Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wizards on KCWE this Season

Just announced on KMBC tonight, the Wizards will have every one of their games this season over on KMBC's sister station, KCWE. All the games will be shown in high definition as well. This is a great move for the Wizards in the long run in my opinion, while Metrosports has been a good location for Wizards games the past few years, it didn't get the games to the entire metro area of KC. This move to KCWE allows the Wizards to reach a much bigger audience than it has in previous years. The Wizards have obviously listened to their fans earlier this offseason when Robb Heineman and the team asked for some feedback from their fans. One of the topics that was popular in the comments section was the Wizards television contract. Once again, I really like this move by the team, it allows more people the chance to see the team play.

Two More Trialists

Two more trialists have joined the Wizards for preseason down in Arizona according to Thad at The Back Post. The two are more international players brought in to compete for spots. The first of those two new trialists is Craig Rocastle, the cousin of the more famous David Rocastle. Rocastle has spent most of his career bouncing around different teams in the English league system. Most recently he has been with Forest Green Rovers of the Conference National division. The biggest club he's been with was Chelsea, although he never actually played a game for the club, instead was just on the books and was loaned out to multiple other teams.

The second new trailist comes from the other side of the world, India. Sunil Chhetri, is an Indian international player, currently playing for Dempo SC in the I-League in India. Chhetri is a forward who has been fairly successful throughout the I-League, scoring 43 goals in 93 games. He's also scored 16 times in 35 caps for the Indian national team. Before the currently European season, Chhetri was linked with a move to Celtic, and was almost signed by QPR, but was unable to get a work permit. There were also rumors last year that Chhetri was on his way to MLS. We'll see if anything comes from either of these trials.

Also, for those that missed the tweet, today's preseason game against the LA Galaxy was canceled due to rain.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Roster Deadline Looms

Not exactly a really worrisome deadline, but Monday, March 1st, all MLS teams are supposed to have their roster narrowed down to the 24 player limit. That doesn't mean that there won't be any other players coming in, or staying in camp, but it means that the Wizards will have to make sure all they only have 24 players under contract. By my count the Wizards have 23-24 players currently under contract, depending on whether or not Korede Aiyegbusi is officially signed at this point or not.

First, the team can have 4 developmental roster players on the team. Generation Adidas players fall under the developmental category. That means that the Wizards have 3 of those developmental slots filled already by the team's 3 GA players, Teal Bunbury, Roger Espinoza, and Chance Myers. That means the team has 1 developmental slot left. Last year, Matt Marquess and Boris Pardo were the team's two other developmental players. Pardo, who is likely still under contract, could be kept for the time being as the 4th developmental, but once the season starts, I don't expect him to be on the roster.

That leaves the Wizards 18-20 senior roster slots for this season. Let's break those spots down by position.

Goalkeeper: Eric Kronberg and Jimmy Nielsen. Both these players are currently under contract and will likely be there come opening day.

Defender: Matt Besler, Jimmy Conrad, Pablo Escobar, Michael Harrington, Aaron Hohlbein, Jonathan Leathers, Lance Watson. I think both Leathers and Watson are two players on the bubble at this point, they both are potential right backs and at this point, Myers appears to be the favorite for that spot, and with Jack Jewsbury being able to play that position, one or both of those two could be making way for other senior roster players.

Midfielder: Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Igor Kostrov, Graham Zusi. The midfield seems to be a position the Wizads continue to bring in plenty of trialists this preseason. All 6 of these players seem likely to make the roster this year though.

Forward: Kei Kamara, Michael Kraus, Josh Wolff, Zoltan Hercegfalvi. The Wizards seem to be set here, although I'd be a little worried if I was Kraus, as he could be one of the odd men out of the senior roster players. The other 3 I would expect to be safe for this season.

With those 19 out of the way, it's time to look at the players still in camp that are not under contract (or are but not officially in the case of Aiyegbusi). Come Monday I still expect most, if not all, of those trialists to still be in camp. You have goalkeeper, Louis Crayton, who according to Peter Vermes in the Star is the "favorite" of those goalkeepers currently in camp to win the starting spot. With Nielsen under contract I don't expect Crayton to be on the 24 man roster come Monday, but he could still be in camp.

