Sunday, November 30, 2008

Two Week Former Wizards Update

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Want to See Inside?

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

More Roster Moves for KC

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

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

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

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

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

Wizards Lose Wahl to Seattle

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Site Plans for Bannister

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

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

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kings Season Getting Closer

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

Expansion Draft Time

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

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

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

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

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

Wizards Trade for Cristman

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

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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Conrad Named to Best XI

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

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

The Kansas City Wizards will play in the 2009 SuperLiga.

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

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

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

State Money Delays Delay Stadium

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

More on Roster Changes

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

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

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Former Wizards Update

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

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

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

Tax Credit for Stadium Approved

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Contract News

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

US Cruise by Guatemala

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

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

US-Guatemala Tonight

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

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

End of the Season Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

NCAA Tournament

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

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

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

Three Trails on Agenda

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

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arnaud Named to US Qualifier Roster

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

Two Former Wizards in MLS Cup

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

Roster Changes Next Year?

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

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You for Everything Kerry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo credit to Scott Pribyl/Kansas City Wizards

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Seasons Winding Down for Former Wizards

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Former Owner's Son Interseted in EPL Team

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

Arnaud Called into National Team Camp

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

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 MLS Attendance

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

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

The Wizards finish at the bottom of the league in attendance. Before shots to move KC come up, remember that the Wizards played 14 of their 15 games at Community America Ballpark, which has a capacity of 10,385. The sad part of it, though, is the fact that only 5 of the Wizards' regular season games at CAB this year were sellouts. The attendance was supported by 26,113 showing up at Arrowhead for the game against the LA Galaxy. has a great breakdown of the average attendance compared to last year. Overall, attendance for MLS was down 1.9% compared to last year. A lot of that can fall on both KC and San Jose playing most of their games at small temporary stadiums (3 of San Jose's games were played at McAfee Coliseum home of the A's). The other big culprit for the drop in attendance was Dallas, which experienced a 14% drop in attendance from last year to this year. KC's 7.8% drop is down mainly due to their move to CAB.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday After Stats

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

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

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

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

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

Season Ends with a Whimper

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Down to This

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

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

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

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

Stadium Money Update

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

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Update to Cuban at Practice

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

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

Former Wizards Update

Sorry for the delay in getting this up. The number of former Wizards playing is getting lower as the MLS season reaches the playoffs. The number will drop further once the Scandinavian leagues end.

Dave van den Bergh - New York - Started and played all 90 minutes for New York in their 1-1 draw with Houston.
Carey Talley - Chivas USA - Started and played 68 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Started and played all 90 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 loss to RSL.
Alex Zotinca - Chivas USA - Started and played all 90 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 loss to RSL
Sasha Victorine - Chivas USA - Missed this week's game with an injury.
Diego Gutierrez - Chicago - Dressed but did not play in Chicago's 0-0 draw with New England.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago - Started and played 90 minutes in Chicago's 0-0 draw with New England.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played all 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-1 draw with KC.
Yura Movsisyan - RSL - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring the only goal in RSL's 1-0 win over Chivas USA.

Yomby William - Puerto Rico Islanders - Started and played all 90 minutes in the Islanders 2-2 draw with Tauro FC. The Islanders advanced to the CCL quarterfinals.

Rest of the World
Khari Stephenson - Aalesunds FK - Norway - Did not play in Aalesunds 3-0 win over Lillestrøm. They will play a 2 legged playoff against Sogndal to try and stay in the Norweigen top flight.
Chris Konopka - Bohemian FC - Ireland - On the bench but did not play in Bohs 1-0 win over UCD.
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City (Fulham) - England - Came on in the 55th minute of Cardiff's 2-1 loss to Wolverhampton.
Ryan Raybould - Gefle IF - Sweden - Did not dress in Gefle's 3-3 draw with Trelleborgs FF.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Started and played 73 minutes in 1-1 draw with MSV Duisburg.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Did not dress in Adelaide's 3-2 loss to Melbourne on the 31st. Started and played all 90 minutes of Adelaide's 3-0 loss in the first leg of the Asian Champion's League Final.
Will John - FK Čukarički Stankom - Serbia - Came on in the 74th minute of Čukarički's 1-0 loss to FK OFK Beograd.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lopez Returning to Mexico?

