Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wishes for 2009

So tomorrow is New Years Eve and that means it's almost 2009. Time to take a look at some wishes for the year of 2009.

1. Ground breaking on the stadium - I wanted this to happen last year and obviously it didn't happen. So now it's time to push this back to next year. With all the hurdles cleared for the stadium it's much more likely that the ground breaking will happen this year.

2. 10-15 goal scorer for the Wizards - With last years top scorer scoring only 7 goals, I want a guy that will score 10-15 goals next year. It can be a new player, Claudio Lopez, or even Jimmy Conrad, I don't care I just want a guy that can put the ball in the next consistently.

3. US qualifies for World Cup 2010 - The Hex starts this February, so the US will begin the final phase. I'd hope by the midway point of qualifying that the team was well on it's way to qualifying for South Africa. A bonus would be a qualifier in KC, which is really unlikely, but I can hope.

4. US does well at the Confederations Cup - As Gold Cup champs from last year, the US gets to play in South Africa this summer in the Confederations Cup against Italy, Brazil, and Egypt, probably the hardest group the US could have gotten, but hopefully the US does well.

5. Some Silverware - I'll keep asking for it until we get it. The Wizards have 4 chances in the 2009 season with both the MLS regular season, the playoffs, US Open Cup, and SuperLiga. Hopefully the US can bring home some silverware from at least one of those.

6. Lopez has a 2009 season like the end of the 2008 season - Lopez ended the 2008 season very well, but the majority of his season was underwhelming for a designated player. Hopefully in the 2009 season he can play more like he did at the end of the season and less like the rest of it.

7. A blowout home win - The Wizards haven't won a game by more than 3 goals since the home opener of the 2007 season against Toronto (that's 1 time in Onalfo's 2 years with the Wizards). In 2009 I'd like to see a nice big home win for the Wizards, a game where we just completely blow out the team, we catch them on a bad day or things just come together for us. It'd be great to have a game where the fans aren't stressing at the end about a late equalizer or something.

Jewsbury Gets Call Up

Most of you already know this probably, Jack Jewsbury has received his first call up to a US Men's National Team Camp. Jewsbury today was named to the first camp of the year (affectionately called "Camp Cupcake" by posters on bigsoccer). This is Jewsbury's first time being called up to any level of the national team. The camp begins on January 4th in LA in preparation for the friendly against Sweden on the 24th. Jewsbury was one of nine midfielders named to the team, and the only Wizards player to be named to the team.

It's disappointing that Jewsbury was the only one named, because there were probably 3 other Wizards that were pretty deserving of a call up. Davy Arnaud, who was called up for the last World Cup Qualifier, Jimmy Conrad, who has mysteriously not been called up for a long time, and Michael Harrington, who had a solid sophomore season, but hasn't had a call up since the U-23 trip to China in 2007.

Again, sorry for the late write up, my current job keeps me from not having much access to my blog. So if anyone knows of any openings for a guy who has experience in desktop and remote support and likes to write about soccer the rest of the time, feel free to contact me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the Year Look at 2008 Wishes

2008 is almost over, which means I need to look back at my wishes for 2008.

1. Save Bannister Mall Petition Fails - As I said in my mid-year review, the petition failed early in 2008, and we haven't heard from Richard Tolbert since that failure. Now with everything secured, it looks like we won't have to worry about him at all.

2. Public Ground Breaking for the Wizards SSS in Early 08 - Well that didn't happen, wasn't even close. Looks like we won't have a ground breaking until some time this coming year due to all the monetary delays.

3. Eddie Johnson Stays in KC - Again as I said in the mid-year review, Johnson is gone, went to Fulham, and this season has been loaned out to Cardiff City, where he still hasn't scored, and is struggling to get off the bench. Johnson hasn't scored a league goal since his 93rd minute penalty kick goal against Columbus on September 15th of 2007.

4. More Consistent Goal Scoring - This one didn't happen either. The Wizards weren't able to get consistent goalscoring from anyone on the team. With Davy Arnaud being the team's top goalscorer with only 7 goals, this one has to go down as an unfulfilled wish.

5. Good Start to US Qualifying for South Africa 2010 - Well the US is into the Hex without much trouble. The US won their first 4 games of qualifying clinching their spot in the Hex with 2 games to play. Qualifying will start back up in February with the US taking on Mexico in Columbus, OH.

6. Some Silverware - The Saturn Cup and New Mexico Cup don't count, the Wizards ended the season without any silverware. They finished in the regular season 15 points behind Supporters' Shield winners, Columbus and were eliminated by them in the MLS Cup playoffs. The Wizards other chance for silverware was in the US Open Cup. They went out in the quarterfinals to Seattle Sounders.

7. A Friendly Against a Foreign Team for the Wizards - As I said I mid-year, I wasn't happy about the timing of it, but the Wizards did have their first home friendly since 1997 when they took on sister club Atlas.

Sell Outs at CAB - We had sell outs, but not the number I was hoping for or expecting. The Wizards sold out 5 games at CAB this year. Definitely not a great number. Hopefully next year the Wizards will do better in that regard.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Former Wizards Update

Here's a quick update on the former Wizards that are still in season right now. Both Johnson's and Walsh's teams have Boxing Day games tomorrow.

Rest of the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Came on as a sub in the 90th minute in Cardiff's 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - German league is on winter break.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Started, but only played 24 minutes in Adelaide's 1-0 win over Al Ahly in the 5th place match at the Club World Cup.
Will John - FK Cukaricki Stankom - Serbia - The Serbian league is on winter break until Februray.

Merry Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Appearances For the Wizards

Time to update the list of Wizards players that have appeared in 100 games for the Wizards. There was plenty of movement on the list, as Kerry Zavagnin, Davy Arnaud, Jimmy Conrad, and Jack Jewsbury made movement up the list. There was only 1 player who joined the list of players to play in 100 league games for the Wizards, and that was Sasha Victorine. The big note about the list this year is the fact that Kerry Zavagnin became the all time leader in MLS games played and MLS games started, passing Nick Garcia for both records. To put into perspective, playing 30 games a year, it will take 3 years for current players Davy Arnaud and Jimmy Conrad to pass Zavagnin's record. Bolded players are still with the team at the time of this posting.

Kerry Zavagnin - 237
Nick Garcia - 224
Preki - 218
Chris Klein - 200
Davy Arnaud - 166
Jimmy Conrad - 154
Mo Johnston - 149
Matt McKeon - 144
Jack Jewsbury - 138
Tony Meola - 125
Chris Brown - 123
Diego Gutierrez - 119
Uche Okafor - 119
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 115
Francisco Gomez - 114
Sean Bowers - 111
Sasha Victorine - 106
Digital Takawira - 103
Josh Wolff - 92
Kevin Hartman - 60
Michael Harrington - 59
Kurt Morsink - 42
Claudio Lopez - 28
Roger Espinoza - 22
Aaron Hohlbein - 19
Lance Watson - 16
Jonathan Leathers - 15
Chance Myers - 10
Abe Thompson - 8
Herculez Gomez - 8
Kevin Souter - 7
Matt Marquess - 5
Nelson Pizarro - 3

Wolff is the only player that has a chance of joining the group next season as he only needs to play in 8 games to reach that milestone. The hights Hartman can get is up to 90.

No new players joined the 100 starts list this season, but the list should see at least 1 new player next year, possibly 2 if Wolff can start half of next seasons 30 games.

Kerry Zavagnin - 228
Nick Garcia - 224
Preki - 199
Chris Klein - 183
Jimmy Conrad - 153
Davy Arnaud - 145
Mo Johnston - 142
Matt McKeon - 126
Tony Meola - 125
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 110
Diego Gutierrez - 108
Uche Okafor - 107
Sean Bowers - 104
Digital Takawira - 100
Jack Jewsbury - 97
Josh Wolff - 85
Kevin Hartman - 60
Michael Harrington - 57
Claudio Lopez - 25
Kurt Morsink - 23
Aaron Hohlbein - 18
Jonathan Leathers - 12
Roger Espinoza - 12
Abe Thompson - 7
Chance Myers - 7
Herculez Gomez - 7
Lance Watson - 5
Kevin Souter - 4
Matt Marquess - 4

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Class of 2008

It's the offseason, which means all my statistical stuff comes back out in full force. To start it all off, let's have a look back at the Wizards 2008 draft. In the two drafts, the Wizards had a total of 10 picks, including two in the first round of the Superdraft.

1(1) - Chance Myers - Myers, a Generation Adidas player, appeared in only 10 league games in his rookie campaign, totaling 681 minutes played. His time this season was cut short due to injuries and illness. Myers also added in 209 minutes in all 3 games of the Wizards US Open Cup run. He also appeared in 6 reserve league matches.

