Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wizards Trialists

In today's game against the US U-17 team, the Wizards had two trialists see action on the field. The first, a Hungarian trialist, is Ferenc Béres, who according to wikipedia plays for FC Tatabánya in the Hungarian second division. Béres scored 2 goals today in the game. Tatabánya was relegated at the end of last season to the second division. This season, Béres has 5 goals, leading the team as Tatabánya sit 4th in the table. So is this the player that Peter Vermes saw during his trip to Eastern Europe last year?

The other trialist was goalkeeper, Kevin Guppy, a free agent goalkeeper from Cal State Northridge played the last 30 minutes of the game today. This past year, Guppy was a first team All Big West selection. He finished the year with a 8-7-4 record and a 1.12 goals against average.

We'll see if either does well enough to make the roster.

Wizards Begin Preseason with Win

The Wizards won their first game of the preseason today, as they beat the US U-17 team 7-0 today down in Florida. Hillcrest Road has write ups on each of the goals and the lineups for each half. In goal for the U-17's was Wizards' Juniors' player, Jon Kempin. Players getting goals today were Kevin Souter and Aaron Hohlbein in the first half, with Nelson Pizarro, Chance Myers, trailist Ferenc Béres (more on him later) getting two, and Michael Kraus.

Absent from the game today were Herculez Gomez and Michael Harrington with injuries, and Jack Jewsbury and Roger Espinoza due to national team duty. Also absent, but not mentioned specifically were forwards Josh Wolff, Abe Thompson, and Adam Cristman, and back up goalkeeper, Eric Kronberg.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Espinoza's Second Cap as Honduras Lose

Honduras lost in the semifinals of the UNCAF Nations Cup 1-0 to Panama on their home field. Panama will now move onto the finals where they will take on Costa Rica, while Honduras will play in the 3rd place game against El Salvador. Honduras beat El Salvador 1-0 in group play earlier in the tournament. Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza received his second cap tonight for Honduras, coming on in the 82nd minute for Walter Martinez. Espinoza played ok and had some moments, but couldn't provide a spark that was needed for Honduras to come from behind and make the finals. The third place game is on Sunday.

Random Wizards News

Not any huge news today, but there are a few interesting bits of information out there about the Wizards and former Wizards today.

First dealing with current Wizards.

There's not a big mention of this, but the Star did mention today in an article about Jack Jewsbury, that Wizards midfielder, Herculez Gomez will miss a month of training due to an injury. Gomez suffered a lateral meniscal tear in the second day of training and will be out 4-6 weeks due to the injury. He'll be fighting to be ready in time for the home opener on the 21st against Toronto. Also on Gomez, there's a good interview with him on

The rest of this update is going to be another former Wizards update basically.

First, Carlos Marinelli now with Millonarios, scored on his debut in the semifinals of the International Cup in their 2-0 win over Argentinos Juniors.

And speaking of recently waived Wizards, one has already found himself a new club, while another is working on it. Ivan Trujillo, has signed in Colombia as well. In fact, he'll get to play Marinelli this coming season in the Copa Mustang, as he's signed with Deportes Quindío.

Ryan Pore is also working on his new team as well. Word is that Seattle Sounders FC are bringing Pore in for a trial starting next week.

On another note, it looks like a bit of controversy is now surrounding Will John, who as I mentioned earlier is going on trial at JJK. Now this may just be nothing, as the Finnish TV station could just be using his stats on wikipedia (which we all know that wikipedia is the be all end all of stats), which if true is just being blown out of proportion.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jewsbury Called Back to the National Team

Jack Jewsbury was called back up to the US Men's National Team to begin training for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier in Mexico. The team will train out in Carson, CA. While it's great the Jewsbury was called back up, I think it'd be better now if he was with the Wizards training for the season. Looking at the roster for this camp, I don't see half of them making the 18 man roster for the game in Columbus on the 11th. There's too much talent currently in Europe that will be called in.

I see none of the keepers getting called up over both Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Jonathan Bornstein, Frankie Hejduk, and Marvell Wynne are the only 3 defenders I see standing a chance of making the roster. In the midfield, Sacha Kljestan is probably a guarantee for the roster. Ricardo Clark is one that could make it, while Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden may have outside chances. Up top, Brian Ching seems a lock for the Mexico game, while Kenny Cooper and Charlie Davies may make it. Let's face it, the majority of the Mexico roster is going to come from Europe, and while it's an honor to be called up, Jewsbury would likely be better served now by being with the Wizards.

Rest of the Preseason

The rest of the Wizards preseason has been announced per MLSnet. Along with the 4 games scheduled for while the team is Florida, the team will play 4 games in Guadalajara, Mexico while they train at Atlas' facilities. There is also a game listed for March 14th out at the Swope Park training facility. Outside the U-17's, Chicago, and New York, none of the opponents have been announced. There has been one change to that schedule, based on an announcement from Hilcrest Road, which says the game against the U-17's is now Saturday. So here is the schedule of preseason friendlies for the Wizards.