The rumor mill is back up and running again, this time involving the Wizards designated player leaving Kansas City to go back to Mexico to play. The rumor has Lopez leaving the Wizards to go play for Puebla FC in the Mexican first division, where he'd join fellow MLSer, Duilio Davino. According to the article, Lopez is already dealing with the team's sporting director, Gustavo Moscoso. Basically where this rumor comes from, is the fact that Puebla is currently struggling in the Apertura season in Mexico and needs to bring in reinforcements. Lopez is on the list because he was on the Club America team that won the Clausura in 2005 under current Puebla coach Mario Carrillo.

Lopez has done ok here in Kansas City, scoring 7 goals in all competitions while gathering 9 assists, but he hasn't been as good as many in Kansas City would have hoped he was. The way that KC played for portions of the late season without Lopez would give people the opinion that the Wizards can get by without their designated player. While others are saying that we should try to talk him down off the DP level pay scale and keep him. If this rumor is true, it could give Kansas City an out and a way to get a transfer fee from the Mexican club.

Former Wizards Up for Hall of Fame

This year's list of players up for induction into the US Soccer Hall of Fame is out. And like last year, there is a good number of former Wizards that are up for induction into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. Included in the list is former Wizards great Preki, along with the team's current Technical Director, Peter Vermes. The rest of the former Wizards didn't have that big of a career here in Kansas City. They include; Mike Burns, Frank Klopas, Roy Lassiter, and Mike Sorber. Of the 6 up for induction, the one most likely to get into the Hall of Fame in my opinion is Preki, for his contribution to not only the Wizards, but for the US Men's National team, including scoring the winning goal against Brazil in the US' only win over the soccer superpower.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wizards Helping Former Coach

Davy Arnaud and Lance Watson are continuing their work to help out their former youth coach, Brian Arendale. Arnaud and Watson have put up a pair of their game worn cleats for auction on the MLS auction site. Go check it out and help the two of them help their coach recover from the disaster of Hurricane Ike.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Weekly Player Interview

Time for another player interview brought to you by Thad at The Back Post, and myself. This week you have 3 choices to choose from for the interview this week.

Davy Arnaud - Scored the Wizards lone goal and continues his good play since fully recovering from the offseason knee surgery.
Roger Espinoza - Team award winning Rookie of the Year, one of the favorites to replace the suspended Herculez Gomez.
Kevin Hartman - Became MLS' all time leader in playoff minutes played, and should set the league record for playoff games started on Saturday in Columbus.

Remember that you can vote both here and at The Back Post for who you think should be interviewed this week. Also remember to post your questions in either of the comments sections.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wizards After USL-1 MVP

While cruising bigsoccer today, I came across a thread about USL-1 players that could play in MLS. One of the players on the list was this year's league MVP, Jonathan Steele of the Puerto Rico Islanders. In the thread was talk about Steele possibly coming to the Wizards, so I started looking around the net, and found this on the website, Scroll down the page and it talks about Steele to MLS. A translation of the article says that Steele has received an invitation from Coach Onalfo and the Wizards to join the team next season. This is all just rumors at this point, but I've seen a few of Steele's games this year in USL play and in the CONCACAF Champion's League and he looks good, definitely someone that could step up to the MLS level.

Steele has played in Kansas City in the past, playing with the KC Comets in the 2004-2005 season. We'll see what comes of this rumor.

Down the Byline Wizards Team Awards

Yesterday I posted the Wizards team awards for this season. Now it's time for me to give you the Down the Byline awards (I'm looking for a name of the awards, maybe the Downies or something like that). Anyways, onto the awards.

Rookie of the Year
Jonathan Leathers
Roger Espinoza has the stats, but for me, Leathers has been the better player for the Wizards this season. He started the season as the starting right back, lost it, then won it again and has made the position his own.

Defender of the Year
Kevin Hartman
Hartman came into the season ready to battle for the number 1 shirt, but came in lighter and fitter then he did last season and was one of the best goalkeepers in the league. He tied for the league lead in shutouts, a great season for the goalkeeper.

