Saturday, October 31, 2009

Career Years

A few of the Wizards players had career years this year. Here's a list of the players that are in at least their second year in the league and the career highs they hit this year.

Josh Wolff reached a career high in goals (11), games started (27), and minutes played in league play (2,348).

Claudio Lopez hit an MLS career high in games played (29), games started (28), goals scored (7), assists (8), and minutes played (2,501).

Aaron Hohlbein hit career highs in goals (2), games played (22), games started (22), and minutes played (1,867)

Lance Watson hit career highs in games played (20), games started (19), and minutes played (1,649).

Rauwshan McKenzie hit career highs in games played (5), games started (5), and minutes played (437).

Michael Kraus hit career highs in appearances (11), minutes (147) and goals (1).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Down the Byline Wizards Team Awards

The Wizards have handed out their year end awards, and it's now time for me to hand out my end of the year awards to Wizards players. I'm going to hand out the same awards I did last year, I'm also adding a Performance of the Year award to the best single game performance by a player this season.

Rookie of the Year
Matt Besler
Not really a surprise, it was either going to be Besler or Graham Zusi getting this years award, and I don't think that Zusi got enough time this year to be considered for the award. Even without that, Besler had a pretty good season, and has looks like he could develop into a strong defender.

Defender of the Year
Kevin Hartman
For the second year in a row, Hartman has been the teams best defender. He kept the Wizards in multiple games they had not business being in. While the offense wasn't scoring goals, Hartman was doing his best to keep the team in games and giving them a chance to win games, the thing good goalkeepers do.

Goal of the Year
Davy Arnaud vs TFC (1)
Plenty of decent candidates this year, either of Arnaud's goals against Toronto, or his goal against Seattle. Claudio Lopez also had some decent goals, his midfield strike against LA being one of them. Or even some of the team goals, like the second against New England back in June. Of them all I liked Arnaud's first on opening day against TFC. Just raw power by Arnaud.

Performance of the Year
Josh Wolff vs NE 9/5
Coming into New England with 1 goal in two months of league play the Wizards needed a big performance and got one from Wolff. Wolff played a part in all 4 of the Wizards goals, including scoring two himself. His run on the second goal was a thing of beauty and a look at the Wolff of old.

Kevin Hartman
My thought came down to 3 players, Lopez, Hartman, or Wolff. In the end, I went with the guy who I felt showed up the most during the season, and that was Hartman. Claudio Lopez had himself a good season (7 goals 8 assists) as did Wolff (11 goals), but I think Hartman was the team's most valuable player, he kept KC in plenty of games they had no business being in. His only real bad game was the 6-0 drubbing in Dallas where everyone looked bad. Meanwhile the offense went 2 months only scoring 1 league goal.

So those are my awards for this year, agree? Disagree?

Team Award Winners

Yeah I'm almost a week behind on this, but was thinking the team may actually announce more winners than just MVP, Golden Boot and Humanitarian of the Year. Anyways, this year, the award winners consisted of 2 players, Josh Wolff and Jimmy Conrad.

Wolff won both the MVP award and the Golden Boot. Wolff led the team team in goals with 11 in MLS play and added an assist in the Wizards Open Cup game against the Minnesota Thunder. While the Wizards didn't have a great season, the MVP award was in my opinion a close race between Wolff, Claudio Lopez, and Kevin Hartman.

Conrad was named the Humanitarian of the Year for his work in the community. Conrad worked with multiple organizations, including Athletes Against Autism and the Child Protection Center.

Congrats to both on receiving their awards.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Take It Or Leave It

That's the message from Kansas Governor, Mark Parkinson, to the Wizards and OnGoal in regards to the STAR Bond deal the state offered the team. If the Wizards are going to be building at the location out at the Legends, it'll be using the $230 million package that the state of Kansas has presented. Parkinson announced today that the deal they offered to the Wizards was final. And while some Kansas lawmakers are saying the state should do everything they can to complete this deal, the deal isn't going to change.

It's now completely down to the team to make this deal now with it looking unlikely that the state will budge on the deal. Although the rumors still swirl about the Missouri side of the state line (particularly Bannister) stepping back up and pushing to get this project and the Cerner jobs over to KCMO. It certainly is looking like these rumors have more legs than originally thought.

In the end, this project is more about the Cerner jobs than the Wizards stadium. It may sting some Wizards fans, but it's true. KCMO and the Unified Government are chasing the jobs and the boost to their economy those jobs would bring. The stadium is a bonus to the project. Hopefully we'll be hearing soon from either side of the state line that a deal is done and that ground breaking will take place soon.

Could there be a Strike?

Could the 2010 MLS season be in a little bit of danger next season? It seems like it could be a possibility, as the current collective bargaining agreement is up in January. According to former Wizard, Nick Garcia in the Toronto Sun (yes I know the Sun is a tabloid), players have been told to put money back for this year just in case.

Anyone that's paid attention to MLS can see that it seems like the players are getting a bit of a raw deal. There are multiple players on every team's roster that struggles to make it. Many take second jobs and coach youth teams in their cities to make extra money. They also have to room with 2-3 other roommates some times to help make ends meet, especially in cities like LA where the cost of living is higher (remember the exerts about Alan Gordon in The Beckham Experiment). There are other issues on the table, including guaranteed contracts for the players. This is something that every fan of not just the Wizards, but MLS will need to pay attention to in the coming weeks and months. Garcia's thought is that a deal won't be reached until around the time the MLS season starts.

Former Wizards Update

Here's your end of the MLS regular season former Wizards, more and more former Wizards seasons are ending as the majority of those players play in spring-fall leagues.

Nick Garcia - Toronto FC - Dressed but did not play in Toronto's 5-0 loss to New York to end their season.
Taylor Graham - Seattle Sounders FC - Did not dress in Seattle's 2-1 win over Dallas.
Will Hesmer - Columbus Crew - Dressed but did not play in Columbus' 1-0 loss to New England.
Chris Klein - LA Galaxy - Came off the bench and played 14 minutes, recording an assist in LA's 2-0 win over San Jose.
Yura Movsisyan - Real Salt Lake - Came off the bench and played 28 minutes, scoring a goal in RSL's 3-0 win over Colorado.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago Fire - Started and played 90 minutes in Chicago's 1-0 win over Chivas USA.
Carey Talley - Chivas USA - Dressed but did not play in Chivas' 1-0 loss to Chicago on Thursday. Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 3-2 loss to Houston on Sunday.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 1-0 loss to Chicago. Dressed but did not play in Chivas' 3-2 loss to Houston.
Abe Thompson - Houston - Came off the bench and played 46 minutes, scoring a goal in Houston's 3-2 win over Chivas.
Dave van den Bergh - FC Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 loss to Seattle ending Dallas' season.
Sasha Victorine - Chivas USA - On the DL
Tyson Wahl - Seattle Sounders FC - Came off the bench and played 1 minute in Seattle's 2-1 win over Dallas.

Eloy Colombano - Ferro Carril Sud (Olavarría) - Argentina - Ferrocarril tied Independiente Tandil 1-1.
Gary Glasgow - United Petrotrin - Trinidad - Petrotrin did not qualify for the "Pro League Big Six" Competition.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Dressed but did not play in Fulham's 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
Chris Konopka - Sporting Fingal FC - Ireland - Did not play in Fingal's 2-1 win over Limerick. Started and played 90 minutes in Fingal's 4-2 win over Bray Wanderers in the FAI Ford Cup semifinal.
Anthony Noriega - United Petrotrin - Trinidad - Petrotrin did not qualify for the "Pro League Big Six" Competition.
Khari Stephenson - Aalesunds FK - Norway - Started and played 90 minutes in Aalesunds' 2-1 loss to Rosenborg.
Antti Sumiala - FC Porin Palloilijat - Finland - FC PoPa's season ended last week.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 3-2 win over 1860 Munich.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Did not play in Quindío's 2-2 draw with La Equidad.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 6-0 win over Gold Coast United.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Player of the Month

The Wizards season is over, but the Player of the Month for October needs to be handed out. My year end awards will also be coming out soon as well. In October the Wizards went 0-2-2, scoring 5 goals and allowing 8 goals during that time frame. Here are a few candidates for October.