The team's other Moldovan trialist, Alexei Casian is still with the team, and is a midfielder or froward that could still have a shot. Birahim Diop, who has been spending a lot of time this preseason playing with the "first team" in games is likely to stick around as well. Of the remaining trialists, the newest is Iranian, Shahriar Dastan, who is a central defender, but appeared to play in the midfield on Friday against LA. Mauro Fuzetti is the Wizards lone unsigned draft pick still in camp (if Aiyegbusi is in fact signed). Finally, Ryan Smith, the former Arsenal youth player, appears to be the most likely trialist to be earning a contract. Will that be announced before Monday's deadline? I doubt it, but if we do in fact sign Smith, we'll be seeing at least one more senior roster player leaving (or one drop to a developmental salary and see Pardo dropped).

Either way, the Wizards shouldn't be very active come Monday's roster deadline.

Kostrov Official

The rumors that the Wizards had signed Moldovan midfielder Igor Kostrov have been around for almost two weeks now. Today, the Star has word that Kostrov has officially signed a four year contract with the team. Kostrov has been with the Wizards since the beginning of preseason. He's sat out the last two preseason games with minor knocks, but is likely to compete for time anywhere in the midfield.

The Star article also talks about new goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen, who is set to arrive on Tuesday. Peter Vermes says that Nielsen is still only competing for the starting job and won't be just given it when he arrives. He also says that trialist, Louis Crayton, is leading the charge to become the starter at this point. Also on the topic of Nielsen, Vermes says that they have spent less on Nielsen than the team would have on Kevin Hartman this season. That would mean that either the reports out of Denmark that he was going to be making $235K a season are false, or that Hartman was wanting more than that, which I doubt.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wizards Lose to Galaxy

In a 60 minute game today in Arizona, the Wizards lost 1-0 to the LA Galaxy on the back of a Gregg Berhalter penalty kick after Eric Kronberg brought down Edson Buddle in the box. In the first 30 minute session, the Wizards fielded basically the same lineup as the first game against Chivas, with Kronberg being the only new face to the team, replacing Louis Crayton.

In the second half the Wizards fielded more of a reserve team, with more fringe players. There were a few people that didn't appear in today's game besides the aforementioned Crayton. Teal Bunbury and Igor Kostrov did not play again. They were joined by Korede Aiyegbusi, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, and Graham Zusi who all didn't appear today either. The Wizards will be back in action on Sunday when they take on the Galaxy again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

No Strike...... Yet

There was no new extension to the CBA negotiations between MLS and the Players' Union today as the dead line is at midnight tonight. Still, without a deal being reached, there will be no strike, at least not yet. The League has already stated that they wouldn't be locking the players out, but they restated that again today saying; "We have told the union that the league does not plan to lock out the players and we are prepared to begin the season under the current CBA while we continue to bargain to reach agreement on a new CBA."

The Players' Union has responded to the lack of a new deal as well saying; "We have advised our players to keep working for the time being, but as of Friday they will be doing so without a CBA." In the same statement the MLSPU says that they are still working to make changes to the way MLS does things.

I still don't know how much change the MLSPU will get, the owners seem dead set against giving into the union's biggest demand, free agency. Former Wizards goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman has become one of the poster boys for this with the Wizards moving on from him, but still holding his rights since they offered him a contract. Although some of the players quotes are a little out there. For instance, Chris Klein's quote that Hartman is "out of options," which simply isn't true. Unlike the NFL, MLB, or other leagues, there are plenty of other leagues players can go to to play, including ones in the US. Hartman could pull a Steve Ralston and play in the USSF division 2, Hartman could likely get a similar contract as Ralston did.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Former Wizards Update

