Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wizards Win in New Mexico

The Wizards took the New Mexico Cup 2-0 over CSD Municipal of Guatemala tonight thanks to a pair of first half goals by Ivan Trujillo. With starters like Claudio Lopez, Scott Sealy, and Kevin Hartman staying home the Wizards apparently controled the game in the first half. Carlos Marinelli set up Trujillo's first off of a corner kick. According to the write up on Hillcrest Road, Marinelli dominated the first 30 minutes or so before being subbed out. In the 37th minute, KC doulbed their lead when in the 37th minute Davy Arnuad picked out Trujillo who once again headed past the Municipal goalkeeper to make it 2-0.

KC made full scale changes at half time and in the second half, the Wizards reserves kept the Municpal team at bay and gave Eric Kronberg the shutout in net for the Wizards. Here are the Wizards lineups for both halves.

First Half
Leathers - Conrad - Wahl - Harrington
Arnaud - Jewsbury - Zavagnin - Marinelli (Colombano 35)
Pore - Trujillo

Second Half
Myers - McKenzie - Hohlbein - Marquess
Souter - Morsink - McMahen - Pore (Pizarro 63)
Colombano - Trujillo (Kraus 85)

Wizards in New Mexico and Other News

The Wizards are in New Mexico, getting ready to play CSD Municipal tonight in the first ever New Mexico Cup. This game will be the first time the Wizards throw out their "new formation" of a flat midfield instead of a diamond. As mentioned in Onalfo's press conference earlier this week, a few players have not made the trip, Roger Espinoza, Sasha Victorine, and Claudio Lopez are all carrying small knocks that will keep them out as a precaution. And it seems like Carlos Marinelli may as well. Scott Sealy also didn't go down either, as his wife is set to give birth. The lineup is likely to have the starters (or what amounts to the starters) in the first half with whole sale changes coming at half time. As for the lineup, I'd expect something like this in the first half.

Myers - Conrad - Wahl - Harrington
Arnaud - Zavagnin - Jewsbury - Morsink
Trujillo - Colombano

As Oz City mentions in his preview, a few of Municipal's players have MLS experience, including Guillermo “Pando” Ramirez and Mario "Loco" Rodríguez, both of whom were rumored to be going to the Wizards last year. Should be an interesting game, wish there was some way to watch it, but I, like you, will be following the running commentary on Hillcrest Road.

Other News
Brad Porter has a story on Peter Vermes trip to Hungary, where he met with club and national officials, as well as scouting talent. According to Porter, some
Hungarians have the Wizards eye, mainly attacking players. Porter also gives an interesting background as to why Vermes went to Hungary for this scouting trip including family history and economic issues. Will be interesting to see if this trip bears fruit in the form of a player or another partnership for the team.

Wizards Playing Atlas

The Wizards partnership with Mexican club Atlas, looks like it will finally yield a friendly between the two sides. Thanks to a poster on bigsoccer, we have this up on ticketmaster advertising a game at Community America Ballpark between Atlas and the Wizards.

The timing of this game is just a little bit odd though. The game is advertised as kicking off on July 11th at 7 pm. This is one day after the Wizards play New York at home, and the same day as the reserves play New York at Swope Park. Talk about a full schedule. Still I'm pleased that this looks like it's happening, I've been calling for a home friendly for years and have wanted something to come from this Atlas partnership, so it's the best of both worlds.

UPDATE: According to another poster on bigsoccer, the Wizards front office has told him that the reserve game on the 11th against New York will be moved. That means the game on the 11th against Atlas will likely be the Wizards reserves against Atlas.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wizards 2008 Draft Review

Seeing Wizards supplemental draft pick, Vincente Arze named to the USL team of the week, I got to thinking about the rest of the Wizards 2008 draft and what all the players are doing.

Chance Myers - Super Draft 1(1) - Missed the first game and a half due to injury, but since then has played almost every minute. Has had his rookie mistakes, but has looked well overall.

