Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Wizards Trialists

George Shook files another great report on Wizards practice for the Kansas City Soccer Review. In it, he gives us an update on former Wizards goalkeeper, Chris Snitko. Snitko, 35, was drafted by the Wizards in the 1996 college draft. He played in 26 games for the Wizards before being traded to Chicago during the 2000 season.

Shook also had information on 2 more trialists that are in camp with the Wizards right now. The first, another goalkeeper, Eric Reed. Reed, played for the California Victory of USL-1 last season, playing in 23 games going 4-13-6 with 5 shutouts and a 1.39 GAA. He also had 1 shut out in the Victory's run to the third round of the US Open Cup. Since the Victory folded after their first season, Reed is now looking for a team. From what I saw of Reed's play last season in games on FSC, Reed looked like the one bright spot of a bad team. I think he could definitely come in and challenge Eric Kronberg for the number 2 keeper position.

The other player on trial is Andrew DiCicco, son of former women's national team coach Tony DiCicco. DiCicco played at San Diego St. from 2003 through 2006. He scored 5 goals his senior year when SDSU went 9-6-4. I've been unable to find any information on where DiCicco played last season, if anywhere, though.

Tolbert Fails but Doesn't Concede

Today was the final day for Richard Tolbert and the Save Bannister Group to turn in their signatures for saving Bannister Mall. And the grand total of signatures turned in? TWO!!! He didn't turn in any more signatures today, but since he likely had no where close to the number needed it's not surprising.

Still, though, Tolbert and his group are not conceding, and will continue to fight. Tolbert again pimps his plan to have them cut the mall out of the redevelopment, and ask for TIF money to let HIM and his group redevelop the mall. Tolbert says that with an anchor tenant like Walmart, the mall would "thrive." Excuse me, Bannister Mall has room for four anchor stores. A Walmart taking up one floor of one of those anchor stores is not going to help the mall thrive. And putting faith in Tolbert to adequately redevlop the mall is foolhardy. As I've said in the past, one only has to look at Tolbert's track record (which will now be linked any time I say his name) to realize the city should not give him one cent for redevelopment.

As Councilman John Sharp says in the article. "So far he has delayed this project for a month and he turned in two signatures. That is a joke. It makes a mockery of the referendum initiative process." Tolbert has made a complete joke of the process. This plan was nothing more then a delay tactic, and due to the fact that there is no minimum required number of signatures, Tolbert got his time. Now he's trying to hold the project up more.

He says he's for both in the area, when the truth is he's likely just killing time until the Wizards decide to drop out and he can have the only plan left to redevelop the area. Demolition of the mall is supposed in the spring, but as is the case today in our sue happy country, Tolbert says he will sue to stop the building from being torn down.

In other Tolbert news, more and more people around the city are starting to call him out on his false cries of racism, a point I made back in October.

Going Away Party

A friend of mine sent me an email saying that tonight at Blonde on the Country Club Plaza there will be a going away party for Wizards defender, Nick Garcia, who was traded to San Jose. I've been told the event will be starting at 10 pm for those interested.

It certainly is sad to see Garcia go, I know plenty of people who weren't overly happy with the move. Including a lot of the younger fans who saw Garcia as their favorite player. All the best to you Nick, we will definitely miss you in Kansas City and hope that you return some day soon.

Will John to Randers FC Official

Will John's move to Randers FC of Denmark is now official according to the club's website. John has signed a 1 year contract with the club. It's not going to be a huge loss to Kansas City in my opinion, as John didn't look to be playing a big part in the team since he moved from Chicago. And with all the new draftees that can play both in the midfield and on defense, John probably would have seen his chances shrink even more. Good luck to him.

UPDATE: According to a Randers FC fan posting on bigsoccer, John is starting tonight for Randers in a training match.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wizards Fantasy Draft Rounds 5 and 6

We're back with rounds 5 and 6 of the fantasy draft. Rounds 1 and 2 are here. Rounds 3 and 4 are here.

5(1). Team Shook - Diego Gutierrez - With the first pick of the 5th round, Team Shook selects Midfielder Diego Gutierrez

Gutierrez was an original member of the Wizards in '96 starting 24 games and all 5 playoff games then, after a injury and a stint in Chicago, Diego returned to the Wizards in 2002. Over the next four seasons, Diego established himself as a key cog for the Wizards and a fan favorite. Diego and Kerry Zavagnin formed a formidable pair in the defensive midfield, the pinnacle of success being the 2004 run to the US Open Cup championship and the 2004 MLS Cup final and gave up the fewest goals in the league. Diego also chipped in on offense that season with 3 game-winning goals and 4 assists.

5(2). Team DTB - Mark Chung - With the second pic of the fifth round, Team DTB select midfielder Mark Chung

Under appreciated during his time with KC, Chung was a mainstay in the early Wizards lineup, scoring 21 goals in the three seasons with the team mainly playing out of the left midfield spot. The highest point of his KC career was a Best XI appearance for his play in the 97 season.

5(3). Bravado FC - Richard Gough - With the final pick of the fifth round, Bravado FC harkens back to the 1997 season (and it took our management that long to make this pick) with the selection of Richard Gough. Although Gough - an allocation signed from Glasgow Rangers - spent just one year in the rainbow shirt, he was a solid defensive influence that helped the Wizards compile a 21-11 overall record on the campaign and a first-place finish in the Western Conference. He was named to the MLS Best XI squad as well.

6(1). Bravado FC - Igor Simutenkov - With the first pick of the sixth round, Bravado FC selects Igor Simutenkov. Acquired during the 2002 season, Simutenkov provides another solid punch to the attack for Bravado. He scored a free-kick goal in extra time to give Kansas City the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and has tallied 12 goals and eight assists in his 49 regular season appearances for the Wizards.

6(2). Team DTB - Uche Okafor - With the second pick of the sixth round, Team TBA select Uche Okafor. The Nigerian international was a staple in the back for the Wizards from 96-99, helping to anchor the backline. He even appeared at World Cup 98 for the Nigerian national team. He was penciled in to be the starter on the back line of the 2000 MLS Cup winning side, but due to being ill to start the season lost his starting spot.

6(3). Team Shook - Sean Bowers - With the third pick of the sixth round, Team Shook selects Defender Sean Bowers. Bowers started over a hundred games on the Wizards backline from the inaugural season of 1996 through 1999, and paired with Uche Okafor to form the backbone of early Wizards defenses.
Bowers was the Wizards team captain for the 1999 season and was twice named team defender of the year.

After leaving the Wizards following the 1999 campaign Bowers went on to play in Major League Indoor Soccer and National Professional Soccer League and captained the US Futsal team to the second round of the 2004 Futsal World Championship.

Wizards Have USL-2 Trialist

The Wizards continue to work on building up their defense, as they have Crystal Palace USA defender, Ibrahim Kante on trial this week. Kante, who is 26, played at left back for Palace last season, and is a native of Mali. He played in 12 games last season, getting a goal and an assist. As Steven Goff says in his post on it, Kante played 3 games for the Revolution back in 2003. He has also played indoor for the Baltimore Blast, St. Louis Steamers, and Kansas City Comets.

An interesting move for the Wizards, but how much will he be able to contribute? According to the article on Palace's website, Kante should know whether he made the team by tomorrow or Friday, as the team was off today.

Former Wizards Coaches News

Some quick news on 2 former Wizards coaches. The first is that Bob Gansler, the Wizards coach for all 3 of their trophies (2000 MLS Cup, 2000 Supporter's Shield, 2004 USOC), is up for induction into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. Gansler is on the Builders Ballot. He joins 8 other former Wizards on in their attempts to be elected to the hall of fame (Brian Bliss, Mike Burns, Mark Chung, Frank Klopas, Roy Lassiter, Preki, Mike Sorber, and Peter Vermes).