Back with another update on former Wizards, 3 new players join the list of former Wizards as Claudio Lopez, Kurt Morsink, and Kevin Souter have all left the Wizards and that's reflected on the player registry. We're getting closer to when we should see MLS players returning to action but with the current CBA discussions, that may not happen. But for now, here is this week's former Wizards update.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Loss to Revolucion Tijuana 9-6
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Played in Baltimore's 12-8 win over Monterrey Friday. Had an assist in Baltimore's 9-0 win over Rockford Sunday.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Did not play this week.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Loss to Revolucion Tijuana 9-6

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 63 minutes in Ferrocarril's 3-0 win over Liniers .
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Started and played 73 minutes, scoring a goal in Puebla's 3-2 loss to Guadalajara.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Lost to August Town 2-1 on Sunday.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Are on winter break until the end of February.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Started and played 90 minutes in Aris' 1-0 loss to AEK Athens.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Started and played 67 minutes in Aldosivi's 4-0 loss to Athletico Rafaela.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Has not played in either of Mughan's 2 0-0 draws in the past week.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 2-1 win over Karlsruhe.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not play in Wellington's 1-1 (4-2) PK shoot out win over the Perth Glory in the first week of the semifinals in the Australian playoffs.

Wizards Return to Preseason with Two Draws

The Wizards returned to preseason play out in Arizona today with 2-60 minute games against Chivas USA. The first team was made up more of the Wizards likely first team as the Wizards fielded; Louis Crayton, Chance Myers, Pablo Escobar, Jimmy Conrad, Roger Espinoza, Birahim Diop, Stephane Auvray, Davy Arnaud, Ryan Smith, Josh Wolff, Kei Kamara. The Wizards fell behind on a goal by Mariano Trujillo late in the first half of the first game. At half time, Escobar made way for Iranian trialist Shahriar Dastan. KC found the equalizer half way through the second half, as Smith appeared to be the catalist, as he intercepted a pass, fed Kamara, who in turn fed Wolff who finished to tie the game at one. Based on the tweets by Robb Heineman during the game, Smith and Espinoza both has solid games in their 60 minute shifts.

In the second game, the team KC put out featured a lot more Wizards from last year, with Boris Pardo, Jonathan Leathers, Aaron Hohlbein, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington, Santiago Hirsig, Graham Zusi, Korede Aiyegbusi, Alexei Casian, Michael Kraus, and Zoltan Hercegfalvi. Eric Kronberg and Lance Watson made their first appearances of the preseason coming on for Pardo and Aiyegbusi at half time as well as Mauro Fuzetti coming on for Hirsig. Both team had chances in the second game, but neither one was able to find net as the second game ended 0-0 between the two teams.

Not appearing for KC today in the game were goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen, who has yet to join the team in preseason, first round pick Teal Bunbury, and rumored Moldovan signing Igor Kostrov. KC will play again on Friday against the other LA team, the Galaxy.

Goodbye to 4 Wizards

Kevin Hartman, Claudio Lopez, Kurt Morsink, and Kevin Souter all aren't going to be back for KC this season. I haven't done my regular stat tribute to Hartman so I'm combining his with Lopez, Morsink, and Souter.

While in KC, Hartman set 3 league records for saves in a career (1235), consecutive games played (112), and consecutive minutes (10,080). Those last two streaks appear like they will end this season as Hartman is currently without a club. While in KC, Hartman appeared in every single league game possible starting all 90 of them. Overall in the 104 competitive games the Wizards have played in the last 3 seasons, Hartman's appeared in all but 4 of them. He joined the 100 starts and appearances list for all competitions for the Wizards this season in his final game. He played in 9,030 minutes in all competitions and 8,100 in league play. He finished his KC career with 21 shut outs in league play, one behind Bo Oshoniyi for second place on the Wizards list. He had 24 in all competitions, again finishing in 3rd place behind Oshoniyi (27). In terms of wins in league play, Hartman finishes in 4th behind Mike Ammann with 31 league wins. He's in the same position in all competitions with 32 wins.