Claudio Lopez - Lopez had a goal and an assist in October, setting up Zoltann Hercegfalvi's goal in Houston and scored the game tying PK against DC.

Zoltan Hercegfalvi - While he only started two games in October, Hercegfalvi scored two goals for the Wizards against Houston and Seattle.

This month, the award is going to

Zoltan Hercegfalvi. Hercegfalvi's play was refreshing for the team. He brought something to the forward line that had been lacking for the Wizards throughout most of the season. And while he didn't get a whole lot of minutes in October, when he was on the field, his style of play pushed the game for the Wizards. I'm looking forward to next season and him having an entire year with the team.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What Now With Vermes?

With the season now over, the Wizards have some questions to ask about the team itself and the front office. One of the most important questions revolves around technical director and interim coach, Peter Vermes. Where, if anywhere in the organization will Vermes be next year? Will he be back in the dual role of technical director and coach? While Vermes record with the Wizards was only 3-6-3, the team did seem to be playing better under Vermes than they did under Curt Onalfo. But as Vermes said in the Star recently the question becomes can he balance both positions?

Or Vermes could just stay on as coach and the team bring in another technical direct. The question then becomes how Vermes would feel able transitioning from the more player acquisition role to just the coaching role. He could also just step back into the technical director role and let the team bring in a new coach period. This in all honesty seems like the most likely end result. While I know many people are calling for Vermes head as well. I have a feeling that Vermes will get at least one more coach before he is let go. And that is the other option that could happen, Vermes could be following Onalfo out the door. In all honesty, I don't think that would happen, but it would make some sense as since Vermes became technical director, there's been very little improvement in the team.

Either way, as Robb Heineman said in the article above, the team wants to have their new coach in place by the time of the expansion draft in late November. So hopefully we'll be hearing soon about what's going on. I'm hoping to get a list of potential candidates up later this week.

So what do you think will happen to Vermes? Vote in the poll on the right with what you think will happen (not what you think should happen), whether he'll stay on as coach, technical director, both, or be fired.

Hartman for Save of the Week

Not surprisingly, Kevin Hartman's diving save on Ben Olsen is up for Save of the Week. It's an absolutely amazing save. Check the save out here. And vote for it here.

Kamara for Goal of the Week

Kei Kamara's flick on header from Graham Zusi is up for Goal of the Week this week. Check out the video below, and vote here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday After Stats

Kevin Hartman made his 100th start in all competitions for the Wizards. He's the 19th Wizard to hit that mark.

The 33 goals scored by the Wizards in league play, ties for the lowest goal output in team history. The 1999 and the 2001 Wizards both scored 33 league goals.

Claudio Lopez's goal was his 13th in league play for the Wizards, moving him into a tie for 12th place all time with Matt McKeon, Jose Burciaga, and Sasha Victorine.

It was Lopez's 15th in all competitions, tying him with Burciaga and Victorine for 16th on that list.

The red card given to Fred was the 10th red card shown to a Wizards opponent this season.

In the 75th minute, Jack Jewsbury moved past Matt McKeon and into 8th place on the list for most league minutes played for the Wizards.

Jewsbury made his 125th league start last night, that ties him with Tony Meola for 9th place on that list.

Josh Wolff made his 119th appearance in league play for the Wizards, tying him with Diego Gutierrez and Uche Okafor for 12th place on that list.

Ending the Season with a Draw

The Wizards ended the 2009 season without a playoff berth, but they went out by helping to kill DC United's season. Along with other results around the league, KC's 2-2 draw with DC last night eliminated DC from making the playoffs as well. A late penalty kick by Claudio Lopez proving to be the tying goal.

Both teams came out strong from the gate trying to impose their will on the game, and it was DC United that became the more dangerous early on. Christian Gomez pushed a shot just wide of the post, and United also hit the post off a corner kick as the Wizards escaped with the game still tied. So after that, KC got themselves on the board through Kei Kamara. After Davy Arnaud was fouled on a surging run down the left, Graham Zusi played a nice free kick into the box that Kamara got his head on and redirected enough to get it past Steve Cronin in net and give KC the lead. Kamara should have doubled the lead in the 35th, when he connected well in the air on a Lopez corner. Unfortunately Kamara headed it down too much and the ball bounced in front of goal and over the bar. Still, KC went into the half time break up 1-0.

DC came out in the second half and continued to press the Wizards trying to find an equalizer. They would have had it in the 51st minute if not for an absolutely amazing save by Kevin Hartman. Jamie Morneo took a shot that was going to Hartman's right, on the way through, the ball deflected back to the left to Ben Olsen. Hartman had already left his feet to attempt to save Moreno's shot. Olsen had the whole goal to shoot for, turned and volleyed the ball on frame, but Hartman had gotten back up to his feet and made it across the goal tipping it over for a corner kick. All this happened in the matter of 2 seconds, an amazing save by Hartman. DC did find the equalizer eventually, as in the 65th, Fred got behind Matt Marquess and while the two were battling for the ball, Fred went down in the box and DC earned themselves a PK. Hartman guessed right on Moreno's PK, even got a hand to the ball, but couldn't keep it out of the net.

DC kept looking for the winner, and while they did, KC countered. Kamara had another chance to double his lead and Lopez had a screamer tipped over the bar by Cronin. Soon after Lopez's shot was saved, DC took the lead. Julius James, who was having to finish the game with a hamstring issue as DC had used all their subs by the 60th minute, took advantage of a scrum in the box and headed in over Matt Marquess. The fault for the goal has to go on Hartman for a very poor punch (after he'd had a very good game up to that point) and Marquess, who didn't attack the ball, as James did. DC sat back a bit hoping to soak up the pressure and kill the game. In the 90th minute, Lopez again had a nice shot off a free kick saved by Cronin who then kicked the ball out for a corner. On the ensuing corner, DC failed to clear and the ball fell to Roger Espinoza who one timed his shot on goal. The ball was heading into the net, but hit the elbow of Fred on the way in. The referee gave the PK and red carded Fred. Lopez stepped up and blasted the PK right past Cronin's feet and into the net. DC franticly tried to find the equalizer after that goal and almost did, as Rodney Wallace hit the post for DC for the second time in the night. DC continued to pressure until the final whistle, but KC held on for the draw.

Wizards Man of the Match - Claudio Lopez - Lopez had multiple good chances throughout the game and if not for some good goalkeeping by Cronin, he'd have had a couple tonight, the PK, despite being right next to Cronin was almost unsavable. This very well could have been Lopez's last game for KC, and he seemed to act that way a bit post game as well, but he went out with a good performance.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Hartman

Player Ratings - Hartman 6, Jewsbury 5, Besler 5, Hohlbein 6, Marquess 3, Arnaud 5, Zusi 6, Lopez 7, Kamara 6, Zoltan 4, Wolff 5. Subs Gomez 5, Espinoza NR.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This is the End

Tomorrow night the Wizards will end what's been a lackluster 2009 season when they take on DC United at Community America Ballpark. While this game means nothing for KC, it means everything for DC. DC needs a win and some help to get themselves one of the two remaining playoff spots. They're competing with 5 other teams for those 2 remaining spots. DC comes into the game after getting a 1-1 draw down in Mexico against Toluca. In that game, DC played a mix of starters and reserves in preparation for this game while also trying to get the win and advance in the CONCACAF Champion's League.

For KC, this season can't end quick enough. KC will want to get this season behind them, from the 0-4 August, to the 1 goal in league play from early July to September, to the 4-6-4 record at home (while being 4-7-4 on the road), this has not been a good season for the Wizards. Still, they'll be looking to spoil United's attempts to get into the playoffs. The question is, with the Wizards out of the playoffs are there going to be any lineup changes to get some younger players into the lineup? With the current injury report, it looks like we could se a few lineup changes made, as Michael Harrington and Jonathan Leathers look set to miss the game. Harrington is the more intreging miss from the lineup, as it will either lead to Matt Besler moving back to left back and Aaron Hohlbein coming in, or Matt Marquess getting his first start of the season.
Myers - Conrad - Hohlbein - Besler
Jewsbury - Zusi
Arnaud - - - - - - - Lopez
Zoltan - Wolff

Key Match Up - Jimmy Conrad vs Luciano Emilio - Emilio hasn't had the season he's had in previous years, but Emilio is still a major danger that Conrad is going to have to keep his eye on.