Roger Espinoza - Super Draft 1(11) - As with Myers, he missed the first game and a half, but came back to start the next few. He hasn't seen the field with the first team since he received a red card for his elbow on Frankie Hejduk.

Yomby William - Super Draft 2(23) - Played a little bit with the reserves before he was cut by the team to make room for Kevin Souter. Since then he's had a trial with Real Salt Lake, but there's been no word as to how that went or where he's gone to now.

Jonathan Leathers - Super Draft 2(25) - Leathers took over the starting spot in defense while Myers was out. Since Myers has come in, Leathers has seen less time, but still earned a call up to the US Under 23 team for the Toulon Invitational.

Matt Marquess - Super Draft 3(39) - Has been playing with the reserves for the Wizards, appearing in 4 of the teams games.

Rauwshan McKenzie - Super Draft 4(53) - The only one of the Wizards rookies to play every minute of the reserve season so far, playing all 450 minutes of the teams 5 games so far.

Pat Healy - Supplemental Draft 1(11) - After being waived by the Wizards before the trip to Argentina, Healy signed with USL-2 side, Crystal Palace Baltimore. In 5 games so far this season for Baltimore, Healy has 1 goal in 168 minutes.

Vicente Arze - Supplemental Draft 2(25) - Never showed up in camp with the Wizards, instead signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps of USL-1. Arze got his first goal of the season in the Whitecaps 1-0 win over Portland on the weekend. Overall, Arze has appeared in 7 games for 403 minutes.

Tom Gray - Supplemental Draft 3(39) - Waived the same day as Healy, no clue on where he's at now, if he is even still playing.

Andrew Kartunen - Supplemental Draft 4(53) - Kartunen finished out school at Stanford before joining the team. He's still with the team, but is classified as a league keeper according to a passing mention on the team's blog.

Formation Change for KC

The Wizards will tinker with their lineup in the upcoming games against CSD Municipal and next Wednesday in the US Open Cup against Colorado. It's not going to be a big change, the team will still be running the 4-4-2 they have all this year. The change is in the appearance of the 4-4-2, instead of a diamond in the midfield, Onalfo will experiment with a flat midfield. According to Brad Porter in the link I provided, Onalfo said that Carlos Marinelli will push out to the left side with the switch and that Kerry Zavagnin will come back into the first team. With that said, here's how I figure the Wizards midfield will look:

Marinelli - Zavagnin - Jewsbury - Arnaud

Other news from Onalfo's weekly press conference is provided by George Shook on the KC Soccer Review. Shook has some notes on players that will apparently not be traveling the team to New Mexico. Roger Espinoza has an ankle problem, Sasha Victorine has a groin problem, Claudio Lopez has a small knee knock, and Marinelli has an issue. Scott Sealy will not travel either as his wife is expecting.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Wizards Blog

There's another new Wizards blog out there on the net. KC Futbol, done by Andrew Wiebe, who also writes for American Soccer Daily.

The blog is now in the blog roll on the left, so check it out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wizards vs Colorado in US Open Cup

One week from tomorrow, June 4, the Wizards will begin their campaign for their second Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title. That campaign will begin with a play-in game against MLS side, Colorado, who beat the LA Galaxy tonight 1-0 behind a goal from Conor Casey.

The match next Wednesday will be hosted at Shawnee Mission North High School. The winner of that match will enter the US Open Cup in the third round.

Father's Day

Looking over the recent posts on Hillcrest Road, most notably, the post about my son being born, I came across the Wizards' Father's Day promotion. Hadn't paid much attention to it at the time, a little busy with other things, but apparently M&I Bank will be providing a limited number of fathers with a free ticket to the Wizards June 14th game against Columbus. More information, including how to enter your dad into the contest cane be found on the Wizards Thank Dads blog set up for this event.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

US Leave Toulon Winless

The US lost their third and final group play game today in Toulon, France 2-0 to Italy. Wizards defender Jonathan Leathers started the game at right back for the US, where he matched up against Italy's number 10, Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco had scored two goals against the Ivory Coast earlier in the tournament, so it was no easy task for Leathers. Leathers performed well in the situation, though, keeping Giovinco off the scoreboard and under control for the most part. Leathers will now return to Kansas City to join back up with the Wizards and should be available for the team's New Mexico Cup match.