Bradenton, Florida
Sat Jan 31 - US U-17 team
Wed Feb 4 - Chicago Fire
Sat Feb 7 - New York Red Bulls
Wed Feb 11 - TBA

Guadalajara, Mexico
Fri Feb 20 - TBA
Tues Feb 24 - TBA
Fri Feb 27 - TBA
Wed March 12 - TBA

Kansas City, MO
Sat March 14 - TBA

Vermes Interview

Thad over at The Back Post recently had a phone interview with the Wizards Technical Director, Peter Vermes. He had to divide the interview into three posts, but you can see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 on his blog. Part 1 deals mainly with new players. The team is looking at a couple players, and 1-2 may join the team for training down in Florida. Vermes confirmed that the team looked at Carlo Costly, but he wasn't someone they were trying to sign. Overall Vermes is happy with the team currently, and as he mentioned to me at the draft, the team is strong, and they are looking to fill a few holes and add depth.

Part 2 deals with the rookies and exhibitions. Vermes mentions that the team has already released 3rd round draft pick, Neal Kitson. Fourth round pick Akeem Priestley is trying his luck abroad first. Matt Besler and Doug DeMartin are already in camp, while Graham Zusi will join the team in Florida. He also mentions that they are currently working on their game schedule for the trip to Mexico, and there may be one preseason game in town as well.

Part 3 has to do with the new coaches, Kerry Zavagnin and John Pascarella, who played with Coach Onalfo when they were with LA, and he played with Vermes in their youth. Also, in Part 3, as Vermes says, "Nothing in the fire for a jersey sponsor".

Check out the interviews.

Former Wizards Update

Some midweek games this week, so the update is a day later.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - XSL - The Storm begin playing again on Sunday at Milwaukee.

Rest of the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Came off the bench in stoppage time of Cardiff's 0-0 draw with Arsenal in the FA Cup. Dressed but did not play yesterday in Cardiff's 2-0 win over Coventry City.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United - Australia - Did not play as United finished out the regular season with a 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners.
Antti Sumiala - Porin Palloilijat - Finland - Started for Porin Palloilijat in their 2-1 preseason win over TPS.

Matt Taylor and TUS Koblenz return to play this weekend.

In other former Wizards news, Will John has popped up again. His last club, FK Čukarički Stankom, is currently on winter break, and John is trialing with Finnish club JJK. JJK recently promoted to the Finnish first division, the Veikkausliiga.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time to Plan the Rest of My Year

Well the MLS schedule is out, which means that it's time to start planning out the rest of my year around the Wizards schedule. We already knew the first two games of the season, at home against Toronto on March 21st and at Colorado on the 28th. The Wizards will welcome both ESPN2 and FSC to Community America Ballpark for the first time. They'll host the Red Bulls Thursday April 23rd on ESPN2, the team's only appearance on ESPN this year. There are 3 FSC appearances, the Wizards will be on FSC on their visits to Chicago on April 18th and the Crew on May 9th. They'll host Chivas on May 23rd on FSC. Thankfully there is no 6 game road trip early in the season for the team to go through.

The Wizards only have 2 games in the month of June and 3 in July, likely to help schedule congestion with SuperLiga this year and the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup. The Wizards spend the last 2 months of the season alternating 2 away and 2 home games. And for the first time since the 2004 season, the Wizards end the season at home, as they'll take on DC United on October 24th at CAB. The team will take on the expansion Sounders up in Seattle on April 11th. And the return leg against the expansion side will be October 17th.

This year, the Wizards play each team home and away once, and then have 2 "rivalry" games. For the Wizards, those two rivals are New England and DC? Yes, that's right, the Wizards two rivals are apparently DC and New England. DC will visit KC twice, while the Wizards will visit New England twice this year. Not really sure on that, but since the Wizards don't have any real regional rival, the Wizards get the leftovers. Although I'm surprised by the fact that New England was not paired with TFC and New York, while DC didn't get New York and another team further East. Either way, the season is almost here.

Wizards Juniors Nationally Ranked

The KC Wizards Juniors youth system is nationally ranked in this year's rankings of the top 30 youth clubs in the US by Soccer America. The Juniors are one of four MLS teams to have their youth team ranked, joining the Chicago Fire (15), Columbus Crew (23), and DC United (29). While the Juniors come in at 30th on the backs of the U-19 Juniors team making the National Finals. Not bad for a youth system only in it's 3rd year.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wizards Preseason Schedule and MLS Schedule

The Wizards have announced a few of their preseason friendlies while they are down in Florida for training. They'll begin with a game on Friday against the US Under-17 team. As I mentioned earlier today, week from tomorrow, the Wizards will take on their first MLS opponent, the Chicago Fire. Saturday the 7th, the Wizards will play MLS Cup finalist, New York Red Bulls. The Wizards will finish out preseason in Florida with a game Wednesday February 11th against an opponent to be named.

Speaking of schedules, tomorrow MLS and the Wizards will announce their schedule for the 2009 season. The schedule will be announced at 11, with a press release going out around 11:30. Check Hillcrest Road for when the schedule is announced. I'll take an indepth look at the schedule tomorrow night.

Wizards Preseason Continues

The Wizards close out the first leg of their preseason workout today in Kansas City. Tomorrow the team heads to Florida to continue their training down at Bradenton. Like previous years, the Wizards will have some preseason friendlies while they are down there. A few of them appear to have been announced. The Wizards are listed 4 times on there, 3 during their time in Florida. If this information is all true, the Wizards will play the Chicago Fire on February 4th and New York on the 7th. They also have a game listed for the 11th, but the opponent is still to be determined.