In his 2 seasons with the Wizards, Claudio Lopez appeared in 57 league games, 53 of them being starts. In other competitions he appeared in 9 more games, 6 of them being starts. In the league, Lopez finished with 4,766 minutes played and 5,395 in all competitions. Lopez scored 13 goals in league play, putting him in a four way tie for 12th place on the list for the Wizards with Matt McKeon, Jose Burciaga, and Sasha Victorine. Lopez added to more goals outside of league play (1 Open Cup, 1 SuperLiga), that was good enough for Lopez to finish in a tie for 16th place on that list with Burciaga and Victorine. Lopez's 15 league assists tied him with Chris Henderson for 13th place on that list for the Wizards. Two more assists outside of league play put Lopez in 14th place on the Wizards all time list by himself.

Morsink appeared in 47 games for the Wizards over his 3 years with the club, the majority of his time coming in his two seasons. He started 25 league games for the Wizards, he added another 5 starts in all competitions and finished having played 55 games for the club in all competitions. He finished with 2,264 league minutes and 2,859 in all competitions. He only had three assists in his career, two coming in the 2008 season in a game against Columbus and one against New York.

Souter, one of the Wizards two original open tryout winners finished his Wizards career with 8 league appearances, 5 of them being starts. Most of those appearances came during the Wizards late 2008 playoff push. Souter had two more appearances for the Wizards in the 08 playoffs giving him 10 appearances for the Wizards. He finished with 478 league minutes and 657 in all competitions for KC. He scored his only goal with KC in the team's 2-0 win over Toronto during the 2008 season. Much of his 2 years in KC was spent with one injury or another.

Good luck to all 4 of these guys in their continued soccer career wherever that is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gil to Salt Lake

Luis' Gil in Kansas City was not long at all. Today the Wizards announced that they had traded Gil to Real Salt Lake in exchange for a second round draft pick, an international slot, and a portion of any future transfer fee. According to Robb Heineman via twitter today, he was unable to speak with Gil and attempt to convince him to come to KC, so the team worked out a deal with Salt Lake. And in my opinion, KC got a pretty good deal out of the trade.

KC gets an international slot that the team most definitely needs with the number of internationals the team has in camp. This gives the team 10 international slots, of which they seem likely to fill most, if not all of them. Currently the team has five internationals (Stephane Auvray, Pablo Escobar, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Santiago Hirsig, and Jimmy Nielsen), and with Igor Kostrov being offered a contract he seems likely to be number six. Add in second round draft pick, Korede Aiyegbusi who I believe will count as an international, and Ryan Smith, and we're up to eight internationals. The second round pick is the lower of Salt Lake's two second round picks, and a nice little bit thrown into the deal.

My favorite part personally of this deal is the team getting a portion of Gil's future transfer fee. The Wizards are saying it is 25% of a future transfer fee. Based on my understanding of MLS' rules regarding transfers, it likely means that KC will get 25% of the two thirds that Real Salt Lake gets for a player transfer. Basically what that means if I have my math right is that the Wizards will get about a sixth of the total transfer fee that RSL will get for Gil. This is a smart deal in my opinion, if Gil develops like people think and hope it could be a nice portion that the Wizards could end up getting.

Overall while I got my hopes up a little bit yesterday when Heineman talked about keeping Gil in KC, I figured that we would end up trading him. I'd worried that KC would get a raw deal in a trade, but I'm happy with this move, I like what we've gotten out of this deal.

Lopez Will Not be Back

The Kansas City Wizards have announced today what most of us have known for a while, and that's Claudio Lopez will NOT be back in KC this season. Like Kevin Hartman, the Wizards have decided not to re-sign the former designated player after spending two years with KC. Lopez will be leaving KC with a total of 13 goals and 15 assists in MLS play.

As I said, I think most people saw this coming. Lopez hadn't been with the team at all for preseason so far, and there had been no real talk about him coming back. He'll be missed for his leadership and for his free kicks, but I think more people won't really miss him and will be glad to see the Wizards getting younger in the left wing position. It gives Roger Espinoza and trialist Ryan Smith a chance to make the left wing position theirs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Roster Movement for KC

Along with the acquisition of Luis Gil today, KC has made more roster moves. Two trialists are gone from camp, and two rostered players are also gone as there are less and less players from the 2009 Wizards. First, Kurt Morsink and Kevin Souter are gone from the Wizards. Neither one is much of a surprise as both appeared to be on their way out as KC brought in more players, specifically Souter who takes up an international spot that the Wizards appear to be using fully this season.