The other news, is that former Wizards coach, Brian Bliss has been named the Columbus Crew's Technical Director. That makes 3 former Wizards players that are team's technical directors. Peter Vermes in Kansas City and Chris Henderson in Seattle are the other two. Congratulations to Bliss on the new position.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tolbert Basically Admits to Not Having Signatures

Tonight on 980 KMBZ AM here in Kansas City, Richard Tolbert basically admitted the group did not have the signatures required to put the 3 Trials TIF funding on the ballot. While on the radio talking about the campaign to recall Kansas City Mayor, Mark Funkhouser, the hosts asked Tolbert about his Bannister petition and if he had the signatures. Tolbert appeared to stumble and back track saying that the group may have taken the wrong path as even if the petition is successful to bring a vote, it does nothing to grant us ownership anyway. To me this sounds like a white flag going up from the camp on this plan. His excuse is something I've been saying since day 1, even if the group did succeed, it did not make the owners of the mall reopen it. But it helped to delay the process.

He tried to hype up his new plan, which would move to exclude the mall area from the 3 Trials TIF plan, and give the Save Bannister group TIF money to buy the mall from the current owners.

The city council should take one look at Tolbert's track record with owning property in this city and laugh him out of the building. Hopefully this plan will not make it out of the TIF commission. If it does, the city council would be a big step, especially with all the support the 3 Trails TIF had with the council.

John Offered Contract

Will John has impressed enough at Randers FC in Denmark to earn himself a full contract. At least that's the report from this Danish news site (thanks to Oz City for the translation provided). the day’s version of Ekstra Bladet you can read that the three test players Lee Nguyen (21 years), Will John (22) and Alain Behi (29) apparently have pleased Colin Todd as much that they are to be rewarded with permanent contracts.

It's not a huge loss in my opinion if this is true. As John has only played a bit part for the Wizards since coming over from Chicago. Still, it sucks that the Wizards will be losing John, a local KC area talent to Denmark. According to this article it appears the Wizards would not get a transfer fee either.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tolbert's New Plan

Apparently, Richard Tolbert and the Save Bannister group are struggling for their signatures. So much so that they are planning to change their tactics on trying to save the mall.

According to the article, Tolbert and the group are now going to try and get the title to the mall and get TIF funding to resurrect the mall. The mall's current owners will hopefully be persuaded by the city council to avoid this path at all cost. Should it come down to it, the city should only have to show the owners this article about Tolbert to see what the man can do. How Tolbert continues to view the mall as a viable option any more is beyond belief. Enclosed malls are dying in this country, people want to park right in front of the store they want to shop at, go in and leave. Hopes are that this is just a minor speed bump in the redevelopment of the area.

Midseason Tournament

Thanks to George Shook at the Kansas City Soccer Review for this. Shook provided a first look at the team thanks to his entry today. He got the first look at the drafted rookies and how they play. I'm not going to go into his whole write up, but you can read it here.

The part I want to focus on is the end. Shook spoke with Greg Cotton at the practice, and was talking about the fact that season ticket holders get 18 tickets, when the maximum number of games at home is going to be 17 (15 league and 2 possible playoff games). So what was the point of the 18th ticket? Shook was wondering about a possible preseason friendly with sister club, Atlas. Cotton, though, shot down the idea of them coming here, but left open the possibility of the Wizards heading down to Mexico.

Cotton did mention that the Wizards are in the planning stages of a midseason friendly international tournament. This would be amazing for the Wizards, as it would mean the first home international friendly since 1997. Here's hoping it comes off with some decent international teams.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Marinelli and Trujillo News

Looks like there is yet another place to get Wizards news now this season. Brad Porter of Metro Sports is doing a Wizards related blog now. He has some interesting Wizards news in one of his posts today.

Porter confirms the news that I posted last week, that the deal to bring Iván Trujillo to Kansas City is in principal done. What Porter has, though, is news on Trujillo's status. Trujillo has to wait to receive his P-1 visa and his International Trade Card (ITC). The ITC is basically a license to play pro soccer here in the states. It must be signed by MLS, the Wizards, and the Colombian officials before it is issued. Porter says getting these will take 2-3 weeks, meaning Trujillo will likely join the team late in their training in Florida if all goes as it should.

As for the other news. It's been known that Carlos Marinelli signed a new contract with Kansas City. What wasn't known, is that Marinelli has to obtain another work permit/visa to play in the US again. Not sure how this all works out, but hopefully this process works out fast so that Marinelli doesn't miss any time with the team. Marinelli needs to have a healthy season, and getting in the entirety of preseason will most certainly help.

Preseason Starts Tomorrow

For the majority of the Wizards, preseason training for the 2008 season will begin at the KC Sports Lodge in Independence, MO tomorrow. The team will train the next 3 days at the indoor facility, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. before leaving to continue their training down at Bradenton, FL, through February 16th. While down in FL, the Wizards will play 4 matches against Columbus, DC, Toronto, and Chicago.

After returning to KC, the team will train for about a week at either the training facility in Swope Park, or at the Sports Lodge depending on weather. The team will then depart for Argentina for a two and a half week training trip down there, returning on March 14th.

There will be at least 3 absences from the team, though to start training. Jimmy Conrad will be with the US Men's National team preparing for the game against Mexico. Chance Myers will be in camp with the U-23 team, while Will John is on trial in Denmark until the end of the month.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wizards Goalkeeping Situation

Kevin Hartman played every minute of the Wizards 34 games this past season. One of the only players in the league to play every minute of his team's games. The number 2 position is still locked up by Eric Kronberg. With the drafting of Andrew Kartunen, the Wizards look to have filled their number 3 keeper spot for the upcoming season.

Hartman's not getting any younger, but is Kronberg ready to step up? I haven't seen enough of him to know for sure if he is or not. It's most likely that he won't be challenging Hartman for the number 1 shirt this season. That said Hartman does turn 34 this upcoming season. The Wizards have to be looking towards the future in net as well. Right now that future appears to be Kronberg.

Kronberg needs to get some first team minutes this season, even if it's in the open cup. If he's in the Wizards plans to one day have the number 1 shirt he needs some time.

Wizards Defense Situation

Half of the Wizards back 4 that started most of the season is gone. And the Wizards went very defensive minded in the SuperDraft. Where does that leave the Wizards back line heading into 2008 preseason training?

With Nick Garcia and Jose Burciaga Jr gone, Jimmy Conrad is not the most seasoned Wizard on the back line. Captain Conrad, though, has shown his leadership throughout the years in KC and should do fine to teach many of the young defenders the Wizards have brought in. Jack Jewsbury and Michael Harrington, two players that saw plenty of time in the wing back positions during the 2007 season are also back. With it looking like a switch to a 3-5-2 being a very strong possibility, though, those two could be moved back up to midfield. Ryan Raybould will be starting his 4th season in KC, again switching back and forth from midfield and defense. The other two returning defenders, Aaron Hohlbein and Tyson Wahl will battle it out for a position in the center of defense. Hohlbein had a productive offseason, getting called into the U-23 camp for their trip to China.

The Wizards will have more competition at the back this season if all their draft picks sign, as the Wizards entire SuperDraft can play defense. The only two already on the team, Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza can take up positions on the right and left wing respectively. The other four drafted players, Yomby William, Jon Leathers, Matt Marquess, and Rauwshan McKenzie will all compete for time on the back line if they sign.

Overall, the Wizards are deep in the back, but unexperienced is an understatement. Jimmy Conrad is the only player with more then 20 professional starts on the back line. It would have been nice to have another experienced back, but that didn't completely hurt the team back in 2000, when Peter Vermes played center back with the inexperienced Brandon Prideaux and rookie Nick Garcia. We can only hope for the same results.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wizards Midfield Situation

Earlier today I looked at the forwards situation for the Wizards at the moment. Now I'm going to look at the midfield situation.

The Wizards have more depth at this position then they have at forward. The rumor going around is that the Wizards will be employing a 3-5-2 this year. Carlos Marinelli is the favorite to start at the central attacking midfield position. With Davy Arnaud out for the start of the 2008 season, Eloy Colombano has to be the favorite to take his place. On the left side, Michael Harrington spent much of the 2007 season there, but with him spending the later season at left defense, Sasha Victorine has to be another possibility on the left if Harrington stays on defense. In the defensive midfield position, Kerry Zavagnin will keep his spot back there, but will be joined by Kurt Morsink at that position.