The other interesting thing from that link, is that it lists a friendly on March 14th between KC and TBD. No time or location has been announced for the game either, but it's the week before the season starts. The Wizards will be back from training in Mexico by that time, so are we getting a home friendly before the season starts, or is this the Saturn Cup again?

Honduras Win Group

Honduras cruised into the semifinals of the UNCAF Nations Cup yesterday with a 2-0 win over El Salvador. Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza, did not see the field in the game last night. Honduras will now play either Guatemala or Panama in their semifinal match on January 30th. The other semifinal will see El Salvador take on Costa Rica.

Monday, January 26, 2009

End of Costly Rumor

Back in December, I mentioned how the Wizards were linked with Honduran national teamer, Carlo Costly, who appeared to be out of favor with his Polish club, GKS Bełchatów. Those rumors cooled over time, and Costly was linked with other European teams and teams in Mexico. It now appears that Costly will be staying in Europe, but will make the move to England, where he looks set to join Birmingham City on loan iwth a view towards a permanent move.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

No Caps for Wizards Tonight

Jack Jewsbury and Roger Espinoza have been with their respective national teams, but neither was on the field tonight when their teams took the field to play their games. Jewsbury was not named to the 18 man game day roster for the United States' game against Sweden in LA tonight, that the US won 3-2 thanks to a Sacha Kljestan hattrick.

Espinoza and Honduras took on Nicaragua in their second game of group play tonight in the UNCAF Nations Cup. Espinoza did not see the field in Honduras' 4-1 win that saw them advance to the semifinals.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Espinoza Earns First Cap

Roger Espinoza earned his first cap with the Honduran national team tonight in the opening game of the UNCAF Nations Cup for Honduras. Honduras defeated Belize in their first game 2-1 with goals by Amado Guevara and Walter Martinez. Espinoza came on as a second half sub for Emil Martinez. Honduras is now on top of their group with 3 points after the first game.

Former Wizards Time

Time for another former Wizards update, and we start to have some other leagues return to play as well.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - Chicago did not have a game this week.

Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England- Came on as a sub and played 7 minutes in Cardiff's 1-1 draw with Birmingham.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United - Australia - Did not play in United's 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix FC.
Antti Sumiala - Porin Palloilijat - Finland - It's only preseason, Sumiala and Porin Palloilijat is getting started. They won a preseason friendly 7-1. Sumiala played the first half getting a goal and 2 assists.

In other former Wizards news, Taylor Graham has signed with Seattle Sounders FC of MLS, moving up from the USL side, and Nick Garcia has signed a contract extension with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Espinoza Named to Honduran Roster

Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza must have impressed during the recent national team camp in Florida, as he's been named to the 20 man roster for the UNCAF Nations Cup. Espinoza is one of three MLS players to be named to the roster along with Amado Guevara and Ivan Guerrero. Espinoza did not appear in the friendly on Sunday against Chile, but will be on the roster when the UNCAF Nations Cup starts tomorrow with Honduras taking on Belize at Estadio Tiburcio Carías Andino in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Honduras then takes on Nicaragua before finishing group play against El Salvador

Break the Walls Down

No, not professional wrestling, but the walls of Bannister Mall. Today was the public demolition start for the former mall. They started over on the north side of the mall by the old Jone's Store. Thad over at The Back Post has a write up on it, as well, with some pictures. Here are some pictures that Thad was able to get of the of the demolition today.
Photos courtesy of Thad Bell

More on Mall Demolition

It looks like the event today the media are invited to will occur around 1:30 this afternoon at the mall. You also have this video from NBC Action News about the demolition of the mall, and wouldn't you know it, they got quotes from two of our friends from the Save Bannister group.

Remember to check out The Back Post for pictures of today's event.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mall Demolition

For those that haven't seen it over at The Back Post, Thad has found out that the media have been invited to the mall tomorrow for some real demolition. Up until this point, they've been doing some internal demolition, but it looks like we're finally going to see the mall start to go down. Unfortunately, I will be at work tomorrow and will be unable to make the demolition, but I've been promised that Thad will have pictures of the event.

Monday, January 19, 2009

No First Cap for Espinoza

Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza did not get to make his international debut yesterday for Honduras. Honduras defeated South American side Chile 2-0 yesterday in Miami on goals by Carlos Pavon and Amado Guevara. Espinoza, though, did not get into the game. We should find out soon if Espinoza is called into the team for the UNCAF Nations Cup.

Preseason Begins

Tomorrow the Wizards begin working towards the 2009 MLS season, as preseason begins. Tomorrow, preseason begins out at the Swope Park training complex on field 3. The rest of this week and part of next week will be spent either at Swope or at the KC Sports Lodge. After that, it's off to Florida to train in Bradenton from the 29th through Feb. 11th. After training in KC from the 13th-17th, it's off to Guadalajara, Mexico to train at Atlas' facility.

There will be 4 players missing from training when it begins tomorrow though. Jack Jewsbury and Roger Espinoza will not be there tomorrow due to their respective commitments to the US and Honduran national teams. Also missing will be two of the Wizards 2009 draft picks. 2nd round pick, Graham Zusi and 4th round pick, Akeem Priestley will not be there tomorrow either. Zusi and Priestley should be at practice later this week though.

