Saturday, February 28, 2009

Open Tryout Player List and Team List Out

The list of players participating in this years open tryouts with the Wizards has now come out. The list has 181 players on it. Those players have been divided into 16 teams. Next Saturday the teams will compete in 7v7 games starting at 9am out at the Wizards training facility in Swope Park. Those players will then be cut down to 60 players who will be invited back for the second day. Those 60 players will play 11v11 starting at 9:30.

If you are one of the participants, you can see what other information you need by checking here. If I get some time, I'll try to see if I can find any of this year's participants through google.

Wizards Draw Again in Mexico

The Wizards came from a 2-1 half time deficit to take a 3-2 lead before settling for a 3-3 draw with Salamanca FC's reserves tonight in Mexico. The players that didn't get the start against Chivas de Guadalajara's reserves earlier this week got the start tonight. The only exception was Santiago Hirsig, who played in the first half. The rest of the lineup was made of mainly of reserves, with the possible exceptions of Aaron Hohlbein and Kevin Souter. Hohlbein is still in a battle with Matt Besler for the starting spot next to Jimmy Conrad in the central of defense, while Souter appears to have fallen a bit behind Roger Espinoza for the starting left midfield spot.

The Wizards fell behind in the 22nd, when Rauwshan McKenzie pulled down an attacker in the box and the ensuing penalty kick was converted. KC got a penalty of their own in the 29th minute when Hohlbein was fouled, with Hirsig converting the spot kick. KC fell behind again in the 35th after a Salamanca attacker got in 1v1 with Boris Pardo.

At half time, the Wizards only made 2 changes, as Besler came on for Hohlbein and Graham Zusi came on for Hirsig. KC was level in the 52nd, as Matt Marquess and Souter played up the left hand side of the field before Marquess played a ball in for Abe Thompson who got the tap in. In the 59th the Wizards grabbed the lead as Zusi had a shot saved, but the rebound fell to Lance Watson who put away the tap in.

In the 70th, the Wizards made changes to the other 9 players that were in the game, with the rest of the first team coming on, except for in net, where Chris Brown took over for Pardo. In the 79th, Salamanca FC tied the game back up, which is how the game ended.

The good news from this result is that it saw the return of Herculez Gomez from his injury earlier this preseason. Also the fact that Zusi has now played a part in 9 of the Wizards goals this preseason. Definitely a good sign and hopefully a good sign of what to expect from Zusi this season.

Final Two Friendlies in Mexico

The Wizards have announced their last two friendlies of the teams training down in Mexico. Tonight, the Wizards will play Salamanca FC's reserve team before closing out the Mexico portion of preseason against Salamanca's first team on Tuesday morning. Salamanca is a team playing in Mexico's Primera División A, which is Mexico's second division. They are currently in third place in their group for the 2009 Clausura. Hillcrest says that they'll have a semi running commentary of the game up on the blog tonight.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Iowa Friendly Official

Back in early February, I told you about the Wizards final preseason game being up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa against the Minnesota Thunder on March 14th. Today the Wizards officially announced the double header. In the first game, the Wizards and Thunder first teams will go at it. In the second game, the reserves will play. To me it's interesting that the two games will both involve the Wizards. With only 24 players on the roster, and 3 of them keepers, it doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room with the lineups for the game. I'd guess that trialists may still be with the team trying to earn roster spots and will get spots in the game.

I'm planning on going up to the game and hoping that I can provide some sort of play by play of the game here. We'll see what happens.

The Demo Continues

Demolition continues at the Bannister Mall site, and it's certainly coming along, lots of work is getting done, and they have almost reached JC Penny's. When I got there, I even got to see a nice chunk of the room start to come down and kick up a big cloud of dust. The demolition is moving along a lot quicker than I had expected it to, and it's great. Thad made it out to the site yesterday, so you can see the progression from just yesterday to today. Here are some pictures from today, and the full album is here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wizards Get Another Result

The Wizards continue to get results this preseason, as they moved to 4-0-2 today with a 1-1 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara's reserves, a reserve team that included Jared Borgetti (who was at one time linked with a move to the Wizards) and former Chivas USA player Francisco Mendoza. The Wizards starting lineup seems to be materializing lately for the team with the only big challenge left for a starting spot is Aaron Hohlbein vs Matt Besler for who gets to start next to Jimmy Conrad.

KC fell behind in the 25th minute and it was Graham Zusi to the rescue for KC in the 81st minute with his third goal of the preseason after he received a pass from Davy Arnaud. Not a bad result for the Wizards. They have one more preseason came currently scheduled during their trip down in Mexico, which is coming up on March 4th.

Questions for Peter Vermes?

Ives Galarcep over at Soccer by Ives is asking for you questions for an upcoming interview with the Wizards Technical Director, Peter Vermes. While Thad Bell over at The Back Post has done quite a few interviews with Vermes, here's your chance to try and ask him something. I got a nice laugh out of a few of the questions that were in that are being put it, we'll see if any of those actually get asked.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Update on Former Wizards

I'm actually getting the update out on Wednesday, how about that!