Wizards play half a game again

Kansas City fell for the 3rd time in 4 games and are 1-3-1 on the team's current 6 game road trip after a 3-1 loss in LA last night. For the second week in a row, the Wizards could not make a half time lead hold up. This time it was designated player, Claudio Lopez who got the goal on a play of individual brilliance as he beat one defender and as Abel Xavier backed off, Lopez ripped a shot into the upper 90. It was what the Wizards deserved by that point, as they'd been pushing the attack and going at the Galaxy for most of the first half. Again, Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was there when he needed to be, stoning Landon Donovan on a point blank shot early in the game.

In the second half, things were different. Nine minutes in, LA had tied it up from the spot after Tyson Wahl fouled Donovan in the box. In the 74th, Edson Buddle scored his 4th goal in the last two games after being fed by Donovan. Upon replay, whether Buddle was onside was brought into question, as he looked to be a yard or so ahead of the last defender on his goal.

With the game winding down, Hartman came forward for a corner kick. After the unsuccessful corner, the ball fell to David Beckham, who blasted the ball towards goal from his own half. And with Hartman down at the other end of the field there was no one to stop his shot as it rolled into the net to give LA the 3-1 win.

Wizards man of the match - Claudio Lopez - It was close between Lopez and Hartman for man of the match, but Lopez's emphisis on the game, especially in the first half gives Lopez man of the match.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Hartman

Leathers Starting

Wizards defender, Jonathan Leathers will be starting at right back for the US in their final match of the Toulon Invitational against Italy. This will be Leathers second appearance of the tournament, as he started the opening game of the tournament.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Out to LA LA Land

The Wizards continue their long road trip this weekend out on the West coast where they take on Beckham and the LA Galaxy. Kansas City come into the match off of their 1-1 draw in New York last week. LA meanwhile comes in having destroyed Dallas last weekend 5-1. Edson Buddle had a hattrick in the match for his token performance of the year. Will LA's run continue this week, or will they have the big drop off? the game this weekend is on HDNet

Kansas City has almost their full roster back, the only one that will still be missing is Lance Watson, who has the foot problem, which is a great sign for the Wizards. Roger Espinoza is back as well, the question becomes will he be in the lineup. Here's the lineup I'd expect.
Myers - Conrad - Wahl - Harrington
Arnaud - Marinelli - Espinoza
Sealy - Lopez

This was a game that I saw as a win on the road trip, but if LA plays the way they played last weekend, it definitely won't be an easy game for KC. If both Landon Donovan and Beckham have their minds on the US-England game midweek this will be a game that the Wizards can take. In the end I think KC is going to be getting another point out of this game.

KC - 2 (Lopez, Harrington)
LA - 2 (Beckham, Donovan)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Mexico Cup

The Wizards will be competing in the first ever New Mexico Cup Saturday May 31st in Albuquerque, New Mexico. KC will take on Guatemalan side, CSD Municipal in the match on the University of New Mexico football field at 8 pm Central time. The Wizards don't have an MLS game that weekend, which allows for them to play in this tournament. Municipal is the 25 time Guatemalan league champion and routinely represents the country in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and soon to be Champions League. This past year, Municipal went out to the Houston Dynamo 3-1 on aggregate. For our New Mexico readers, you can get tickets to the game here.

It's not in KC, which I would have liked, but KC is playing an international opponent closer to home at least. Hopefully the international tournament we heard about earlier this year will be announced soon so that KC can finally see some international teams in town.