At practice though, will be 4 new Wizards. Former New England forward, Adam Cristman will be there tomorrow along with 1st round draft pick, Matt Besler, 2nd round draft pick, Doug DeMartin, and 3rd round pick, Neal Kitson.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Former Wizards Catch Up

I've missed the former Wizards updates a little lately. Here is a quick run down since my last update earlier this month.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - Armstrong missed the Storm's 13-7 loss to the New Jersey Ironmen on January 4th due to a red card suspension. He scored the storm's first goal in a 23-8 loss away to the Ironmen on January 9th. He also played in Chicago's 11-4 loss to Detroit on the 11th.

Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Cardiff have not played since the 3rd of January, their match last week was canceled due to a frozen pitch.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United- Australia - Adelaide have been busy since my last update, playing 3 games. Walsh though, did not. Walsh did not play in United's 1-0 loss to the Melbourne Victory on the 6th. Or in United's 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets. He also missed the final game, a 0-0 draw with Queensland Roar. All most likely due to an injury he picked up at the Club World Cup.

Wizards Preseason Starts Tuesday

It seems like only recently that the 2008 season ended, but already we are gearing up for the 2009 season. The Wizards will begin preseason training on Tuesday at either their Swope Park training complex or at the KC Sports Lodge. They'll continue training at one of the two sites for Wednesday and Thursday, before having Friday through Sunday off. Monday and Tuesday they will be back at it at Swope or the Sports Lodge. On Wednesday the 28th the team will leave for Bradenton, FL, where the team will train from the 29th through February 11th.

After the trip to Florida, the team will return to KC for a few days of training before departing for Guadalajara, Mexico on Feruary 18th to train at the home of sister club, Atlas AC until March 4th. Get ready, the 2009 season is right around the corner.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Full Draft Recap

So I'm back from St. Louis and ready to give a full recap of the Wizards draft. While it's hard to tell immediately what will come of this draft, looking at it, I think the Wizards got some good players with their picks.

1(8) - Matt Besler - D - Notre Dame
Besler is a local kid who grew up watching the Wizards and certainly endeared himself to those Wizards fans who traveled to St. Louis by giving them a shout out when he was at the podium after being selected. He's a strong hard nosed defender that by looking at his college career is definitely able to be healthy. His main position at Notre Dame was in the center of defense, but he said he'd also spent time as a wide defender as well as in the midfield, so he fits the versatility that Coach Onalfo and Peter Vermes has shown to like in their draftees. The Wizards also rated him as one of the top defenders coming out of college. The Wizards weren't the only ones that rated him either, as there were rumors that two other teams were trying to trade up into the 7 spot (held by DC) to try and get him (which was the likely reason for DC's time out there). "That was the guy that we wanted at that pick, and we got him," Vermes added. The fact that he's a local player was a bonus in Onalfo's eyes, and wasn't a reason that the Wizards actually took Besler.

2(22) - Doug DeMartin - F - Michigan St - DeMartin scored 38 goals in his college career, including 17 in his senior year. While Coach Onalfo believes that the team currently has 4 forwards capable of starting, he sees this as a good situation for DeMartin to show what he can do. "We have a lot of confidence in him," Onalfo said.

2(23) - Graham Zusi - M/F - Maryland - Zusi was the offensive MVP of the College Cup, as he scored in both the semifinals and the finals for Maryland. Onalfo said that Zusi had really opened their eyes during the Final Four, "(He)really took his team on his shoulders and had an outstanding Final Four." Onalfo sees him as being a guy that can fit in in the attcking midfield position for the Wizards.

3(42) - Neal Kitson - GK - St. John's - Kitson had a strong senior year at St. John's, making 95 saves and finished with a goals against average of .48 in 24 games. "He's made some unbelieveable saves and kept St. John's in games," Vermes said of Kitson. He's certainly a player that can push Eric Kronberg next season.

4(50) - Akeem Priestley - M - Conneticut - Priestley has played for the Jamacian U-23 team as well as their full national team, so he brings in some international experience to the Wizards. He had a solid college career, starting 74 of the 76 games he played in scoring 22 goals and getting 27 assists.

Onalfo believes that unlike previous years, the team didn't come into the draft looking for players that would have to immediately come in and start, instead they are now looking to find cover and depth in all positions. But he did say that Besler is a guy that can come in and compete with Aaron Hohlbein for the starting spot on the back line.

On a side note, one of the best lines of the day came when DC took their timeout in the first round between their two picks. Sitting right in front of me at the time, was USSF President, Sunil Gulati and upon hearing that DC was calling a timeout between their picks said they took the time out because "They were surprised by the 6th pick." That got a good laugh from the press that was sitting nearby.

No Hall for Former Wizards

No former Wizards were elected to the Hall of Fame this year. To be elected, one must be on 66.7% of the ballots, this year, only two players, Jeff Agoos and Joy Fawcett made the Hall. The next closest was Preki with 60.4%. Former Wizards, and current technical director, Peter Vermes, got 31.4%.