Anyways onto the updates on how former Wizards did this past week since my last update.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - XSL - The Storm defeated the Detroit Ignition on Friday night 15-7 in Detroit. The Storm came back on Sunday and defeated the Milwaukee Wave 17-16.

Around the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Did not dress on Sunday in Cardiff's 2-2 draw with Wolverhampton. Dressed but did not play in the Bluebirds 0-0 draw with Queen's Park Rangers today.
Carlos Marinelli - Millonarios - Colombia - Started and played 53 minutes for Millonarios before being red carded in their 2-1 loss to Atlético Huila on the weekend.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Came on as a sub in the 68th minute of Quindío's 1-0 win over Atlético Nacional on Sunday.
Scott Sealy - Maccabi Tel Aviv - Israel - Started and played 90 minutes in Maccabi's 2-1 loss to Hapoel Petah Tivka. They also did play last week according to a commentor on last week's entry. They lost 2-0 in the Israel State Cup to Hapoel Tel Aviv FC. On that note if anyone has an English based site to follow Maccabi Tel Aviv I'd appreciate it.
Matt Taylor - Tus Koblenz - Germany - Came on in the 80th minute of Koblenz's big 3-0 win over SpVgg Greuther Fürth to push them closer to getting out of the relegation zone.
Eloy Colombano - Club Atlético Atlanta - Argentina - Colombano and Atlanta beat Estudiantes de Buenos Aires 2-0 this past week.

Flogging Molly

So tonight Flogging Molly was in town and I naturally went to see them, being one of my favorite bands and a fantastic live band. Anyways, besides being a fantastic concert to see, it also had a bit of Wizards relation in it. When Molly came back out for the encore tonight, their bass player, Nathen Maxwell came out wearing a Kansas City Wizards jersey with his name and the number 5 on the back. Friends of mine at the show were able to get pictures, so when they are posted I'll make sure to add them.

Edit: As you can see, there's a picture now. Here's a whole album from the concert.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kings in Playoffs

I haven't talked much about the Kansas City Kings this season, but they've had a successful sophomore season, again winning the regular season Midwest division title. Saturday at the KC Soccer Dome, the Kings will play the Springfield Spirts in the Midwest division playoffs for a shot at the national championships in Las Vegas in early March. The game is at 7pm, and like last year, the KC Cauldron is planning a get together at the game for that night.

Also part of the event that night will silent auction/raffle to help pay the medical bills of local soccer player Kori Quinn, who was recently diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. So if you can, make your way out to the Soccer Dome Saturday night to cheer on the Kings and help a good cause.

Wizards in US Open Cup Proper

For the past two years, the Wizards have had to go through qualifying to get into the US Open Cup proper. In 2007 they lost out to Real Salt Lake in their qualifier, last year they defeated Colorado to move into the tournament. This year, the Wizards get an automatic pass into the US Open Cup proper since they were one of the top 6 teams in the league points standings last season. That's at least the way it's currently looking according to Steven Goff broke the news yesterday that DC would be hosting FC Dallas in a qualifier. He also mentioned that they would play the winner of New York and San Jose if they won.

The qualifying is a bit off from what the assumption was back when Commissioner Garber gave his state of the league address. When he said that "All U.S.-based MLS teams will participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup," the assumption was that all the teams would be in the US Open Cup proper instead of doing qualifiers. So was that a cleaver misspeak by Garber or did MLS change their minds?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wizards Win in Mexico

The Wizards won their first game of the Mexican leg of their preseason. Playing a team made up of Atlas reserves, the Wizards took care of business against their sister club 3-0. Santiago Hirsig made his first appearance with the Wizards playing the first 45 minutes as the right midfielder. The rest of what could very well be the opening day lineup played at least the first 45 minutes. The Wizards took the lead in the 36th minute when Davy Arnaud found Jack Jewsbury who one timed his effort into the net.

After only 2 changes at half time, the other 9 starters were subbed out in the 60th minute. The Wizards doubled their lead in the 65th minute, when Nelson Pizarro found Kevin Souter. Only 3 minutes later Kurt Morsink made it 3-0.

Not appearing in the game today were Herculez Gomez, Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, and Doug DeMartin, all who I believe are recovering from injury. Other players that didn't play today that I'm not sure why were Adam Cristman and Lance Watson. Trialist Ferenc Béres played the last 30 minutes, while Chris Brown did not.

Here is the lineup from the game today.
Kevin Hartman (Boris Pardo 60); Jonathan Leathers (Nelson Pizarro (60), Jimmy Conrad (Rauwshan McKenzie 60), Aaron Hohlbein (Matt Besler 60), Michael Harrington (Matt Marquess 46); Santiago Hirsig (Kurt Morsink 46), Davy Arnaud (Ferenc Beres 60), Jack Jewsbury (Kevin Souter 60), Roger Espinoza (Graham Zusi 60); Josh Wolff (Abe Thompson 60), Claudio Lopez (Michael Kraus 60)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Games in Mexico

For those that haven't seen it yet, the game against Atlas that was canceled on Friday has now been rescheduled for Monday. The Wizards will take on Atlas' first team Monday at 4 pm. We also know another one of the Wizards opponents while they are down in Mexico. On Wednesday the Wizards will take on Real Colima, which is a team in the Mexican Primera División A, the Mexican second division. That game will also take place at 4pm. Both should be some good competition for the Wizards as they prep for the season.