Most Wizards fans won't shed a tear for Morsink as many people were not fans of him as a player. Especially after his rookie year when Curt Onalfo started more than many people thought he should have. In his second year, Morsink had some brighter moments, including a 2 assist game against Columbus that led to him winning the Down the Byline player of the month in July. But this past season, Morsink didn't get much playing time at all starting only 2 games, playing in a total of 5 games.

Souter on the other hand seemed to have quite a few more fans. I think it was because of the underdog factor that came along with making the team through the open tryouts. He became a consistent contributor on the field late in the 2008 season. Souter, like Morsink, didn't play much in the 2009 season, missing most of it due to one injury or another. Both are likely to catch on with another team somewhere. Souter could easily make it in the NASL/USL or go back to Scotland. The same for Morsink, just replace Scotland with Costa Rica.

As for the trialists that are no longer in camp, they are Nelson Pizarro and Alex Horwath. Pizarro, another open tryout participant had come back to the Wizards this year and had been impressive at times from what I'd heard, but had not done enough to earn a roster spot. Horwath had trained with the Wizards last year as a member of the Brass. Horwath was likely competing for the back up goalkeeper position, but with the re-signing of Eric Kronberg it seemed unlikely Horwath would be kept much longer.

While four players are out of camp, a new player has been brought in. Added to the Wizards preseason roster was Iranian defender Shahriar Dastan. There isn't much out there on him, although his name appears in this break down for the 2001-2002 Iranian season playing for Peykan Tehran. He's another defender, giving KC 5 players that can play central defense in camp. He's the only new player currently added to the team's preseason roster as they return to Arizona for the second leg of their preseason.

Wizards to Play AC St. Louis April 3rd

Over the weekend, I posted an updated schedule of preseason games the Wizards would be playing and speculating that the Wizards would play AC St. Louis on the April 3rd date that had TBA listed on it. According to a poster on Bigsoccer today, AC St. Louis sent out an email to fans confirming my thought saying the Wizards will be in St. Louis April 3rd. Although the particulars have not been announced yet, I've heard rumors that the game will be an afternoon game, making it a fantastic day trip road trip for KC fans to make and enjoy their team take on the team from across the state. This is a chance for those people that whine about the 8 hour road trips to go and see their team with a short road trip.

Wizards Win Gil Lottery

Earlier today the Wizards won the allocation lottery for US U-17 player, Luis Gil. The rumor heading into the lottery was that whoever won the lottery was likely going to be sending the player to either Seattle or Salt Lake. Well the Wizards aren't quite ready to give up on the possibility of getting Gil, as Robb Heineman posted today he wants to speak with Gil and his family and try and convince Gil to stay in KC. The team is hoping to convince him with the organization, the team's training facility at Swope and the new stadium that is coming. Even though Gil hadn't mentioned the Wizards as one of the teams he wanted to go to, I like the fact that the team is trying to convince Gil to stay. Whether he succeeds or not will decide what happens with Gil.

If the Wizards can't convince him to come to KC, it becomes an issue of what KC can get out of RSL, Seattle, or any other team looking to get Gil. The question is what KC can get from another team? Gil was expected to be a first round pick in this year's MLS draft, so hoping to get something similar isn't beyond the realm of possibility. With Seattle and Salt Lake being mentioned as the two locations, it seems likely that they want him to be there, so the thought that they can extort the Wizards (or vice versa) is misplaced. If the Wizards ask too much or other teams offer too little, we could have a situation similar to the Brian McBride situation where the Wizards hold onto the player until the league steps in to help make a deal happen. Some thoughts are that the Wizards could trade with Salt Lake and get former US U-20 international, Sheanon Williams who has been without a club since leaving UNC last fall.