While it'd be nice to see Vermes get into the Hall. The fact that Preki hasn't gotten in yet, is borderline criminal. Sure his national team stats are not that great (28 caps, 4 goals), but the rest of his career should have made him a first ballot entry. He was the MVP of both the old MISL and the CISL before MLS even got started. When it did start, Preki was 33, but still managed to win 2 MVP awards during his career, the second in 2003 when he was 40! And this all is topped off with what appears to be a blossoming coaching career. How he continues to miss out on election is confusing to say the least.

Draft is Finished

The Wizards 2009 MLS Draft is finished with no big moves by the Wizards to move up or down. The Wizards kept all their picks, getting a defender, a forward, 2 midfielders and a goalkeeper.

With the 8th pick, the Wizards took Matt Besler of Notre Dame, a local product, who will likely play along the back line. With their second pick, the Wizards grabbed Doug DeMartin from Michigan State, who is a forward. They followed that pick up by taking the Offensive MVP of the College Cup, Graham Zusi. Their third round pick was in goal against Zusi in the semifinal, St. John's goalkeeper, Neal Kitson. With their final pick, the Wizards selected another midfielder, this one from UConn, who is also a member of the Jamaican U-23 team, Akeem Priestley.

I'll have a more full writeup on the draft including quotes from Besler, Coach Onalfo, and Peter Vermes either later tonight or tomorrow.

With the 50th Pick, the Wizards select

Akeem Priestley from UConn. According to the write up I was given, Priestley is a member of the Jamaican U-23 national team.

With the 42nd Pick the Wizards Take...

Neal Kitson from St. John's. Kitson was in the college cup semifinal for St. John's when they lost to eventual national champion, Maryland on a goal by now teammate Graham Zusi.

With the 23rd Pick, the Wizards Select

Graham Zusi from Maryland, the Offensive MVP of the College Cup is on his way to KC.

With the 22nd Pick, KC Select...

Doug DeMartin from Michigan State. A forward.

With the 8th Pick, the Wizards take...

Matt Besler from Notre Dame. Besler is a local kid, played for KCFC in Overland Park. A little surprising pick, but he was rated as the number 4 defender by 3rd Degree and was an All American.

Greetings From St. Louis

Greetings from the media room here at the MLS Draft. I'm sitting here relaxing waiting for the draft to start, but wanted to check in and let you all know that I've made it to St. Louis and am waiting for the draft to start.

For reference, the Wizards have the 8th pick in the first round, the 22nd (from Colorado) and the 23rd in the second round. The 42nd in the 3rd round (from RSL) and the 50th pick in the 4th round (from Dallas). I'll be posting with the picks or trades, when they happen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

See you in St. Louis

Down the Byline is off to St. Louis tomorrow for the MLS Draft. Like last year, I'll be bringing you the Wizards picks as they come through. This time though, I'll be doing it live from the draft as a member of the media. I'll also hopefully have pictures and exact quotes from people there. Enjoy the coverage tomorrow.

In his final mock draft before the draft, Ives Galarcep has the Wizards taking forward, Chris Pontius of UCSB in the first round. In the second he has us taking Josh Boateng of Liberty and Graham Zusi of Maryland, the College Cup Offensive MVP.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

10,000 Minute Club

To get to 10,000 minutes with one club, you basically have to play every minute of almost 4 seasons to get to that point. Nine Wizards players have played over 10,000 minutes for the club in the team's history. Of those nine, only 2 have hit the 20,000 minute mark. Here are the 9 that make the list.

10,000 minutes in MLS play
1. Kerry Zavagnin - 20,516
2. Nick Garcia - 20,158
3. Preki - 17,818
4. Chris Klein - 16,381
5. Jimmy Conrad - 13,752
6. Davy Arnaud - 13,307
7. Mo Johnston - 12,600
8. Matt McKeon - 11,584
9. Tony Meola - 11,331

This list should get it's 10th member as Jack Jewsbury is only 851 minutes from the mark. There's an outside chance that Josh Wolff could make the list as well, but he'd have to play in all but 270 minutes next season to get there. After that, though, it's a bit of a wait as the next highest is Kevin Hartman, who while playing every minute of the past two seasons, is only just over half way to 10,000 with KC, with 5,400.

Four more Wizards players have played 10,000 plus minutes for the Wizards in all competitions. Three of those 13 players have played over 20,000 in all competitions. Here's the 13 members of the 10,000 minute club for all competitions.

1. Kerry Zavagnin - 25,270
2. Nick Garcia - 24,650
3. Preki - 20,637
4. Chris Klein - 19,437
5. Jimmy Conrad - 15,684
6. Davy Arnaud - 15,206
7. Matt McKeon - 14,602
8. Tony Meola - 14,205
9. Mo Johnston - 14,171
10. Diego Gutierrez - 12,245
11. Jose Burciaga Jr. - 10,624
12. Jack Jewsbury - 10,487
13. Uche Okafor - 10,381

This list also looks likely to add another player in the 2009 season, as Josh Wolff is only 1,491 minutes away, which is a much more reasonable amount to get next season. After that, it falls to Hartman who has amassed 5970 minutes with the Wizards in all competitions over the two seasons he's been here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lopez' New Salary

Saturday we found out that Claudio Lopez would be returning to KC for the 2009 season. We also found out that Lopez will not take up a designated player spot next season. Today we hear from Ives Galarcep again with more details on the new deal. According to Ives, Lopez new contract is for 1/4 the cost his contract was last year. Lopez' contract next year will apparently only be $200,000. So not only does Lopez' new contract free up the Wizards designated player slot, but also frees up another $200,000 under the cap. Add that to the $100,000 plus the Wizards were paying of Dave van den Bergh's salary last year, Carlos Marinelli's $115,000 salary, Kerry Zavagnin's $170,000 contract, and the contracts of Ivan Trujillo and Ryan Pore, and the Wizards have plenty of cap space to work with this offseason.