1(11) - Roger Espinoza - Espinoza was another Generation Adidas selection. Of all the players the Wizards drafted, Espinoza appeared in the most games for the Wizards, 22 MLS, 26 in all competitions. He tied Jonathan Leathers for the most league starts with 12. He raked up 1169 minutes, 1 goal and 3 assists in league play. He added two more assists while playing in 6 reserve league games this season.

2(23) - Yomby William - William only appeared in 3 reserve league games (starting 1) for a total of 195 minutes before being waived to make room for Kevin Souter. William seems to have found success elsewhere, though, as he's playing for the Puerto Rico Islanders of USL-1.

2(25) - Jonathan Leathers - Leathers held onto the starting right back spot for most of the season, tying Espinoza for the most league starts. Including the US Open Cup and playoffs, Leathers started 17 matches (2 more than Espinoza). He lead all the Wizards rookies in not just MLS minutes but competitive minutes too (1193 league, 1696 overall). He was the only rookie to appear in the league, playoffs, US Open Cup, and the Open Cup qualifier this season.

3(39) - Matt Marquess - Marquess spent most of his time this past season with the reserves, playing in 9 of the games, scoring 1 goal and getting 1 assist. He did, though, get some time with the first team when Michael Harrington had his run in the midfield. He played in 5 league games, starting 4 and picked up 1 assist. He also played every minute of the two US Open Cup games and made a token appearance in the playoffs.

4(53) - Rauwshan McKenzie - McKenzie was the only rookie to feature in all 11 of the Wizards reserves games this past season. He started all 11 of those games. He also made 1 appearance with the first team, as he started the Wizards' game against Seattle in the US Open Cup, although he was pulled at halftime for Jimmy Conrad.

Sup 1(11) - Pat Healey - Healey was invited to preseason training, but was waived before the trip to Argentina. Healey, though, caught on with Crystal Palace Baltimore of USL-2.

Sup 2(25) - Vicente Arze - Arze never came to camp with the Wizards, before the draft even took place, Arze had signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps of USL-1. While there he mainly came off the bench, but recently had the option on his contract picked up.

Sup 3(39) - Tom Gray - Like Healey, Gray came to preseason training, but was waived before the trip to Argentina. Haven't been able to find any information on where he went due to how common his name is.

Sup 4(53) - Andrew Kartunen - Didn't immediately show up with the Wizards as he finished school with Stanford. When he did show up, he was signed as a league keeper and trained with the team. Kartunen, though, missed a lot of time training in goal due to injury.

Overall, the Wizards didn't have a bad draft, in what was considered a weak class. Leathers and Espinoza look like the could be solid contributors for years to come. Marquess looks like he could eventually be a decent player too. Due to the injuries and mono, it's a little too early to judge Myers being the number 1 pick. From the little I've seen he could certainly be a solid player.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wizards Linked with Honduran National Teamer

It's the offseason, which means rumor time about what players could be potentially coming to the US and the Wizards. While out looking around the net today, I came across this rumor about the Wizards. It's in connection with Honduran national teamer Carlo Costly. Costly currently plays for GKS Bełchatów, in the Polish first division. According to the article, Costly is currently linked to C.A. Monarcas Morelia of the Mexican first division, but that he's also held discussions with the Wizards and LA. Although the quote about their discussions with Peter Vermes reminds me more of just agent posturing. Still, if the Wizards can grab Costly, I think it'd be a very good move. He's had a decent scoring rate at each of his previous clubs. It'd give the Wizards a forward who is strong in the air as well as having some good foot skills. Should the Wizards get Costly it'd give KC two Hondurans on the team, joining Roger Espinoza. Check out this compilation of highlights of Costly.

Friday, December 19, 2008


While on Facebook tonight, I came across from the one and only Captain Kansas City, Jimmy Conrad, in the Facebook group, Jimmy Conrad has a Posse. In his post, Jimmy linked to his new website, www.jimmyconrad.com. While the site currently doesn't have a whole lot of content, Conrad ensures that more information will show up once the MLS season gets back underway. Conrad had this to say about what will appear of the site, "commercials I'm shooting for the site, blogs, podcasts, other random videos, fan participation events, you name it so stay tuned".

Can't wait to see what Conrad will come up with. The site will be linked in my blog roll from now on.

Zavagnin Joins Coaching Staff

What most Wizards fans wanted to happen has happened. Kerry Zavagnin, who retired at the end of this past season, will be staying in Kansas City. Today came word that the Wizards have named Kerry Zavagnin an assistant coach with the team. Zavagnin fills the second assistant coaching position that had been left empty this past season after the departure of Chris Henderson to become the technical director of Seattle Sounders FC of MLS.

I love this move personally. Zavagnin is a fan favorite and has shown a willingness to be a leader for the team. He'd stated his interest in getting into coaching, and the rumor had always been that the Wizards would offer him a position, it's great to see that finally happen. He joins a growing list of former Wizards that are coaching in the professional ranks, including Preki (Chivas USA), Brian Johnson (Real Salt Lake), Francisco Gomez (Bakersfield Brigade), Sean Bowers (San Diego SeaLions), and Jake Dancy (Orlando Sharks)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Espinoza on Honduran Roster

Earlier this week I posted an article about how midfielder, Roger Espinoza had just missed out on being named to the Honduran roster for the UNCAF Cup coming up in late January. Now comes word that the Honduran coach will name a preliminary 25 man roster that he will cut down to 20 for the tournament. Espinoza has been named to that preliminary roster. We'll see if Espinoza can get himself into the 20 man roster for the tournament.

Update 12/19: Hillcrest Road has some quotes from Espinoza and Peter Vermes about the call up.

No More Supplemental Draft

Ives Galarcep is reporting that with the new roster changes, MLS will scrap the leagues second draft, the supplemental draft. This seemed to be an expected move with rosters being reduced to 24, it doesn't make sense to have another 4 rounds to draft after you already have 4. The players that would have been taken in this draft will now become free agents if they're not taken, able to negoiate with any MLS team. With the roster changes, this is a smart move, but overall I was not a fan of the roster changes period, so it's just the continuation of a move I didn't like.

As for what this means to the Wizards, at the time of this announcement, the team had 4 picks in the supplemental draft, one in each round according to the blog Climbing the Ladder (second entry). It does have some implications for previous trades the team has made. The Wizards had been scheduled to receive Real Salt Lake's first round supplemental pick as part of the Yura Movsisyan trade. The team also owed one of their two first round supplemental picks (the RSL pick included) to Colorado as part of the Herculez Gomez trade. What is to be done with this now is not known, and it could be nothing at all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Former Wizards Update

Another week of updates, few players to report on at the moment. But we do have one player winning a regional championship, while another plays in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Was with the Jamaican national team as they won the Digicel Caribbean Championship. Thomas played all 90 minutes in the finals, a 2-0 win over Grenada.

Rest of the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Came on in the 35th minute of Cardiff's 2-1 win over Ipswich, he was subbed out in the 83rd minute as a tactical sub.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Played 67 minutes in Koblenz' 1-0 loss to FC Ingolstadt 04.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Did not play in United's 2-1 win over Waitakere United in the FIFA Club World Cup. Started and played 87 minutes in United's 1-0 loss to Gamba Osaka in the Club World Cup.
Will John - FK Čukarički Stankom - Serbia - The Serbian league is now on winter break until February.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Open Tryouts

The vote was never much in doubt either here or on Hillcrest Road, but both votes are now over. Of the 176 votes 147 were in favor of me trying out for the team this year. So I'll be out there March 7th for the tryouts ready to make a bit of a fool of myself and get graded by some players. If anyone is interested in donating to help me cover the cost of the entry fee, you can email me.

I'm looking forward to it, even though I have no grand plans for being invited back to train with the team, it will certainly be something worth doing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Other Side of the Coin

Today over at KC Soccer Review I came across a commentary from Bruce Rodgers on @KC Online about the redevelopment at Bannister Mall. It's a generally negative article about the burden being put on tax payers. There are a few points in his commentary that I would like to comment on, and it gets a little long.

As it is when developers seek to burden taxpayers with risk they won’t fully assume themselves, the numbers are all over the place. The $273 million figure in TIF assistance has also been listed as $267 million and $260 million — it all depends on which media outlet is reporting. Nailing down the total cost for redeveloping the abandoned Bannister Mall area also depends upon which news outlet referenced. The Kansas City Star first reported $943 million, a year later $949 million, the Kansas City Business Journal duplicated the Star’s figures and, until recently, Lane4 uses the same amount on its www.thetrailskc.com website. A $1 billion to $1.1 billion pops up in articles from commercial real estate development trade publications and websites, and on blogs commenting about major league soccer.