Bannister Demolition Update

Here is your weekly update on how the demolition of Bannister Mall is going. Earlier this week, Robb Heineman on Between the Lines mentioned that the mall was 1/3rd down. I was a little surprised by that personally, but having been out to the site, it certainly appears to be true, they've already taken out one of the mall entrances and are moving closer to starting work on the old JC Penny's. My full album for yesterday is here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Less Than 10 Days

It's less than 10 days now until the Wizards have to comply with MLS roster regulations, so I figured I'd go ahead an again do as Steven Goff did, and break down our roster again.

Since the last time I did this, we know that the Wizards have signed Santiago Hirsig from San Lorenzo, so he'll be taking one roster spot. Other then that, there hasn't been much movement, Doug DeMartin and Eric Kronberg haven't appeared for a while, word is that both are injured and while the Wizards still want both players, they'll likely be on some kind of injured reserve type thing until they are healthy.

Goalkeepers (3)
Kevin Hartman - The undisputed number 1 keeper right now, especially with Kronberg out.
Boris Pardo - Last seasons number 3 keeper, Pardo has to be the lead for the back up spot with Kronberg out, but when/if Kronberg returns, Pardo will likely have to fight to keep his job if the Wizards keep 3 keepers on their roster.
Chris Brown - Trialist, still with the team, only other option currently for the number 3 spot, would likely be a developmental player.

Defenders (8)
Jimmy Conrad - KC's captain, not going anywhere.
Michael Harrington - Entering his third season, Harrington has a lock on the left back spot.
Aaron Hohlbein - Favorite coming into the season to start along side Conrad.
Jonathan Leathers - With Chance Myers out, Leathers would seem to be the favorite to be the starting right back.
Chance Myers - Will miss the start of the season again due to injury, Generation Adidas.
Matt Besler - First round pick, likely will fight for a senior roster spot.
Matt Marquess - Second year player. Likely fighting for a developmental roster spot.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Second year player, also likely fighting to make the developmental roster.

Midfielders (11)
Davy Arnaud - Can play anywhere in the midfield or up top, signed a new deal this offseason.
Jack Jewsbury - Holding midfielder or possibly right back, also signed a new deal this offseason.
Roger Espinoza - Left midfielder, starting to get time with Honduran national team, Generation Adidas.
Santiago Hirsig - The Wizards new signing, from talk, he's a box-to-box midfielder.
Kurt Morsink - Morsink seems to be falling further down the depth chart, especially with the signing of Hirsig.
Nelson Pizarro - Open tryout participant, likely fighting for a developmental spot.
Kevin Souter - Another open tryout participant, likely to benefit of the senior roster expansion.
Lance Watson - Can play on the wing or as a wingback, but likely will need to make the senior roster to make the team.
Graham Zusi - Rookie from Maryland, could make senior roster or fight for developmental slot.
Akeem Priestley - 4th round draft pick, hasn't been in camp, instead is trying his luck in Europe.
Ferenc Béres - Trialist from Hungary, has missed some time this preseason with injury.

Forwards (6)
Adam Cristman - The Wizards first acquisition of the offseason is coming off an injury but should battle for plenty of playing time.
Herculez Gomez - Gomez will likely see more time in the midfield, but is also coming off an injury early in the preseason.
Michael Kraus - Finally got on the field in an MLS game, but likely needs to make the senior roster to be on the team this year.
Claudio Lopez - Last years DP is now not longer, but is the favorite to start up top.
Abe Thompson - A late season acquisition last season Thompson appears to be in a fight with Cristman for playing time.
Josh Wolff - The other favorite with Lopez to start at forward this season.

Some players may appear multiple times in this list as they are players that could end up on different parts of the roster.
Senior players (13 of 20) - Hartman, Conrad, Harrington, Hohlbein, Arnaud, Jewsbury, Hirsig, Morsink, Cristman, Gomez, Lopez, Thompson, Wolff
Senior candidates - Pardo, Leathers, Besler, Marquess, McKenzie, Pizarro, Souter, Watson, Zusi, Béres, Kraus
Developmental Players (2 of 4) - Myers, Espinoza
Developmental Candidates - Pardo, Brown, Besler, Marquess, McKenzie, Pizarro, Souter, Watson, Zusi, Priestley, Kraus

What do I think? My feeling is that the Wizards will only carry 2 keepers until Kronberg comes back, and should they have an injury they'll go with one of the league keepers, possibly Andrew Kartunen. I expect guys like Leathers and Souter to be offered senior contracts, as well as at least Besler and maybe others. Anyways here is my guess for the 24 roster spots if Béres doesn't make the team.