One would think that this would put the Wizards in line to line up another designated player, but in the same article, Ives says that the Wizards appear unlikely to lose that slot and instead strengthen the full squad. But with somewhere close to $600,000 in cap space and the now smaller roster size, I'm personally a little worried that the Wizards may play the 2009 season with quite a bit of cap space. Now some of that money will be going to salary increases, like Jack Jewsbury's new deal that likely puts him over the $100,000 a year mark. Still there would appear to be a lot of money still available in the cap and I just struggle to see how the Wizards use most of that cap space. But we shall see.

New Hillcrest Road

The Wizards blog, Hillcrest Road has received a major face lift today. The new site in my opinion is fantastic and gives it a new great look.

Wizards New Coach

The Wizards have replaced goalkeeping/fitness coach, David Tenney who left the team to take the fitness coach position with Seattle. The new coach, is John Pascarella, who leaves the North Virginia Royals of the PDL to take the position. Pascarella had been the Royals head coach along with being a Region 1 Olympic Development Program camp coach and the coach of the Virginia '90 ODP team. Pascarella had been a player for the Royals back in 98-99 as a goalkeeper.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lopez Returning

Claudio Lopez will be returning to KC next year, but he'll be doing so without the high price tag. Ives Galarcep over at ESPN Soccernet is reporting that the Wizards have signed Lopez to a new contract that is "considerably less than the $800,000 in guaranteed salary he earned as a Designated Player in 2008".

On his blog, Ives has added onto this story by saying that Lopez salary cap hit next year could be as low as half of this past years $400,000 cap hit. Whether his actually salary is that low, or the Wizards are using allocation money to pay it down (similar to what Columbus had been doing with Guillermo Barros Schelotto) remains to be seen.

This is good news on a couple fronts, as it not only gives the Wizards their designated player slot back to use on another player if they want, but it also gives the Wizards cap room to play with, as well as keeps a locker room leader around next year. Last year Lopez scored 6 goals and had 7 assists in MLS play, including a goal and 2 assists in the Wizards dramatic 3-2 win over San Jose late in the season that basically assured the Wizards of a playoff birth.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Wizards Lose Coach

The Wizards have lost one of their coaches today, as fitness/goalkeeping coach, David Tenney has become the fitness coach for Sigi Schmid and Seattle Sounders FC. For the past two years, Tenney had been the team's fitness and goalkeeping coach. I'm not sure how big of a loss this is for KC, but I'm sure that Tenney had at least a little bit to do with Kevin Hartman's weight loss from the 2007 season to the 2008 season. It will be interesting to see who Vermes and Onalfo get to replace Tenney in coaching the goalkeepers, maybe Hartman just becomes a bit of a player coach in that regard.

And with the 8th Pick

Coming up next week is the MLS Draft, which will take place this year in St. Louis, MO. The Wizards have the 8th pick in draft after being the lowest ranked team to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. With that pick, there are plenty of ways the Wizards will be able to go with that pick, if they choose to keep it.

Of the mock drafts I've read pre-MLS Combine (which is this weekend), people seem to think the Wizards will be taking a midfielder in the first round, with favorites being Michael Stephens (who isn't listed on the Generation Adidas list so is unlikely to be him) and Baggio Husidic. I don't know if the midfield is such a huge need, especially after the late season move of Davy Arnaud to attacking midfield. The greater need in my opinion is up top, where the Wizards finished 12th in MLS in scoring with only 37 goals. That will have to improve greatly for the Wizards to compete in 2009. I'd like to see the Wizards grab a forward, although it will depend on who is available at the time, as GA Steve Zakuani is projected right now to be the number 1 pick, and Peri Marosevic is the only other GA forward. The other option is that the Wizards could trade away that pick for a proven MLS player. And the latest rumblings from Ives is that the Wizards are actually looking to trade up, with one target being Sam Cronin of Wake Forest.

Personally if we're looking for a midfielder, I'd rather go after another player listed in Ives post, Dax McCarty of FC Dallas. He'd help out in the midfield, which is where people think we need help and would be a proven MLS player. If we're not going for a forward, I'd certainly like to see that trade.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

All Competition Scorers Through the 2008 Season

Updating more stats here. Here is the list of the top 20 goal scorers in all competitions for the Wizards through the 2008 season.