Me, I'm still thinking the Wizards would be happy with an international roster spot and some allocation money. With the number of internationals inn camp, on the team, or potentially joining, KC is likely going to need another international spot. Can KC get that out of Seattle or Salt Lake? That I'm not sure of.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

I've been ignoring the big gigantic elephant in the room regarding the MLS collective bargaining agreement for a little while now, hoping that if I ignored it it'd work itself out and go away. But it hasn't gone away, and it's time for me to pull my head out of the sand and realize this is a very big issue. The twice extended labor talks between the league and the MLS Players' Union are coming close to their deadline of February 25th and it appears the two sides are still far apart on one key point, free agency. Apparently the latest set of talks have broken down as neither side wants to budge on the issue. The owners are dead set against allowing it, while the players don't appear willing to settle without it. The Wizards player union rep, Jimmy Conrad is quoted at length in an ESPN piece about the issue saying that unless things change, a work stoppage appears inevitable.

Each side is now trying to win the battle in the media it would appear, as in response to the players' comments, the league has come back with counter claims to what the union says is going on in the meetings. There are a lot of quotes from MLS President Mark Abbott about the negotiations in that article and what they are trying to do. Based on what the league is saying, it appears that if there is a work stoppage, it will be from a players' strike, not a lock out. That's based on the news that the league is willing to start the season under the rules of the expired CBA (which the league can do based on the rules of the current CBA that state the terms remain in effect from year to year unless the other side is notified in writing 60 days prior to the expiration or renewal of the agreement. (page 9)). What that means for the players, is that they'll have to be the ones that walk out, and in doing so they will likely keep themselves from being able to play in other leagues as they'd still be under contract to MLS.

That could really hurt players like Jimmy Conrad, Roger Espinoza, Chad Marshall, Robbie Findley, and multiple other players who have hopes of making their countries World Cup team for this summer's tournament in South Africa. A work stoppage could kill any of the players' chances of making the cup, and certainly something that weights on some of those players' minds.

Right now it would appear that the league is the one holding the better cards after the statement that they're willing to work under the old CBA, but the union has come back again with another response to the league's statements. With more of this out in the media now, this looks like it could start to get really ugly as each side tries to win the media war. From what I've read by fans, there seems to be a fairly even split on which side people support, but all definitely don't want a work stoppage. The next 4 days will be very interesting.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Games for the Wizards

In the past I've looked at this website to find preseason games the Wizards are playing, I was checking the website today and noticed there are more games than we had known about. Here is a list of the new games added to the schedule. All the opponents are TBA at this point.

3/11 (Thursday) 7pm at Community America Ballpark
3/16 (Tuesday) 7pm at Community America Ballpark
3/20 (Saturday) 2pm at Swope
3/24 (Wednesday) 10am at Community America Ballpark
3/31 (Wednesday) 10 am at Swope
4/3 (Saturday) 7pm TBD
4/7 (Wednesday) 10 am at Swope
4/14 (Wednesday) 10 am at Swope
4/21 (Wednesday) 10 am at Swope
4/28 (Wednesday) 10 am at Swope

The rumors of the home and home with AC St. Louis are still around, some people are saying the Wizards home leg would be March 20th, some are saying it'll be April 3rd. If this information is correct, it'd appear that March 20th would be the home game while April 3rd would be the Wizards away game in the series. Although the two evening games during the week at CAB could be the home leg as well. The majority of the rest of the games are likely Swope Park Rangers games, especially the ones at 10 am on Wednesday, one of those is likely a game against Baker.

This site isn't always 100% accurate so don't take it as the word of god, but something to think about and look into, especially if you're wanting to go to St. Louis for the home-home series.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mr. Ficklin, the Doubt is Gone

Since the announcement that the Wizards were going to build their stadium out at the Legends I've personally still held a bit of skepticism about the move. I haven't hid my feelings that I'll still have my doubts until I start seeing concrete poured and the stadium go up. I've even had the Wizards front office give me trouble about it, including the Wizards Vice President of Development, who jokingly asked me on the day of the ground breaking whether this was enough for me. At the time I responded back the same way I have for a while, that I'll feel good about it once concrete has been poured. I felt I had a right to be nervous about the development, I mean I'd seen the Wizards already tear down Bannister Mall expecting the stadium to go there, so who should seeing some dirt move at another site impress me that much?