Senior roster: Hartman, Conrad, Harrington, Hohlbein, Arnaud, Jewsbury, Hirsig, Morsink, Cristman, Gomez, Lopez, Thompson, Wolff, Leathers, Besler, Souter, Zusi, Marquess, Piazrro, Kraus (Kraus waived when Kronberg is healthy).
Development roster: Myers, Espinoza, Pardo, McKenzie

Exhibition Canceled

The Wizards preseason game against Atlas scheduled for today was canceled. No reason has been given for why, but hopefully we'll hear an announcement soon on who the Wizards will play on the rest of their trip in Mexico while they train at Atlas' facilities.

Update on Former Wizards

I'm late to another former Wizards update, but here's how former Wizards did last week.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - XSL - The Storm had two games this past week against the New Jersey Ironmen. They lost both games, 15-13 at home on Sunday, and 13-4 last night in New Jersey. The team is at Detroit tonight.

Rest of the World
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Dressed but did not play in Cardiff's 4-0 FA Cup replay loss to Arsenal on Monday.
Carlos Marinelli - Millonarios - Colombia - Started and played 90 minutes in Millonarios' 1-1 draw with Deportes Quindío. Started and played 90 minutes in Millonarios' 3-1 loss to Deportes Tolima on Wednesday.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Did not dress for Quindío's 1-1 draw with Millonarios. Started and played 90 minutes in Quindío's 1-0 loss to Cúcuta Deportivo on Wednesday.
Scott Sealy - Maccabi Tel Aviv - Israel - Maccabi Tel Aviv did not play this week.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Taylor did not dress in Koblenz' 3-1 win over SV Wehen.
Eloy Colombano - Club Atlético Atlanta - Argentina - Colombano is now in the regionalized third tier of Argentine soccer. Atlanta won their last game 1-0 over Brown Adrogué.

Coaching License

Got quite a few things I want to touch on tonight, so be prepared for a few different posts on what's going on. I'm a little late to this first story, but I think it's a really great story to touch on. The Wizards the weekend of the open tryouts are also hosting a coaching clinic for season ticket holders to earn their USSF E coaching license. The feedback for this event was so great, the team received double the number of responses for the slots they had available.

This is a fantastic idea, 1) it helps fans to understand what coaches are going through and educating people on the game. 2) It helps the overall development of the game in this country. The more people that understand the coaching side of the game, the more people are going to not coach their kid completely wrong when it comes too playing soccer. I personally look forward to hopefully attend a future clinic and earn my E license to compliment the coaching experience I already have.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Layout

So I thought it was time to update a few things on the website, nothing major on the scale of what Hillcrest Road recently did, but I did think it was time to update the header at the top of the blog. Replacing the old picture, is one taken by Thad Bell, of The Back Post, of which I thank him for letting me use the image. I'd also like to thank Kathie Thomas for the work she did on adding the wording into the photo.

Open Tryout Deadline

The deadline for the Wizards open tryouts on March 7th and 8th is tomorrow, so if you're still wanting to get in, you better sign up quick. Unfortunately I have had to drop the idea of participating in this years tryouts due to multiple issues. First is the obvious money issue, the $205 is $205 I can spend elsewhere (like on a roadtrip this season for a game). Second is because I'm still not feeling in my best physical shape, and while I never had any illusions of grandeur of making the Wizards, I also didn't want to go out and make a complete fool of myself out there.

I will be out there for the tryouts though to see some of the players out there and how things go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Heineman on the Stadium Site

Wizards president, Robb Heineman was on Between the Lines today in Kansas City and talked about the development going on right now at the Bannister Mall site. You can listen to the full interview here. Some good information in the interview, some that was already known, and some good new information as well. Here are some highlights for those that don't have time to listen.

As people who have read this blog can see, the mall is about 1/3 of the way down now.

Two more years at CAB, the hope is to have the stadium open for first kick 2011.

Heineman said that they are close to a major company relocating to KC to be the major tenant in the next 60 days or so.

18,000+ seats, with it being expandable to 30,000 for concerts and such. They want the stadium to become the number 1 outdoor concert venue in Kansas City. While he said that, Heineman made sure to emphasize that it is a soccer stadium.

Free parking at the new stadium due to the retail around it.

Want to get people to come out 365, they want people to come to tournaments, stay at the hotel, go to the restaurants, go to the Wizards game, and at the end of the weekend have a single bill.

A lot of talking about comparing it as an eastern version of the Legends.

Pushing for the MLS Cup or All Star game to be hosted in KC in 2012 or 2013 in conjucture with the entire project being done (goal is January 1, 2012 for the entire project being done).

There was very little opposition from people in the community, really it was on the Save Bannister group. Neighborhood groups and local chamber of commerce were completely behind the project.

Some good news from Heineman, a good listen if you have 25 minutes for it.

Wizards in Mexico

The Kansas City Wizards have now left Kansas city and are now in Guadalajara, Mexico and will begin tomorrow training at the facilities of sister club, Atlas. This is the final part of the Wizards preseason before returning to Kansas City and begin preparing for the home opener against Toronto FC on March 21st. The team's full schedule down in Mexico is not known, neither are all the team's games down there, but it appears that Friday in Mexico the Wizards will play either Atlas or Chivas de Guadalajara in Mexico. The obvious choice is that it's a match against sister club Atlas, but who knows, we'll find out soon enough.