First, here are the previous seasons.
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

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

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

3. Davy Arnaud - 41 (32 league, 4 playoff, 5 open cup) (-)

4. Josh Wolff - 33 (30 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup) (+2)

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

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

7. Scott Sealy - 30 (28 league, 2 open cup) (-)

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

8T. Chris Brown - 21 (15 league, 1 playoff, 2 open cup, 3 international) (-)

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

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

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

12T. Eddie Johnson - 17 (17 league) (-)

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

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

15T. Sasha Victorine - 15 (13 league, 2 open cup) (+1)

15T. Jimmy Conrad - 15 (15 league) (N/A)

18T. Chris Henderson - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (-1)

18T. Jack Jewsbury - 13 (12 league, 1 playoff) (+1)

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

Jimmy Conrad makes his second reappearance on this list after twice falling off before. The number 2 spot should change next year as Davy Arnaud is only 2 behind Chris Klein. Also, you will notice a few changes to Chris Brown and Francisco Gomez' goal total from last year. After doing more research on it, I found that I had mistakenly given Brown a goal in the CONCACAF Champion's Cup that should have gone to Gomez. As for who could move onto the list, here are the other current Wizards goal scorers.

Claudio Lopez - 7
Michael Harrington - 5
Roger Espinoza - 1
Kevin Souter - 1
Herculez Gomez - 1

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Top Scorers Through 2008

We're into January again and that means time to start updating all the stat stuff I post. First is a look at the top Wizards top MLS scorers through the 2008 season.

Here are the top scorers afterprevious years.
1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007

Another year into the playoffs for the Wizards, the second in a row under Coach Onalfo. The Wizards brought in new offensive fire power this year in Claudio Lopez and Ivan Trujillo, the team also brought back former Wizard, Josh Wolff. None had a huge impact in the goals department and for the first time in team history, no new players joined the top 20 goal scorers this past season.

The number in parenthesis after the goal total is the players change in position from the year before.

1. Preki - 71 (-)

2. Chris Klein - 39 (-)

3. Davy Arnaud - 32 (+4)

4. Mo Johnston - 31 (-1)

5. Josh Wolff - 30 (-)

6T. Digital Takawira - 28 (-2)

6T. Scott Sealy - 28 (-)

8. Mark Chung - 20 (-)

9. Eddie Johnson - 17 (-)

10T. Chris Brown - 15 (-)

10T. Jimmy Conrad - 15 (+9)

12T. Matt McKeon - 13 (-1)

12T. Jose Burciaga Jr. - 13 (-1)

12T. Sasha Victorine - 13 (+1)

15T. Igor Simutenkov - 12 (-2)

15T. Miklos Molnar - 12 (-2)

15T. Chris Henderson - 12 (-2)

15T. Jack Jewsbury - 12 (+4)

19T. Francisco Gomez - 11 (-2)

19T. Paul Wright - 11 (-2)

The big mover this year was Jimmy Conrad who shot up from 19th all the way up to 10th. Davy Arnaud surpassed my expectations as he moved into 3rd place all time. He should have a decent shot at getting into 2nd next season. Josh Wolff should also be moving up next season as I expect him to at least be 4th if not 3rd or 2nd by the end of the season.

As for other potential players joining the list next year, the best chance out of current players would have to go to Claudio Lopez, the rest of the current roster of players with goals will be hard pressed to get on this list. Here they are.

Claudio Lopez - 6
Michael Harrington - 5
Roger Espinoza - 1
Kevin Souter - 1
Herculez Gomez - 1

Ask Jack

Interested in asking some questions to a Wizards player with their national team? Hillcrest Road is giving you the opportunity by setting up an interview with Jack Jewsbury, who is currently in camp with the US Men's National team. Post your questions for the Wizards midfielder in the comments section of the post on Hillcrest.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Venue Capacity

The Wizards may have finished at the bottom on MLS in attendance this past year, but they finished atop all sports when it comes to venue capacity. The Sports Business Journal (subscription only to read the article unfortunately) has complied the attendance for all the teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS and compared them to the size of the stadiums they play in. The Wizards topped that list with 106.9% capacity for each home game. Of course the Journal does not take into account the fact that the Wizards played one game at Arrowhead, which bumped their average attendance over the 10,385 capacity that CAB has for soccer. Still an interesting stat for you. Here's the full list of teams that had a capacity average of 100%, thanks to a poster on bigsoccer.

Matches of the Year, Lack of News

Unlike last year at this time, when we were knee deep in Eddie Johnson abroad rumors, this year, there's not as much Wizards news going around this January. There's the upcoming MLS draft in St. Louis, that I'm still trying to work my way into attending. There's two Wizards with their respective national teams right now, training for upcoming games. Other then that, there isn't a lot of news out there. I'll try to fill the gap with some more stat stuff about the Wizards, including updating both goalscoring stats I do. If there are other stats you'd like to see, let me know and I will try to get them up. I'm also looking to do the second all time Wizards draft, as I did last year, with a different twist, so keep an eye out.

Here's a minor thing to touch on today. Recently, MLS came out with their Best XI matches of the 2008 season. The Wizards 3-2 win over San Jose ended up on the list. Here's my top 5 Wizards matches of this past season.

5. 4/20 Wizards at Fire - Only the Wizards second win ever in Chicago, the Wizards got an early goal from Jack Jewsbury, and were able to hold on through the end (with some help from Chad Barrett's poor finishing ability) and get a big win to start their 6 game road trip.