The Wizards do have plenty of other players as well capable of playing midfield. Will John saw some time at attacking midfield last season. And while Jack Jewsbury spent all of last season at right back, up until that point, he had been playing in the midfield. Ryan Raybould and Lance Watson both saw action in the midfield for the Wizards last season. Aaron Hohlbein is listed as a midfielder/defender, but saw all his time last season as a central defender. That leaves Michael Kraus, Amir Lowery, and Ryan McMahen. All 3 of them didn't make the field at all last season, although Kraus made the bench 1-2 times and McMahen missed the entire season due to injury.

There were also midfield options picked up in the SuperDraft and Supplemental draft. Both first round picks, Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza can play in the midfield as well as defense. In the supplemental draft, the Wizards picked up 3 more midfielders. While Pat Healy, Vicente Arze, and Tom Gray still have to make the roster, the fill out the compliment of midfielders on the roster.

After the top 7 midfielders, there is a drop off in talent level or at least experience level for the rest of the roster. It will be interesting to see how Myers and Espinoza fit in.

The World's Game

Kansas City's Team

That's the slogan for the Wizards this year.

Below are the two logos for the slogan. The first is already being used on the team's website.

Wizards Forward Situation

With the preseason ready to start on Monday, I thought it'd be a good time to take a look at Wizards situation at each part of the field. I'm hoping to get the forwards and midfielders out today, with defenders and goalkeepers coming tomorrow.

With the departure of Eddie Johnson, the Wizards only have 2 "true" forwards on the team, Scott Sealy and Ryan Pore. Last season, Davy Arnaud, Eloy Colombano, and Carlos Marinelli all saw some time up top, with little results at all. On the Wizards roster, Jack Jewsbury, Will John, and Michael Kraus are all listed as M-F. Jewsbury, though spent all last season in defense, while John and Kraus played a combined 3 games (all from John). The rumors of Iván Trujillo are still around, and some time in the next few days I'd expect that deal to be officially announced. Still, 3 forwards is not going to be any where near enough of a forward line for the coming season. The Wizards likely need to bring in at least 1 more forward before the season starts in my opinion. I'd prefer someone with MLS experience that can come in and score a few goals off the bench, but there isn't really anyone on the market now that fills that whole. This is the only area of the squad that the Wizards haven't improved through the draft, so it will be interesting to see what the team does in the coming weeks to shore up their forward line.

More on John Trial

Yesterday I posted about the fact that Wizards midfielder/forward, Will John was on trial with Randers FC in Denmark. Today I have an update to that news, this time in English. According to American Soccer Daily, John and Lee Nguyen will be on trial at the club through the end of January. At which time the two will be evaluated and it will be decided whether the team will try to secure a loan or permanent move for either or both of the two American players. And for those of you that like to read Danish, here's another Danish writeup on the trial.

Anyone Getting Goosebumps?

I'm already loving the new Hillcrest Road blog the team has put together. Late last night, we got our first write up from Wizards president, Robb Heineman. The post is all about the new stadium and some of the stuff that is going on right now. He's meeting today with Architecture 360 today to discuss the seating bowl and some suites. They also should have 6 bids on the roof of the stadium that they have to decide on. Once that's done, they'll be releasing renderings. Personally all this has me pumped up to see them.

Heineman then discusses the Cauldron and it's potential location on the south side of the stadium, where they're looking to create a "cave-like" structure to help create more sound from the Cauldron. That sounds just amazing, and I can't wait to be a part of it. Finally, Heineman talks about the plans developing for an English pub just south of the stadium, that I assume will want to be the pre and post game hangout location of the Cauldron along with all other fans. It's about time KC got a really good English pub. One that will open early on Saturday's and Sunday's to allow for people to come in and view EPL games. A place willing to drop the money on PPV for big time European qualifying games, and for things like the FA Cup Final. The Embassy Bistro is great, and McCoy's looks to be wanting to come along, but I would hope that this place would become just THE place to watch soccer on TV.

All these ideas starting to come together just have me incredibly psyched for this thing to be built.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Myers Called Up for U-23 Camp

While Jimmy Conrad will be with the US Men's National Team, the Wizards number 1 overall draft pick, Chance Myers will be down in Bradenton, FL training with the US Under 23 team in preparations for their upcoming Olympic qualifying matches, which start March 11th. Myers just finished up the last U-23 camp, where he was also called in. Two other Wizards, though, were not called in. Michael Harrington and Aaron Hohlbein both missed call ups again to the team.

Conrad Called Up

Bob Bradley and Jimmy Conrad have to be hoping for lightning to strike twice against Mexico in an early friendly. Last year down in Phoenix, AZ, Conrad scored his first international goal to help lead the US to a 2-0 win over Mexico. This year, Conrad has been called up again for the friendly, this year down in Houston, TX. Due to commitments in Europe, the big name Euro players will not be in until a few days before the match. As always, this will be an intense game between the two teams.

Supplemental Draft Results

Hillcrest Road, the team's official blog has the results of today's supplemental draft.

Here are all the Wizards picks.

With the 11th pick, M Pat Healy from Towson State.

With the 25th pick, M Vicente Arze from Mercer.

With the 39th pick, M Tom Gray from Monmouth.

With the 53rd pick, GK Andrew Kartunen from Stanford.

Don't know anything about these guys, but apparently Arze has already signed with Vancouver of the USL-1, which means chances are KC won't get him, as he'd get developmental money in MLS.

Will John on Trial in Denmark?

It appears that Wizards midfielder, Will John is on trial in Denmark with Randers FC. According to Randers FC's website, they have American Lee Nguyen of PSV on trial right now, but it also mentions that American Will John is also on trial. The only Will John that I know of that plays soccer is the one that plays for the Wizards, so it makes sense to assume it is John.

Randers currently sits in 6th place in the Danish Superliga. They look to be a consistent mid-table side, although they won the 2005/06 Danish Cup.

More information as I find it.

Supplemental Draft Today

The Wizards will continue to work to fill out their roster for the upcoming year, with the supplement draft today. The Wizards have 4 picks, 11th, 25th, 39th, and 53rd. Last year the Wizards were able to get quality minutes from a player (Aaron Hohlbein) in the supplement draft for the first time since it was brought back in 2005. Before that, you'd have to go back to the last supplement draft in 1999 when the Wizards selected Brandon Prideaux. So is there any real talent in the supplement draft this year? 3rd Degree has a list of some of the top prospects left on the board.

The draft will be done via conference call today, with very little to no fan fare. MLS doesn't have much publicity for the draft on their website.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Official Wizards Blog

The Wizards have a new official team blog, Hillcrest Road. You can find it in my blogroll on the right. This will hopefully be a great thing for the team and the fans to get more information on the team as a whole.

Here are some of the features the blog will have on the team:

  • Regular updates from practices and road trips
  • Regular posts from Team President and owner Robb Heineman
  • Updates on the Wizards permanent stadium project
  • Guest blogs from other members of the organization including players
  • Fun features displaying the players’ off-the-field lives
  • Regular posts concerning the Wizards efforts in the community
I'm looking forward to the information that will be on the blog.

Eddie Johnson to Fulham FINAL

Fulham has just announced that Eddie Johnson has been granted his work permit and signed by the club.

Johnson won his appeal to get a work permit today. He's signed a three and half year deal, which will keep Johnson at Craven Cottage until 2011. After drawing interest in the summer from Derby County, the rumors had picked up again this January, with him being linked to Derby, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Reading, Benfica, and even a passing mention of Liverpool. It's the Cottagers, though, that have gotten Johnson's signature. The rumor is that it's a 3 million pound transfer deal. Or about $6 million US.

The focus for the Wizards now turns to filling the 15 goals and 6 assists that Johnson contributed last year to the Wizards. Can Iván Trujillo fill enough of that hole? Or are the Wizards also looking elsewhere hoping to find more scoring punch?

UPDATE: Ives is reporting in the comments section of his post on this that there is NO transfer fee. According to Ives, "No transfer fee folks. Johnson bought out his own contract and basically pocketed what would have been the transfer fee. Great bit of business on his part."