In other news, Robb Heineman wants to be your friend. If you have a facebook account, you can become his friend by going here. If you don't have an account, signing up is free.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

US Lose in Toulon

The United States Under 23 team, playing in the Toulon Invitational, lost 3-2 to Turkey in their opening game. Wizards player, Jonathan Leathers played the entire game for the US, and had a strong consistent performance. He didn't overly stand out, either to the positive or negative. In the first half, the US missed a good chance when Sammy Ochoa missed just wide of the net. Turkey was able to take advantage of the US's left back, Blake Wagner many times during the half, and by the time the halftime whistle blew, it was 2-0 Turkey. The US made some changes in at the half, Leathers moved from the right back to the left back slot, and helped to shut down that side in the second half. The US pulled a goal back when Eric Brunner scored off of a corner. That goal was negated less then a minute later when Brunner and Dominic Cervi made a mess of a long ball over the top. The US continued to pressure and Ochoa scored a very nice volley to make it 3-2. Brek Shea should have had a late penalty for the US, but his protests were waved off. The US will be back in action Friday against the Ivory Coast.

I'd expect Leathers to sit this game out as other players will get some playing time. Hopefully we'll see Leathers back on the field though, he did the Wizards proud today.

Leathers Starts in Toulon

Wizards defender, Jonathan Leathers is starting today for the US against Turkey with the U-23 team in Toulon France for the Toulon Invitational. The game is on FSC at the time of this posting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Soccer Tennis Anyone?

Slow news day in Wizards land, not much going on. That said, the team does have a tournament coming up for people that like to play soccer tennis. The Wizards soccer tennis tournament is June 28th and 29th. It will be a 4v4 tournament with age groups from U-12 all the way up to adult. Registration fee is $125 and includes 3 games and 5 tickets to the KC-RSL game on the 28th. More info on it can be found on Hillcrest Road.

To get in the mood, check out the video on the American Soccer Tennis Organization website. It looks like a lot of fun, if my knee was healthy enough I would have been down for playing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More on the Weekend

I didn't mention this at the time of my post game from the game this weekend, but this blogger is now a dad. Hillcrest Road has a nice tribute to my son, Conrad Michael Kuhn, who was born at 4:48 pm, an hour and a half before the Wizards kicked off against the Red Bulls. The 7lb 15 ounce, 20 inch, latest Wizards fan got a great birthday present from Wizards defender, Jimmy Conrad, who had the Wizards lone goal. Below are some pictures of the new guy. The first is him watching the game with his mom, and the second is him all dressed up ready to go into the Cauldron.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Reserves Remain Unbeaten

The Wizards reserves remained unbeaten with a 2-1 win in New York today. Goals by Eloy Colombano and Nelson Pizarro gave the Wizards the goals they needed. Colombano received a cutting ball from Aaron Hohlbein. New York tied the game on a penalty kick by John Wolyniec. Three minutes from time, Nelson Pizarro scored his second goal of the reserve league season off of an assist from Kurt Morsink to give the Wizards the win. They sit on top of the reserve league with 11 points from their 5 games.

Wizards Grab a Point

Kansas City broke their two game losing streak last night, drawing 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls. The Wizards should have gotten all 3 out of it though, thanks to a stellar performance in net again by Kevin Hartman.

The Wizards grabbed the lead in the 20th minute when Jimmy Conrad met a Carlos Marinelli corner kick and headed it past Jon Conway for his team leading third goal of the season. After the goal, New York began to really take the game to Kansas City, causing all kinds of problems in front of the net. Part of those problems was the Wizards defense having trouble clearing their lines. Soon after the goal, Hartman parried away a cross that fell right to Jozy Altidore, who's effort was saved off the line by Jack Jewsbury.

In the second half, New York continued to pressure, but were turned away multiple times by Hartman, who had good saves on Juan Pablo Angel, Danliegh Borman, and others. Kansas City went up a man in the 77th minute, when former Wizard, Dave van den Bergh was red carded for throwing an elbow at Davy Arnaud after he was fouled. The red card was the culmination of a poor night of refereeing by Jair Marrufo, who let far too much go in the game, letting play get extremely physical. You could see that a red card was probably coming, and it'd likely come due to retaliation, which is exactly what happened to van den Bergh.

