in MLS. I don't read Spanish, but it's hard to miss the words Colorado and Kansas City in that article.

Personally I think this is a great move. Putting my US-Mexico feelings aside, I think Borgetti is a good striker that could have much more of a Blanco effect on the field, then a Denilson effect. He still has some years in him and was a good striker down in Mexico this past year. He'd be able to come in and take Eddie Johnson's place easily when Eddie leaves. It'd give Scott Sealy a target forward to play off of as well. Besides his effect on the field, he'd more then likely have the Blanco affect in the stands, as Mexicans in the US would likely come to games just to see Borgetti play.

The question becomes, is this just posturing by his agent, or is there real substance to this rumor.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Big Bannister Week

I've said it before, but this week is a big week for the Wizards, Lane4, Bannister Mall, and the Three Trails TIF. After the Finance Committee tabled voting on the plan last week, it is back on the agenda again for the meeting tomorrow at 8:15 at City Hall.

After that meeting, should all go well, it will go to the full city council for a vote on Thursday, again at City Hall. The meeting will be at 3 pm on the 26th floor of City Hall, which for those of you that don't know, is at 414 East 12th Street in KC.

Then comes the big challenge of trying to get by Mayor Mark Funkhouser, who has already stated he disapproves of the use of the Super TIF on the project. With two members of the council firmly behind this project, there are hopes that they could get the council to override the a veto by Funkhouser.

Match of the Year

And it's time for me to reveal the Match of the Year. At least in my opinion. First, here are 5 through 2.

#5 vs Columbus
#4 vs New York
#3 vs Chivas
#2 vs Chicago

And the Match of the Year.........

5/26 @ New England Revolution 4-3

Down the Byline original write up

Coming in without a win in the last two had taken a little bit of the wind out of the Wizards sails heading to New England. And that was not helped by the fact that KC was going to be without both Nick Garcia and Jimmy Conrad in the center of defense due to injuries. This looked like the opportune chance for New England to end their winless streak against the Wizards at home. But instead fans were treated to an exciting back and forth game.

New England took advantage of the inexperienced back line early in the game, as Steve Ralston was the first to react to his shot that was saved by Kevin Hartman to put in the rebound to give the Revolution the lead. The Revs were able to double their lead in the 23rd, when Taylor Twellman was given too much space outside the box. And his deflected shot beat Hartman to give New England a 2-0 lead inside the first 25 minutes.

The Wizards response to that was almost immediate, as in the 25th minute, Sasha Victorine's lofted ball to Davy Arnaud was brought down on his chest, right into his path, and Arnaud slid it past Matt Reis to make it 2-1. About a minute later, the Revs found themselves level, as Jack Jewsbury found Eddie Johnson, who was able to turn at the top of the box beat his man tie the game at 2-2.

In the game's 38th minute, Johnson added his second of the game, as he took Jay Heaps one-on-one on the left side, beating the Revolution defender, and then beating Reis short side to give the Wizards the lead. Into the second half, New England went searching for an equalizer, and in the 69th minute were given a PK when a Shalrie Joseph cross hit Jewsbury's hand. Joseph completed the PK to put the team back on level terms.

Johnson was not going to be out done on this night, though, as he took a great pass from Carlos Marinelli that split two Revolution defenders, rounded Reis and put the shot away for his first of two hattricks on the season. New England had a late chance to equalize, but Hartman came up with a big save to preserve the 3 points for the Wizards.

Full highlights of the match can be seen here:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Match Number 2

After taking yesterday off from the rankings, I'm back with the number 2 match of the year.

#5 vs Columbus Crew
#4 vs New York Red Bulls
#3 vs Chivas USA


8/22 vs Chicago Fire 3-2
Down the Byline original write up

This game had pretty much everything you want in a game. It had two teams that were fighting for something (playoff spots). A crowd that was divided thanks to the Fire bringing in Mexican international, Cuauhtemoc Blanco. It had goals, it had good saves, it had a PK miss, it was a good game.

Kansas City looked to fall behind early, as Chicago earned a PK early in the game. But Wizards defender, Nick Garcia, standing at the top of the penalty arch kept Blanco from his long run up. Blanco's PK went right at Kevin Hartman, who stood his ground and blocked the PK. Blanco, though, came back and set up Chicago's first goal in first half stoppage time, that Chad Barrett put away.