First is the above comment about not having the full price of the project and therefore not the full price that the city and state is covering. What he doesn't mention is that with basically any project there is going to be fluctuation with the price of the project, you're not going to get a straight number on the whole project until it is finished. Up unto this point, that it's just the expected cost of the project. It's the same with the redevelopment of the Truman Sports Complex for the Chiefs and Royals. And like with that redevelopment, the overages are going to be covered by the team/developers. Unlike that development, the team/developers are actually covering the costs of the majority of the development.

Rodgers then says this:
And for taking on this outrageous burden, what will the taxpayers get? As consumers fear more job losses, as businesses continue to layoff employees and retail consumption falls to record lows, Lane4 proposes over 1.1 million in retail space, 1.7 million in office space, 12 soccer fields, a hotel and an 18,500-seat soccer stadium for the Wizards.

He seems to be trying to make a snide comment about what the taxpayers get from the development and talks about the current financial situation in the country. What he seems to miss in his statement is that this development will create jobs for people that are currently being laid off. It will create construction jobs for the next few years while the development is being completed. Once it's completed more new jobs will be created as people will be needed to work in the new area.

Rodgers then goes on to talk about the number of people the development will bring to the area. He questions the numbers saying that if so many people come into the area, then why haven't the Chiefs and Royals had commercial built up around the Truman Sports Complex. My take on why? Because the teams get the money from parking fees to get into the complex. Giving up land to developers to develop the area would likely cut into the money that the team can get from parking, and Glass and Hunt are going to definitely want to keep that money.

He goes on to touch on numbers for the vacancies that are available in shopping centers in South KC. Most of that vacancy likely comes from the open buildings currently in the mall and the surrounding area.

Rodgers then goes on to make this statement:
Buckley admitted the down retail market in a Sept. 19, 2008 article in the Kansas City Business Journal: “I think Eastern Jackson County is a lot like other parts of the city that are pretty well retailed and probably needs to take a little breather,” he is quoted.

It must of have a quick turnaround in market forces because on Sept. 4, 2008, Buckley was quoted on the REJournals.com website as stating, “There is a huge void of retail in this area.”

Maybe it's me, but I don't consider the Bannister area as being Eastern Jackson County. And even so, Buckley is talking about two different situations. In the second quote, Buckley is referring directly to the Bannister area, which certainly has a huge void in any type of retail there.

Rodgers then throws out this gem about MLS and the current expansion.
Overall, MLS attendance has dropped 1.9% for 2008 from 2007. Because of those numbers, expansion plans for the league are meeting resistance. Montreal, one city talked about for expansion, has its opponents to a MLS team there and there’s talk of an all-Canadian soccer league instead of going with MLS franchises. In summing up a MLS team in Montreal, Pat Hickey wrote on www.canada.com, “Looking for growth? It’s nonexistent. The average attendance is lower than it was in the league’s 1996 inaugural season.”

What he doesn't mention in the fact that attendance fell in 2008 is the fact that two of the league's teams played the majority of their games in stadiums that seat just over 10,000 people (KC and SJ). With that being said, of course attendance is going to be down when those two teams are usually getting about 10,000 fans a game.

He then uses the drop in attendance as a reason why the leagues expansion are meeting resistance and specifically notes Montreal. This is a blatant, flat out lie. IF this was true, then why were there 7 bids from investors willing and ready to invest in the league? Why are there still 6 of those bids on the table? The only one pulled, was Montreal, who pulled out/was dropped because the investor didn't want to pay the expansion fee along with the cost of upgrading the stadium in Montreal that they would be using, it had nothing to do with the attendance.

Rodgers again shows a lack of knowledge of the sport by saying there's talk of an all-Canadian soccer league. If there is such talk seriously going on, it's something that I haven't heard or seen, and I spend a lot more time reading about soccer than Rodgers does.

He then goes and says the only reason this development is being done is because the developers have the support from the taxpayers, and so that OnGoal can recoup their investment and then sell the team.

I'd love to see where he's getting that thought process from. Why would the two Cerner Corporation executives, co-founder Neal L. Patterson and co-founder Cliff Illig, who are in OnGoal, want to hurt their standing as "heavyweight civic leaders" as Rodgers says by selling the team and leaving the city on the hook for the stadium and development? He makes the statement "One can assume buying the KC Wizards was an investment for the six, community spirit notwithstanding." but doesn't give any reason behind this statement, just seems to be bitter.

The next thing that Rodgers touches on is the soccer specific stadium.
Obviously, MLS wants to increase the worth of its franchises. One of the ways the league believes it can do that is through expansion into cities that will provide a team a “soccer-specific” stadium. Such a facility — goes the theory — will increase attendance, or if not, at least increase the worth of the team’s franchise and overall MLS.

His talk about it being a theory is misplaced, considering Garber has said that 5 of the 7 teams that played all of last season in an SSS (LA, Dallas, Chicago, Denver, and Toronto) were expected to make a profit next year. That number should increase next year, with RSL getting a full season in their own stadium as well as Seattle coming close to being profitable with their good deal at Qwest, shirt sponsor deal, and large season ticket base already. New York should be joining them in the future too once Red Bull Park is complete. As I've shown, the teams that are in SSS have increased their value by becoming profitable in an SSS.

No UNCAF Cup for Espinoza

The Unión Centroamericana de Fútbol Nations Cup is coming up this January and February in Honduras, and the latest news is that Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza, has not been called into the team. According to this article, it looks like Espinoza was a potential call up for the tournament as MLS is out of season, but it appears that he's just missed the final cut for the roster.

Another Wizard has a potential to be in this tournament as well, as Kurt Morsink has the potential to be called in to Costa Ricas team for the tournament. The Costa Rican national team has not named their roster for the tournament yet though.

The Fence is Up

For those of you that don't read bigsoccer, last week Robb Heineman posted about the fence going up around the former mall. Well today I was finally able to make it out during the daylight to get some pictures of the mall and the fence that now encloses it. In the first picture, you'll remember that this was where the redevelopment rally was held back in January of this year.
Each entrance to the mall now has signs hanging on the plywood covering them warning people against entering the building.
Nothing overly exciting out of this post, but things are finally moving on the project, hopefully there will be a big party when the mall is finally brought down.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kings Season Starts Tomorrow

Just a quick reminder that the KC Kings indoor season starts tomorrow at the KC Soccer Dome against Fuerza Latina at 7 pm. $5 for adults, $3 for kids under 18, and $2 for kids in soccer jerseys.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

GA Team Loses Final Game of Trip

The MLS Generation Adidas team went 0-3 on their 3 game tour of London this week, losing their final game today to West Ham United's reserves 3-2. Both GA goals were scored by San Jose forward Davide Somma in the first half. Roger Espinoza entered the game in the 73rd minute for Ciaran O'Brien. The GA's actually held the lead at half time 2-1, but gave up 2 goals in 7 minutes in the second half to lose.This United team had more players that have played first team football than the GA's other 2 opponents combined. Espinoza ends the trip playing in all 3 games, raking up 122 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Former Wizards Update

Most of the former Wizards seasons are over. Four players teams are still playing right now.

Rest of the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Did not dress in Cardiff's 1-0 win over Preston North End on Saturday. Came off the bench on Tuesday and played 17 minutes in Cardiff's 2-2 draw with Burnley.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Started and played all 90 minutes in Koblenz' 3-2 loss to St. Pauli.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Started and played 82 minutes in United's 6-1 win over Wellington Phoenix. Play tomorrow morning against Waitakere United in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Will John - FK Čukarički Stankom - Serbia - Did not play in Čukarički's 3-1 loss to FK Habitfarm Javor. Don't have stats on their game today against FK Banat.

GA Team Loses to Chelsea

Roger Espinoza and the MLS Generation Adidas team suffered another lose today on their 3 game tour of London, losing 4-0 to Chelsea's reserves. Espinoza started and played 45 minutes for the team, subbing out at half time for Tony Beltran. The Chelsea team looked to be made up of a lot of youth players with only 1 player that I actually recognized (hattrick goal scorer, Scott Sinclair). The team is now 0-2 on their trip, with one game left tomorrow against West Ham United.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Kings Season Starts Saturday

The Kansas City Kings return 16 players from last years Midwest Division Championship team, and they'll begin defense of their title this Saturday night at the KC Soccer Dome. Their defense begins as they'll take on one of two new teams in the division, Fuerza Latina, out of Illinois at 7 pm. Along with Fuerza Latina, the Midwest division now has a team in Springfield, MO as well, as the PDL Demize has added a PASL team. The team's entire schedule for this season can be found here. For those that don't know where the Soccer Dome is, look here. It costs $5 for adults, $3 for kids under 18, and $2 for those kids that wear soccer jerseys.