Today according to Thad at The Back Post, we find out that concrete has been poured. With this news comes the title of the post tonight. I can officially say my doubt is basically gone, and that we will be seeing the stadium actually built out at the Legends site.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wizards After Ghanaian Midfielder

That's the word out of Holland today. The Wizards are apparently after Ghanaian midfielder, Anthony Obodai. From what I've been able to find, Obodai is a defensive midfielder. Obodai has been playing his entire professional career in Holland after starting his career in his native Ghana. He's appeared for the full Ghanaian national team as well as their youth teams. From what I've been able to find, it would be a 4-5 month loan until Obodai's contract is up, at which time the Wizards could get him on free transfer. Other websites I've found though are also linking him to a move to Romania and a former coach who is coaching there now. Peter Vermes continues to bring in plenty of players attempting to stir things up and see who will fit in.

It's been pointed out that according to Obodai's Facebook, the move to KC is on.

Nielsen's Salary Leaked?

Since the signing of Jimmy Nielsen, people have been wondering what the Danish keeper would be making this season. Some rumors had been that he was making under what Kevin Hartman made last year. If word out of Denmark today is true, then not only is he not making less than what Hartman makes, but he's making quite a bit more. If that article is correct, Nielsen is making 1.3 million in Danish dollars, which converts to about $235K, $70K more than what Hartman made last year. If true, and I stress the if part because I still have my doubts over that amount, I really don't like this move. Only 1 keeper in the entire league makes over $200K, and that's Kasey Keller, who has experience not just in his home country, but in every league he's played in, which is more than people can say for Nielsen. Every other keeper in this league, guys with tons of experience like Matt Reis, Joe Cannon, and Pat Onstad are all making less than $200K. There aren't many keepers that would come to KC that I can see giving more than $200K to, and Nielsen isn't one of those keepers. If this turns out to be true I'm even more disappointed in this move.

Help Bring FSCHD and Fox Soccer Plus to KC

Time Warner Cable has asked the Wizards to help them to help poll soccer supporters to gauge interest in the FSCHD and Fox Soccer Plus. Go here and fill out the survey provided by the Wizards and show your interest in bringing the two new soccer channels to Time Warner KC.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Former Wizards Update

Time for another former Wizards update. I've found a new site to help me track Eloy Colombano, so hopefully now I'll be able to better track his minutes. In other former Wizards news, Kevin Hartman has been recalled to the national team to replace the injured Zach Thornton, and is apparently being shopped around the league by his agent. In other goalkeeping news, Neal Kitson, who the Wizards draft last season, has signed with the Rochester Rhinos of the USSF Division 2.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Lost to california 7-6 Saturday.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Played in Baltimore's 25-10 loss to Monterrey.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Beat San Diego 7-6 Saturday.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Lost to Californina 7-6 Saturday.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 90 minutes for Ferro in their 0-0 draw with Grupo Universitario.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 33 minutes in Puebla's 5-3 loss to Pachuca. Came off the bench and played 27 minutes scoring a goal in Puebla's 1-0 win over San Luis.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Scored a goal in Harbour View's 3-1 win over Waterhouse FC.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Are on winter break until the end of February.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Started and played 61 minutes getting an assist in Aris' 2-1 win over Ergotelis. Came off the bench and played 14 minutes in Aris' 3-0 cup win over Skoda Xanthi.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Started and played 71 minutes in Aldosivi's 1-0 loss to Quilmes.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Did not play in Mughan's 0-0 draw with Qäbälä.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 0-0 draw with St Pauli.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not play in Wellingtonn's 3-0 win over Central Coast.

Interview with Vermes

Today Thad from The Back Post has an interview with Peter Vermes that he's posted over on his blog. Vermes talks about the next phase of preseason, as he calls it, the "team phase", likely working to get all the new players integrated even more into the team and playing as one team. Thad brings up all the trialists that the team has had in camp and Vermes says that some of them have impressed some have not, some have signed, some they're still wanting to look at.