UPDATE 2: Apparently Johnson's buy out was $4 million US, so the Wizards and MLS do get that amount in regards to Johnson leaving.

Video of Trujillo

Thanks to The Kansas City Soccer Review, we have some video of Iván Trujillo playing.

He scores on a header in this video, around the 2:56 mark to give La Equidad their lone goal.

In this video he scores the third of the five goals in La Equidad's 5-0 win, his goal is around 1:54

In this final video he scored the lone goal in his team's 1-1 tie the highlights for the match start at 1:30, with Trujillo scoring the first.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Save Bannister Group Get Their Extension

The save Bannister Mall group got the extension that they wanted for their work to collect signatures. Today the group turned in a whopping 2 signatures to get the extension on the plan. You can see the report here on NBC Action News' website, it's currently the top story on the left.

Richard Tolbert, Woody Woodruff, and the rest of the Save Bannister Mall group continue to use misdirection in their campaign to stop the redevelopment of the area. Yesterday, they were kicked off of mall property after police were called. The group is saying they were treated differently then the rally that was held last Sunday in support of the redevelopment. What they don't mention is the fact that they were kicked off because Tolbert made threats about breaking into the mall to get to his business. Which is a far different case then what the rally last Sunday was there to do.

But that would paint the Save Bannister group in a poor light, so they "accidentally" leave that detail out. The extension gives the group until February 1st to get the rest of the signatures they require for the project.

While I agree with the quote from John Sharp at the end of the report, that they'd have turned in more if they had more, I also think this is a political play by Tolbert and his group to hide exactly how many people they actually have on the petition. If they turn in the exact number they have now, they'd be showing the people for the redevelopment exactly where they are. They don't want that. They want to keep them on their toes. So it's not quite over yet.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New KC Blog

There's another new Kansas City area blog. The Kansas City Soccer Review. It's being done by both George Hanson and George Shook. The blog is set to replace Hanson's daily email news blast about the Wizards and Kansas City soccer. The G's Squared will be bringing news on the sport for all of Kansas City.

Wizards 2007 Draft Pick Guilty of Rape

Eric Frimpong, one of the Wizards 4th round Supplemental Draft picks last season has been convicted of rape. Shortly after being drafted by the Wizards last January, Frimpong was arrested on charges of rape. Since then he's been going through the legal system waiting to hear how his case would end. To follow the entire case you can read through some of the articles that come up on The Santa Barbara Independent's search feature. Frimpong is set to be sentenced on January 31st.

Tolbert Filing for Extension

It's not over yet. The hopes of Wizards fans, and South KC residents that after tomorrow Richard Tolbert would be gone from our minds will have to wait. Tomorrow was supposed to be the date that Tolbert had to have his 8500 signatures to put the redevelopment funding on an upcoming ballot. Unfortunately, tonight we find out that Tolbert plans to file for a 10 day extension in hopes of collecting the signatures he needs. He made the announcement today at a rally supporting his cause. Apparently, though, the rally was not very well attended, but did bring the police who were called to keep Tolbert and the rest of the Save Bannister group from trespassing on mall property.

The thoughts of people I've talked to is that with the poor turn out at their "rally" today, is a sign that Tolbert and his group are struggling to get the 8500 signatures, and his filing for extension is him grasping at the last straws to stop this project from happening.

We also have Steve Penn at the Star with another column on the whole situation and Tolbert comparing his battle to save the mall to the Biblical story of Jericho. The best part of the article, though, is where Tolbert actually believes that the citizens of Kansas City would vote for them to keep the mall there.

“John Sharp and these people don’t want a vote of the people, because they know black and white will vote overwhelmingly to have a nice mall there,” Tolbert said.
You really can't make up some of the stuff this guy is saying. He continues to claim that the this is for the black community and that the black community is for this project. Yet, as the article mentions, Freedom, Inc., the cities chapter of the black political club, voted 28-1 in support of the project. The only decenter, was Tolbert. I've heard that The Globe, the cities black newspaper, has run ads telling people not to sign the petition. I've even had local black church leaders post comments in this blog stating their approval for this project. So where is all the black community that is supposedly for it?

Or is Tolbert like an overbearing parent that says they know what's best for you?

Trujillo Confirmed

The signing of Colombian Iván Trujillo has been confirmed today by Wizards Coach Curt Onalfo during his interview on Between the Lines on Sports Radio 810AM here in Kansas City. Onalfo said that the signing should be officially announced in the next few days.

Bannister Plans

I came across this article from The Call while looking around the KCrag Forums. The article is a rehash of a lot of the information that's been out there already about Richard Tolbert's attempts to stop the redevelopment of the area. Still there are a few things from the article I want to touch on.

The first goes back to a quote from Councilman John Sharp during the rally. The article gives tells us that of the 5 main members of the "Save Bannister Mall" group, only 1 of them lives in the area around the mall. So 4 of them get to go home to a different part of town and not see the eyesore of a mall and all that comes with it at night. While the majority of those in the area, that do have to live with it, are for this redevelopment, for a second chance at making the area thrive again.

Tolbert continues to bait the race issue on this topic saying basically that the black leaders of the area are folding to the pressure of the white developer. Tolbert says "A better road to prosperity is through a nice black mall, over a white soccer stadium." Yet as is pointed out by Sharp in the article, and seen during the rally, it's not just whites in the area that are for it. It's all races, the blight of the area is driving both white and black people away from the area, which can be seen by the housing costs which have been falling steadily for years, even before the recent housing market collapse. Many of the black people in the area don't seem to think of this as a "gold mine" for the black community.

We also get to see what Tolbert and his friends have planned for the mall. The group wants to get a $25 million TIF for the mall. With that TIF they plan to do four major things with the area.
• Repave the parking lot.
• Update the plumbing.
• Add aesthetic imp-rovements inside the mall including “nice skylights.”
• And, add security features including a security fence surrounding the property, armed security guards and metal detectors.
Can't you just see people flocking to a mall that has a security fence, armed security guards, and metal detectors in it? Would this be a mall or a prison? How is creating almost a police state around the mall suppose to make the area a vibrant area to go to again? All of that stuff is just like finger in a damn. It may work for a short while, but pretty soon it's going to break down. The best thing is to just start over with this area.

In regards to the metal detectors, I refer you to the immortal words of Chris Rock, in his song No Sex (in the Champaign Room), "Don't go to parties with metal detectors. Sure it fells safe inside,but what about all those niggas waiting outside with guns. They know you ain't got one. "

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Upcoming Wizards News this Week

There could be some big news this week in regards to the Wizards. Specifically their stadium and their MVP last season.

The first bit of news that will be coming out, is news on the Wizards potential stadium. On Tuesday the 22nd, Richard Tolbert's petition to save Bannister Mall is due. Last Sunday after the rally in support for the redevelopment of the mall, we learned that Tolbert apparently has between 2 and 3 thousand of the 8500 signatures required to get the redevelopment on the ballot. I'm not going to count chickens before they are hatched, but things look good for the development at the moment.

The other news pertains to the Wizards 2007 MVP, Eddie Johnson. According to reports, the team and Johnson are waiting on his work permit. Johnson falls short of the 75% requirement set forth by the FA, but is appealing the decision. The appeal is to be heard on Wednesday.

Appearances for the Wizards

Back in June, I posted the list of what Wizards players have played and started over 100 games for the club. Since it's the offseason, and the Wizards leader in both games played and games started (Nick Garcia) was traded away this offseason, I figured I'd update the list and include where the other current Wizards are on the list.

Seventeen players have appeared in more then 100 games for the Wizards. Four of those 17 have played 200 games or more. Four of the 17 are still on the Wizards roster now. Below are the 17 over 100 along with the rest of the current Wizards.

