Friday, February 29, 2008

Wizards Reserves First Game

The day after the Wizards play DC United to open their season, the Wizards reserves will have their first game as well. I've gotten word that the reserves opponents on March 30th will be Drake University of the Missouri Valley Conference. The game will likely be at the training complex in Swope Park. I'll post again once the game's been officially confirmed by either the Wizards or Drake. Last year, the Wizards reserves opened the season against another Missouri Valley Conference team, the University of Evansville, who they tied 2-2.

Games in Argentina

The Wizards have announced two of the teams that they will be playing during their two and a half weeks down in Argentina. They're first game will be this coming Monday against Eloy Colombano's old team, Defensa y Justicia. The Wizards played them last year in a split squad game, with the first team drawing and the reserves winning 1-1 and 1-0 respectively. The second game will be this Wednesday, the 5th against Velez Sarsfield of the Argentine first division. The team has two more games planned for March 11th and the 14th, but those dates have not been set in stone and neither have the opponents.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More Lopez News

It's certainly looking more and more likely that Claudio Lopez will be coming to Kansas City to join the Wizards. Oz City has posted a video from MLS Extra Time, where Greg Lalas says that Lopez is going to be signed by Kansas City.

That goes along with other news on Lopez that has come out recently. Soccer America talks about the upcoming roster deadline coming up, and how teams still looking to sign players are going to have to plan that out before the deadline. In that article, they also talk about the signing of Lopez and how much it would cost the Wizards. According to the article, Lopez will cost between $750K and $1.2 million. Apparently if it's on the low end, the Wizards could use allocation money to pay Lopez salary instead of the designated player slot. Coach Onalfo, though, has apparently been given the green light to use the teams designated player slot to sign a player.

While the Wizards look the most likely to sign Lopez, Brad Porter on his MetroSports blog says that signing Lopez would take quite a bit longer to sign, 2-3 months according to Porter. Let's hope it does not take that long, and instead on opening day we'll see him suiting up for the Wizards.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Turn Up the Radio

...I need the music gimme some more.

The Wizards announced in a press release today that for the first time in team history, every game will be broadcast on the radio in both English and Spanish. LA Playa 1480 AM will have the English broadcast, while La Gran D 1340 AM will have the Spanish broadcast. This will not only include the Wizards 30 league games and any potential playoff games, but will also include all US Open Cup matches and any major friendlies. This is fantastic news for the Wizards and their fans. I know I took advantage of the broadcast last year when there was no TV for the Wizards Open Cup game in Salt Lake. I'll be doing the same this year for any games that are not played in KC and on TV. Below is the full release.

(February 27, 2008) – The Kansas City Wizards and Reyes Media Group have reached an agreement to broadcast each Kansas City Wizards match of 2008 live on the radio in both English and Spanish. La Playa 1480 AM will be the English-language radio home of the Wizards and La Gran D 1340 the Spanish-language radio home. For the first time in team history, every Kansas City Wizards match will be broadcast live on the radio in English and Spanish.


“Having every match broadcast on the radio in both English and Spanish is a monumental step for our organization,” Wizards Executive Vice President Greg Cotton said. “Last year, we partnered with Reyes Media Group and Time Warner Cable’s Metro Sports to broadcast Wizards matches live in Spanish. Today we are excited to extend that partnership to feature all of our games on the radio in two languages.”


“We are extremely excited about extending our partnership with the Kansas City Wizards by enhancing our coverage of their games in both Spanish and English,” Vice President of Reyes Media Group Ed Reyes said. “By extending our coverage not only to the Kansas City area but to the region, we can bring Wizards action to everyone in the Midwest in both languages.”


Audio from live television broadcasts on Metro Sports and Time Warner Cable channel 5 will be simulcast by La Gran D and La Playa. Games not shown on Metro and/or TWC 5, including U.S. Open Cup matches and major friendlies, will still be broadcast via radio. The Reyes stations will serve as flagship stations for a Wizards radio network throughout the region.


For the first time in club history, every Kansas City Wizards MLS match will be broadcast live both on TV and radio in both English and Spanish.

KC Star Confirm Lopez Talks

In news that shouldn't really surprise anyone that has been reading this blog recently, the Claudio Lopez negotiation rumors are true. Bob Luder of the KC Star has a story today about the Argentine striker and the possibility of him coming to KC. Peter Vermes wants to have Lopez signed soon so that he can train with while they are down in Argentina for the next few weeks. But as he says, "nothing's been signed yet." Apparently the Wizards weren't the only team after Lopez originally going after Lopez, according to Vermes, 3 other teams were trying to sign him, but they couldn't work out the money. Does that mean Lopez wanted to much? There's a "potential", according to the article, that Lopez could be paid designated player money. Or are the Wizards just enough under the cap right now that it didn't matter what the real asking price was?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No U-23 Problems for Wizards

It looks like the Wizards won't be missing any players for the upcoming trip to Argentina due to the U-23 Olympic qualifiers. The roster for the training camp pre-qualifiers was released toay. None of the 3 Wizards that have previously been called in recently to the team were part of the roster. That means Michael Harrington, Aaron Hohlbein, and Chance Myers will all accompany the Wizards team to Argentina tomorrow for the final leg of their preseason training.

Lopez in KC this Week?

I was just listening to The American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network today when the topic of Claudio Lopez came up. One of the hosts, Kartik Krishnaiyer, said that one of his sources has told him that Lopez is in Kansas City this week either talking with the team, or training with them. To go along with that, and what Onalfo said over the weekend, Kyle McCarthy with goal.com confirms what was posted on bigsoccer that the Wizards are close to signing a designated player, but as McCarthy says, are not naming the players name possibly due to the issues that came up earlier this offseason when DC appeared to be signing Veron.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is Lopez Coming?