Marinelli's New Team

Well it looks like the rumor from earlier today about Carlos Marinelli didn't take long to be proven false. Word is that Marinelli has now signed with Colombian club Club Deportivo Los Millonarios. Millonarios play in the Copa Mustang in Colombia, but have not qualified for the post season tournament at the end of the league's two seasons each year. Marinelli will continued to be followed in this blogs former Wizards updates when the league begins play again around the beginning of February next year.

Espinoza and GAs lose in England

Roger Espinoza and the MLS Generation Adidas players had their first game of their 3 game tour while in London today against Reading FC's reserves. The result of the game, though, did not go the way of the MLSers, as they fell 1-0 to the Royals. Espinoza started the game for the team, playing 60 minutes before he was removed for Tim Ward. The team next plays on Wednesday against Chelsea's reserves.

Former Wizards Getting New Teams?

Some rumors out right now about a couple former Wizards finding new teams to play with.

The first is a player who was only recently waived by the team, Carlos Marinelli. Marinelli who didn't appear with the team at all after a confrontation at practice with Coach Onalfo is now rumored to be heading back to England, where he'd once played with Middlesbrough. The Guardian has him linked to with a move to Championship side, Bristol City. Bristol currently is sitting in 14th place in the Championship with 27 points, but only 6 points out of a playoff spot.

The other player is one most Wizards fans may not know about, Willy Guadarrama. Guadarrama was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft, the 52nd pick (104th pick when combined with the Superdraft), and spent last season playing with the Austin Aztex of the PDL. The rumor has Guadarrama being one of the 10 discovery filings by the Seattle Sounders FC. There isn't much to the rumor, except a post by Guadarrama on Bigsoccer.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Wizards After Asian Beckham?

It's been a slow week news wise (unless you're keeping yourself busy voting to try to get me to tryout for the Wizards), but here's a bit of a stretch of a rumor for those that want something interesting to read about. The Asian Beckham, and Korean World Cup Star, Ahn Jung-hwan, is interested in coming to play in MLS. According to the article, video's of Ahn have been sent around MLS and 3 mid-table Eastern Conference teams responded positively to the videos. Well the Wizards finished exactly in the middle of the table in the Eastern Conference, so it wouldn't be surprising if the Wizards were one of the teams that were interested in Ahn's services. Just a fun rumor in the MLS silly season.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another Year of Open Tryouts

The Kansas City Wizards have announced that they are going to be having open tryouts again this year. The Wizards are hoping to duplicate the success that they had last year with their open tryouts, when the team signed two players from the open tryouts, Kevin Souter and Nelson Pizarro. Both Souter and Pizarro got time in MLS games this year, with Souter being the most successful, scoring a goal in 7 league games this past year.

This year the cost for the tryout is $205 and will be held at either the Wizards Swope Park Training Complex or at the KC Sports Lodge, where the tryouts were held last year.

Last year I'd thought it would be cool to try out, unfortunately at the time I was still not cleared from my ACL surgery so I had not been able to participate. Well this year I've been officially challenged to participate in the open tryouts by Kyle over at Hillcrest Road. He says that he'll have players "grade" my performance at the tryouts similar to how I've graded players for their play this season. You can vote over on Hillcrest whether I should attend or not, and I am most definitely open to the idea.

So should I tryout, make a fool out of my self, and be graded harshly by members of the Wizards team? You can vote in the poll here and feel free to leave comments on whether I should or not.

The Mall is Coming Down

Lane4, OnGoal, and the Wizards got their wish from the KC City Council, as they approved extra $30 million incentives for the Three Trails development at the old Bannister Mall site. The money does come with caveats attached to it to make sure the development goes well. This is big news, as it appears to be the very last step that is needed for demolition and construction to begin on the site. With the state of the economy, Lane4 had been looking to get the incentives for the project.

The article also has a very early plan on when demolition at the mall can begin. Owen Buckley of Lane4 says that they want to get demolition going sometime in the next 60-120 days. Not exactly as early as people wanted the mall to start being destroyed, but it'll be nice to finally see construction begin on this project. The interesting point about the development comes from Buckley in the final paragraph where he talks about retailers preparing for an economic rebound, and with the area not schedule to be completed until 2010-2011, it's getting retailers attention.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

End of Season Grades

The Wizards season ended almost a month ago, but I'm now getting to the end of the season player grades for the Wizards. I'm including any player that played for the Wizards since my midseason grades, meaning players like Ryan McMahen and Sasha Victorine are still listed here, while players who were gone before midseason grades like Scott Sealy and Eloy Colombano, are not listed.

Davy Arnaud - A- - While he missed the first part of the season he picked up the level of play in the second half and was very important to the Wizards late season run after his move to the attacking midfield position.

Jimmy Conrad - A - Second leading scorer on the team this year with 6 goals as a defender is a great season, but Conrad was also a finalist for Defender of the Year and a named to the leagues Best XI.

Roger Espinoza - C+ - The Wizards rookie of the year improved over the second half of the season, scoring his first goal and being more composed. It looks like he's been able to move past the two red cards earlier in the season.

Herculez Gomez - B+ - Another huge part of the Wizards late season run, Gomez only got one goal but his play all over the field was a great compliment to Arnaud. The only thing keeping him from an A was his red card in the playoff game against the Crew.

Michael Harrington - B - There was no sophomore slump for Harrington, who put in a solid season while playing in everyone of the Wizards games in all competitions. He didn't produce a ton of stats, but has brought stability to the left back slot.

Kevin Hartman - A - Hartman had a great season for the Wizards, he was tied for the league lead in shutouts and played every minute of every league game for the second straight season.

Aaron Hohlbein - B- - Gained the starting spot next to Conrad earlier in the season, but lost it later due to injury around the time the Wizards went on their late season run, and Hohlbein never got back on the field. In his time on the field he looked good and will likely come into next season as the predicted started next to Conrad in central defense.

Jack Jewsbury - B+ - Jack looks like he may finally have a permanent position with the Wizards. He seems to have settled into the defensive midfield position very well and has become the heir to Kerry Zavagnin in that position it looks like.

Michael Kraus - INC - Made his first appearance in an MLS game in the Wizards playoff loss to the Crew, other then that, he's only appeared in Open Cup games. While he's avoided the first waiver call, I still have my doubts he'll be here next year.

Eric Kronberg - B - Played in the Wizards 3 games involving the Open Cup, allowing 4 goals, but showed that he can be a dependable keeper as well. He picked up 3 shutouts for the Wizards reserves as well this season.

Jonathan Leathers - B+ - With Jewsbury moving to the defensive midfield position and Chance Myers being injured or sick most of the season, it was Leathers' responsibility to take over the right back slot. Leathers filled the role well and showed that the Wizards may finally have a set right back as well.

Claudio Lopez - B - His late season run definitely helped his grade this year, finishing the regular season with 6 goals and 7 assists. I'd still like a little bit more out of him, especially if he's going to stay as a designated player next season.

Carlos Marinelli - F - Such a waste, Marinelli certainly had the talent to be a great player, but injuries and attitude have spoiled that career. His time in KC is over.

Matt Marquess - B- - Looks like he could become a servicable back up to Harrington at the left back position.

Rauwshan McKenzie - INC - Only appearance was 45 minutes in the Open Cup against Seattle. Doubt he'll be back.

Ryan McMahen - INC - Was waived to make room on the roster for Abe Thompson.

Kurt Morsink - C- - Seemed to fall out of favor as the season wore on. Morsink did have some games where he showed a lot of potential, but he didn't show enough to improve his midseason grade.

Chance Myers - C- - Missed most of the season with injury and recovering from mono made for a difficult rookie season for the number 1 overall pick. With Leathers good play at right back, Myers will have to fight hard to earn the starting spot next season.

Boris Pardo - INC - Third string keeper, got as many games with the reserves as a forward as he did in goal (1 each).

Nelson Pizarro - INC - Only 40 minutes in league play this season, not a whole lot to base grading.

Ryan Pore - D- - Pore's time in KC is finally over, and it couldn't come soon enough for some fans. After the acqusistion of Thompson and Gomez Pore found himself off the bench, basically sealing his fate.

Kevin Souter - B - Fought his way into the starting lineup after a few games coming off the bench. He scored 1 goal and looked like a player that can definitely contribute in the future.