The Wizards came out hard in the second half, but almost gave up a second in 50th minute as Chris Rolfe had a shot nicely saved by Hartman In the 54th minute, KC found themselves level as Jose Burciaga's cross was put in by Sasha Victorine. The Wizards were then given a man advantage, as Gonzalo Segares picked up a second yellow in the 66th minute. It took the Wizards only two minutes to take advantage of the man advantage. Burciaga was again the creator, as he played for the whistle on a ball that looked like it went out of bounds. With no call from the referee, and the Fire players stopping, Burciaga went down the line and picked out Scott Sealy, who's touch put the ball over a sliding CJ Brown, and then Sealy buried the shot to give the Wizards the lead.

Chicago had a chance to draw level by both Paulo Wanchope had a point blank shot saved by Hartman right into the path of Ivan Guerrero, who had a wide open net, but shot it right at Hartman as he was making his way back to recover. After assisting on the first two goals, Burciaga finally got his goal, when Eddie Johnson flicked on a Ryan Raybould cross into Burciaga's path that he buried into the net, capping off a fantastic night for Burciaga. A late goal by Dasan Robinson didn't spoil the mood, though, as the Wizards went on to win 3-2.

CAB Playing Surface Laid

The Kansas City T-Bones have posted an article about the new "all sod infield" the team will be playing on next season. Not so much newsworthy for Wizards fans. What is newsworthy, though, is the picture included in the article.
You can see how the field will be laid out on the infield part of the field. Over on the far right of the picture, you can see the end of the stadium seats, what will probably be the best midfield seats for the games. Notice also how the pitchers mound will NOT be part of the playing surface, although it will make for an interesting obstacle to avoid during the run of play. Also, I don't know if it will remain for the season (unlikely), but that is the Wizards logo painted in the midfield circle.

I will hopefully have more pictures on Thursday, after I've gone over to Community America to choose my seat for the up coming season. At least as long as the field is not still covered in snow/sleet as I'm told it was today.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More Eddie Johnson News

With the news recently involving Bannister Mall and the redevelopment plan, I haven't been as diligent in finding rumors involving Wizards player news. Here's a short article from Thursday about the Wizards 2007 MVP Eddie Johnson, and the continued rumors of his move abroad.

It again talks about the interest from Reading in the US International striker. If he were to join Reading, he'd join up with two other US national team players, Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann.

The article does have quotes that Kansas City Wizards fans have seen before from Peter Vermes, where he discusses the fact that while Eddie is happy here, he doesn't know what's coming up for him. Will he be back? That's unsure right now, but you can bet once the January window opens up, things will definitely start to pick up.

As for his potential move to Reading, I think it'd be a good move for him. Especially if the rumors of Leroy Lita leaving the club are true. That would leave Reading with a hole a striker behind starters Kevin Doyle and Dave Kitson. Johnson could come in and be a good spark off the bench for the Royals.

Eddie Johnson in FourFourTwo

Eddie Johnson is in the supplement for the recent issue of FourFourTwo. The Supplement, out just before the opening of the January transfer window, is entitled: "100 Players Your Club Should Sign - From Aberedeen to Yeovil, we name the men who could supercharge your season!" It's a list of 100 players that would be good buys for teams from the BPL, SPL to all 3 levels of the football league, including non-conference players all the way up to Ronaldinho.

The list is divided up by the position the player plays, so the numbers are not of great importance, but at number 76 on the list, is Wizards forwad, Eddie Johnson.

Here is what is said about Johnson in the magazine:

Eddie Johnson
Age 23 Nationality American
Current Club Kansas City Wizards
£ £ £

Why buy? He's your classic 'bull in a china shop' English-style forward, all speed and muscle, with a good nose for goal. When he's hot, if you give him sight of the sticks, then he'll finish. The down side with Johnson is that his form is streaky: he scored 13 goals throughout August for KC but then went fallow, as the club struggled to make the play-offs. Nonetheless, his numbers - 15 goals, six assists - were enough for him to scoop the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.