PREDICTION - DC needs this game more than KC does, but KC will be wanting to finish on a high note and to avoid having the same home record as they do on the road. With DC playing midweek that could have a factor on the game, although the lack of play for many of the first teamers could have them fresh. It'd just be nice to end the season with a win to head into the 2010 season with something positive.

KC - 2 (Zoltan, Wolff)
DC - 1 (Moreno)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two Stadium Sites Still Around

The thought a few weeks ago that the Wizards were going to the Legends or bust for their permanent home, but Robb Heineman has posted to the contrary last night on Bigsoccer. While the Legends site appears to still be leader, Heineman says that more needs to be done by the state of Kansas to ensure the stadium gets built there. His thread title while cryptic, was quickly broken down as meaning that the Wizards are still working on the Missouri side as well. Is this the Bannister site, or is it potentially another site. Either way, if it is on the Missouri side, specifically in Kansas City, the question becomes how the city has sweetened the deal after hearing about the deal Wyandotte County has put on the table.

The Wizards are playing a potentially dangerous cat and mouse game. Competition for the stadium can probably be a good thing, and maybe it's because of all the stuff I've dealt with as a Wizards fan for years, but I worry that playing this game the Wizards could get left out in the cold on both sides of the state line. If the Wizards are still hoping for that mid-season 2011 opening, they have to start moving dirt soon. My original hope of ground breaking being held in conjunction with one of the final home games doesn't look likely to happen any more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Former Wizards Update

Most former Wizards were back in action this weekend. We're almost done with the regular season for MLS, meaning some players will be dropping off soon. The USL season is now completely done as Montreal are the Champions. I've also found two more former Wizards plying their trade in Trinidad. Both Gary Glasgow and Anthony Noriega are playing for United Petrotrin of the Trinidad Pro League. Glasgow had 3 goals this season for Petrotrin.

Nick Garcia - Toronto FC - Dressed but did not play in Toronto's 1-0 win over RSL.
Taylor Graham - Seattle Sounders FC - Did not dress in Seattle's 3-2 win over KC.
Will Hesmer - Columbus Crew - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-0 loss to DC. Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico in the CONCACAF Champion's League.
Chris Klein - LA Galaxy - Dressed but did not play in LA's 0-0 draw with Houston.
Yura Movsisyan - Real Salt Lake - Started and played 59 minutes in RSL's 1-0 loss to Toronto.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago Fire - Started and played 90 minutes in Chicago's 0-0 draw with New England.
Carey Talley - Chivas USA - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 2-2 draw with San Jose.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Dressed but did not play in Chivas' 2-2 draw with San Jose.
Abe Thompson - Houston - Dressed but did not play in Houston's 0-0 draw with LA. Came off the bench and played 15 minutes in Houston's 3-2 loss in the CONCACAF Champion's League.
Dave van den Bergh - FC Dallas - Started and played 87 minutes, recording an assist in Dallas' 2-1 win over Colorado.
Sasha Victorine - Chivas USA - On the DL
Tyson Wahl - Seattle Sounders FC - Dressed but did not play in Seattle's 3-2 win over KC.

Vicente Arze - Vancouver - Did not dress in Vancouver's 3-1 loss to Montreal in the second leg of the USL-1 championships.

Eloy Colombano - Ferro Carril Sud (Olavarría) - Argentina - FerroCarril lost 2-0 to Racing Olavarria.
Gary Glasgow - United Petrotrin - Trinidad - Petrotrin did not qualify for the "Pro League Big Six" Competition.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Did not dress in Fulham's 2-0 win over Hull.
Chris Konopka - Sporting Fingal FC - Ireland - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout, and saving a PK in Fingal's 4-0 win over Longford Town. Did not dress in Fingal's 2-1 win over Limerick today.
Anthony Noriega - United Petrotrin - Trinidad - Petrotrin did not qualify for the "Pro League Big Six" Competition.
Khari Stephenson - Aalesunds FK - Norway - Started and played 79 minutes in Aalesunds' 1-0 win over IK Start.
Antti Sumiala - FC Porin Palloilijat - Finland - Started and played 45 minutes in PoPa's 4-3 loss to Atlantis.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Dressed but did not play in Frankfurt's 4-1 loss to Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Dressed but did not play in Quindío's 2-1 loss to Independiente Medellín. Came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Quindío's 4-0 loss to Deportivo Pereira.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 1-1 draw with North Queensland Fury.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cauldron on Saturday

I've held off on this post waiting to see if there would be some comment from the front office, but doesn't look like one is coming. Saturday against Seattle, something was up with the Wizards front office staff in response to the Cauldron.

As had become a regular occurrence, the team brought down streamers to be thrown during allowed times during games. And like what always happens when streamers are handed out, some were thrown at times that were not appropriate. Unlike previous games when that's happened and verbal warnings have been given, those fans were immediately pointed out by Wizards staff and security and thrown out of the stadium. Instead of just calmly walking up to the person and telling them to stop, a menacing finger was pointed at people by 3-4 people in front of the section and people were escorted out. With that happening, it only led to more streamers being thrown in defiance of the Wizards staffers in front of the section. I spoke with one of the head security guys at half time from the top of the section. He told me he'd gotten tired of what the Wizards staff was doing. Post game I found out that security had pulled his people out of the front of the section because of what staffers were doing.

So what led to the hard line stance by the Wizards staff? The rumor going around is that someone from league headquarters was at the game apparently observing the Wizards' game day operations. In all honesty, I don't have a problem with the hard line stance. My problem was their lack of communication with the section AFTER what they'd been allowing all season up to that point. As I stated, up to that point, streamers thrown onto the field had gotten people a stern talking to, and on a few occasions, kicked out, but it'd never been as bad as this. A 5 minute conversation with one of the leaders of the section, giving them a heads up could probably have avoided the majority of the problems that came from the game. In the end, it all amounts to a lack of communication.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday After Stats

Lots of stuff for Wolff again this week, who is having a career year in terms of goals and minutes played.

Josh Wolff's goal was his 11th of the season, a career high in MLS play for Wolff.

Wolff's goal was his 73rd in MLS play in his career, tying him with Edson Buddle for 13th all time.

It was also Wolff's 83rd goal in all competitions in his MLS career, breaking his tie with Cobi Jones for 14th on that list.

It was Wolff's 44th goal in all competitions for the Wizards, breaking his tie with Chris Klein for 3rd on that list.

Wolff's 11 goals this season ties him with Mo Johnston in the 1998 season for the 7th most goals in a single season by a Wizards player in MLS play.

In the 26th minute, Josh Wolff moved past Diego Gutierrez and into 11th place on the list for the most minutes played in MLS play for the Wizards.

It was also Wolff's 111th start in league play for KC, breaking his tie with Jose Burciaga for 11th on that list. It was his 124th start in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Burciaga for sole possession of 12th place on that list.

Michael Harrington made his 100th appearance in all competitions for the Wizards. He's the 22nd Wizard to hit that mark.

Harrington's assist on Zoltan Hercegfalvi's goal was his 9th assist in MLS play for the Wizards, tying him with Ryan Tinsley for 20th place on that list.

Kevin Hartman made his 400th start in all competitions in his MLS career.

Put a Fork in It, It's Officially Over

It took a lot longer than I think many people expected it to, but the Wizards are now officially eliminated from the playoff race. The Wizards were eliminated before they even took the field against Seattle after Toronto's win over Salt Lake yesterday. Still it wouldn't have mattered, as the Wizards blew another lead and once again lost at home, this time to Seattle, 3-2 last night.