Abe Thompson - D - While he did enough to earn a passing grade by being a guy that could hold the ball up and lay it off, his inability to finish was too much to ignore. The biggest miss was his miss with the Wizards down 1-0 in the second leg of the playoff series with Columbus.

Ivan Trujillo - D- - Started off so brightly, but faded quickly, finished with that lone goal and by the end was passed by Michael Kraus on the depth chart. Now out of KC and likely headed back to Colombia.

Sasha Victorine - C+ - Victorine provided veteran leadership but was having trouble getting time on the field for KC before his trade to Chivas, where he promptly scored against his former team.

Tyson Wahl - B - Wahl had a strong season pairing with Conrad for the majority of the season. Could develop into a strong defender, but won't do it in KC.

Lance Watson - INC - Only played 59 MLS minutes this season, appears to be another plyaer likely on his way out.

Kerry Zavagnin - C+ - As the season went on, Kerry's playing time decreased. His leadership on the field definitely showed through, and I'd hope that he gets a job with the team next season.

Wizards Opening 2009 Season at Home

The Wizards will open the 2009 season the same way that they opened the 2008 season, at home. This time, the Wizards opponent will be Toronto FC. Today the league announced the home opener for all 15 teams. With that announcement, the Wizards have their opponents for the first two weeks of the regular season.

After opening at Community America Ballpark March 21st at 7:30, the Wizards will go on the road for their second game of the season, as they'll play in Colorado on Saturday March 28th against the Rapids with that kickoff set for 8:30. The schedule on Hillcrest Road for all teams only lists the home openers, so don't assume that because the Wizards aren't listed that they are off the weekend of April 4-5. They could still be off, or they could be playing at home again, or on the road against a team that's already had their home opener.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Espinoza Going to London

Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza, will be heading over to London on the 6th of this month with 15 other MLS Generation Adidas players for an 8 day tour of London which will include 3 games against EPL reserve sides. The team will also get tickets to an EPL and Champion's League match while training at Chelsea's training facility.

Espinoza and the rest of the GA players will start their schedule with an EPL game (either West Ham United vs. Tottenham or Arsenal vs. Wigan) the day they arrive before starting their playing schedule against West Ham's reserves on December 8th. On the 10th, they will play against Chelsea's reserves before heading to Stamford Bridge that night for the Champion's League match between the Blues and CFR Cluj Napoca. The team closes out their 3 game series with a game in England's "Second City", Birmingham, against Aston Villa's reserves.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Two Week Former Wizards Update

Yes I know that I didn't get last week's former Wizards update out. So here are two weeks of former Wizards updates. Not a whole lot of former Wizards still playing now.

Dave van den Bergh - New York - Started and played all 90 minutes in New York's 3-1 loss to Columbus in MLS Cup.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played all 90 minutes for Columbus in their 3-1 win in the MLS Cup Final.

Rest of the World
Chris Konopka - Bohemian FC - Ireland - Dressed but did not play for Bohs in the FAI Cup Final last weekend that Bohs won on penalty kicks.
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Started and played all 90 minutes last Saturday in Cardiff's 1-0 loss to Plymouth. Came off the bench and played 24 minutes on Tuesday in Cardiff's 2-2 draw with Reading. Did not dress in Cardiff's 2-2 draw with Swansea today.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Started and played all 90 minutes last week in Koblenz 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg. Started and played all 90 minutes this week, scoring the fourth goal in Koblenz' 4-1 win over Rot-Weiss Ahlen
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Started and played 67 minutes in United's 2-0 win over Sydney last week. Started and played 75 minutes in United's 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets.
Will John - FK Čukarički Stankom - Serbia - Did not play in Čukarički's 1-0 loss to FK Vojvodina last week. Did not play in Čukarički's 2-0 loss to Crvena Zvezda.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Want to See Inside?

This isn't directly related to the Wizards, but something interesting that was brought to my attention today was a post on the KCRag Forum. It's a photo collection of the inside of Bannister Mall as it currently is. For those that have grown up around the mall and remember what it used to look like, this is a shocking look at how far the inside of the mall has fallen. As one poster said, it now looks more like the set of a post-apocalyptic movie, dead plants, broken glass, spray painting, stuff thrown around like it was just left there in a hurry, and even some driver licenses and a social security card.

More Roster Moves for KC

Along with today's expansion draft that saw Tyson Wahl head to Seattle, the Wizards waived 3 players today as well. The casualties are Ryan Pore, Carlos Marinelli, and Ivan Trujillo.

Pore was drafted in the second round of the 2005 MLS draft, a Generation Adidas player, Pore had led the nation in scoring at Tulsa. He never was able to duplicate that form anywhere but in the reserve league where he scored 29 goals while playing in 37 games. With the first team he scored 3 league goals and added 2 assists in 58 games. In those 58 games though Pore only got a total of 1,789 minutes. He scored 4 more goals in the Open Cup/Qualifiers, finishing his Wizards career with 7 first team goals. But he's a reserve team legend.

Marinelli came in with high hopes, although in retrospect Wizards fans should have seen a history of injuries and a bit of a hot head and been worried. In 41 league games, Marinelli only scored 1 goal, a penalty kick in his first league game. He also raked up 8 assists. He's likely to be most remembered by Wizards fans for his practice confrontation with Coach Onalfo.

For Trujillo it was a season that started out very brightly, he scored in his first game for the Wizards, but that was the last MLS goal he'd score all season. He scored 3 more goals in the Open Cup/Qualifier, but didn't do a whole lot the rest of the way. He played in 17 games this season, totally 700 minutes. The signs were probably on the wall when Michael Kraus, who hadn't appeared in a game in his 2 years with the team got on the field before Trujillo did in the final playoff game.

All 3 were made available in the waiver draft today, but none were taken in the draft, in fact only one player was taken, Mike Petke is going back to New York.

Wizards Lose Wahl to Seattle

Had this sent to me by email, but it's been confirmed by Ives that the Wizards lost defender Tyson Wahl to the Seattle Sounders. He was one of the players on my list that I thought the team could lose. Wahl started 16 games for the Wizards last season, splitting time with Aaron Hohlbein as Jimmy Conrad's partner in the center of defense. The loss of Wahl means that Hohlbein has to be the favorite to start next to Conrad next season.

Here's the full list of players taken by the Sounders.
Nate Jaqua (Houston), Brad Evans (Columbus), Stephen King (Chicago), Jeff Parke (New York), James Riley (San Jose), Khano Smith (New England), Jarrod Smith (TFC), Nathan Sturgis (RSL), Peter Vagenas (LA), Wahl (KC). Leaving Dallas, Chivas, Colorado, and DC as the teams that didn't lose a player.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Site Plans for Bannister

The Wizards have approval for their funding for the Three Trails Development and while we're still waiting for those first true renderings of the stadium to be released. While we wait for those first renderings to be released, we do have some new site plans, that do give an idea of what the stadium will possibly look like.

The preliminary site plans are still up on the Wizards blog Hillcrest Road.
The new site plans are part of a gallery that at the time of this posting are available on the main page of the Wizards website. The plans look fairly similar except for the stadium, which instead of a round look to it, the stadium had a for stand, square look to it. This goes along with a post made by Wizards president, Robb Heineman on bigsoccer.

Here is the rendition of the complex in the new gallery, notice the stadium.
Here is another drawing with another view of the stadium roof on the complex. Remember, though, that these are not renderings, those have not been released publicly yet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kings Season Getting Closer

Kansas City's indoor soccer team, the Kansas City Kings, of the PASL are getting ready for their second season here in Kansas City. The Kings are working towards that second season by holding tryouts on Wednesday out at the KC Soccer Dome. You must be 18 and have completed your high school eligibility to tryout. It is $25 for people that register before hand, and $35 for walk ups. So good luck to anyone that decides to tryout.

Expansion Draft Time

It's almost time for another one of those wonderful expansion drafts. This year the 14 current MLS teams will help stock the Seattle Sounders FC. Today teams had to turn in their list of protected players to the league. The Wizards list has now been published on Hillcrest Road. The only surprise on that list is a big one, Carlos Marinelli. Marinelli, who the Wizards signed last season is on the protected list. The same Marinelli that was involved in a practice confrontation with Coach Onalfo. That's a bit of a head scratcher, that he was protected over Ivan Trujillo, but since most fans expect both gone next season it's not totally surprising. It should say a lot about Trujillo that Marinelli, with all his baggage, is being protected over him.