Would suit... A club that needs an impact player off the bench. Critics say Johnson needs the ball put on a plate for him in order to do the business, so midfield support is a must. He has plenty of compatriots at Fulham but may need to first find his feet in the Championship. JT
A fairly accurate write up on the Wizards forward, even if it is done by Jamie Trekker. Johnson is definitely one of those "streaky" strikers, who when he gets on a roll is deadly. But as good as he can be when on, he can be just as inept when his form is bad.

The three £ signs, is the rating system that the magazine used to rank the different players, by their price range. Johnson fell into the £1-5 million range. In the end, I think Johnson would fit in well at an upper level championship side, like a Watford, West Brom, or Charlton.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Match of the Year Number 3

We're up to the number 3 match of the year for the Wizards.

#5 vs Columbus Crew
#4 vs New York Red Bulls


7/29 vs Chivas USA 3-2
Down the Byline original write up

Coming out of the All Star break, the Wizards had gotten a 2-2 draw with Colorado at home. This was the Wizards third game unbeaten, as they'd gotten a win and a draw heading into the break. The Wizards then faced Chivas USA, who were also on a 3 game unbeaten run in the league. As with the New York match that finished at number 4, the Wizards started this one on the back foot, as they fell behind to a Jonathan Bornstein strike. The Wizards looked to get back into the game in the 22nd, when Davy Arnaud was brought down in the box, giving the Wizards a PK. Carlos Marinelli stepped up to take the PK, but hit it poorly, and Brad Guzan guessed right to hold onto Chivas' lead.

Kansas City found themselves level in the 38th minute, though, as Kerry Zavagnin let loose with a rock from about 30 yards out. The ball sailed right into the elbow of the crossbar and corner, leaving Guzan with no chance to save it. Into the second half, the Wizards continued to press for the second goal, and in the 53rd minute, they were rewarded, as Arnaud's free kick from the left side of the field landed right between the on rushing attackers and Guzan, freezing Guzan where he stood, and the ball just skipped into the net untouched by any player. Guzan had to wait where he was in case Jimmy Conrad got a touch on the ball. By the time the ball was past Conrad, it was too late for Guzan to adjust to save it.

The lead did not hold up long though, as two minutes John Cunliffe, a half time sub, equalized for the Goats. Both teams pressed for the winning goal as the game wore on, the Wizards inserted two more forwards, Yura Movsisyan and Ryan Pore hoping to find the winner. In 89th minute, it was Movsisyan who provided the magic. Receiving the ball on the wing, Movsisyan cut towards the goal, drew two Chivas defenders, before cutting back up field, giving himself some space. With that space, from the corner of the box, Movsisyan took a shot that got just enough of a deflection off of Shavar Thomas to carry it over Guzan and into the net to give the Wizards the lead again.

You can see the highlights of the game below, courtesy of the MLS youtube account.

KC Kings Schedule

In their first season, Kansas City's indoor team, the Kings, will play 8 games against their 3 Midwest Region opponents. All of the Kings home games are on Saturday nights at either 8:45 or 7.

The Kings will open the season on the road on December 15th, against Piasa FC, of Collinsville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis. This is the team's only game of 2007, as the entire league takes a break after this game for the Christmas and New Year's season. The Kings return to action on January 5th against Swanner United, who play in Glen Carbon, IL, another St. Louis suburb. The Kings finally have their home opener the following week, January 12th at 8:45 against the same Swanner United team. The 26th of January, they'll get their first look at their their third and final conference rival, the Springfield Spirits, of Springfield, IL at 7.

The Kings finish their regular season on February 23rd at 8:45 against Piasa FC. The top two teams in the region will meet in the Midwest Championship, March 1st. The winner of that match will head to the PASL International Championships in Fredericksburg, VA March 14th and 15th.

KC Kings schedule
Dec 15th 7:35 @Piasa FC
Jan 5th 7:35 @ Swanner United
Jan 12th 8:45 vs Swanner United
Jan 26th 7:00 vs Springfield Spirits
Feb 2nd 8:45 vs Piasa FC
Feb 10th 7:35 @ Swanner United
Feb 16th 7:00 @ Springfield Spirits
Feb 23rd 8:45 vs Piasa FC
March 1st 7:00 Midwest Championship

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Cauldron at CAB

The Cauldron location out at Community America Ballpark is now known. As I posted recently, there were two locations for where the Cauldron could go. The Cauldron will be in option A, the left field berm. But as this post from Sam Pierron on bigsoccer states, the berm will be made into bleacher seating for the section.