Seattle started the brighter of the two sides, with Fredy Montero having a shot saved with a good reflex save by Kevin Hartman. Hartman covered up the rebound before a Seattle player could get there. Their bright start was rewarded in the 27th minute when Tyrone Marshall scored off of a rebound after a Freddie Ljungberg corner. The goal has to fall on Hartman, as he had no one marking up on his near post. This allowed Ljungberg to attempt to put it in directly from the corner, forcing Hartman to scramble to keep the ball out. Marshall was there waiting for the rebound and made no mistake. Poor choice by Hartman.

KC had a penalty shout turned down soon afterwords, as Zoltan Hercegfalvi was knocked over going for a ball in the air, but no call was made. It was only a quick reprieve, as Seattle took control of the game back and were unlucky not to make it 2 or even 3-0 before half time. Steve Zakuani hit the cross bar from about 30 yards out as he tried to chip Hartman after he got played in behind the Wizards defense. Not soon after that, the cross bar saved the Wizards again, as Nate Jaqua put a header off the cross bar.

In the second half, KC started to get into the game a little bit more and tied the game early in the first half thanks to Hercegfalvi. He raced onto a shot/cross by Michael Harrington that was going wide and redirected it into the net. The Wizards continued with the pressure and took the lead only 2 minutes after equalizing, this time through Josh Wolff, who got his foot to Davy Arnaud's cross into the box to make it 2-1 Wizards.

Seattle started to push back, and Montero pushed a shot just wide of the post only minutes after Wolff's goal. In the 69th minute, Seattle found the equalizer through Roger Levesque after a Ljungberg corner. Levesque had gotten around Harrington and had an easy header into the net to tie the game. Zakuani had a few good chances to make it 3-2 Seattle, once pushing his shot just wide of the post and a second when he tried to go "5-hole" on Hartman, but Hartman was able to get down fast enough. Soon after that attempt, Seattle found the winner. Ljungberg challenged Matt Besler down the line, shrugged him off the ball before going in towards goal down the end line. Jimmy Conrad commited to cover Ljungberg, who was able to pick out an unmarked Nate Jaqua who had an empty net to shoot for to make it 3-2 Seattle. KC wasn't able to find a winner and Seattle became the third straight team to clinch a playoff spot against the Wizards.

Wizards Man of the Match - Josh Wolff - Hit a career high with his 11th league goal last night.

Player Ratings - Hartman 4, Leathers 3, Conrad 5, Besler 4, Harrington 4, Arnaud 4, Zusi 4, Jewsbury 4, Lopez 5, Hercegfalvi 5, Wolff 5. Subs Myers 4, Kamara 4, Espinoza 4.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back Home

The Wizards are back home to close out the MLS season with 2 home games against Seattle and DC. They start tomorrow against Seattle. While they are extremely slim, the Wizards are still barely in the playoff picture. By the time they take the field, though, KC could be eliminated if either Toronto or Salt Lake win. Seattle comes into town close to clinching a playoff berth themselves and will like their chances against KC considering the past two weeks Houston and Chivas have both clinched playoff berths against KC. KC gave Seattle their first loss and first home loss earlier in the season, and while Seattle got a bit of revenge by knocking KC out of the Open Cup, they'll likely be looking for more come Saturday.

KC will be getting Jimmy Conrad back after his time with the US national team, which should help to stabilize the back line a little bit more. While the Wizards are close to playoff elimination, they have shot themselves in the foot lately in that process. The last few weeks the playoff line has come towards the Wizards, but due to their inability to score goals, they haven't been able to gain ground and make a stronger push. Instead of the playoff line being around 43, the line could be as low as 38, but with the Wizards going 0-1-2 the last 3 games, they've been unable to take advantage of it. As for the lineup, I'd likely expect something similar to last week, with Santiago Hirsig apparently being in Argentina, I'd expect to see Graham Zusi get the start again in center midfield. Will we see any other changes? Does Zoltan Hercegfalvi finally get a start? If he does, who sits, Josh Wolff or Kei Kamara?
Leathers - Conrad - Besler - Harrington
Arnaud - Zusi - Lopez
Wolff - Kamara

Key Match Up - Jimmy Conrad vs Fredy Montero - Montero is still Seattle's most dangerous player and shutting him down is one of the big keys to this game tomorrow night. Conrad and Matt Besler at times will have their hands full.

PREDICTION - I expect KC to be officially eliminated by the time kickoff occurs tomorrow. As for the game itself, KC hasn't made CAB their home like they did last year, they currently have as many wins on the road this season as they do at home (4). Seattle is finishing up a 3 game road trip after losing in New England and winning in Columbus. I just have trouble seeing where the Wizards are once again going to find the goals, Davy Arnaud is still struggling, Wolff's latest hot streak appears to be over, Kamara and Zoltan have shown flashes but can't find the net. Have a feeling KC's going to lose this one.

KC - 0
SEA - 1 (Montero)

Sad Stats

Here's a sad stat for you on this Friday, along with a breakdown of what KC needs this weekend to stay alive in the playoff race.

This season the Wizards have taken 345 shots, that's tied for the second most in the league with Dallas. Only RSL has taken more shots. The Wizards have taken 142 shots on goal this season, that's good for 4th in the league. With those high numbers, the Wizards only have 29 goals this season, second worst in the league. Only New York has scored less goals this season. KC needs to score 4 goals in their final 2 games just to tie the 1999 Wizards for the lowest scoring team in team history.

As for this weekend's games, the Wizards have 4 other games along with their own where they need results in to stay alive in the playoff race. Here are the games and what results are needed, the home team is listed first.
KC vs Seattle - KC MUST win.
TFC vs RSL - Must end in a draw, either team wins, they get over our max.
NE vs Chicago - Chicago win, NE can't earn a point.
DC vs Columbus - Columbus win or draw, DC can not get more than a point.
FCD vs CO - CO win or draw, Dallas can not get more than a point.

The Wizards could know if they're eliminated by the time they kick off against Seattle as the Toronto-Salt Lake game is Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kansas Makes Incentive Offer to Wizards

The state of Kansas has come to the Wizards with an offer for the STAR Bonds for the development out at the Legends facility. It's not the $155 million that the Wizards and OnGoal had asked for last week. It's $10.5 million less than that, the state has offered the Wizards and OnGoal $144.5 million in STAR Bonds. The state has also offered $85 million in state tax credits and cash incentives to Cerner for the project. The $144.5 million is just a shade under 35% of the project being financed by the STAR Bonds. The question now becomes whether or not the Wizards and OnGoal will accept the offer? If they don't see the $144.5 million in STAR Bonds as being enough, the team could try to go back to Missouri and try to get Kansas City to back the bonds again out at the Bannister site, or see if there is another site. The team may not have the time to wait on that, and in the grand scheme of things, the $10.5 million is not that big of a difference and probably could be offset in part by the stadium naming rights.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Former Wizards Update

A week with not many former Wizards having games, as once again we have World Cup qualifiers going on around the world. With that, not many former Wizards got games this past week. Here's your former Wizards update.

Nick Garcia - Toronto FC - Started and played 90 minutes in Toronto's 1-1 draw with San Jose.
Taylor Graham - Seattle Sounders FC - Seattle did not have a game this week.
Will Hesmer - Columbus Crew - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Columbus' 1-0 win over New England.
Chris Klein - LA Galaxy - LA did not have a game this past week.
Yura Movsisyan - Real Salt Lake - Started and played 69 minutes in RSL's 2-0 win over New York.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago Fire - Chicago did not have a game this week.
Carey Talley - Chivas USA - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 2-0 win over KC.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Dressed but did not play in Chivas' 2-0 win over KC.
Abe Thompson - Houston - Houstonn did not play this past week.
Dave van den Bergh - FC Dallas - Dallas did not have a game this week.
Sasha Victorine - Chivas USA - On the DL
Tyson Wahl - Seattle Sounders FC - Seattle did not have a game this week.

Vicente Arze - Vancouver - Did not dress in Vancouver's 3-2 loss to Montreal in the first leg of the USL-1 Championship series.