4. 9/20 Wizards vs TFC - Coming off the win against LA, the Wizards needed to keep the momentum going to keep their playoff hopes alive. Jack Jewsbury gave the Wizards the lead from the penalty spot, and then Kevin Souter finished what was a dominating performance for KC (TFC had 0 shots on goal) with his first MLS goal.

3. 3/29 Wizards vs DC - The Wizards opened 2008 swimmingly, as their two new signings, Ivan Trujillo and Claudio Lopez both scored to help the Wizards to a big opening day win over DC. Unfortunately it was the last MLS goal Trujillo would score all year.

2. 9/13 Wizards vs LA - KC came into the game winless in 4 and on the verge of being left behind in the playoff race. A slow first half exploded in 3 minute span in the second half with Josh Wolff scoring a cheeky goal, and then an absolute rocket from Davy Arnaud gave the Wizards a much needed win.

1. 10/18 Wizards vs San Jose - Yes the Wizards blew two leads, yes it was against an expansion team, but seriously that all disappears when that 90th minute goal by Herculez Gomez hit the back of the net. Claudio Lopez played a part in all 3 goals, scoring the first, before setting Davy Arnaud up for the second, and playing in the corner that Gomez turned in for the winner.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The End of the Reserve League

Back in November, when Don Garber announced the smaller roster sizes, and thus the elimination of the reserve league, I personally was disappointed, as now instead of the Wizards reserve players getting games against other professional players, those players will now have to get basically all their games from local college teams or PDL teams, not exactly the best way to develop talent.

Anyways, with the reserve league gone, here are a few highlights of the four years of the Wizards reserve team, the Swope Park Rangers.

The leader in basically every single offensive category for the reserve team, is former Wizard Ryan Pore. Pore appeared in 37 reserve league games (31 starts), 7 more than second place Ryan Raybould (1 more start). Pore also finished with the most minutes played, 2635, 32 more than Raybould. He was by far the top goal scorer with 29 and the top assist man with 10. While those two are at the high end of minutes, the least amount of minutes played by an actual Wizards player, was Nick Garcia, who played only 10 minutes with the reserves.

Ten players appeared in 20 or more reserve league games during it's four seasons. Pore and Raybould the only two to top 30 games, then you had Lance Watson (28), Eric Kronberg (26), Will John (24), Brian Roberts (23), Tyson Wahl (23), Michael Kraus (23), Will Hesmer (20), Ryan McMahen (20).

Other then Pore, only 1 player hit double digits in goals, Yura Movsisyan who scored 13. The next highest was Ivan Tujillo with 6, all this year, and Watson with 5. The player with the second most assists to Pore was Kraus with 6 assists, followed by John and Alex Zotinca with 5, and Raybould and Jermaine Hue with 4.

The Rangers finished with a record of 26 wins, 13 losses, and 8 ties in that 4 year span, scoring 98 goals while giving up 66. Here is the Rangers record against each of the teams they played. Even with that decent record over the four years, the reserves never won the reserve league title.

Toronto FC - 2-0
Houston - 2-0
Red Bulls/Metrostars - 4-0-1
LA - 3-0-1
Chicago - 4-1-1
DC - 4-2
FC Dallas - 2-1
New England - 3-2-1
San Jose - 0-0-2
Real Salt Lake - 0-0-1
Columbus - 1-2-1
Chivas - 1-3
Colorado - 0-2

Hopefully the reserve league makes a return, but until then, this is the way the stats will end for the league.

Espinoza with Honduran Team

The Honduran national team has began their training in Miami in preparation for the UNCAF Nations Cup, included in that team, is Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza. Espinoza arrived ahead of much of his national team cohorts in Miami, and gave a short interview after a training session. The training in preparation for the tournament will conclude with Honduras taking on Chile in an international friendly on Florida International's campus January 18th.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year Former Wizards

Yes, I'm really late on this weeks update on former Wizards.

Indoor Soccer
Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - I haven't been doing the indoor game, but with only 2 other former Wizards playing right now, it's fairly easy to stay up on this. Armstrong is playing on the Chicago Storm of the XSL. Against the Milwaukee Wave on New Years Eve, Armstrong had 2 goals in the Storm's 14-10 loss to the Wave.

Rest of the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Dressed but did not play on Boxing Day in Cardiff's 1-1 draw with Reading. Dressed but did not play on the 28th in Cardiff's 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle. And did not dress for today's 2-0 win over Reading in the FA Cup.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - On winter break.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United FC - Australia - Did not dress for United's 1-0 win over Perth Glory. Also did not dress in United's 2-0 win over Sydney.
Will John - FK Cukaricki Stankom - Serbia - The Serbian league is on winter break until Februray.

One other former Wizards update. Former Wizard Chris Brown has ended his playing days after playing last season with the Portland Timbers.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My Competition

With the Wizards open tryouts coming out in March, I now know one of the people I'll be competing with at the tryouts this year, Bermudan international, Sammy DeGraff. DeGraff played last season with the Bermuda Hogges of USL-2, playing in 13 games and getting 2 assists in those games. DeGraff turned down a trial in Brazil with E.O Sao Jose due to financial reasons. If DeGraff can make the Wizards, he'll become the second Bermudan to play in MLS, joining Khano Smith.