As someone with a bad knee, standing on the berm was going to be trouble. Thanks to this, I definitely feel more comfortable being in the section and feel like things will be safer as a whole in the section. Thank yous go out to those on the Wizards and T-Bones staff that worked to get this done for the section.

Bannister NOT Wizards Only Option

One day after Mayor Funkhouser stated that while "excited" about the planned redevelopment of Bannister Mall, he didn't want the plan to use the Super TIF that the plan called for, the developers stated their displeasure in his decision.

The article has quotes from the councilwoman, Cathy Jolly, of the district that includes the Bannister Mall complex. Her and councilman, John Sharp are definitely for this development. To overrule a potential veto by Mayor Funkhouser, Jolly and Sharp would have to get the backing of 6 more of their colleagues to be on board with them. To override the veto, the council would need a 3/4's majority (8 of 12).

Should the plan not pass, it's not like the Wizards will be left out in the cold. As with all good businessmen, OnGoal LLC has a backup plan should the Bannister plan fail. That plan involves the team staying in Kansas and moving down south to Olathe. While the OnGoal still says that Bannister is where they want to play, the city of Olathe has approached the team about using STAR bonds to help build a stadium out in the southern KC suburb.

Match Number 4

Yesterday I started my series on the Wizards Best Matches of 2007, with the Wizards 3-2 win over Columbus. Today we continue to the countdown with #4.

6/2 vs New York Red Bulls 3-2

Down the Byline original write up.

The Wizards had been off to a good start to the season, coming into the match, the Wizards were 5-2-1 and up near the top of the league. This match was a battle for first place in the Eastern Conference in this early season battle. Kansas City was coming in off of a big win in New England and an Eddie Johnson hattrick. New York was coming in hot as well, off season signing, Juan Pablo Angel was tearing up the league.

Angel and the Red Bulls got the first blow in the first half, as Angel scored his 4th goal of the season in only the 8th minute. New York was able to keep that lead throughout the rest of the first half. Into the second half, though, was a different story. Only one minute into the second half, a Michael Harrington's lofted ball over the top found Johnson, who one touched a looping ball over keeper Jon Conway, to level the score at 1-1. The Wizards took their first lead of the game in the 59th minute, when a Jose Burciaga Jr. cross found Johnson alone on the back post for an easy tap in.

Johnson completed his league record second hattrick in consecutive games in the 85th minute, when Sasha Victorine's pass cut the New York defense and found Johnson who was in alone on Conway. A goal by Dema Kovalenko in the 88th made things interesting through stoppage time, but the Wizards held on and moved to the top of the league.

The win, and subsequent move to the top of the league sparked this celebration in the concourse after the game.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sorry Ladies

Apparently Wizards Rookie of the Year Michael Harrington is off the market. Last week before he jetted off to LA to join up with the Under 23 National Team, Harrington popped the question to his long time girlfriend, Katie Miller. The two met at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where while Harrington played soccer, Miller made a name for herself playing for the UNC women's golf team. Congrats to the newly engaged couple, who hope to marry some time next year some time between Harrington's busy soccer schedule.

Matches of the Season

To get my mind off the news from yesterday dealing with the Bannister Mall stuff, I decided to spend some time looking through the Wizards schedule, and picking the Top 5 games of the season. I'll post them over the next 5 days, starting today, with number 5.


9/15 vs Columbus Crew 3-2

Down the Byline original write up.

This certainly wasn't the Wizards best performance of the season. In fact, the Wizards were lucky to get a point, let alone all 3 of them against the Crew. That said, what makes this game was the ending.

The Wizards had come into this game after a 1 win August. They'd started the month of September with a tie down in Houston, and were looking to build off that result, to hopefully see themselves into the playoffs. The Wizards were able to grab the lead in the 31st minute thanks to this beauty of a free kick from Scott Sealy.

Kansas City held this lead into the half, but the Wizards were unable to hold onto the lead, though. Columbus got goals from Alejandro Moreno and Andy Herron in the 65th and 67th minute to put the Wizards on their heals. The Crew looked to be on their way to victory in second half stoppage time, when a foul by Stefani Migloranzi on Kerry Zavagnin in the box gave Eddie Johnson the chance to score a PK to tie the game at 2-2.