Eloy Colombano - Ferro Carril Sud (Olavarría) - Argentina - Drew with Liniers, 0-0.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Off this week for World Cup qualifiers.
Chris Konopka - Sporting Fingal FC - Ireland - Did not play in Fingal's 2-2 draw with Shelbourne.
Khari Stephenson - Aalesunds FK - Norway - Did not have a game this week due to World Cup qualifiers.
Antti Sumiala - FC Porin Palloilijat - Finland - Started and played 64 minutes in PoPa's 3-0 win over JIPPO.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not have a game this past week due to World Cup qualifiers.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Did not have a game this past week with World Cup qualifiers.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not have a game this past week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rangers Defeat U-17's

The Swope Park Rangers (the Wizards reserves) defeated the US Under 17 national team tonight out at the Swope Park training complex 3-0 on goals by Roger Espinoza, Herculez Gomez, and Kevin Souter. The Rangers dominated their younger opponents for much of the game, but the 17's still did well throughout, having their moments. The lineups to start the game, looked like this:
Watson - McKenzie - Hohlbein - Marquess
Morsink (C)
Myers - Souter - Espinoza
Zoltan - Gomez
And for the U-17 team
Kitchen (C) - Watts - Herold - Polak
Shinsky - Gil - Duran - Palodichuk
Jerome - McInerney

Both teams started the game off a little cautiously in the rain tonight with very few chances early on. The 17's had a free kick from about 25 yards out that was easily taken by Boris Pardo while the Rangers were sending in some crosses that weren't finding any one on the end of them. The best chance early fell to the 17's, who had a 2v2 break, but Lance Watson did well to shield the 17's forward out of bounds for a goal kick. As the half went on, the Rangers started to control more of the possession and create more dangerous chances. Most of those dangerous opportunities fell to Gomez, who ended up with shots being saved both by the keeper and going just wide of the post. The 17's almost caught the Rangers on the counter, as Jack McInerney got played in behind the Rangers defense. Unfortunately on the wet turf, McInerney got too much of a touch on the ball and Pardo beat him to it before he could get another touch.

The Rangers took the lead late in the first half, as Gomez crossed a ball along the deck. The ball deflected to Espinoza at the back post, who had his shot partially blocked by Earl Edwards in the 17's net, but not enough, as it made it past Edwards, giving the Rangers the lead. The 17's almost answered immediately, as McInerney was played over the top of the Rangers defense. He rounded Pardo, but in doing so went wide of the goal, when he turned and shot from a tight angle, he only hit the post. KC had one more late chance, as Chance Myers broke with Gomez and Zoltan Hercegfalvi on a 3v3 break. Myers found Gomez on the right, but Gomez's cross was easily handled by Edwards.

Both teams made some half time changes, as Matt Besler, Eric Kronberg, and Michael Kraus entered for Aaron Hohlbein, Boris Pardo, and Zoltan respectively. The 17's had Andrew Craven enter for Stefan Jerome while Carlos Martinez entered for Nick Palodichuk. In the second half, the Rangers continued their late dominace of the first half, and doubled their lead early on. A corner by Kevin Souter was headed on goal by Kraus, Edwards made a good reaction save, but the rebound fell to Gomez, who biked the ball into the net, past Edwards to make it 2-0. Gomez continued to be the focal point of the Rangers attack, as he got in behind the 17's defense, but had his shot saved on the line by Edwards. By this point, much of the play was in the 17's end of the field, and while the Rangers weren't always getting good attacks out of it, they were keeping the 17's under a lot of pressure. Kraus almost got behind the 17's defense as well, but at the last second had the ball touched away by Perry Kitchen.

Matt Marquess attacked up the left and played a cross into Kraus, but Jared Watts headed the ball out for a corner. Marquess likely should have made it 3-0 on the ensuing corner, but his downward header bounced off the ground and skimmed the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick. Gomez almost made it 3 himself soon after when he connected with an Espinoza cross, but Edwards did well to block the shot and then knock away the rebound before Kraus could pounce on it. As the half wore on, Victor Chavez entered the match for Alex Shinsky. By this point, the Rangers sat back a bit more, which actually gave the 17's more room to attack and they were able to get deep into the Rangers end. They got a few shots off, but none of them really tested Kronberg in the Rangers net. It was KC that almost struck on the counter a few times, as Gomez got played in behind the 17's defense, but Edwards was well off his line and cut down the angle so Gomez had no shot. Kurt Morsink played in Myers on another opportunity. Myers had Kraus and Gomez square but instead tried to take it himself and ended up firing his shot into the side netting.

Finally, late on in the game, Gomez tried to get by the 17's defense, and ended up getting fouled in the box. Kraus stepped up to take the PK, but put his PK high and over the bar. It wouldn't be long, though, until the Rangers hit their 3rd. It came from Souter after KC had pulled back a counter. The ball got partially cleared to Souter about 30 yards from goal. Souter hit a one time volley that looped over Edwards and into the net to make it 3-0. The final whistle came soon afterwards. The Rangers won like they were supposed to, while the 17's had a good showing. I was particularly impressed by the play of Edwards, McInerney, and Luis Gil at times as well.

Rangers Man of the Match - Herculez Gomez - Gomez was all over the forward line tonight and gave the 17's back line trouble all night marking him. With better finishing or a keeper not coming up with some fine saves, Gomez has a hattrick tonight.

For my readers that are following the U-17 team, their man of the match for me was Edwards, without him in net, the 17's would have lost this game by quite a bit more. His hands were ok, but he needs to hold shots better, although the conditions tonight probably didn't help him out much. Good reflexes and read the game well, only 1 real gaff when he misjudged a cross early in the first half. I thought McInerney was the most dangerous player for the 17's he challenged McKenzie and Hohlbein in the first half, but against Besler in the second he disappeared a little bit. Gil did pretty well overall, but Morsink did a good job of helping to shut down the middle of the field for the 17's. Good luck to them in Nigeria.

Pressure on the State

While the Wizards and OnGoal are still working with the state of Kansas on getting the STAR Bonds approved for the Wizards stadium out at the Legends, the local representatives are starting to push the state to approve the STAR Bonds. State Senator Kelly Kultala of Kansas City, KS, and Representative Kevin Yoder of Overland Park along with Wichita Representative Jason Watkins have put pressure on Kansas Commerce Secretary David Kerr about this deal. Included in the pressure, was a comment by Kultala saying that she'd heard that Missouri had another propsal ready and waiting for the Wizards. Kerr has responded to the pressure by saying that he hopes to know by the end of the week if a deal can be struck with the Wizards. It sounds like the Wizards/OnGoal have already made some concessions with the dropping of the amount of the STAR Bonds being asked for from $175 million to $153 million, so hopefully the drop in money is enough for the state to approve the STAR Bond usage.

The fact that representatives from around the state seem to be showing their support for this project is an encouraging sign to the project and the hope for this development. The failure of this project in KCK would be a huge blow for Wyandotte County as the loss of the Cerner jobs would be big. It could also cause more problems for the Wizards and their fans, as they'll be running very low on chances to get a stadium built. In fact, they're running so low that it appears that the "r" word, relocation is potentially starting to raise it's head a little bit again. While the article speaks to the positives of the potential stadium out in Kansas, it also has a point from Heineman, where he said that without a new stadium, they'd need to look at other sites, including moving the team out of the city. Not a good thing for any Wizards fan.

Save of the Week Again

It seems to be an every week occurance, but once again, Kevin Hartman is up for Save of the Week this week for his finger tip save on Maykel Galindo Chivas USA in the Wizards 2-0 loss. Check out the save here, and go vote.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The 6 Steps to a Playoff Miracle

Kansas City's loss to Chivas over the weekend basically killed the Wizards playoff hopes, but they are currently still on life support with an outside chance. But it'll take a miracle on the level of 34th Street for the Wizards to make the playoffs. And Christmas is still 2 months away. So for the Wizards to pull off a miracle and make the playoffs, there are 6 teams' results that need to fall in line.

1. First, the Wizards need to win their remaining two games. They need to defeat both Seattle and DC at home the next two weekends to have a chance. Should they take less than 3 points from either of those two matches, they are done.

2. New England can not get another point. New England is in the 8th and final playoff spot, sitting on 38 points, 6 more than the Wizards 32. Meaning any more points gained by New England and the Wizards won't be able to get into 8th place. Should this happen, the Wizards would hold the tiebreaker on New England. New England is home against Chicago and at Columbus to close the season.