As for who could possibly be taken by the Sounders, here are the players the Wizards have left unprotected; Kevin Hartman, Aaron Hohlbein, Michael Kraus, Eric Kronberg, Matt Marquess, Rauwshan McKenzie, Kurt Morsink, Boris Pardo, Nelson Pizarro, Ryan Pore, Abe Thompson, Ivan Trujillo, Tyson Wahl, Lance Watson, and Kerry Zavagnin.

The fact that the Sounders Technical Director is former Wizards player and coach Chris Henderson could certainly play a roll in whether or not the Wizards lose a player. There are a few players on that list that would be favorites to be taken; Kevin Hartman, Aaron Hohlbein, Kurt Morsink, and Tyson Wahl. Hartman could be a target in a draft and trade scenerio, as LA is looking for a new keeper to lead the team and getting Hartman back would certainly be an improvement for the Galaxy. Hohlbein would make a good pick for the Sounders as well, as Hohlbein started almost half the Wizards games in the center of defense last season and could certainly start for the expansion Sounders. The same is true for Wahl, who partnered with Jimmy Conrad for the rest of the games last season. Morsink could be taken if he impressed Henderson during his time here as an assistant coach, he can play as a holding midfielder and at times has shown a very good ability at passing the ball.

For those interested, here is the full list of players exposed for each team.

What do you think of the Wizards list? Who are we most likely to lose? And remember either Trujillo or Marinelli had to be protected.

Wizards Trade for Cristman

The Wizards have made their first offseason move, as it was announced today that the Wizards traded for New England Revolution forward, Adam Cristman. In return, the Wizards sent a third round pick in this year's draft and allocation money to the Revolution. Cristman was the Revolutions third leading scorer last season with 6 goals while missing much of the late season run due to injury.

It's another forward on the Wizards roster. What this likely means is that some of the current forwards are likely on their way out. Guys like Ivan Trujillo and Ryan Pore are likely at the top of that list of forwards unlikely to return. Cristman was a player that I thought the Wizards could have gotten earlier this season before his season ended with injury. Will be interesting to see how he fits in with the rest of the Wizards forwards.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Conrad Named to Best XI

Not a surprising announcement today considering his nomination for Best Defender this year, but Wizards captain, Jimmy Conrad has been named to the MLS Best XI. This is Conrad's 4th appearance on the Best XI team. In 2008, Conrad played all 2700 minutes for the Wizards along with teammate Kevin Hartman, they were 2 of 6 players in the league to accomplish that. Of the Wizards 35 games in all competitions this year (30 MLS, 2 playoffs, 1 USOC qualifier, 2 USOC) Conrad appeared in all but one of those games. Congrats to Jimmy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wizards Into 2009 SuperLiga (And Other State of the League News)

The Kansas City Wizards will play in the 2009 SuperLiga.

That's the word from Commissioner Don Garber in his State of the League. The Wizards qualify for SuperLiga as one of the top 4 teams in the regular season NOT to make the CONCACAF Champion's League. This is a rule change from last year where it was the top 4 teams regardless of whether or not they qualified for the Champion's League. The change is something many people were wanting, and saying should happen, basically turn the SuperLiga into a CONCACAF version of the UEFA Cup. So with the Crew qualifying as the Supporter's Shield winners, New York qualifying for making MLS Cup, DC for winning the Open Cup, and Houston for having the next highest point total in league, those 4 qualify for the CCL. The Wizards will be joined in the SuperLiga by New England, Chicago, and Chivas USA. If the competition format is the same as last year, this means that the Wizards will be hosting at least 2 more games next year, as they will host 2 games against Mexican League competition.

This will be the Wizards first trip into international competition since 2005, when the Wizards played in the CONCACAF Champion's Cup.

Other items of note from the State of the League.
* The roster change rumor that I'd been talking about will happen, team's will only have a 24 man roster next season.
* 2009 season will start March 21. The season will be 30 games long, with home and home against each team (28 games) and then 2 intra-conference rivalry games. So the Wizards are likely to get Chicago and another Eastern Conference team.
* Team's will have the option for two weekends off or a softer schedule during the summer's heavy season (Gold Cup and Confederations Cup).
* The playoff format will go back to the format of 2007, when only the top 2 in each conference automatically make the playoffs, while the next 4 teams by points will make the playoffs.
* Montreal has dropped out of the expansion race, leaving only 6 bids.
* There is talk of MLS Cup being hosted by one of the finalist, but next year will be another neutral site.

State Money Delays Delay Stadium

The Three Trails development at the old Bannister Mall site were approved yesterday, but the delay in the funding from the state of Missouri have now delayed the opening of the stadium. The original plan for the opening of Hillcrest Road was for the start of the 2010 season. Unfortunately, the delays have pushed back the beginning of construction, which have pushed back the opening of the stadium. According to the KC Business Journal, the completion of the stadium has been pushed back to 2011, meaning that the Wizards will be playing another year at Community America Ballpark, according to Robb Heineman. Overall, this shouldn't come as a surprise, since the development has been delayed for so long. Although, since it's been only about 6 months since the original plan for demolition to begin, one could guess that with decent weather, the Wizards could be opening up their new stadium half way through the 2010 MLS season. Either way, it looks like the Wizards will have two more years in their temporary stadium out at the Legends before getting into their own stadium.

More on Roster Changes

Last week I wrote about a rumor on the FC Dallas blog, 3rd Degree, about a potential change to the MLS roster. Steven Goff with Soccer Insider has picked up on it now and even has more information on it as well. According to Goff, the Board of Governors will meet today, and one of the things on the agenda is roster size. Goff says that the rumor is the same as the 3rd Degree rumor, that 4 developmental spots will be dropped, reducing roster size to 24. Along with that, Goff is also reporting that 2 more developmental roster spots will be lost, as they will be adding 2 more senior roster spots, meaning teams would have 20 senior roster players and 4 developmental players.

Personally I think this is a terrible idea for a few reasons. The first is that it will make things even harder for MLS teams competing in international tournaments as they lose 4 potential players to help them cope with the schedule congestion. Last year the Wizards used 30 players in all competitions, and outside MLS the only thing they competed in was the Open Cup. So imagine what teams like Houston, who will have more competitions to play in next year, think about this potential change. Some may argue that with 2 more senior roster spots, teams can actually go deeper, but that is going to turn out to be a misconception. Most teams are going to just promote 2 of their developmental players to take those 2 senior roster spots, so you only increase senior roster depth by name only, you're not going to make teams any deeper than they are now by adding those 2 senior spots.

The other reason it's a terrible idea is because of two names, Kevin Souter and Nelson Pizarro. The two Wizards who came through the open tryouts. With four fewer roster spots next year, what's the likelihood that a team is going to take a gamble on an open tryout participant and put them on their roster? Both Souter and Pizarro contributed this year to the first team, but without those 4 roster spots, I have my doubts that the team would have signed the duo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Former Wizards Update

I'm late with this update again, was busy watching the US-Guatemala game yesterday.

Dave van den Bergh - New York - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring New York's lone goal as they won 1-0 over Real Salt Lake to advance to MLS Cup
Diego Gutierrez - Chicago - Dressed but did not play in Chicago's season ending 2-1 loss to Columbus.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago - Started and played 70 minutes in Chicago's 2-1 loss to Columbus.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played all 90 minutes in Columbus' 2-1 win over Chicago to advance to MLS Cup.
Yura Movsisyan - RSL - Started and played 90 minutes in RSL's loss to New York in the Western Conference Finals.

Rest of the World
Chris Konopka - Bohemian FC - Ireland - Dressed but did not play for Bohs in their final league game, a 3-1 win over Cork City.
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Started and played all 90 minutes for Cardiff getting an assist and drawing a penalty in their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Started and played 57 minutes in Koblenz' 3-0 loss to Mainz.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Started and played 90 minutes in United's 3-0 loss to Central Coast.
Will John - FK Čukarički Stankom - Serbia - The Serbian Superliga site does not have a result for Čukarički's match against FK Rad this week and I'm unable to access Čukarički's site at this time.

Tax Credit for Stadium Approved

Great news for all Wizards fans today. Today we are 1 step closer to Hillcrest Road becoming a reality.

Today the Missouri Finance Board has approved the $30 million tax credit for Lane4 and OnGoal for the Three Trails development at the old Bannister Mall site. The news comes from the Wizards Executive Vice President, Greg Cotton on Bigsoccer.

The Star has their article up now on the topic. Randy Covitz is saying that this is the last hurdle the development and quotes Robb Heineman as saying that they hope to start demolition on the site soon.