The man advantage did not pay off for the Wizards, though, as only 4 minutes after the red card, Borman was some how left all alone on the far side of the field and beat Hartman high and to the near post to give New York the goal that they had deserved for all their pressure.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kevin Hartman - He had a few shaky moments, but it was his play in goal that kept the Wizards in this game. He's proving time and again this year why he was brought in, and why he's stayed in the league for so long. He can steal points when you really don't deserve them.

Honorable Mention - Jimmy Conrad, Carlos Marinelli

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wizards Back in Action

The Wizards are back in action tomorrow night when they travel to New York to take on the Red Bulls. It's been almost two weeks since the 2-1 loss in Columbus, and the injury list has gotten smaller for the team. The only player listed as being out is Lance Watson who wasn't going to be starting anyways. Davy Arnaud is up to probable, and Onaflo has said that he'll likely be on the bench this week. New York will be without two starting midfielders, Seth Stammler and Claudio Reyna, which should be a benefit to the Wizards.

With Arnaud expected to be on the bench, and Roger Espinoza suspended, the lineup is going to look a little different. I expect to see Kurt Morsink drop from the attacking midfield spot to the defensive midfield position ahead of veteran midfielder, Kerry Zavagnin.
Myers - Conrad - Wahl - Harrington
Jewsbury - Marinelli - Pore
Sealy - Lopez

The Wizards could use a win to break this two game losing streak, a win would help make the last two games of the road trip more bearable. Will it happen? I have trouble seeing it. KC is back on turf again in New York, which while they practiced on it the week before the Toronto game, it didn't seem to help them out. I wanna see a win, heck I'd even take a point, but the way KC has played lately, I'm not seeing it.

KC - 1 (Lopez)
NY - 2 (Angel, van den Bergh)

US Open Cup Location

Thanks to a few posters on bigsoccer, it looks like an earlier post of mine was wrong. Earlier I'd posted an article about the US Open Cup qualifier on June 4th being at CBAC in Olathe, but from the two posters, it looks like the game will be played at Shawnee Mission North High School, with tickets already being on sale on ticketmaster. I've put a copy of a flyer that was sent out to SMSD students at the bottom of this post.

Odd that this would be on ticketmaster before the Wizards made an official announcement.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Random News Day

No real big news today, but there were some small bits of info that I'm going to touch on today.

First is that we know what cities will be hosting the first group round of World Cup Qualifiers after the first round against Barbados. Chicago, DC, and Denver are the 3 lucky cities. Chicago and Toyota Park will have the US vs either Trinidad or Bermuda Wednesday September 10th. Saturday October 11th, the US will host Cuba or Antigua & Barbuda in DC at RFK. The final home game will be Wednesday November 19 in Commerce City, Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park against Guatemala or St. Lucia. The sad thing about all this is that the two sites within driving distance of the KC are on Wednesday nights. If either of the Chicago or Colorado games had been on a Saturday, I know I would have gone, with it on a Wednesday it's a lot harder.

In Wizards news, All star voting is up and going. Twelve Wizards are up for selection to the all star game. The list of the twelve players are listed on Hillcrest Road.

Included in the Hillcrest Road post is the new Wizards commercial involving Jimmy Conrad and the Cauldron.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Early Injury Report Favors Wizards

The KC Wizards are back in action this Saturday as they take on Red Bull New York. The Wizards already have some good news heading into the game though, as Ives Galarcep is reporting that two of Red Bulls starting midfielders could miss the match up. Red Bull defensive midfielder, Seth Stammler is out, while Red Bull captain, and designated player, Claudio Reyna is listed as questionable for the match. Those two out would be a big boost for the Wizards, especially in the midfield, where the Wizards have had some trouble the last few games.