3. DC can not get more than 1 point. If DC grabs 3 points, they will pass KC's maximum point total of 38, effectively eliminating KC from the playoffs. Two points to tie them with New England would mean that KC didn't get the full 6 points, so their tiebreaker would not matter. DC is home against Columbus and at KC.

4. FC Dallas can not earn more than a point. Earning 3 points, like with DC would put Dallas ahead of KC's maximum point total. 2 points for Dallas would put Dallas on 38 points, and should the Wizards win out, they lose all tiebreakers with Dallas (including those that would include Toronto and Real Salt Lake). While in a 4 way tie between KC, New England, Dallas, and Salt Lake, KC would have won the most points (11), but Dallas would have the better points per game record since KC played one more game against the other teams. Dallas is home against Colorado and away to Seattle.

5. Toronto FC can not earn more than a point. Again like with DC and Dallas, getting a win, puts Toronto on 39 points. Earning two points, and Toronto holds the tiebreaker over KC in all the different tie breakers with Dallas and Salt Lake. Toronto is home to RSL and away to New York to close out the season.

6. Real Salt Lake can not earn more than 3-4 points depending on the situation in their remaining 3 games. Getting two wins puts RSL over KC's 38 point max. If Toronto and/or Dallas get to 38 points, RSL can not earn more than 3 points, because KC loses out in the 4 or 5 team tiebreaker in those situations (not that it would matter, because KC loses all those tiebreakers anyways). If Dallas and Toronto don't get to 38 points, than RSL can earn 4 points, since KC holds the tiebreaker in a 3 way tie between KC, New England, and RSL. RSL ends the season home against New York, at Toronto, and home against Colorado.

So as I said, it's going to take a miricle for KC to make their way into the playoffs. But I hope this break down at least gives you an idea of what to hope happens so that KC does make it into the playoffs.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday After Stats

In the second minute last night, Jack Jewsbury moved past Tony Meola and into 9th place for the most minutes played in MLS play for the Wizards, Jewsbury finished the game with 11,420 minutes played.

Josh Wolff made his 110th league start for the Wizards, tying him with Jose Burciaga for 11th on that list.

It was also Wolff's 123rd start in all competitions for KC, tying him with Burciaga again, this time for 12th place on that list.

Davy Arnaud's yellow card was his 37th with the Wizards, tying him for second with Nick Garcia for the most yellow cards in league play.

Some How KC is Still Alive

It'll take a full on miracle, but some how the Wizards are still alive in the race to get into the playoffs, but after last night's performance in LA, those hopes are basically gone. Needing a win, KC laid an egg and lost 2-0 to Chivas USA. On a night when Columbus even gave KC a helping hand by defeating New England (that win is what is keeping the Wizards faint playoff hopes alive).

KC started off strong, had a decent first half, and probably should have taken the lead in the 17th. Graham Zusi raced onto a hospital ball of a back pass, beat Zach Thornton to the ball, squared to Kei Kamara who met the ball the same time as the Chivas USA defender. The ball fell back to Zusi who scuffed his shot wide of the net. Both teams had a few other chances in the half, Kevin Hartman getting his finger tips to a Maykel Galindo shot, and Kamara scuffing a shot in front of net that was almost run onto by Josh Wolff. Still, the first half ended scoreless.

In the second half, the Wizards again continued to try to push for the first goal, and if not for the wood work, Claudio Lopez would have had a wonder goal as he volleyed from 30 yards out, beat Thornton but could not beat the cross bar. From there, though, Chivas started to control the game, Sacha Kljestan had a good shot paried away by Hartman not long after Lopez's effort. After a foul 35 yards out from goal, Chivas scored their first goal. Hartman saved the initial shot, but the rebound fell to an offside Yamith Cuesta, who squared to Justin Braun who beat Hartman. Yes, I said offside, see the picture below from right before Kljestan took the shot, Cuesta is already ahead of the last defender. My angle of the line is a little off, but Cuesta is in front of the last defender, which looks to be Matt Besler. For those that scream that Hartman touched the ball, please see the second image from FIFA's Laws of the Game on this exact issue.
Despite that, the call was not made, and the Wizards were down 1-0. Kljestan would get his goal only two minutes later, as he recieved the ball at the top of the Wizards box, beat 3 Wizards defenders with one move, sprinted by and beat Hartman to double the Chivas lead. KC had some late half chances, but none that really troubled Thornton in the Chivas net.

KC was also lucky to finish the game with 11 men, as Davy Arnaud should have been red carded for a very reckless challenge in the 90th minute.

Another lack luster result from the Wizards, the offense again looked very anemic and didn't really look likely to score at all. Despite the offside call not being made on the first Chivas goal, KC did not deserve to win this game. They created very little on offense and played with fire one too many times on defense.

Wizards Man of the Match - Kei Kamara - I really like watching this guy play, he's brought an added demention to the Wizards that I don't know if I've ever seen this team have. Hopefully he finds the net soon and the Wizards are able to keep him around. He has the size of a guy that can play as a target player, but the footwork and speed of a more withdrawn forward.

Player ratings - Hartman 5, Leathers 3, Hohlbein 3, Besler 3, Harrington 4, Arnaud 3, Jewsbury 3, Zusi 4, Lopez 5, Kamara 5, Wolff 3. Subs Zoltan 4, Espinoza 4, Myers 4.

US into World Cup

Last night down in Honduras, the US qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a 3-2 win over Honduras. After a scoreless first half the US fell behind in the 47th minute via a Julio Leon free kick. The US came back with 3 unanswered goals, two by forward Conor Casey, who got a surprise start ahead of Jozy Altidore. Landon Donovan got the third goal off of a free kick. Leon made it 3-2 later in the half. It looked like the US was going to have to settle for a draw when Honduras was given a penalty kick for a hand ball in the 87th minute, but Carlos Pavon skied the kick over the cross bar to keep the game at 3-2. The US withstood the pressure late on and qualified. Wizards defender and captain, Jimmy Conrad was on the bench for the US, but didn't see the field last night. Here are the game highlights for those that didn't make it anywhere to see the game.

Friday, October 09, 2009

More Stadium News

The work to get the Wizards stadium built out at the Legends continues to move ahead, and today we find out that the Wizards and OnGoal have "sweetened" the deal for the STAR Bonds that would help finance the building of the stadium. According to the KC Business Journal, the Wizards, OnGoal, and Cerner have made some changes to their request to the state in hopes of getting the STAR Bonds. The group has brought the requested STAR Bond money down from $173 million to $155 million. With the project as a whole being $420 million, that means just under 37% of the project would bet covered by the STAR Bonds, instead of 41% of the project. They have also pledged 1,000 more jobs, bringing the total to 9,000 new jobs for Wyandotte County and raised the proposed average salary of those positions over $10,000 to $65,000 per year.

In more news on the project, Charles Gooch over at Ink had an interview with Tim Weaver from Lane4 to discuss the project. Being a Wizards fan himself, Gooch was able to get some information that many Wizards fans will be interested in reading about the stadium. He gets some updated information about the entertainment district area that would be going up in the same area as the stadium, including an idea of what to expect to be in that area (bars, restaurants, etc) and what sort of events would be held there (concerts, festivals, tennis, and other sporting events). According to Weaver (via advisory and planning firm, Conventions, Sports and Leisure International), the stadium and entertainment area, along with the soccer feilds, would host upwards of 800 events a year. That's a shocking number when you think about it. That's over 2 events each day out in that area, including double headers, youth tournaments, concert tie ins and multiple other events. Seriously that is a jaw dropping number of events that could end up being held at this area.

As Gooch mentions, the exclusive negotiation deal that the team signed with Wyandotte County expired tonight, but like Gooch, I'm confident something will get done out at the Legends. Whether it's Monday, or early next week as Gooch says, I don't know, but that would be fantastic news if it is true. And with all the other talk recently it certainly seems like it could be true. Overall, a great post by Gooch with some great information on the development that Wizards fans might not get from the major media.