Thad from The Back Post attended the meeting today in Jefferson City and has a write up up on his site on the meeting. It looks like this is not the last hurdle for the project, but it certainly seemed to be the last really challenging hurdle. According to Thad the last small hurdles do not appear to be a huge concern. It looks like demolition is now set for this coming January.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Contract News

With the team now looking towards the 2009 season, there is some good news to report today on two players that played a big part in the Wizards team this year. Bob Rusert of MLSnet, in his article about Peter Vermes and Curt Onalfo looking towards the 2009 season tells us that Davy Arnaud and Jack Jewsbury have signed 4 year extensions to their current deals with MLS. While this shouldn't be either players final contract, it certainly keeps the two in KC for the forseeable future. Arnaud signed his extension back in September, as for Jewsbury, the article doesn't state when he signed his. All we can hope is that with his contract extension Jewsbury gets a raise from the $55,000 he made with the Wizards this year. The move of Arnaud and Jewsbury to the center of midfield was a big key in the Wizards late season run to the playoffs.

US Cruise by Guatemala

The US national team finished up their semifinal qualifying round tonight with an easy 2-0 win over Guatemala, eliminating The Blue and White from World Cup qualification. In a match that Guatemala had to win to advance to the next round of qualification, it was the US that was the aggressor in the first half, as they dominated play and had the better of the chances, including a penalty claim when John Thorrington was brought down in the box. For having the run of play, the US went into the half scoreless.

In the second half, the US continued to be the team pushing the game while Guatemala seemed to be resigned to their fate. The US' young front 4 of Kenny Cooper, Jozy Altidore, Sacha Kljestan, and Freddy Adu gave the Guatemalans trouble all night, and in the 54th minute, a ball into the box by Altidore found Cooper, who knocked the ball between the Guatemalan keepers leg. The US continued to pressure, and in the 69th minute doubled their lead on a beautiful free kick from Adu for his first goal with the senior national team. In the 83rd minute, Wizards midfielder, Davy Arnaud subbed into the game for Adu, earning his second cap for the national team. In his 7 minutes, Arnaud didn't get much time to impress, and was unspectacular in that time. But with a 2-0 lead, you didn't expect Arnaud to do much on the field.

US-Guatemala Tonight

The United States close out this round of World Cup Qualifying tonight in Denver against Guatemala. The game means little to the United States who are already through to the Hex, which begins in February. To Guatemala, it means everything. The Guatemalans need a win tonight combined with a loss by Trinidad and Tobago to Cuba for them to get through to the Hex. Wizards midfielder/forward, Davy Arnaud is likely to be on the roster for the United States.

The game is tonight at 7 pm Central time on ESPN Classic and Galavision. The will be replayed later tonight on ESPN2. If there is interest from people that don't have Classic or Galavision, I am willing to do a PBP on here tonight. If you are interested, please leave a comment letting me know.

Monday, November 17, 2008

End of the Season Interviews

Thad over at The Back Post attended the end of the season press day at the Wizards training complex. Thad was able to get multiple interviews with different players that are posted up on his blog.

He first got an interview with first year professional Chance Myers.

Thad also talked with forward, Michael Kraus, who made his first MLS appearance in the team's final game against Columbus.

Continuing the interviewing, he talked with Michael Harrington about his sophomore season.

His interview with Kevin "Soapy" Souter was divided into two parts for you to listen to here and here.

Thad's final interview was with Captain Kansas City, Jimmy Conrad. This interview was so good, Thad divided it up into 4 parts for you, in two separate posts.

NCAA Tournament

Not Wizards related, but locally relevant was today's draw for the NCAA Tournament. Local school, UMKC advanced to the tournament with a 1-1(4-3) penalty kick win over Oakland. The Kangaroos will be playing at the University of Tulsa in the first round of the tournament on Friday. Should the 'Roos win that game, they'll get a very interesting second round match up. The 'Roos would play the University of Creighton, who UMKC beat earlier this season, the Blue Jays only loss of the season.

The other team of note in the tournament, is a team packed with plenty of local players, Drake University. The Bulldogs will be taking on St. Louis University on Friday at SLU. The Bulldogs roster includes 10 players from the KC area. The winner of that match will be heading to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers.

Good luck to both the Kangaroos and Bulldogs in the NCAA tournment.

Three Trails on Agenda

The Three Trails redevelopment at the Bannister Mall site looks like it may finally be moving forward. The plan for the redevelopment of the site is on the agenda for Missouri Development Finance Board meeting this Thursday, November 20th. The redevelopment is the first piece of old business on the agenda for the meeting. If news from the KC Business Journal earlier this month is accurate, then this meeting should see the approval of the funds for the development approved.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arnaud Named to US Qualifier Roster

Wizards midfielder Davy Arnaud has apparently done enough this past week in a four day US training camp to earn a call up for the World Cup Qualifier against Guatemala Wednesday in Denver. Of the 19 players called up for the training camp, 15 of them made it onto the roster. It's certainly a less than A team squad, but there's plenty of talent on the roster. With the rest of the midfielders on the roster, it seems unlikely that Arnaud will start the game, but he certainly has a chance to get onto the field and earn his second career cap. Definitely a well deserved call up for Arnaud.

Two Former Wizards in MLS Cup

Two former Wizards will meet on the field next Sunday in the MLS Cup final. Thursday night in Columbus, Will Hesmer helped Columbus to a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire, advancing to their first MLS Cup. On Saturday, their opponent was decided, as the New York Red Bulls, beat Salt Lake 1-0 to advance to mee the Crew next weekend in LA. New York's 1 goal came from former Wizard Dave van den Bergh. The trip will be New York's first trip to the finals as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Roster Changes Next Year?

Dallas blog, 3rd Degree has an interesting rumor posted on it's blog today about the status of the reserve league. Rumor is that the reserve league could get the ax by the league due to the travel costs needed to take the entire team to an away game instead of just having to take the game day roster. Along with the axing of the reserve league, the league would also drop the number of roster spots from 28 to 24, eliminating 4 developmental player roster spots in the process.

The thinking on this is that the savings on travel and the $51,600 saved on those 4 roster spots ($12,900 * 4) could be better used raising the salary cap, paying the players on the 18 man roster more, or acquiring higher level talent from abroad. Buzz makes a good case for letting these changes take affect, but I have a feeling doing this will cause players that could become decent players to not make it into the league. But we'll see if this rumor is true or not.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You for Everything Kerry

The Wizards loss to the Crew on Saturday night brought the end to the career of one of the greatest Wizards players in history, Kerry Zavagnin. Zavagnin didn't have the flashy stats of the likes of Preki or the name recognition of Tony Meola, but he will certainly go down as one of the greatest in team history. And if there's ever a Wizards Hall of Fame, he's in on the first ballot in my opinion. Here is a look at some of Kerry's final stats with the Wizards.

228 games started, 237 total appearances in league play, for a total of 20,516 minutes played, all team records. In that time, he scored 8 goals, many of decent quality, as seen here.

In MLS Playoffs:
23 games played, all starts, tied for team record with Nick Garcia. Seconds in playoff minutes with 2065 minutes played.

In the US Open Cup proper:
15 games played, all starts, for a total of 1327 minutes played, 3 more records for Zavagnin.

International play:
The Wizards have never played a competitive game in international play without Zavagnin being on the field.

One of only two players (Matt McKeon the other) to play in all 6 of the Copa Merconorte games back in 2001.

He's the only Wizard to play in all 8 of the Wizards games in the CONCACAF Champion's Cup (2002, 2005) playing in every minute of each of those games for a total of 750 minutes.

Total Wizards career:
281 games started, 291 total games played for a total of 25,270 minutes played, all Wizards records. He's the only Wizard to have over 25,000 minutes for his career.

Total MLS playing career:
247 games started, 276 games played for a total of 22,359 minutes played.
In all competitions, Zavagnin started 300 games, playing in a total of 331 games, raking up 27,162 minutes played.

As you can see, Kerry owns basically every games started, games played and minutes played record the Wizards have. On top of all of that, he was always willing to talk with the fans either out around town, after games, or on road trips.

In the end, all that can be said is thank you Kerry, thank you.

photo credit to Scott Pribyl/Kansas City Wizards

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Seasons Winding Down for Former Wizards

Many of the former Wizards' seasons are starting to wind down as MLS, along with the European summer leagues are winding down. So here's your weekly review of former Wizards.

Dave van den Bergh - New York - Started and played 87 minutes in New York's 3-0 win in Houston to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Carey Talley - Chivas USA - Started and played 56 minutes in Chivas' 2-2 draw with RSL that saw Chivas eliminated from the playoffs.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Started and played 90 minutes in the Chivas draw with RSL.
Alex Zotinca - Chivas USA - Came off the bench and played 4 minutes in Chivas' 2-2 draw with RSL.
Sasha Victorine - Chivas USA - Missed this week's game with an injury.
Diego Gutierrez - Chicago - Did not dress in Chicago's 3-0 win over New England due to the flu.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago - Started and played 90 minutes in Chicago's 3-0 win over New England to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played all 90 minutes getting the shut out in Columbus' 2-0 win to eliminate the Wizards.
Yura Movsisyan - RSL - Started and played 80 minutes in RSL's 2-2 draw with Chivas that put Salt Lake through to the Western Conference Finals.