Leathers Called in to U-23 Team

Last week, I mentioned the potential of Wizards players being called in to the Toulon Invitational in France. Today, we found out the U-23 roster for that tournament. The lone Wizard named to the roster, is Wizards defender, Jon Leathers. This is Leathers second call up to the U-23 team. He had been called up back in November along with Wizards team mates Michael Harrington and Aaron Hohlbein to go to China with the team.

The roster looks almost split between domestic and foreign based players. The majority of the MLS players on the roster look to be bench players for their respective clubs, Leathers is probably one of, if not the leader in minutes played this season for players on the roster. The US will play Turkey (May 21), the Ivory Coast (May 23), and Italy (May 25). All of the tournaments 16 games will be broadcast on FSC. Good luck to Jon.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Wizards Scrimmage Ends in Draw

The Wizards intra-squad scrimmage today ended in a 2-2 draw. The White team, which was made up of starters started the scoring in through Carlos Marinelli, after Claudio Lopez beat his defender from Chance Myers long ball.

The Orange team, made up of reserves equalized when Kurt Morsink curved in a ball from about 25 yards out. Orange grabbed the lead right before half time when Roger Espinoza played in Ryan Pore, who slotted past Kevin Hartman.

White tied the game in the dying seconds when Eloy Colombano crossed the ball in to Davy Arnaud who headed it back into the path of Scott Sealy who finished past Boris Pardo. Hillcrest Road has a full report, including the lineups.

The big thing that I notice from the lineups, is the fact that missing is Wizards' captain, Jimmy Conrad. It's likely just a precaution, and with no game this weekend, the Wizards have plenty of time for Conrad to recover if he is injured. If it's a long term injury, I fear for our young back line.

Brass Season Kicks Off Sunday

The Kansas City Brass, KC's PDL team begins play this Sunday at 5 pm at William Jewell College. They'll be taking on their closest rival, the Des Moines Menace. Last year the Brass opened the season against the Menace and came back with a 3-1 win, that started an 11 game unbeaten streak.

Like last year, this game will double as a US Open Cup qualifier for both the Brass and the Menace. You can view their entire schedule here. Here's to another Brass win to start the season.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

US Open Cup Site

We don't know who the Wizards opponent will be in their US Open Cup qualifying match is yet, but we do know what location the Wizards are using in their bid to host the game. Buried in an article about an Olathe School Board meeting (Thanks to KC Soccer Review), is a note that the district agreed in principal with the Wizards for the College Boulevard Athletic Complex to be the site of the Wizards match on June 4. The deal is pending a formal approval by the district and the Wizards.

I would assume that this is not for sure the site of the game yet. Team's in the US Open Cup bid to the USSF to host the game. So the Wizards and CBAC will be going up against Dick Sporting Goods Park (Colorado) and the Home Depot Center (LA) for the chance to host this qualifier.

The Wizards will face the winner of the Rapids and the Galaxy, who meet May 27th in LA.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Potential Call Ups for U-23 Wizards

The Wizards may lose a couple of their U-23 players for the last game of this 6th game road trip on the 24th of May in LA. This is due to the fact that the US Under-23 team has been invited to the Toulon Invitational in France, May 20-29. According to Ives Galarcep, the tournament will be used to look at fringe players for the Olympics coming up later this year. With that in mind, US U-23 coach, Peter Nowak, could look to take as many as 4 Wizards with him, as Chance Myers, Michael Harrington, Aaron Hohlbein, and Jonathan Leathers have all recently been in camp with the U-23 team. Will all 4 get called in? Unlikely, but I could see 1-2 (Myers and Harrington) getting called in for the tournament.