Monday, February 16, 2009

40th Anniversary

The 1969 season, the NASL was struggling, with only 5 teams left in the league. It was before the league hit it's height in the 1970's with players like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, but the American league was around at the time. With only 5 teams, the first half of the season was spent with English and Scotish clubs representing the 5 American teams. Half way through the season, the American teams took over. There was a 16 game season between those 5 teams, and the winner of that season, was Kansas City's own, Kansas City Spurs. The Spurs won the league with a 10-2-4 (W-L-D) record to capture the NASL title for that season. The Spurs were only in KC for one more season, the team ceased operations after the 1970 season. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Spurs championship season. It'd be great if the Wizards some how found a way to honor the Spurs title winning team some how this year. Even if it was some kind of small mention to honor the team, it'd be fantastic for Kansas City's current team to honor the history of the sport in this city.

Chance Can't Catch a Break

Last years number 1 overall pick, Chance Myers can't seem to catch a break. He came into this season preparing to battle fellow second year man, Jonathan Leathers for the starting right back position, but now all that is put on hold. Hillcrest Road is reporting that Myers will miss 10-12 weeks after he had surgery on his foot to repair a broken fifth metatarsal that he broken in Florida. This is just the latest in a string of injuries/illness for Myers. He missed much of last season while recovering from injury and mono. Hopefully Myers can recovery from this quickly.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bannister Mall Continues to Come Down

Hillcrest Road posted a few photos yesterday, and today I made it out to Bannister Mall to check out how demolition at the site is going. The part of the building that had housed the Jones Store is now basically completely gone now. All my photos from today are here. You can actually see into the mall from the Jones Store entrance inside the mall now as seen in the picture below.
They've also started to remove some of the plywood that was covering the other entrances and have started on other parts of the building as well. The lower entrance to the old JC Penny's is now a big gaping hole, as is the entrance to the mall between the old Jones Store and JC Penny's. As you can see, the glass decoration outside that mall entrance is now gone too.
On the West side of the mall, you can actually get a good look inside the mall and see inside from behind the security fence they have put up. With the plywood off many of the entrances now I'm sure that people are getting back into the mall, but it's basically been striped bare and with it being open to the elements now, it's likely not going to be very warm for people to sleep in. Still people are getting in the mall, as evident from the broken glass at the upper entrance to the old JC Penny's (also the entrance to Richard Tolbert's flea market).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Former Wizards Update

Another week of updating on how former Wizards are doing.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - XSL - Scored a 3 point goal as well as getting an assist in the Storms 18-12 win over the New Jersey Ironmen.

Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Cardiff's game with Charlton Athletic was canceled last weekend.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United - Australia - Did not play in Adelaide's 2-0 loss to the Melbourne Victory in the first leg of their semifinal.
Carlos Marinelli - Millonarios - Colombia - Started and played 90 minutes in Millonarios' 2-1 loss to Atlético Junior.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Did not dress in Quindío's 1-1 draw with Deportes Tolima.
Scott Sealy - Maccabi Tel Aviv - Israel - Started and scored the winner in Tel Aviv's 2-1 win over Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona F.C.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Did not dress in Koblenz' 3-1 loss to FSV Frankfurt.

Wizards Win Final Game in Florida

The Wizards are back in Kansas City after finishing their training in Florida at Bradenton. Before they left, they had one more scrimmage against a team from the IMG Academy. The Wizards won the game 7-1. Graham Zusi got another preseason goal off an assist from Jimmy Conrad (whose birthday is today, Happy Birthday Jimmy) to open the scoring in the 25th. Claudio Lopez then set up the next two goals, sending a corner in that Jack Jewsbury put away in the 35th, and crossing to Davy Arnaud who finished in the 41st. Zusi got the next two helpers, in the second half, as he first set up Abe Thompson in the 56th, and then Adam Cristman in the 60th. Thompson picked up his second goal off a cross from Matt Besler in the 75th after the IMG team had pulled a goal back in the 63rd. Michael Kraus finished out the scoring from the penalty spot in the 85th minute after he was brought down in the area by the goalkeeper.

Chance Myers, Doug DeMartin, Eric Kronberg, Roger Espinoza, Herculez Gomez, and trialists Ferenc Béres and Chris Brown did not play in the match.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dos a Cero (It's a Way of Life)

I love when things work out the way I want them to. I ask for another dos a cero, and I receive one, with Michael Bradley, hopefully forever ending any nepotism claims proving to be the hero. Not only did Bradley score both goals, but he was man of the match for the United States tonight in their win over Mexico, playing absolutely amazing. Great way to start qualifying.

No Appearance for Espinoza

Roger Espinoza was not named to the 18 man roster for Honduras' World Cup Qualifying loss to Costa Rica tonight. Honduras lost 2-0 tonight in Costa Rica, starting the final cycle of World Cup qualifying on the back foot. Honduras' next game March 28th in Trinidad.

USA vs Mexico

Unless you've been living under a rock, the US plays Mexico tonight in the opening game of the final round of World Cup Qualifying tonight in Columbus, OH. Unfortunately Down the Byline couldn't make the trip this year, but everyone out there should enjoy the game tonight. Let's get another Dos a Cero going.