Nick Garcia - 224
Kerry Zavagnin - 220
Preki - 218
Chris Klein - 200
Mo Johnston - 149
Matt McKeon - 144
Davy Arnaud - 142
Tony Meola - 125
Jimmy Conrad - 124
Chris Brown - 123
Diego Gutierrez - 119
Uche Okafor - 119
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 115
Francisco Gomez - 114
Sean Bowers - 111
Jack Jewsbury - 109
Vitalis Takawira - 103
Sasha Victorine - 90
Scott Sealy - 75
Ryan Pore - 44
Eddie Johnson - 43
Kevin Hartman - 30
Michael Harrington - 29
Carlos Marinelli - 26
Kurt Morsink - 21
Ryan Raybould - 19
Tyson Wahl - 16
Lance Watson - 13
Eloy Colombano - 10
Aaron Hohlbein - 5
Will John - 4

Of those 17 over 100 appearances, 14 of them have started over 100. Here is the full list of players with over 100 starts, as well as the rest of the current Wizards roster with starts.

Nick Garcia - 224
Kerry Zavagnin - 215
Preki - 199
Chris Klein - 183
Mo Johnston - 142
Matt McKeon - 126
Tony Meola - 125
Davy Arnaud - 123
Jimmy Conrad - 123
Jose Burciaga Jr. - 110
Diego Gutierrez - 108
Uche Okafor - 107
Sean Bowers - 104
Vitalis Takawira - 100
Sasha Victorine - 84
Jack Jewsbury - 68
Scott Sealy - 55
Eddie Johnson - 42
Kevin Hartman - 30
Michael Harrington - 27
Carlos Marinelli - 19
Ryan Pore - 12
Kurt Morsink - 10
Ryan Raybould - 10
Tyson Wahl - 10
Lance Watson - 4
Aaron Hohlbein - 4
Eloy Colombano - 1

Zavagnin should pass both of Garcia's records early in the upcoming season. Hopefully the team does for him like they did for Garcia.

All Competitions Scorers Through 2007

Finally, we're up to the 2007 season

Previous seasons.
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, & 2006

1. Preki - 81 (71 league, 8 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

2. Chris Klein - 43 (39 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

3. Davy Arnaud - 33 (25 league, 3 playoff, 5 open cup) (+3)

4. Mo Johnston - 32 (31 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

5. Vitalis "Digital" Takawira - 31 (28 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup) (-1)

6. Josh Wolff - 30 (27 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup) (-1)

7. Scott Sealy - 28 (26 league, 2 open cup) (+1)

8. Chris Brown - 22 (15 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup, 4 international) (-1)

9. Mark Chung - 21 (20 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

10. Igor Simutenkov - 20 (12 league, 3 playoff, 5 open cup) (-)

11. Matt McKeon - 18 (13 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

12T. Miklos Molnar - 17 (12 league, 5 playoff) (-)

12T. Eddie Johnson - 17 (17 league) (N/A)

14T. Francisco Gomez - 15 (11 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

14T. Jose Burciaga Jr. - 15 (13 league, 1 playoff, 1 international) (-)

16. Sasha Victorine - 14 (12 league, 2 open cup) (-)

17. Chris Henderson - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (-3)

18. Paul Wright - 11 (11 league) (-2)

19T. Roy Lassiter - 10 (7 league, 3 international) (-1)

19T. Jack Jewsbury - 10 (9 league, 1 playoff) (N/A)

Here is the list of the other current Wizards scorers that could possibly appear on the list.

Jimmy Conrad - 9
Kerry Zavagnin - 8
Ryan Pore - 5
Michael Harrington - 3
Carlos Marinelli - 1
Eloy Colombano - 1

All Competitions Scorers Through 2006

Onto 2006.

Previous seasons.
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, & 2005

1. Preki - 81 (71 league, 8 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

2. Chris Klein - 43 (39 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

3. Mo Johnston - 32 (31 league, 1 playoff) (-)

4. Vitalis "Digital" Takawira - 31 (28 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

5. Josh Wolff - 30 (27 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup) (-)

6. Davy Arnaud - 28 (21 league, 2 playoff, 5 open cup) (-)

7. Chris Brown - 22 (15 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup, 4 international) (-)

8T. Scott Sealy - 21 (19 league, 2 open cup) (+7)

8T. Mark Chung - 21 (20 league, 1 playoff) (-)

10. Igor Simutenkov - 20 (12 league, 3 playoff, 5 open cup) (-1)

11. Matt McKeon - 18 (13 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

12. Miklos Molnar - 17 (12 league, 5 playoff) (-1)

13. Francisco Gomez - 15 (11 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

14T. Jose Burciaga Jr. - 13 (11 league, 1 playoff, 1 international) (N/A)

14T. Chris Henderson - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

16T. Sasha Victorine - 11 (10 league, 1 open cup) (+2)

16T. Paul Wright - 11 (11 league) (-2)

18. Roy Lassiter - 10 (7 league, 3 international) (-3)

19T. Jimmy Conrad - 9 (9 league) (N/A)

19T. Dario Fabbro - 9 (6 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-2)

All Competitions Scorers Since 2005

Continuing through the seasons, here are the top scorers through 2005.

Here are the previous ones first.
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2004

1. Preki - 81 (71 league, 8 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

2. Chris Klein - 43 (39 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

3. Mo Johnston - 32 (31 league, 1 playoff) (-)

4. Vitalis "Digital" Takawira - 31 (28 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

5. Josh Wolff - 25 (22 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup) (+7)

6. Davy Arnaud - 24 (17 league, 2 playoff, 5 open cup) (+3)

7. Chris Brown - 22 (15 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup, 4 international) (-2)

8. Mark Chung - 21 (20 league, 1 playoff) (-2)

9. Igor Simutenkov - 20 (12 league, 3 playoff, 5 open cup) (-2)

10. Matt McKeon - 18 (13 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-2)

11. Miklos Molnar - 17 (12 league, 5 playoff) (-2)

12. Francisco Gomez - 15 (11 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international (-1)

13. Chris Henderson - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

14. Paul Wright - 11 (11 league) (-)

15T. Scott Sealy - 10 (9 league, 1 open cup) (N/A)

15T. Roy Lassiter - 10 (7 league, 3 international) (-)

17. Dario Fabbro - 9 (6 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

18T. Sasha Victorine - 8 (7 league, 1 open cup) (N/A)

18T. Onandi Lowe - 8 (4 league, 2 playoff, 2 international) (-1)

18T. Frank Klopas - 8 (7 league, 1 open cup) (-1)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

US Take Down Sweden

The United States won their first game of 2008, 2-0 against Sweden. Neither team was at full strength, as this is not an official FIFA date, meaning neither of the team's high profile players playing in the big 4 leagues were available for this match.

Wizards defender, and captain, Jimmy Conrad started in central defense for the US, along with Eddie Robinson. Both had a strong first half, not allowing Sweden too many opportunities to get in on goal. Robinson, in his first cap, also picked up the games first goal in the 15th minute off of a Brad Davis corner.

Conrad came off at the half, making way for Clarence Goodson. The second US goal, camp from the penalty spot, as Jozy Altidore was brought down in the box, allowing Landon Donovan to step up and score his US record 35th international goal.

The USA's next match is February 6th against Mexico, in Houston.

Conrad Gets the Start

In the USA's game against Sweden tonight down out the Home Depot Center, Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad is in the starting line up for the US tonight.

Here's the USA's full lineup
Moor - Conrad - Robinson - Corrales
Clark - Edu
Noonan - - - - - - - - Davis
Twellman - Donovan

Sealy Injury Update

Here's some real news today.

Previously I mentioned the fact that Scott Sealy had to decline an invite into Trinidad and Tobago's national team camp due to an injury. I've found a few bits of news information that give us a better idea of what the injury is for Sealy. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Express, Sealy is coming off of quad muscle injury. They don't have any length of time he'll be out. They do have a quote from Sealy on the injury, though:

"It's an exciting time for us because it's a World Cup year and I'm definitely looking forward to being part of the national team. It was disappointing not being able to be in training now because of the injury. It happened during the season but even though I was able to play with it, it popped up again recently. But all in all I'm looking forward to a productive 2008 and trying to press for a spot on the national team. I think we have the ingredients to do well again and perform well in the qualifiers and of course go on to qualify again."
It appears that Sealy was playing with an injury late last season, and apparently that injury has popped back up for Sealy, causing him to miss the upcoming game against Puerto Rico.

Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday also has a mention of the injury saying that Sealy is hoping for a quick return from the injury. Let's hope that it's a quick return, as the Wizards are going to need Sealy to step up big this season.

All Competitions Scorers Through 2004

Getting another one done today.

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, & 2003

1. Preki - 79 (69 league, 8 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

2. Chris Klein - 36 (32 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup) (+1)

3. Mo Johnston - 32 (31 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

4. Vitalis "Digital" Takawira - 31 (28 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup) (-1)

5. Chris Brown - 22 (15 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup, 4 international) (-)

6. Mark Chung - 21 (20 league, 1 playoff) (-)

7. Igor Simutenkov - 20 (12 league, 3 playoff, 5 open cup) (+1)

8. Matt McKeon - 18 (13 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

9T. Davy Arnaud - 17 (12 league, 2 playoff, 3 open cup) (N/A)

9T. Miklos Molnar - 17 (12 league, 5 playoff) (-1)

11. Francisco Gomez - 15 (11 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international (-1)

12T. Josh Wolff - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (N/A)

12T. Chris Henderson - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (-2)

14. Paul Wright - 11 (11 league) (-2)

15. Roy Lassiter - 10 (7 league, 3 international) (-2)

16. Dario Fabbro - 9 (6 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-2)

17T. Onandi Lowe - 8 (4 league, 2 playoff, 2 international) (-2)

17T. Frank Klopas - 8 (7 league, 1 open cup) (-2)

19. Gary Glasgow - 6 (5 league, 1 international) (-2)

20T. Diego Gutierrez - 5 (4 league, 1 open cup) (N/A)

20T. Jimmy Conrad - 5 (5 league) (N/A)

20T. Eric Quill - 5 (3 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup) (-2)

20T. Stephen Armstrong - 5 (5 league) (-2)

20T. Kerry Zavagnin - 5 (5 league) (-2)

20T. Paul Rideout - 5 (4 league, 1 open cup) (-2)

All Competitions Goal Scorers Through 2003

With all the news that's come out recently, I'd gotten away from this stat list. Well I'm back with the 2003 list.

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, & 2002

1. Preki - 79 (69 league, 8 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

2. Mo Johnston - 32 (31 league, 1 playoff) (-)

3T. Chris Klein - 31 (28 league, 3 playoff) (+1)

3T. Vitalis "Digital" Takawira - 31 (28 league, 2 playoff, 1 open cup) (-)

5. Chris Brown - 22 (15 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup, 4 international) (+1)

6. Mark Chung - 21 (20 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

7. Matt McKeon - 18 (13 league, 3 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-)

8T. Igor Simutenkov - 17 (11 league, 3 playoff, 3 open cup) (+8)

8T. Miklos Molnar - 17 (12 league, 5 playoff) (-)

10T. Francisco Gomez - 13 (10 league, 2 playoff, 1 international (+1)

10T. Chris Henderson - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

12. Paul Wright - 11 (11 league) (-2)

13. Roy Lassiter - 10 (7 league, 3 international) (-2)

14. Dario Fabbro - 9 (6 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup, 1 international) (-1)

15T. Onandi Lowe - 8 (4 league, 2 playoff, 2 international) (-1)

15T. Frank Klopas - 8 (7 league, 1 open cup) (-1)

17. Gary Glasgow - 6 (5 league, 1 international) (-1)

18T. Eric Quill - 5 (3 league, 1 playoff, 1 open cup) (N/A)

18T. Stephen Armstrong - 5 (5 league) (N/A)

18T. Kerry Zavagnin - 5 (5 league) (+1)

18T. Paul Rideout - 5 (4 league, 1 open cup) (-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wizards Jersey

Andy Mead of Yellow Card Journalism has a picture of the new Wizards jersey on his website, being held up by the Wizards number 1 pick, Chance Myers.

Definitely not as dark as originally thought. As has been talked about on bigsoccer, it's definitely more of a Cobalt/Chelsea blue as the main color.

UPDATE: Thanks to the Wizards press release we now have the image with no water marks. Credit to Andy Mead/YCJ

Wizards Go Defensive in Draft

The Wizards had a much more offensive mindset last season, as the team made it all the way to the conference finals. With the departure of Eddie Johnson looking likely still, one would have expected the Wizards to try and reload offensively through the draft, taking guys like Patrick Nyarko or Eric Avila.

Instead, though, the Wizards went with a much more defensive approach to the draft. Of the 6 picks that the Wizards had today, 5 of them were defenders.

The team started the day by taking UCLA right back, Chance Myers. Myers has been a member of the US youth system and was called into the U-23 camp this January. Myers is a Generation Adidas player and will not count against Kansas City's cap.

With the 11th pick, the Wizards took a player from the national runners up this past season, Roger Espinoza. Espinoza had a stand out College Cup, and showed impressive skills in the final, where he scored Ohio States lone goal in the game. Like Myers, Espinoza is a Generation Adidas player.

Into the second round, the Wizards selected another defender, Yomby William from Old Dominion. William was probably the oldest player in the draft, at 26. He missed quite a bit of time in college due to injuries. He's the Wizards first Cameroon player since Samuel Ekeme back in 96.

With their second, second round pick, the Wizards picked another player with U-23 team ties,
Jon Leathers of Furman. Leathers had been called up for the U-23 tour of China in late 2007. He played in the center back position with Aaron Hohlbein for much of the second half of the second game in China.

In the third round, the Wizards took Matt Marquess of Santa Clara. Marquess was a D-III transfer to Santa Clara, playing his freshman year at D-III power house, UC-Santa Cruz. While listed as a defender on Santa Clara's site, the MLS draft tracker lists him as a defender/forward.

With their final pick of the draft, the Wizards selected their fifth defender, selecting Michigan State product Rauwshan McKenzie. Played right back all four years for the Spartans.

I am honestly surprised with the way that the draft went for the Wizards. I was expecting 1-2 defenders to be taken to help fill holes, but not 5. I was thinking we'd see a forward or 2 taken, maybe a midfielder, and a goalie. Instead we get two players with US youth international experience, a midfielder that's shown flashes of brilliance, and 3 more defenders that will come in and push for spots on the Wizards back line. Not the best draft for the Wizards, but one that addressed some of the team's needs.

With the 53rd Pick the Wizards Select

Rauwshan McKenzie

The Wizards continue to go defensive taking McKenzie, a defender from Michigan State.

With the 39th Pick of the Draft

The Wizards select

Matt Marquess

From Santa Clara. Is listed as a defender on Santa Clara's website.

With the 25th Pick, the Wizards Select

Jon Leathers

The Furman defender is 5'9" 160, was the only college player that went with the U-23 team on their recent tour of China.

With the 23rd Pick, the Wizards Select

Yomby William

Big tall central defender from Old Dominion. I saw a few mock drafts that had us selecting him around this time.

With the 11th Pick of the Draft

The Wizards take....

Roger Espinoza

The Ohio State midfielder was impressive during the College Cup final. An interesting pick, kind of surprised that we didn't take Eric Avila or Xavier Balc.

And the Wizards Select.....

Chance Myers.

The pick that both Ives and Goff were talking about was true, the UCLA right back is now a Kansas City Wizard.

Pre Draft Talk

The draft is just under a half an hour away. Here is a bit of pre draft talk from Goff and Galarcep. Both are now reporting that the Wizards will be taking UCLA right back Chance Myers. Myers is quite a bit of a surprise in this position as the top 3 in the draft had expected to be Patrick Nyarko, Eric Avila, and Julius James.

Color me underwhelmed by this pick, but we'll see what happens in about 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MLS Draft Watch Party

Tomorrow at 1 pm central time is the MLS SuperDraft. ESPN2 will be broadcasting the first hour of the draft live. Yours truly will be at a draft watch party at The Embassy Bistro at 3945 Main St. in KCMO. Come on out and see what the Wizards do with the number 1 pick in the draft. For those of you that can't make it, I will be blogging live on location with updates on each one of the Wizards' picks.