Goal of the Year
Davy Arnaud vs LA 9/13
Like last year's winner, Kerry Zavagnin, just an absolute blast from the midfielder to win the goal of the year. A wonder goal with no chance of being saved.

Jimmy Conrad
As I mentioned with the team awards, Conrad won the title for me with his goal against New England late in the season. Him and Kevin Hartman had battled for the award, but it goes to Jimmy.

Sunday After Stats

Stats from last night's 1-1 draw with Columbus.

Davy Arnaud's goal was his 4th career playoff goal, breaking a tie with 3 other players (Chris Klein, Chris Brown, and Igor Simutenkov) for 3rd on the all time list.

Arnaud's goal was his 8th goal of the season, team high in all competitions.

Kevin Hartman became the all time leader for all of MLS in playoff minutes played ending the night with 3952, passing Cobi Jones in the process.

Hartman tied Jones for most playoff games started with 43.

Last night was Jack Jewsbury's 156th appearance in all competitions for the Wizards, tying him with Tony Meola for 9th on the all time list.

The Wizards have not lost a home playoff game since losing 3-0 to Colorado on 10/4/1997, a span of 11 games.

Late Goal Sees Advantage Columbus

The Wizards gave up a goal early in second half stoppage time that has changed the entire course of the series between the Wizards and the Crew. Heading into second half stoppage time, the Wizards were down a man and up a goal trying to hang on and take a 1 goal advantage to Columbus next week. Unfortunately the late strike will send the two teams back to Columbus tied 1-1.

In a weak effort by both teams in the second half, the best chance for either team came when Kevin Hartman tipped a shot by Frankie Hejduk, headed for the near post corner, over the bar. At half time, the Wizards made some changes, and the Wizards came out with more determination and were rewarded with a goal in the 53rd minute. Davy Arnaud started the play disposing Brad Evans before playing the ball to Abe Thompson who played the ball back to Arnaud. Arnaud fed Claudio Lopez out wide on the left. Lopez was able to control, take a touch and then played a ball into the box, where Arnaud met it with a header that was by Will Hesmer before he even got his hands up.

After that, Columbus picked up the pressure trying to get the equalizer. The Wizards tried to hit on the counter attack, but their shots were going wide of the net. In the 75th minute things got extremely interesting as midfielder Herculez Gomez picked up a straight red for a scissor tackle on Gino Padula. Gomez seconds before appeared to be fouled, but the call was not made. Gomez got back up and slide through Padula, but in the process caught Padula's trailing leg between his. Leaving the referee with no choice. The Wizards, though, were able to hold on and went into second half stoppage time clinging to the lead. Unfortunately about a minute into stoppage time, the Wizards had trouble clearing their defensive third, having at least 5 or 6 chances to clear the ball. They couldn't get the ball cleared and it fell to Steven Lenhart who put it past Hartman to level the series. Now the Wizards must go to Columbus needing to get a result to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Wizards Man of the Match - Davy Arnaud - Arnaud played as the Arnaud that we all know he is, and his entire play on the goal was amazing, from the ball through to Lopez, to the powerful header, it was a great play.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Hartman

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Team Awards Winners

Posts on tonight's game will be up tomorrow, but wanted to get this posted tonight. The Wizards tonight announced the award winners for the 2008 season.

Team MVP: Jimmy Conrad - No argument here, Conrad won the award for me when he scored what proved to be the winner against New England at home late in the season. Up until that point it had been between him and Kevin Hartman.

Golden Boot: Davy Arnaud - Finished the regular season with 7 goals and 3 assists.

KC Wizards Heart Award: Davy Arnaud - As I said last year, just rename this award the Davy Arnaud Heart Award. No one shows more heart on the field than Arnaud.

Rookie of the Year: Roger Espinoza - Really it comes down to him or Jonathan Leathers, and I guess the fact that Espinoza had more stats won out.

Reserve Player of the Year: Ivan Trujillo - Finished the reserve season second on the team in goals with 6 and 3rd on the team in assists with 2.

US Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year: Kevin Hartman - Hartman wins the award for his work with his new foundation, the Kevin Hartman Foundation. The foundation will donate money to charities of Hartman’s choice that focus on literacy.

I will have my awards for this season up tomorrow.