For those wanting a place to watch the game, there are plenty of watch parties around KC.

Hirsig Official

The Wizards have officially announced the signing of Argentine midfielder, Santiago Hirsig. He was the rumored signing that Robb Heineman had mentioned on bigsoccer and Heineman let the cat out of the bag earlier this morning by posting a youtube Nike commercial of Hirsig. Hirsig has played over 200 games in Argentina's top flight. He's not a huge goal scorer, but should bring some experience to the midfield.

Wizards New Signing?

Has Robb Heineman given us the name of the Wizards new signing? Heineman posted a youtube video of a Nike commercial starting Argentine midfielder, Santiago Hirsig on bigsoccer this morning. Hirsig is a 31 year old midfielder who last played for San Lorenzo in the Argentine top flight. He hadn't been getting a lot of starts, but had been making regular substitute appearances, including appearing in both of the Apertura "playoff" games that San Lorenzo was involved in this past December. He's definitely not a goal scorer as it appears he's only scored 17 career goals, but I'm cautiously optimistic if the Hirsig move goes through.

Thanks to some quick leg work by AG over at the KC Soccer Review, it would appear that Hirsig was recently released from his contract at San Lorenzo, for what would appear to be a disagreement with the club over being paid. It would also appear that Hirsig was very close to signing with Barcelona SC of Ecuador, but for some reason did not. Hopefully we'll hear an official word soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wizards Final Preseason Game

Nothing official has been announced on this yet, but word on is that the Wizards final preseason game, schedule for March 14th will not be in Kansas City as it seemed previously. Instead, the Wizards will go on another quick barnstorming tour to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take on USL-1 side, the Minnesota Thunder. According to the poster on bigsoccer, he received an email with the flyer attached about the game, which will take place at Prarie High School, just south of Cedar Rapids. I had hoped this game would have been at home, but with it being under a 5 hour drive, I may be making my first road trip of the season to cover this game. Local radio station, Z 102.9 is already promoting the game, which will be a double header with Prarie High School.

Wizards Announce Schedule Changes

The Wizards have announced 3 changes to their 2009 schedule. One will affect one of the Wizards home games. The team's second home game of the season, against San Jose has been moved from Saturday April 4th, to Sunday April 5th at 2pm. This according to Hillcrest Road is for TV purposes. The team has also announced the game time for the team's trip up to Toronto this year. The game which had been TBD, is now scheduled for 4pm Central time. The final change is July 11th on KC's first trip to New England. The game has been moved to a 3pm Central time start time.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Jewsbury Not on US Roster

Not surprising considering he'd already made his way back to Florida to join the Wizards preseason training down there, but Wizards midfielder, Jack Jewsbury, was not named to Bob Bradley's 20 man roster for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier against Mexico in Columbus, OH. The roster includes 7 players who currently play in MLS (8 if you count Landon Donovan who is currently on loan to Bayern Munich. Jewsbury will continue training with the Wizards now, with their final preseason game in Florida coming up on Wednesday.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Wizards Tie High Scoring Exhibition

The Wizards and New York Red Bulls finished in a 4-4 deadlock in a high scoring preseason game. A mix of starters and bench players started the game for KC, who took the lead when Matt Besler played a long ball that Josh Wolff put through to Claudio Lopez who was in on goal. Lopez rounded the keeper and finished for the early lead. New York responded quickly though, as within 7 minutes, New York had tied the game and taken the lead, which they took into half time. Only 2 changes were made by the Wizards at the half, one being trialist Chris Brown getting his first shot in net.

KC tied the game in the 56th minute, when Graham Zusi got on the end of a through ball by Wolff and chipped it over the Red Bulls goalie. Four minutes later, KC retook the lead when Zusi fed the ball to Wolff, who again found Lopez, who dribbled around Jon Conway and put the ball into the empty net. After the goal, KC made multiple changes to the lineup replacing all but 2 players. New York tied the game in the 69th minute and then appeared to score the winner in the 84th. In the 89th minute though, a corner by Kevin Souter was flicked on by Michael Kraus to Rauwshan McKenzie who volleyed home from close range to tie the game again.

Most of the Wizards got into the game today, those missing were Roger Espinoza (who is still with the Honduran national team), Herculez Gomez (surgery), Eric Kronberg (surgery?), Michael Harrington (hamstring), Kevin Hartman (coach's decision), Jack Jewsbury (got in late last night from national team camp). Also trialist, Ferenc Béres, sat out this game with a hamstring. So the only questions on players right now, remains to be Kronberg as I haven't seen an official word on his surgery that I've heard he had, and Akeem Priestley, who is trying his luck abroad.