There's been no official word out about how the supposed negotiations went this weekend between the Wizards and Claudio Lopez. Steven Goff is still awaiting word on how those negotiations went, so stay tuned to his blog for potential breaks on there. While there's no official word, there are still rumors of Lopez coming to Kansas City. This weekend, Coach Curt Onalfo spoke at the International Coaching Seminar in Kansas City. According to a first hand account from the seminar, Onalfo said that the Wizards were close to signing an Argentine forward. Is this a mention of Lopez, another forward, a miscommunication on Onalfo's part, or something else?

Open Tryouts First Success

Hillcrest Road is reporting the first success from this past weekends open tryouts. The team has invited Kevin Souter to join the team for training and go to Argentina with the team as well. Souter was part of the Graceland University team that won the NAIA National Championship in 2006. He was a 2nd team All-American this past year and Honorable Mention back in 2006. Oz City has a profile on him pre-tryouts. Souter can be seen in a picture on Hillcrest Road, or in the second picture that I posted yesterday, wearing the yellow shoes. Congrats to Souter.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mr. Cotton Speaks

No, not the pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean who can't speak, but Greg Cotton, the Wizards Executive Vice President. He's written a new entry on Hillcrest Road with some interesting information that I wanted to touch on. The first is continued talk about a friendly tournament mid season involving some international teams. George Shook first talked to Cotton about this back in late January, and it looks like this will happen. From talking to Cotton about this today at the open tryouts, it sounds like the training facility is a major plus for the Wizards to use as a bargaining chip to get teams to come to KC. He also mentioned to me that there are quite a few teams they are talking to right now about it. I'm still very excited about this, I've stated quite a few times that the Wizards haven't hosted a friendly in KC against a foreign team since 1997. Doing this sort of thing has always made sense, numerous teams from Europe come to the US every year for preseason training, why shouldn't the Wizards do like other MLS teams and schedule a game or two against some of them.

Cotton also mentions the stadium and that the process is still continuing. He mentions the bar/pub that will be built in connection with the stadium. He talks about a specialty brew specifically for the Wizards and the bar. Knowing how much the Cauldron and other Wizards fans are of beer, Cotton mentions that the supporters will be in on the process of selecting the brew.

There's plenty of other interesting news in the post, but the last thing I want to touch on is the fact that the Wizards are looking to create more club partnerships with teams in England, Italy, Germany, Argentina, and China. The Wizards currently have a partnership with Mexican club Atlas, which has brought rumors of Daniel Osorno to KC as well as rumors of a friendly, but so far nothing concrete. Establishing more partnerships will continue to give the Wizards more name recognition, and as always, the possibility of player loans and such. I'm interested to see what teams the Wizards are talking to about this.

Open Tryouts Day 2

The Wizards open tryouts are officially over. We'll find out soon who will be invited back to train with the team after they get back from Argentina. I was out at the KC Sports Lodge again today to watch the 60 players that made it past day 1 play again. Many of the players that I thought impressed yesterday were back again today. One player that I missed that impressed in the last session yesterday was Youssouf Kante, who played with Dinamo Bucure┼čti of Romania and came up through Paris Saint Germain's youth system. He was fairly impressive when I saw him today. Overall, today was a much better day to watch, the play was sharper. Definitely the best players not only individually, but team wise as well. I was told that there were some players that were good players but were too individualistic at the tryouts yesterday and thus weren't invited back. Here are some more pictures of the tryouts. My full set from today can be found here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Welcome to Day 2

The Wizards have released the 60 players that will be back tomorrow for the second day of the open tryouts. Both of the players from Atlas USA made it to the next round (number 208 and 209). I do recognize some of the numbers from players. Certainly some decent talent in there. I'll be out there again tomorrow probably a little after the first session begins.

Bib #

First

Last

9

Gerardo

Acosta Guzman

10

Vlad

Baicu

11

Carlos

Molina

12

Florian

Oberrisser

15

Aderson

Dias Martins Neto

19

Dorian

Caballero

20

Ousmane

Camara

21

Brendan

Hanaphy

22

Daniel

Jiregna

23

Arman

Osooli

27

Samir

Nuhanovic

31

Cody

Reinberg

36

Carlos

Loera

41

Daniel

Bustos

46

Arturo

Rodriguez

49

James

Katajwa

61

Jason

Pelletier

65

Jullian

Ramirez

76

Armando

Ruiz

77

Derek

Appiah

80

Ebo

Stephens

83

Rodolfo

Lucas

87

Victor

Valle

88

Jose

Vargas

89

Ricardo

Martinez

90

Gabriel

Yankey Jr.

91

Paulo

Walters

93

Joshua

Wrolstad

94

Hakop

Avesyan

95

Chris

Duncan

98

Nelson

Pizarro

99

Lee

Pricer

102

Matthew

Hoff

104

Jose

Galant

106

Seth

Hildebrant

120

Bradley

Walsh

125

Abbas

Said Sheikh Mohamed

126

Ousmane

Sampil

130

Jason

Belisle

132

Jose

Esparza

136

Kalev

Saarna

150

Brian

Velasquez

151

Tarek

Khalidi

175

Travis

Ogogor

178

Youssouf

Kante

179

Nnache

Amah

182

Drame

Elisabeth

190

John Marcus

Rivera

193

Adam

Al-Habashi

196

Donald

Hickey

198

Andrew

Kurtz

200

Chris

Reusch

201

Matt

Stufflebeam

204

Veljko

Misic

205

Alan

Solis

208

Mataho

Huma

209

Jorge

Flores

212

Kevin

Souter