Wizards Close to Finalizing Trujillo Deal

A small note on Iván Trujillo from Steven Goff on Soccer Insider. According to Goff, the Wizards are finalizing a deal to bring in a Colombian forward. This has to be pertaining to Trujillo, who has been the only Colombian that I have seen mentioned coming to Kansas City. Hopefully Trujillo will come in and be able to have an impact.

Surprise Number 1 Pick for KC?

From College to the Pros is a great blog dealing with players coming up the college ranks and turning pro. They did a full 4 round mock draft earlier today, not many sites will actually do that. The big rumor from the blog right now is that the Wizards could make a surprise selection with the number 1 pick tomorrow, Tony Beltran. Beltran, a midfielder, did not compete at the combine this past week due to injury, but he was a starter on the U-20 team this past summer that made it to the quarterfinals. Would make for a lot of interesting talk if KC were to take him.

Johnson to Fulham Not Dead

The big news today has been Fulham's signing of Watford forward Marlon King for 5 million pounds. The belief among many people has been that with this deal done, that Eddie Johnson's move to Fulham would now be off, since both players are forwards.

According to Ives Galarcep, that is NOT the case. Apparently the hold up at this time is Johnson's work permit issues. Johnson has only played in 72% of the US team's official matches, short of the mandated 75%. Johnson is set to appeal the decision with the work permit tribunal. So things are not dead, and it still looks like Johnson will be moving to England.

UPDATE: The Times in the UK also says that the deal is still on. According to the Times, the move is subject to a medical and work permit. Fee wise, Fulham and the Wizards are working on a deal between 2.5 to 3 million pounds. And here's another link from Vital Fulham saying the deal is close.

Eddie Johnson News

Figured I hadn't mentioned Eddie Johnson much so I thought I'd give an update of his situation. As mentioned earlier, Johnson left the US training camp to head to England to work on the move to Fulham. Since then, rumors have flown about what the transfer fee will be, ranging from $3 million to $6 million for the striker. Still, though, the final word has not come through that Johnson is indeed gone. But pretty much ever source that I've seen write on it (too many to link in one post), has said that it's basically a done deal, and Fulham will make Johnson their 5th American signing. With the trade for the number 1 pick, the Wizards look to be moving on as if Johnson is not going to be there as well.

Number 1 Pick Trade Rumors

Yesterday I posted about what the Wizards would do with the number 1 pick in the draft tomorrow. Included in that list of things, was to trade it again for another player and/or pick. According to Ives, Houston was also interested in acquiring the number one pick from San Jose before the Wizards beat them to it. Ives goes on to speculate as to who Houston could trade to KC to get the number one pick. His speculation? Brian Mullan and another pick in the draft.

Color me underwhelmed by that trade idea. Yes Mullan is a good player, he's been a major part of the Dynamo's two MLS Cup runs. But is he worth it? Mullan plays on the right wing for Houston, the same position that Davy Arnaud has taken up. Sure Arnaud is going to miss the first part of the season due to injury, but what do you do when he returns? The Wizards seem to be high on Iván Trujillo, so chances are he'll be starting up top with Scott Sealy. So where do you play Arnaud then? You can't leave a player like him on the bench.

So I'm fairly skeptical of this rumor, but what's your opinion? Could it happen?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Victorine Out too?

Normally I don't put a lot of faith in the MLS Rumors website. But with all the other changes the Wizards have made this week, I would not be surprised if this occurred too. MLS Rumors is reporting that Sasha Victorine could be the next one on his way out of Kansas City, continuing the move to a younger team. Victorine had received some interest around the trade deadline last year from Columbus. The way this week has gone, this move makes sense. Onalfo and Vermes are moving out some of the older talent (Garcia) and the guys that don't fit the style Onalfo wants (Burciaga). To where would he go? I have no clue, Columbus could be an option to reunite him with Sigi. Maybe San Jose, where they could still use some midfield help. Who knows, but we'll see if this happens.

Do you think this move is possible?

The Kansas City Wizards are on the Clock

After the trade of Nick Garcia, the Wizards now own the number 1 pick in Fridays SuperDraft. The Wizards are officially on the clock now deciding on who they'll make the number 1 pick of the draft. The last time the Wizards had the number 1 pick was in the 1996 College Draft, when the team selected Matt McKeon.

So who do the Wizards take with this pick? There are numerous mock drafts already out there on the net. MLSnet has their mock draft up, and they have the Wizards taking Virginia Tech forward Patrick Nyarko to help ease the loss of Eddie Johnson. They're not the only ones as The Score and Hersey House on bigsoccer both have KC taking Nyarko. Ives Galarcep has the Wizards taking UConn defender Julius James in a bid to replace the guy they traded away for the pick, Garcia. I've also seen drafts that have had KC taking UC Santa Barbara midfielder Eric Avila. All three of those players are listed as "Can't Miss Prospects" by Buzz Carrick on 3rd Degree.

Of course it might not matter, as the Wizards could potentially deal the number one pick again. According to Bob Rusert on MLSnet, Peter Vermes and the Wizards are listening to offers on the number one pick. It doesn't make a lot of sense for KC to get this pick and then just ship it right back out. What would be a realistic offer from another team for the spot? A proven MLS forward? A midfielder? Either way it would need to be a guy that can come in and start right away, as the Wizards have already given up 1 starter to get the spot, I think only a starter in return would make it worth while.

Jimmy Takes a Stab at LA

If you didn't hear, LA has traded for Carlos Ruiz. This means that with Eddie Johnson likely to leave for England, that LA will have the only 2 remaining grandfathered players in the league. Which means, in theory, LA will technically have 3 DPs on their team. Some fans of the league are calling it a conspiracy to give LA and David Beckham a better chance of making the playoffs and winning MLS Cup.

They're not the only ones apparently. Nick Green over at 100 Percent Soccer has a great quote from Wizards captain, Jimmy Conrad about that fact.

"The league likes to make sure the large markets have as much an advantage over everybody else as they can," Kansas City captain Jimmy Conrad said. "It's an important year - I know the final is at the Home Depot Center this year and they want to make sure they have a good team. It's interesting they all end up there - they've got three Designated Players on their team."
What do you think? Does Jimmy have a point?

Trujillo Rumors Continue

The rumors of Colombian striker, Iván Trujillo are continuing to build steam. Today in the Star, we learned that the rumor is more then just rampant agent talk from Colombia about Trujillo. From Onalfo's quote in the paper: "He’s a player we believe can do very well in this league and be a very effective goal scorer for us," the Wizards coach seems to be pretty high on the striker adding fuel to the flame that he is on his way to KC.

On top of that, comes this news from The site says that Trujillo is very likely on his way to Kansas City and will be leaving for the US on February 1st. From his quote in the article, Trujillo seems to be high on the league and what it has. But one has to worry that he already has one eye on another move to Europe, with the way he talks about MLS as a place where players can make their way directly to Europe.

Burciaga Trade Finalized

The trade of Jose Burciaga Jr. to the Colorado Rapids was finalized today. Yesterday the terms of the deal were unknown, but today we have learned that the Wizards have traded the left back for a 2nd round draft pick in next year's (2009) Super Draft. Burciaga is only a year removed from a Best XI performance in 2006 where he had 8 goals and 8 assists, earning him the team's MVP award. 2007, though, saw Burciaga continue to be plagued by his defensive lapses. The most note worthy being his hand ball and his trip in New York that led to both of New York's goals in a game that could have kept the Wizards out of the playoffs for the third straight year.

Burciaga only saw garbage minutes for the team after that game. He finished the season with 2 goals and 4 assists. In the end the team weighted it's options between the good Burciaga brings (winner against Columbus, goal and 2 assists against Chicago) verse the bad (his screw ups in New York). It looks like the bad won out. It is a shame, though, especially with the work that the Jose Luis Burciaga Foundation has already done in the area. I hope they'll stay around and continue to do good in the city.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wizards Fantasy Draft Rounds 3 & 4

Continuing with the fantasy draft tonight are rounds 3 and 4. Here are the first two rounds.