The Wizards are now 2-0-1 this preseason and have 1 more game in Florida this preseason against an opponent who hasn't been named before returning to KC.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wizards Roster Break Down

Yesterday Steven Goff with the Washington Post broke down DC United's roster with the current players that they have in camp on trial, drafted, and returning players. I figured I'd try to do a break down of the Wizards, since there are only 25 days until the Wizards have to finalize their roster down to the 24 man roster (18-20 senior roster spots and 4 developmental)

Kevin Hartman is the undisputed number one keeper for the Wizards, since he's arrived in KC he's played in every MLS game, and only missed 3 competitive games total (all in the US Open Cup last year). Behind him is Eric Kronberg, who hasn't appeared in a preseason game yet. I've heard he's recovering from offseason surgery, but there's been nothing officially announced about what's going on with Kronberg. Last seasons number 3, Boris Pardo has gotten a lot of time in place of Kronberg with him not there. With Neal Kitson already being waived before the team left for Florida, the team has had two rookie free agents in camp. Kevin Guppy from Cal State Northridge got 30 minutes against the US Under 17 team, while the team now has Chris Brown, the younger brother of Adin Brown in camp.

Jimmy Conrad
and Michael Harrington both are the two locks into the back line heading into the season. Aaron Hohlbein would appear to be the favorite to land the starting central defensive position with Conrad, but will face challenges from first round draft pick, Matt Besler and second year man, Rauwshan McKenzie. The right back spot will likely come down to two players, last year's starter for much of the season, Jonathan Leathers and last year's number 1 overall pick, Chance Myers. Leathers would likely seem to be the early favorite for that spot. The other defender currently on the roster, is Matt Marquess, who started a few games last year, but would appear to be stuck behind Harrington for the left back spot.

Davy Arnaud
and Jack Jewsbury became the strong central midfield pair down the stretch and will be favorites to start in that spot this season. Herculez Gomez is the favorite to be on the right wing, but is missing preseason right now due to a knee injury at the very beginning of preseason. The left wing spot has a few different candidates to start there this season. You have the new non-DP, Claudio Lopez, who can also play up top. You then have one of the open tryout winners from last year, Kevin Souter who got quite a few starts late in the season and Honduran midfielder, Roger Espinoza, who hasn't been in camp yet. On the bench, you have more central midfield depth in Kurt Morsink, while on the wings are Lance Watson and Nelson Pizarro. The Wizards also have two rookies fighting for time as well, with Graham Zusi and Akeem Priestley. Finally, it would appear that trialist Ferenc Béres has spent time in the midfield on the wing, even though he's been listed as a forward on his team's site.

The Wizards have already added to their forward line earlier this offseason bringing in Adam Cristman, who hasn't been able to play yet in the preseason due to injury. Along with Lopez, who spent time in the midfield as well, the Wizards also have two more players brought in midseason up top in Josh Wolff and Abe Thompson. Also returning to the team is Michael Kraus, who made his first MLS appearance in the playoffs against Columbus last year. Rounding out the forwards, is Michigan State rookie, Doug DeMartin. There is also the rumored signing that Robb Heineman mentioned, but we don't know where he'll play.

Senior Roster Locks (10): Hartman, Conrad, Harrington, Arnaud, Jewsbury, Gomez, Lopez, Cristman, Wolff, rumored signing
Senior Roster Probable (3): Hohlbein, Morsink, Thompson, Kronberg
Senior Roster Candidates (4): Leathers, Souter, Watson, Béres
Developmental Roster Candidates (13): Myers(GA), Espinoza(GA), Pardo, Guppy, Brown, Besler, McKenzie, Marquess, Zusi, Priestley, Pizarro, Kraus, DeMartin

While I have 13 players listed under developmental, there are only 4 developmental roster spots, and 2 of those go to Myers and Espinoza. If the Wizards decide to carry a 3rd goalkeeper, he's likely to take up the 3rd spot, leaving 1 spot left for other players. I have only listed 13 senior roster spots that are probable to be filled, leaving plenty of space for those developmental players to earn spots.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New Signing On the Way?

Wizards president, Robb Heineman, has started posting on Bigsoccer again, and has dropped a little news for Wizards fans. According to Heineman, the Wizards are closing in on signing another attacking player. From later posts in the thread, Heineman says that the deal is pretty much done, but does not give the players name due to visa issues. The one other bit of information that we do have is that the player is South American. Hopefully we'll hear more on this soon.

In other news, we heard about another trialist in with the Wizards today. Chris Brown, a goalkeeper out of Boston College is with the team right now. He didn't play today in the friendly with the Fire, but the Wizards continue to bring in goalkeepers to battle for a roster spot.

Wizards Continue Early Success

The Wizards continued their early preseason success down in Florida today with a come from behind 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire. That's the good news, the bad news, is that in the first half, when the two teams were basically playing their first team, the Wizards fell behind 2-0 on goals by Brian McBride and Patrick Nyarko.

In the second half, the Wizards got on the board in the 49th minute thanks to Aaron Hohlbein who headed in off a corner from Kevin Souter. Four minutes later, the Wizards were level, after a combination between Davy Arnaud and Graham Zusi, Zusi was brought down in the box. Arnaud stepped up and put the penalty kick away. The winner came in the 70th minute, off another corner, this one by Zusi. Rauwshan McKenzie got to this one and headed it under the bar for the winner. Trialist, Ferenc Béres went the full 90 today.