With these two articles, things seem to be really moving forward and exciting right now. Hopefully we'll hear something good before the Wizards even take the field again at CAB next Saturday the 17th.

Must Win

Tomorrow night in LA the Wizards will be facing a must win as they take on Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center. Should the Wizards lose, their playoff chances go to almost none existent (and will be completely gone if New England beats Columbus. Basically, there are two ways the Wizards can be eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. They can be eliminated if the Wizards lose and New England wins or draws at home against Columbus. They can also be eliminated if the Wizards tie and New England win. Even with the result, KC will need to win their final 3 games and get help to make it to the playoffs.

As for Chivas this weekend, it's going to be another tough road game for KC. The Goats sit on 41 points right now. As it's been all season, Chivas' injury report is very long, but has plenty of attacking options still, including Jesus Padilla on loan from the "Mothership". Chivas will be without Jonathan Bornstein though, who is with the US national team.

KC will also be without one of their key defenders, as Jimmy Conrad is also with the US national team down in Honduras. Without Conrad, it would appear that Aaron Hohlbein will be the one to step up and replace Conrad in the starting lineup. The rest of the lineup is likely to be very similar to the lineup that took the field against Houston. Josh Wolff seems likely to fill in for Conrad as captain as he did during the Gold Cup. While some Wizards fans (myself included) would like to see a Kei Kamara and Zoltan Hercegfalvi partnership up top this week, I don't think we're goingn to get it.
Leathers - Hohlbein - Besler - Harrington
Hirsig - Jewsbury
Arnaud - - - - - - Lopez
Wolff - Kamara

Key Match Up - Hohlbein and Besler vs the Chivas forward line. Whether it's Maykel Galindo, Eduardo Lillingston, or any other one of the multitude of forwards it seems that Chivas has, they're going to test the young back line of Hohlbein and Besler without Conrad. Hopefully it will end up better than the last game without Conrad.

PREDICTION - This game is a must win, but last week I just don't see it happening. By MLS standards, the Wizards have had a succesful season on the road, but they're going up against a Chivas game that is working to get into the playoffs and is just a better team overall than KC is. Even with KC's better run of form lately it's going to take a big performance to get all 3 points and stay in the playoff chase.

KC - 0
Chivas - 1 (Galindo)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wizards to Play U17's Tuesday

Yesterday I posted about the US U17 team training in KC in their preparations for the U17 World Cup and how there was likely to be a game while the they were here. Today on Bigsoccer, Robb posted again saying that the game would be Tuesday out at Swope Park.

I've gotten some more information on the game. The game will take place on Field 3 out at the Wizards complex at Swope, the turf field, Tuesday at 7 pm. The opponent for the U17 team will be a team made up mainly of the Swope Park Rangers, along with potentially some first teamers as well. I know I'll be out there for this game to not just see the reserves, but to see the up and coming US national team players with the US U17 team.

Stadium Completion Date

Last night on the Jimmy Conrad Show, Robb Heineman spoke candidly about the Wizards stadium complex out in Kansas. There's some good information about the complex and some vague details of the amenities at the stadium as well. During the discussion, Heineman states that they are hopeful to have the stadium open just after the All Star break during the 2011 season. This would likely mean another half a season in CAB for the first portion of the 2011 season. It also means that the Wizards will likely look to have a road heavy schedule early in the season to maximize profit with more late season games played at their new stadium. All this though is still dependent on the approval of the reuse of the STAR Bonds by the State of Kansas. Hopefully Wizards fans will hear something soon on that as well.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Former Wizards Update

Another week with your former Wizards update. The USL season is almost over with the finals coming up this next week. The MLS season as well is starting to get close to the end of the season. We do have a first time appearance for Chris Konopka as he made his debut for Sporting Fingal.

Nick Garcia - Toronto FC - Toronto did not play this week.
Taylor Graham - Seattle Sounders FC - Did not dress for Seattle in their 1-0 win over Columbus.
Will Hesmer - Columbus Crew - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-0 loss to Seattle.
Chris Klein - LA Galaxy - Started and played 67 minutes recording an assist in LA's 1-0 win over Chicago.
Yura Movsisyan - Real Salt Lake - RSL did not have a game this week.
Brandon Prideaux - Chicago Fire - Started and played 90 minutes in Chicago's 1-0 loss to LA.
Carey Talley - Chivas USA - Started and played 90 minutes in Chivas' 2-0 win over DC.
Shavar Thomas - Chivas USA - Dressed but did not play in Chivas' 2-0 win over DC.
Abe Thompson - Houston - Did not dress in Houston's 1-1 draw with KC.
Dave van den Bergh - FC Dallas - Started and played 78 minutes in Dallas' 2-1 win over San Jose Wednesday night.
Sasha Victorine - Chivas USA - On the DL
Tyson Wahl - Seattle Sounders FC - Dressed but did not play in Seattle's 1-0 win over Columbus.

Vicente Arze - Vancouver - Did not dress for either of Vancouver's games againnst Portland that saw the Whitecaps advance to the USL-1 finals.
Ryan Pore - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Portland's 2-1 loss to Vancouver on Thursday. Started and played 90 minutes in Portland's 3-3 draw with Vancouver on Sunday that saw them eliminated from the USL-1 playoffs.

Eloy Colombano - Ferro Carril Sud (Olavarría) - Argentina - Ferrocarril lost 2-0 to Grupo Universitario.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Did not dress in Fulham's 1-0 win over FC Basel. Came off the bench and played 8 minutes in Fulham's 2-2 draw with West Ham.
Chris Konopka - Sporting Fingal FC - Ireland - Started and played 90 minutes in Sporting's 2-2 draw with Monagham United.
Khari Stephenson - Aalesunds FK - Norway - Came off the bench and played 38 minutes in Aalesund's 1-1 draw with Sandefjord.
Antti Sumiala - FC Porin Palloilijat - Finland - Started and played 90 minutes in PoPa's 2-2 draw with FC Hämeenlinna.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Came off the bench and played 45 minutes in Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with Kaiserslautern.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Did not play in Quindío's 3-0 loss to Envigado.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 0-0 draw with Gold Coast United.

Wizards to Play US U-17 Team?

That's what it sounds like if you've been reading Robb Heineman's twitter posts. Almost a day ago, Heineman posted on his twitter account "looking like we will play the usmnt 17s in kc". The US U-17 national team is preparing for the U-17 World Cup which begins for the US on October 26th against Spain in Nigeria. The US will also play Malawi and UAE while in Nigeria. From reading into the post, it sounds like the Wizards are going to have a friendly against the US team as they prepare to go to Nigeria. The two team's played back in January of this year in the Wizards first preseason game, which the Wizards won 7-0.

Was able to ask Robb Heineman about this tonight at the Jimmy Conrad show. He said that apparently the U-17 team had some stuff not work out in their run up to the U17 World Cup and the Wizards appear ready to step up to help the team out. The U-17's would train in KC for a week or so and play probably 2 games in KC. One against the Wizards reserves and one against one of the Wizards Juniors teams.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Current and Former Wizards Honored

One current Wizard and two former Wizards will be honored later this week for their contributions before coming to the Wizards. Jack Jewsbury, Mike Sorber, and Matt McKeon have all been named to St. Louis University's Half-Century Team as the Billikens celebrate 50 years of soccer at the university this year. The 50th anniversary team will be introduced this Saturday while Jewsbury and the Wizards are in LA to take on Chivas USA. While Jewsbury is still playing, both Sorber and McKeon have retired from playing. Sorber is now an assistant for the US Men's National team and will likely be down in Miami training with the US national team as they prepare for the World Cup qualifier against Honduras. As for McKeon, last I knew, he was back in St. Louis coaching for Scott Gallagher SC. Congratulations to Jewsbury, Sorber and McKeon on this honor.

Zoltan for Goal of the Week

Wizards forward, Zoltan Hercegfalvi's equalizer is up for Goal of the Week. Zoltan took a one time shot off of a lofted ball into the box by Claudio Lopez. Zoltan's shot had enough power on it to get past Pat Onstad. Check out the goal below. By the way, I love the call on this goal. De Zoltan!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Of Stats

Here's your stat fix for the week. Lots of land mark appearances this week.