Budget Passed (Stadium News)

I'd mentioned recently how the Missouri budget had been stuck in the state House after some disagreements with the Senate on some things in the funding. As I'd mentioned earlier, the stadium is part of the budget, but was not the part that was causing problems. Well yesterday, the House and Senate came to an agreement and it was "Truly agreed to and finally passed." It will now move on to the governor, where he'll sign it either later this month or early in June.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Week Off

In the middle of the 6 game road trip, the Wizards have this week off to allow the rest of the league to start to catch up on the number of games the Wizards have played. Without a league game this week, the Wizards will be going against each other. Friday at 10:30 am, the Wizards will have an intra-squad scrimmage to keep the legs fresh and get some game time in. People are encouraged to attend, so if you don't have to be at work on Friday, stop by the training complex in Swope Park.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Reserves Draw in Columbus

The Wizards reserves remained unbeaten on the season, drawing 1-1 with the Columbus Crew this morning. Don't have a full write up from Hillcrest Road yet, but do have this post from a Crew fan who was at the game. The Wizards had taken a 1-0 lead through Ryan Pore, before the Crew equalized in the late first half. Pore also missed a PK, apparently calling off Scott Sealy to take it. I'll have a full report, including lineups once a full report is out.

UPDATE: MLSnet now has the release up on the game. Looks like the Wizards took it to Columbus early, with Sasha Victorine hitting the cross bar before Pore scored on a free kick. From reading the write up, it also sounds like Pore's PK, was very poorly taken.

Wizards lineup: Eric Kronberg, Matt Marquess (Nelson Pizzarro 45), Aaron Hohlbein, Rauwshan McKenzie, Jonathan Leathers, Roger Espinoza (Michael Kraus 64), Sasha Victorine, Kerry Zavagnin-C, Ryan McMahen (Kevin Souter 45), Ryan Pore, Ivan Trujillo (Scott Sealy 45)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Another Poor Performance Dooms Wizards

The Wizards fell for the second week in a row, and fell to .500 overall with a 2-1 loss in Columbus tonight. Tonight, the Wizards fell behind early, with Adam Moffet benefiting from some ball watching by Roger Espinoza to put the Crew up 1-0. Guillermo Barros Schelotto played in a free kick that Chad Marshall headed back across the face of goal, where Moffet had followed the play while Espinoza ball watched. Kevin Hartman probably could have done better, but was left out of position after moving to the far post to cover Marshall's header.

In the 34th minute, another defensive miscue led to the Crew being up 2-0. Alejandro Moreno played a ball through to Robbie Rogers that Chance Myers appeared to have it covered, but slowed up as Hartman started to come off his line. This allowed Rogers to get the slimmest of touches on the ball to put it past Hartman and into the net. Two minutes later, things got worse for the Wizards, as Roger Espinoza got red carded for elbowing Frankie Hejduk in the nose after Hejduk had been grabbing and clawing at Espinoza his entire way down the field.

As the second half started, the Crew started to sit back and absorb pressure. The Wizards also came out and actually started playing better, with the insertion of Scott Sealy. It wasn't until Carlos Marinelli came into the game that the Wizards started to produce some good chances. Finally in the 78th minute, the Wizards had a chance to pull back into the game when Sealy was pulled down in the box. Claudio Lopez stepped up and converted the spot kick to pull the Wizards within one. While the Wizards continued to pressure the rest of the game, they couldn't find the equalizer. They came closest when Marinelli found Chance Myers on the back post, but a combination of Brian Carroll pulling on Myers and Will Hesmer, kept Myers from getting a good shot off.

Wizards Man of the Match - Claudio Lopez - Lopez is a man among boys on the Wizards. His play has been the one bright spot the past few games for the Wizards. Hopefully the rest of the team starts to play better, as he deserves it.

Honorable Mention - Carlos Marinelli

Friday, May 02, 2008

Continuin the Road Trip

The Wizards continue their long road trip heading to Columbus this weekend to take on the first place Crew. The Crew are undefeated at home this season, and their only loss was a 2-0 loss in New York earlier this season. This will be a tough match for KC, as Columbus has been the in form team early this season, Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been playing well in his second season in the league, and Alejandro Moreno is second in the league right now with 4 goals. That said, the Crew are currently having a bit of injury problems fromer Wizard, Will Hesmer and defender Gino Padula appear unlikely to play in the game tomorrow. Last season against the Crew, the Wizards scored 4 of their 5 goals in the 90th minute or later.