Rest of the World
Khari Stephenson - Aalesunds FK - Norway - Came off the bench and played 2 minutes in the first leg of the relegation playoff with Sogndal, Aalesunds won 4-1. Came off the bench and played 2 minutes in the second leg as well, which Aalesunds won 3-1, to take the series 7-2 and stay in the top level in Norway.
Chris Konopka - Bohemian FC - Ireland - On the bench but did not play for Bohs against Cobh Ramblers FC. Did play in A-side Final as Bohs lost 2-0 to UCD.
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Started and played 72 minutes in Cardiff's 1-0 loss to QPR.
Ryan Raybould - Gefle IF - Sweden - did not dress in Gefle IF's 2-1 loss to Elfsborg.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - came off the bench and played 45 minutes for TUS Koblenz in their 2-0 loss to Alemania Aachen.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Started and played 69 minutes in United's 2-0 loss to Gamba Osaka in the Asian Champions League Final second leg. United lost 5-0 on aggregate.
Will John - FK Čukarički Stankom - Serbia - Did not play in Čukarički's 1-0 loss to Borac Čačak.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Former Owner's Son Interseted in EPL Team

This isn't directly related to the Wizards, but I found it interesting, and it's still related to KC still. News out of Newcastle upon Tyne from a couple days ago is that Clark Hunt, the son of the former Wizards owner Lamar Hunt, is on the short list of people interested in buying English Premier League club Newcastle United. The Hunt's are still involved in the KC area through the ownership of their other team, the Chiefs. Something to keep an eye on to see if it happens.

Arnaud Called into National Team Camp

Wizards forward/midfielder, Davy Arnaud was the only Kansas City Wizard named to Bob Bradley's 19 man roster for the US National Team camp that starts tomorrow in Commerce City, CO ahead of the final World Cup Qualifier of this stage, against Guatemala.

The camp runs until the 15th, and is made up of mostly MLS players whose season has ended. This roster, though, is not the complete roster for the qualifier on the 16th against Guatemala. Players from the two teams still to be eliminated before the game as well as foreign based players are still likely to be called into the team. Now is the time for Arnaud to impress and work his way onto the team for the qualifier. Good luck to Davy in the camp.

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 MLS Attendance

The 2008 season is over for the Wizards following their loss to Columbus on Saturday. With that done, it's now time to start looking at some of the end of season stats for the Wizards. The first stat this offseason to look at, is the Wizards attendance for the 2008 season compared to the rest of the league and to last season. First here is the average attendance for each team.

LA - 26,009
Toronto - 20,108
DC - 19,835
New England - 17,580
Chicago - 17,034
Houston - 16,939
Salt Lake - 16,179
New York - 15,928
Chivas - 15,114
Columbus - 14,622
San Jose - 13,713
Colorado - 13,659
Dallas - 13,024
KC - 10,686

The Wizards finish at the bottom of the league in attendance. Before shots to move KC come up, remember that the Wizards played 14 of their 15 games at Community America Ballpark, which has a capacity of 10,385. The sad part of it, though, is the fact that only 5 of the Wizards' regular season games at CAB this year were sellouts. The attendance was supported by 26,113 showing up at Arrowhead for the game against the LA Galaxy.

Kenn.com has a great breakdown of the average attendance compared to last year. Overall, attendance for MLS was down 1.9% compared to last year. A lot of that can fall on both KC and San Jose playing most of their games at small temporary stadiums (3 of San Jose's games were played at McAfee Coliseum home of the A's). The other big culprit for the drop in attendance was Dallas, which experienced a 14% drop in attendance from last year to this year. KC's 7.8% drop is down mainly due to their move to CAB.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday After Stats

Not many stats from last nights' 2-0 loss to Columbus, but now with the season over, I'll start to get some end of season stats up and posted for people to read.

Kevin Hartman passed Cobi Jones for most playoff games started with 44.

Last night was Michael Kraus' 1st ever appearance in an MLS match (He played in a US Open Cup game earlier this year).

Jimmy Conrad started his 12th playoff game for KC, good for 9th on that list moving past Mo Johnston.

It was Jack Jewsbury's 157th appearance in all competitions, moving him past Tony Meola into 9th all time.

Season Ends with a Whimper

The Wizards season is over, and by some of the play last night, the team came in thinking it was over. They were thoroughly out played by the Columbus Crew in each aspect of the game last night. It was disappointing to the traveling Cauldron of around 100 people that made the trip to Columbus for the match.

It didn't start well for the Wizards, as only 7 minutes into the game, the Crew found themselves up a goal, as Brad Evans got behind the Wizards defense and chipped Kevin Hartman to give the Crew the early lead. The Wizards, though, could have been right back into the game in the 15th, minute when Kevin Souter crossed the ball to Abe Thompson. Instead of slotting the ball first time into the net, Thompson took a touch (either because he thought he had time or the ball got stuck under him) which allowed Columbus goalkeeper, Will Hesmer to pounce on it and kill the Wizards best chance.

In the second half, the Wizards again were victim to a goal inside the first 15 minutes, as Robbie Rogers finished off a play, and the Wizards season. After that goal, Coach Onalfo made an interesting sub, putting on Michael Kraus for Thompson. This was Kraus' first MLS action in the 2 years he's been with the club. The signs were there from Thad's practice report that he might play, but for him to actually make the field was surprising, and is very telling for the future (or lack there of) for Ivan Trujillo in KC as well.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Hartman - Can't really fault him on either one of the goals he gave up, and with no one else standing out for the Wizards last night, he'll get it this time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Down to This

The Wizards play the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals tomorrow at Columbus Crew Stadium, as they take on the Crew. After some trouble failing to clear the ball late in the second half of the first leg, the Wizards go into the game tied on aggregate with the Crew 1-1. The "180 minute game" enters the second half tomorrow.

The Wizards will be without one of the players that had been part of their late season turnaround in Herculez Gomez, who was red carded in the first leg. And after making a surprise appearance as a substitute in the first leg, it looks like Josh Wolff is doubtful for the second leg. With Gomez and likely Wolff out, it looks like the Wizards will be a little short on the bench. According to Thad at The Back Post, Roger Espinoza appears to be the favorite to take Gomez's spot.
Leathers - Conrad - Wahl - Harrington
Souter - Arnaud - Espinoza
Lopez - Thompson

PREDICTION - The late goal last game completely changed this series, but honestly I wasn't going to be really confident on the chances of going through unless the Wizards had gone to Columbus with a 2 or 3 goal lead at least. Even going in at 1-0 the Wizards were going to need a great performance in Columbus to go through. The Wizards are going to need to play one of their best games of the season to go through. I'm going to be optimistic though.

KC - 1 (Lopez)
CLB - 1 (Schelotto)
Wizards through on PKs.

Stadium Money Update

The KC Business Journal has broken the news on the Bannister Mall situation today. The Journal is reporting that the Missouri Development Finance Board is set to approve the $30 million for the Three Trails redevelopment. Included in the development is the Wizards soccer specific stadium. The board and Three Trails Redevelopment LLC (with OnGoal LLC) have reached an agreement on the amount of square footage that needed to be developed to avoid the clawback clause. This is what had caused the delays that kept the issue off the agenda back in September. The board meets again on November 20th, where they will look to approve the funding. After the funding is approved, it should pave the way for ground breaking and construction of the stadium.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Update to Cuban at Practice

Last week I had posted about the Wizards having one of the recent Cuban defectors out at practice last week, training with the team, and today we have an update on the situation. At the time I had said that the player was either Pedro Faife or Reynier Alcantara, both of whom had defected before the US vs Cuba game in DC in October. Goff is reporting that it was in fact Alcantara at practice with the Wizards. Apparently his representative had received a call from the team, and they lined up a 4 day workout for the Cuban while he was on his way to Los Angeles to talk with an immigration attorney.

This was who I thought the player was after seeing him in person at practice on Thursday last week but had not wanted to say anything at the time. According to wikipedia, Alcantara is a striker who had been playing for FC Pinar del Río in Cuba. He scored 50 goals for the club and reportedly won the leagues MVP award in 2006 and 2007. It looks like he could definitely be a contributor to the Wizards next year if they sign him.