Before Wizards fans had even had a chance to settle down from the goal and an unearned point, Johnson, streaking down the middle of the field played the ball wide to Eloy Colombano, who placed a cross right on the head of Sealy, who buried it past Hesmer in the 4th minute of stoppage time to give the Wizards the win.

Full highlights of the game can be seen here:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jose Burciaga Fundraiser

I've been critical of Jose Burciaga this past season, especially late in the season when I made comments that he was probably on his way out. I still would not be surprised to see him leave, but he's doing a lot of good while he's still here with his Jose Luis Burciaga Foundation. A week from tomorrow, the foundation will be holding a fundraiser at El Patron at 2905 Southwest Boulevard, in Kansas City. Tickets for the event are $40 and will go to support underprivileged youth. The event will be attended by other Wizards players. Your purchase of a ticket will include dinner and the chance to taste a variety of Mexican beers. If you are interested in signing up, the form is on this message, or you can send me an email and I will forward you the form.

Former Wizard has Trial

Back to some on the field news. Chris Konopka, who was waived by the Wizards at the end of the season has headed to England for a three week trial with English League One side, Walsall. This is actually Konopka's third trial. He had trials with Cardiff City and Charlton before signing with the Wizards last season. Neither one of those two trials had come through, because at the time Konopka did not have his Polish passport. He does now, though, which is better for his chances of making a team in England due to the EU standards. He also apparently has interest from IFK Göteborg and Örebro in Sweden and Legia Warsaw in Poland.

While with the Wizards this past season, Konopka played 135 minutes in 3 games for the Wizards reserves.

Residents Talk

Along with the whole finance meeting and Funkhouser saying that the Super TIF should be removed, local residents around the mall are speaking up.

The Star article I posted in the Funkhouser post has a few South KC residents talking in it. They're wanting this thing passed, and the fact that Funkhouser seems to be dragging his feet looks to them as though Funkhouser cares nothing about the South side of town. This seems to be the feelings of most of the residents of this area. They're tired of the area being deserted except for a few stores.

The few naysayers on the South side continue to come from the "Save Bannister Mall" group. Specifically William Woodruff, who made his feelings known publicly again today. You remember Woody right? He's the guy that had an editorial posted in the Star back in October that I completely tore apart in one of my blog entries. Here's his quote this time, same tune, different words:

"We're against it, but we're for opening the Bannister Mall and giving the mall back to the people," said William Woodruff. "It's the people who are being hurt here."
Woody, Woody, Woody, we've been through this before. Reopening the mall is not going to bring back enough business to make it worth while. The owner of the mall said that there was not enough business to keep it open, that's why it closed in the first place. None of the local stores are big enough to fill all those big box style buildings that currently sit empty in that area. Is that really going to change just by reopening it? Is the area really going to become even half of what it was in the 80's and early 90's without some major redevelopment? Unlikely.

Yes a plan needs to be made to have some of the stores in the new development be for local businesses to come back in and begin again, it'd be a nice compromise. For those that don't get in, why not go to Loma Vista or other areas on Blue Ridge Boulevard. And stop this whole "people's mall" thing. You sound like a joke, like you're "doing it for the Rock, you're doing it for the People." (Sorry for the old wrestling reference.) Seriously the majority of the South KC area, residents and elected officials seem to be in favor of this. According to one person who was able to watch the broadcast of the meeting online, the finance committed didn't seem to interested in your side.

Mayor Funkhouser Says No Super TIF

Mayor Mark Funkhouser has made his feelings known on the redevelopment plan of Bannister Mall and the surrounding 3 Trails Area. He's excited about the plan. But he is not going to sign off until more discussion has taken place, including the dropping of the Super TIF requirement.

Funkhouser says that the Super TIF will generate "no benefit" for the city with the use of the Super TIF. He says he wants the project to progress though, which is at least one plus. But my question is, how are you going to redevelop that area well enough without help Super TIF. Any project that would look to redevelop that entire area is likely going to need a Super TIF, it's not just this project.