The Wizards are getting healthier, as the only two players on the injury list are Davy Arnaud and Lance Watson, which is good news for the Wizards. Now if they could get Arnaud back on the field, the Wizards midfield would hopefully start to look a lot better. As for the starting line,
Myers - Wahl - Conrad - Harrington
Jewsbury - Marinelli - Morsink
Lopez - Sealy
Pore could get back into the starting lineup over Morsink, but Onalfo may like the ability of having Marinelli and Morsink switch on the field. Espinoza could also step into that left midfield spot. I think Trujillo makes his way back to the bench in favor of Sealy.

The Wizards midfield needs to step it up, while they are 1-1 on this road trip, the midfield has not looked very good at all. Hopefully the return of Marinelli to the starting lineup will help settle that. I'd like to see Claudio Lopez be more selfish and shoot the ball more as, he hasn't been doing enough of that in my opinion. All that said, I think Columbus' form is too good right now for KC.

KC - 1 (Lopez)
Cbus - 2 (Moreno, Schelotto)

March/April Player of the Month

The first full month of the season is now over. That means it's time to hand out the Down the Byline Player of the Month for March/April. For me there's really only one main choice for player of the month, and that's Wizards goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman. In the months of March/April, Hartman had a 3-2-1 record, recording 3 shutouts, including the Wizards first ever in Chicago, in the team's 1-0 win there. Hartman recorded 21 saves and ended the month with a 1.17 GAA. For the way he's played this month, you have to give the award to Hartman.

In second, I'd place Jack Jewsbury, he finished the months of March/April leading the team in both goals and assists with 2 of each. He has 1 game winning goal and both of his assists have been game winning.

Arena, Gansler, and Waldo OH My!

The Wizards have announced that Bruce Arena, Bob Gansler, and Eric Wynalda will be joining Wizards play-by-play man, Sean Wheelock in the booth at different times over the rest of the season. The three will work any Wizards game that is not exclusive to ESPN, FSC, or HDNet.

Arena will be in the booth, May 17, June 21, Aug 2, Aug 16, Sept 7, & Oct 25. Gansler's dates are June 28, July 27, Aug 9, Aug 23, Oct 5, Oct 11, & Oct 18. Wynalda will be making his token appearance Aug 30.

Of the Wizards 10 remaining games, 1 is an ESPN exclusive (July 17), 2 are FSC (May 3, Sept 27), 3 are HDNet exclusive (May 24, July 4, Sept 20), and 2 games are still TBD (June 7, Sept 13) on who will be in the booth for those games. The final two games (June 14, July 10), Wheelock will be joined in the booth by Dave Borchardt.

Basically, how it breaks down, is Arena has all the non exclusive away games except for the TBD and the game Wynalda will be in the booth. Gansler gets all the non exclusive home games, except for the TBD (LA Galaxy game) and the two that Borchardt will be there.

And congrats to Team Shook on winning the poll for the best fantasy team.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Crew Not Happy with Souter Signing

It looks like the Columbus Crew are none too happy with the Wizards signing of open tryout participant, Kevin Souter. Souter had a year of eligibility left at Graceland University before he signed a developmental deal with the Wizards earlier this week. The Crew, who had been looking at Souter as well, believed that him not having gone through the draft like other college players with eligibility left, should have made him ineligibly to play in MLS. The Crew were looking to have their eyes on Souter for his final season at Graceland, but now they're stuck wondering what happened and what the exact rules are in regards to this.

The other question that could come from this has to deal with players with college eligibility coming to open tryouts put on by MLS teams. Will be interesting to follow this situation to see where, if anywhere, it goes.