Missing from the game were Roger Espinoza and Jack Jewsbury, who are still with their respective national teams, Adam Cristman, who sat out for precautionary reasons, Herculez Gomez, who is recovery from surgery, Akeem Priestley, who is still trying his luck abroad, and then Eric Kronberg, Doug DeMartin, and Matt Marquess.

Weekly Former Wizards Update

Time for another look at former Wizards and what they're doing now. I've decided to avoid posting preseason games for the moment, and will begin posting more players once their seasons start.

Stephen Armstrong - Chicago Storm - The Storm lost to the Milwaukee Wave 6-2 on the Storm's return from a 3 week break.

Around the world
Eddie Johnson - Cardiff City - England - Came off the bench and played 1 minute in Cardiff's 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Diego Walsh - Adelaide United - Australia - United did not play this week, they're next game is this Saturday against the Melbourne Victory.
Carlos Marinelli - Millonarios - Colombia - Played and scored in the semifinals of the International Cup on his debut with Millonarios. Played the full 90 minutes in the final against America de Cali, converting a PK in the PK shootout, that Millonarios won 4-2. The Copa Mustang season gets going this weekend.
Scott Sealy - Maccabi Tel Aviv - Israel - In his debut with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sealy came off the bench and got the game tying assist against Maccabi Haifa.
Matt Taylor - TUS Koblenz - Germany - Dressed but did not play in Koblenz' 0-0 draw with RW Oberhausen.

In other news about former Wizards, Ryan
Caugherty, who was drafted by the Wizards in 2005 in currently on trial with the Seattle Sounders. Caugherty recently played in the USL and in the Romanian second division.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bannister Demolition Continues

Seems like quite a few people made it out to Bannister Mall today to get an update on the demolition of the mall, myself included. I was able to stop by today and get a few pictures while running between errands today. Thad over at the Back Post was actually able to go inside the mall after contacting the Wizards about it. Also, Capt. Spaulding's World, another local blog, checked in with more pictures of the mall. They are certainly working hard, as they clear away the building.

The Star (editorial)

Last August I'd written about my frustration with the paper of record in Kansas City, The Star, and their lack of coverage of the Wizards. When Hillcrest Road responded to my post with information on who to email about my complaints, I sent emails asking why the lack of coverage and links to other cities team blogs as proof of how far behind the Star was in covering the team. As I expected, my email was basically blown off, and I was given a stereotypical response about the Star's coverage of the team and what they do. So in the end, I gave up on the Star, and focused solely on my writing, figuring if the Star wasn't going to give the coverage that somebody needed to. Working with Thad over at The Back Post, and AG and OG over at the KC Soccer Review, I think we've done a good job of helping to fill the gap that the Star leaves when covering the team.

But onto my recent frustration with the Star. Recently at work I walked by another person's desk and noticed the KC Star sports page, and up on the top part was a mention of the Wizards and the schedule release. For a minute I thought to myself "Cool, the Wizards above the fold, even if it is just a mention and the main article is inside, maybe this is a turn around." Then I looked again and realized that the Star had put the Wizards old "rainbow logo" next to the little blurb. I was a little shocked considering the team hadn't been using that logo as their primary logo in almost 2 years, and also because all last season they'd gotten the correct logo up. I decided to chalk that one up to just a mistake by someone with the Star and to let it slide.

Then, this past Sunday I was over at my parents house and happened to hear that yet again the Star had used the old logo in a short writeup about the team's first preseason win over the US Under 17 team. The fact that it's happened a second time shows me the lack of interest the Star has in covering this team and getting the information that they report correct. As the paper of record in this town, the Star reaches far more people in KC than my blog ever could. And one would hope that they feel a need to report the news properly. Still, it's distrubing that the Star for two consecutive articles about the team has put the team's old logo up instead of the current one. To me it shows that the Star knows little about the Wizards, and has little interest in the team at all.

It's shoddy journalism that they can't get something as simple as the right logo in an article.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Espinoza Called Up for World Cup Qualifier

Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza has missed all of the Wizards preseason so far due to his call up to the Honduran national team. He'll continue to miss time, though, as Espinoza impressed enough during the UNCAF Nations Cup that he earned a call up to the national team for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. Espinoza appeared in 3 of the 5 games in the tournament, scoring the winning goal in the 3rd place game against El Salvador. The Honduran national team will leave tomorrow for Colombia, where they will train on a turf field to prepare for Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá in Costa Rica.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Espinoza's First Start

Wizards midfielder, Roger Espinoza got his first start with the Honduran national team today in the UNCAF Nations Cup 3rd place game against El Salvador. Espinoza took advantage of the start, scoring the lone goal in the game as Honduras won the 3rd place game. In the 30th minute, Espinoza received a nice pass from Emil Martinez, dribbled into the box and slotted the ball low and to the far post, a very clinical finish for the midfielder. Minutes before that, Espinoza had picked up a yellow for a poor challenge. Espinoza was subbed off in the 73rd minute, but overall had a very good performance for Honduras in his third appearance for Los Catrachos.

You can see the goal in the video below, the sequence starts at 3:02.