Claudio Lopez made his 50th start for the Wizards in MLS play.

Lopez's assist on Zoltan Hercegfalvi's goal was his 15th for the Wizards in league play, tying him with Chris Henderson for 13th place on that list.

Jimmy Conrad made his 200th start for the Wizards in all competitions.

Josh Wolff made his 200th appearance in league play in his MLS career.

It was Wolff's 116th appearance for the Wizards in league play, breaking a tie with Jose Burciaga for 14th place on that list.

Wolff also broke his tie with Diego Gutierrez for 12th place on the list for most league starts for the Wizards, Wolff now has 109 starts in MLS play for KC.

Kevin Hartman made his 97th start in all competitions for KC, breaking his tie with Chris Brown for 19th place on that list.

Fading Away

It's getting close to just saying "let's prepare for 2010". After today's result down in Houston, the Wizards playoff hopes get even more faint. Up a man for over 70 minutes, the Wizards had to fight back from a goal down to salvage a draw against the Houston Dynamo this afternoon.

KC came out and tried to push the game from the start getting into Houston's end multiple times early on. They were unluck to not have the lead inside the first 15 minutes, as Kei Kamara struck the wood work on a sliding effort after a cross from Claudio Lopez. Houston came right back down the field, and Brad Davis forced a strong save out of Kevin Hartman. Things started to get a little rough in the 16th minute, as Davy Arnaud slid into Dynamo keeper, Pat Onstad after a cross from Josh Wolff. Although replays made it look like Arnaud did not even touch Onstad. Only a minute later, the Dynamo were reduced to 10 men when Cam Weaver came in high and with his cleats up on Santiago Hirsig. Hirsig made a comedic meal out of the tackle, but Weaver received his marching orders, and for the 9th time this season, a Wizards opponent saw red. In those previous 8 encounters, the Wizards were 5-2-1, not bad odds when you need all 3 points.

Unfortunately it was the Dynamo that struck first not long after the red card. In the 26th minute, Luis Angel Landin lost his marker inside the Wizards box and latched onto a Brian Mullan cross at the back post to give the Dynamo the lead.

In the second half, KC started to push the game more, using their man advantage, and looking for the equalizer. Jack Jewsbury got played in 1v1 with Onstad, but Jewsbury tried to dribble around the Dynamo keeper, and instead got run out of bounds. Claudio Lopez was now playing more lofted balls into the box, and one of those chances almost resulted in an own goal as the Houston defender deflected a ball back to Onstad who did reacted well enough to catch the ball. After that, and the subbing out of Kei Kamara, Houston seemed to grab more control of the game and had a few opportunities to make it 2-0, but thankfully for the Wizards, Dominic Oduro was shooting as good as the Wizards were, as he shot high with an open net. It was Kamara's sub, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, who got the equalizer. Once again from a lofted back by Lopez. Zoltan was the first to the ball and he first timed it at Onstad, who could only parry it into his own net to tie the game at one. KC pushed to find the winner, creating half chances and some decent defensive plays by the Dynamo, but KC couldn't find net.

With the draw KC is now well out of the playoff picture. Even though they are only 6 points out of the final playoff spot, with all the teams between them and that spot, it's going to be hard for KC to make up the ground without someone else making up ground as well. On a day when 3 points was the requirement, KC only came away with 1 point.

Wizards Man of the Match - Zoltan Hercegfalvi - I was confused by this sub at first, doing a forward for forward sub down a goal needing a win, but Zoltan was the one that pulled back the equalizer. It was the least he deserves after his play recently, providing a strong spark off the bench.

Player Ratings - Hartman 6, Leathers 4, Conrad 5, Besler 5, Harrington 5, Arnaud 4, Jewsbury 5, Hirsig 5, Lopez 5, Kamara 5, Wolff 4. Subs Zoltan 6, Zusi 4, Myers 5.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Must Win

If the Wizards want to make the playoffs this year, they're likely going to have to win out. Sure they are only 6 points out at the moment, but with so many other teams between them and the 8th playoff spot, KC is going to likely need to grab all 12 available remaining points to get into the post season. That starts tomorrow when the Wizards travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo Sunday afternoon. The good news for the Wizards, is that Houston will be without Brian Ching, who was red carded in Houston's last league game, meaning he'll be sitting out the game on Sunday. With him out, that's one less offensive weapon the Dynamo have. On top of that, they're coming in on the backs of a hard fought loss in the CONCACAF Champion's League to Pachuca.

As for KC, as stated above, the Wizards need to get all 3 points from this game. Since starting their East Coast road trip, the Wizards are 3-1-1 and have been showing some very good form. The question is whether they can take that good form back on the road with them as they travel to Houston. KC will have their top lineup to choose from, but I wouldn't expect any changes from last week's lineup against Colorado.
Leathers - Conrad - Besler - Harrington
Jewsbury - Hirsig
Arnaud - - - - - - Lopez
Kamara - Wolff

Key Match Up - Jack Jewsbury and Santiago Hirsig vs Stuart Holden - With no Ching, Holden is Houston's most dangerous player. Keeping him contained will be the key to this game, and that responsibility will be falling on the central midfield pair of Jewsbury and Hirsig.

PREDICTION - I want to be positive about this game, but I think even without Ching, Houston is just too good at home for the Wizards to be able to pull out the win. Houston is just too strong in my opinion and have too many other weapons. I hope I'm wrong, I hope Kamara goes on a tear to stick it to Dominic Kinnear for trading him, but I just don't think the Wizards get the full points from this one.

KC - 1 (Kamara)
HOU - 3 (Holden x2, Weaver)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Playoff Chances

With 4 weeks left in the season, the Wizards find themselves in 13th place in the overall table, 6 points behind 8th place New England for the final playoff spot. Between KC and New England are DC, Toronto, Salt Lake, and Dallas. Those 4 teams have all played 27 games, while KC and NE have played 26.

Over at Bigsoccer, user Knave has been doing a great breakdown after each game week of how things in the league look. This weekend, there are three games that can affect the Wizards chances along with the Wizards game against Houston. Of course the big thing that needs to happen, is that the Wizards need to find a way to win in Houston on Sunday. This weekend, the Chivas (38) at DC (36), Seattle (38) at Columbus, and New England (37) at Colorado (39). The middle of the table is so close, that Colorado, 8 points ahead of KC are still surprisingly within reach of the Wizards. As for who the Wizards want to win this weekend. They will wantn DC to lose to Chivas, Columbus to defeat Seattle, and they likely want a draw from the New England-Colorado game.

Those results would put the Wizards on 34 points, still 4 points out of the playoffs, but still with a shot to get in. That is of course, an ideal situation. DC is probably the favorite in their game. A result by DC would still leave KC 4 points out of the playoffs, but needing to look at their goal difference as well. In the end, this week all the Wizards can worry about is their own game against Houston. Win and you are still alive and fighting for a spot. Lose and the light gets very very dim.

Contact the State of Kansas

The Wizards are still working with the state of Kansas to get the approval of the state government to get the STAR Bond extension approved. Robb Heineman has been spending plenty of time lately in Topeka talking up the project to the state government. The team is now looking for fans to contact the state of Kansas and their legislators to talk up the development. Below is contact information from a post on Bigsoccer for Governor Mark Parkinson, Secretary David Kerr, and Secretary Joan Wagnon.

Gov Parkinson

Sec David D Kerr
There is a directory but I do not see David Kerr listed but I believe it is

Sec Joan Wagnon

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Conrad Named to US Roster

Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad has been called back up to the US Men's National team for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica. The US play in Honduras on the 10th of October and then on the 14th in DC against Costa Rica. With the call up, Conrad appears set to miss the league match against Chivas USA.

Congrats to Conrad on the call up, I'm happy for him, but I'm not incredibly happy about it. If KC some how win in Houston this weekend, they'll still have some playoff hopes alive. A win would mean KC would be likely needing another win when they take on Chivas on the 10th in LA. Doing so without Conrad will be tough, as the Wizards run while Conrad was at the Gold Cup showed.