Let's just forget about the fact that the Wizards are involved for a second. This is a large area of land, it's going to need quite a bit of help from city and state officials for anything to happen in this area. I grew up around this area, I went to Bannister Mall all the time as a kid, during the height of it's popularity. I saw it's hard and quick fall into oblivion. Something needs to be done, and without a Super TIF I just have trouble seeing this area being developed by any developer.

The Speed of Government

Today was supposed to be the day that the KC Council Finance Committee voted on the plan at Bannister Mall for the redevelopment of the area. Unfortunately 3 hours or so after the 8:15 meeting started, no vote had been taken, and the matter had been tabled until next Wednesday when it will be voted on.

I was unable to attend the meeting and relied on first hand responses from people that attended the meeting. I would like to thank szazzy and slashersfc over on bigsoccer for posting their accounts of the meeting. The main topic of discussion seemed to be the discrepancies between two different models that provided two rather different financial outcomes of the project. One a nice positive outcome, the other a negative. Those are things the council will be meeting with Lane4 about over the course of the next week to discuss those discrepancies. Hopefully these issues will be ironed out and we will get a vote next Wednesday before it goes to the city council for a vote that right now still is planned for next Thursday.

I'm going to have quite a few posts tonight about today's meeting and other things. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Finance Committee Meeting Tomorrow

Kansas City Mayor, Mark Funkhouser, will make have his first public session on the Lane4/Wizards Bannister Mall TIF tomorrow at the Kansas City Council Finance Committee meeting. The meeting is at 8:15 am on the 10th floor of City Hall, at 414 East 12th Street. This is another big hurdle for the plan, as Mayor Funkhouser ran for mayor on a reformation of the TIF platform. Although I've heard that Funkhouser is in favor of redevelopment of some kind in that area, he still remains the BIG hurdle in passing this plan. It is open to the public for people to attend. With approval at the Finance Committee meeting, the full city council will vote on the project Thursday December 13th.

Wizards Will Open Against United

For the second season in a row, the Kansas City Wizards will be opening against DC United. This time, though, the game will be in Kansas City. The game will be Saturday, March 29th at 7 pm central time at Community America Ballpark. This could also be the leagues first look at Juan Sebastián Verón, who looks like he could be signing with DC United this off season. There is also already talk from the Handball United fans of a road trip to KC for this game.

In other game news, the Wizards have announced the plan for how season ticket holders will choose their seats. In the first link I posted, the press release states how season ticket holders will be given a specific time next week to come out to CAB to choose where they will sit. As for the Cauldron, that location is still to be decided, although there are two options for where the group will be. For more on that discussion you can check out Below is the stadium map with a picture of the two possible Cauldron locations.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hohlbein is with the U-23 Squad

A little under a week ago, I reported that the Kansas City Wizards would have two players represented at the U-23 camp. I had said that both Michael Harrington and Aaron Hohlbein were brought into the U-23 camp that would be taking place this month. Then came the 22 player roster from the US Soccer federation, that have Harrington on it, but not Hohlbein.

Today comes even more news. Apparently Hohlbein IS with the U-23 team in their December camp. According to Nick Green over at 100 Percent Soccer, Hohlbein was brought in as a replacement for Columbus Crew player, Eddie Gaven. Here is the report from US Soccer about it, that I missed on November 30th. The squad will depart this Saturday for their tour of China, including two games against China's U-23 squad. Congrats to Hohlbein once again on making the roster.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Changes to MLS Foreign Player Rule

Steven Goff, over at Soccer Insider reported a few days ago that it looked like MLS was going to dumping their senior/youth international distinction for foreign players, instead going with a foreigner or not approach. According to Goff MLS teams will have 8 foreign slots with no age restrictions starting next season.

This change likely won't have much of an effect on the Wizards, though. Kansas City has rarely ever used their full allotment of SI and YI spots. Usually the Wizards have had anywhere from 3 to 5 of their international slots used at one time. This year, the Wizards only had 3 of their slots used, for Scott Sealy, Carlos Marinelli, and Eloy Colombano. So chances are extremely unlikely that the Wizards will fill those other 5 slots for next season.

I could, though, see the Wizards adding another one or possibly two foreign players to their roster next year. Especially with the news later on in that same Goff article about Coach Onalfo attending a scouting combine in Argentina.