3 (1). Team Shook - Chris Klein - Klein is second in every major offensive category in Wizards history with 39 goals, 45 assists, and 123 points. Klein is also fourth on the career list of games played and minutes played. Klein also was a force in the playoffs, adding 3 more goals and 4 assists, none bigger than his assist on Miklos Molnar's 2000 MLS Cup winning goal.

Klein was also the definition of resilience, twice winning MLS Comeback Player of the Year awards in 2002 and 2005 for his strong recovery from njuries to both of his knees.

3 (2). Team DTB - Kerry Zavagnin - Not known for his offensive talent (8 goals in 8 years with the Wizards) Zavagnin is on the field to disrupt the opposing team's passing game. After the 2000 season, he began to feature for the US National team, earning 21 caps. In 2004 he was named to the MLS Best XI. And in 2007 after a few years without scoring, scored 3 highlight real goals, including a 30 yard bomb against Chivas that was a finalist for GOTY.

3 (3). Bravado F.C. - Kevin Hartman - Hartman holds several MLS goalkeeping records (first to 100 wins, first back-to-back GAA<1.00 and 20-win seasons, league leader in shutouts) and while those records were largely established with the archnemesis Los Angeles Galaxy, Hartman has proven himself worthy of selection among the all-time best Wizards. After being acquired for the 2007 season, "El Gato" led the Wizards back to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, then led the Wizards to the Western Conference Championship recording back-to-back shutouts against Chivas USA. Although the 33-year old is said to have lost a step, his reactions and positioning are - in the opinion of Bravado F.C. - superior to any goalkeeper the Wizards have had to date.

4 (1). Bravado F. C. - Peter Vermes - Although Vermes struggled with injuries during his final two seasons in Wizards blue, his performance in 2000 is good enough to cement him as one of the best defenders ever to have played for Kansas City. Named the MLS Defender of the Year in 2000, Vermes led a defensive unit that recorded 16 shutouts and an amazing 0.91 goals-against average en route to a league double, winning the 2000 Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup. Vermes' influence continues with the Wizards today as he currently holds the position of Technical Director.

4 (2). Team DTB - Davy Arnaud - While his most productive season for the Wizards was at forward, I expect Davy to line up on the wing for DTB when we take the field. His work ethic and tenacity on the field will bring an extra level to the players on the team.

4 (3). Team Shook - Chris Henderson - Henderson is second all-time in MLS games played, most of which came with the Colorado Rapids. However, Hendo's best season may have been in 2000 when he lead the Wizards in scoring with 9 goals and 9 assists, earned an All-Star nod, and helped lead the team to the MLS Cup, earning the only championship of Henderson's long career.

In his two seasons manning the Wizards flank Hendo scored 13 goals and 15 assists, and earned a place as a fan favorite that lasts to this day.

Burciaga on the Way Out

Nick Garcia is not the only player that looks to be on his way out of Kansas City. According to Ives, Jose Burciaga Jr. is also on his way out of Kansas City. Apparently Burciaga will be heading to Colorado for a draft pick. This pick likely won't another first rounder, more likely to be a 2nd or 3rd rounder. The 3rd round in my opinion being the most likely, because teams already know that he's in Onalfo's doghouse because of late last season, and his exposure in the expansion draft.

Burciaga, while frustrating many times on the field would also pull out great moments of brilliance, like his wonder goal late in Houston last year, his goal to win the game against Columbus this year, and his huge 1 goal 2 assist performance in the Wizards 3-2 win over Chicago this past year. While I won't miss his mistakes, I'm sure the Wizards will bring the scoring threat next season.

Garcia to San Jose for Number 1 Pick

After a quiet offseason so far for the Wizards, they jumped right into it today. The Wizards traded veteran defender Nick Garcia to expansion side San Jose for their first round pick, the number 1 pick overall in the draft. To this point, Garcia had spent all 8 of his seasons in the league in Kansas City, coming in as the number 2 pick in the 2000 season. Nick started all 224 league games that he played in for the Wizards, and started 272 of the 273 he played in all competitions for the team. All of which are team records. While he's appeared to have lost a step, he was still a fan favorite for the Wizards, and will likely continue to be treated in the way Chris Henderson and Diego Gutierrez are treated when they return to KC.

With the departure of Eddie Johnson imminent, it looks like the Wizards are moving into position to take Patrick Nyarko, who appears to be the favorite to go number one in the draft on Friday. The Virginia Tech Junior, would be a generation Adidas player for the Wizards, if he's who they take. The Wizards now have 4 of the first 25 picks (1, 11, 23, 25) in Fridays MLS draft.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Preki Up for the Hall

Wizards great, Preki, is up for induction into the US Soccer Hall of Fame this year. Preki is one of the leaders of this years new class, that includes Earnie Stewart and Jeff Agoos. Is Preki worthy of the hall of fame? In MLS terms most definitely. He's the first player to win 2 MVP awards (1997 and 2003) in both seasons, he led the league in scoring. In 2003, doing it at the age of 40. Throughout his career, players knew he was going to cut to his left, and it still didn't help them at all, as Marc Connolly put it so well back in 2005, Good ahead, try to stop Preki. He played 28 times for the US National team scoring 4 goals, the biggest being the only goal in the USA's only full national team win against Brazil.

The question becomes, is that enough. Preki was an average national team player, and got a late start on that career. He was an excellent MLS player, but as has seen in past years, being a great MLS player does not get you automatically elected (see Marco Etcheverry). It's starting to get to the point where US Soccer likely needs to consider an MLS only wing, where the league's greats can be elected on their play in the league alone.

And after looking over the rest of the list of nominees, there are 8 former Wizards up for election this year. Brian Bliss (in his last year of eligibility), Mike Burns, Mark Chung, Frank Klopas, Roy Lassiter, Preki, Mike Sorber, and Peter Vermes.

Eddie Johnson's Rumored Replacement

With the news yesterday, that Eddie Johnson has left the US men's camp in LA, possibly to be finalizing a deal with Fulham, the Wizards look like they could be without their leading scorer from last season. Today, though, comes news that the Wizards are apparently, already lining up a replacement for Johnson, in the form of Colombian striker, Iván Trujillo, of Deportivo Cali. Trujillo, who is currently on loan at second division side, Equidad Club Deportivo, would come to the Wizards on loan. While with Equidad, Trujillo, 'el cholo' scored six goals with the team helping them reach the finals of the second tournament of the 2007 season. Other then that, I haven't been really able to find any information on the player, except that he is currently 25. He is the first guy to the right of the goalkeepers in that picture. It is a little disturbing that at 25 he is not breaking into his first team, but instead having to be loaned out to the second division.

Davy Arnaud Will Miss Start of Season

Back in November, Oz City broke this news in a comment on one of his posts. Today we get that story confirmed by the Wizards. About 8 weeks ago, Arnaud had micro-fracture surgery, a follow up to the cartilage surgery he had last winter. Due to the surgery, Arnaud will miss the beginning of the season, but his exact return is not known at this time.

Other surgery news from the same article, is the fact that Jack Jewsbury underwent a hernia operation. Jewsbury, though, will be back in time when players report for preseason, January 26th.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Update on Bannister Petition

Earlier today I posted about the rally at Bannister Mall for the redevelopment of the area. I also mentioned how Richard Tolbert and his crew were there as well. Tonight, we have some news of how many of the 8500 signatures Tolbert already has. The answer, not nearly enough. According to Fox4, Tolbert has somewhere between 2000-3000 signatures with just over a week left. It doesn't make sense to me for Tolbert to lie with a number that low in this situation, with the amount of time they have left.

Another interesting part of the article is the wording of the article, which makes Tolbert look really stubborn. The article says:

He also says project supporters are misleading the public, and refuses to believe anyone who says the old building is beyond repair.
From everything I've heard, the mall IS pretty much beyond repair. Apparently people have been breaking in, stealing wiring, copper piping and other things inside the mall that would need to be replaced before anything could reopen at the mall. That's not even mentioning the damage done to the reputation of the area due to the empty mall, which is also beyond repair without some major redevelopment.