They talk about the team's newer signings, first, second round draft pick, Korede Aiyegubsi, who Vermes likens to Corey Ashe of Houston. Ashe is a hard working player who at times looks extremely impressive for the Dynamo.

He talks about trialists Igor Kostrov and Ryan Smith saying they are interested in both. He says that Kostrov can play on both flanks and is very attacking minded. Smith they are very impressed by and interested in.

Vermes also mentions the Eric Kronberg re-signing, and he'll be competing with the other keepers in camp.

Finally, Thad gets Vermes to speak a little about the collective bargaining agreement and how it affects their work on signing players. Vermes says that it's definitely been difficult but the team has tried to stay within a certain budget, but that it's hard with things still in the air as they are. It's another good interview with good information in it.

Even More Roster Updates

Thad over at The Back Post has provided even more roster updates on the Wizards. First he says that Igor Kostrov has not signed a contract yet, he says that Kostrov has been offered a contract, but at this point has not signed it yet although it is expected he will sign it.

The other news is that Wizards back up goalkeeper the past few seasons, Eric Kronberg has re-signed with the Wizards and is now participating in camp. Kronberg missed all of the 09 season spending it on injured reserve after having offseason shoulder surgery after the 08 season. Kronberg now becomes the favorite to be the teams back up keeper and push Jimmy Nielsen for the starting spot. During the 08 season, Kronberg was impressive at times filling in for Kevin Hartman during the Wizards Open Cup run that year. The highlight being a very strong performance in the Wizards penalty kick loss to Seattle in the quarterfinals. I'm excited to have Kronberg back, I hope he's coming in ready and can push Nielsen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Player Signing Rumors

The Wizards have continued to remake their roster this year and it appears that the Wizards have signed two new players. First, Ives Galarcep is reporting that the Wizards have signed another trialist, this time it's one of the Wizards two Moldovan trialists, Igor Kostrov, a 22 year old midfielder/forward who has been playing in Israel for Maccabi Herzliya, he scored 2 goals this season.

The other signing is being reported by Thad over at The Back Post, who's reporting that the Wizards have signed second round draft pick, Korede Aiyegbusi, who played at NC State last year. Aiyegbusi was late to preseason camp but has apparently impressed in his time there so far. I believe that both Kostrov and Aiyegbusi will both be taking up international roster spots. With those two, it gives the Wizards 8 internationals on their roster as the team already has Stephane Auvray, Pablo Escobar, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Santiago Hirsig, Jimmy Nielsen, and Kevin Souter. That should leave the Wizards with 1 international spot left.

Update to Stadium Post Today

After making my post this morning about the downsize in the Wizards new stadium to 16,500, I was informed that all the information in the report was not correct. I was informed by a source that capacity for soccer will still be +/-18,000 and there will be able to expand temporarily by a couple thousand for big matches there. I've also been told that the design will allow for permanent expansion of 7,000 seats. As for where the 16,500 in the report came from, I'm told that the number in the report did not include things like suites and other premium seats in the numbers. So there's a better of idea what's going on with the stadium and the difference from the report earlier today.

In other stadium news, the first piers at the stadium site were drilled out in Wyandotte County. Definitely a good step, one step further than we saw out at the Bannister site where we just saw demolition of the old mall. I'm still not ready to jump for joy until concrete starts getting poured for the actual part of the stadium, but this is a very big step.

Transfer Fee Paid for Nielsen

That's the report from Soccer America in an article about Kevin Hartman being left in limbo. According to the article, the Wizards paid a small transfer fee for Jimmy Nielsen to bring him to KC. The article also says that Nielsen will make slightly less than Hartman did last season ($165K). The fact that we paid a transfer fee for a goalkeeper that will take up an international spot continues to bug me. Maybe Nielsen will impress me, but right now I'm fairly disappointed in the fact that not only is he taking up an international roster spot, but now the new information that we actually spent a transfer fee to bring him here. In a league like MLS where teams (read the league) rarely, if ever, pay a transfer fee on a player it's extremely odd that the Wizards did it to bring in a goalkeeper.

Stadium Information (Capacity Down)

Thanks to a poster on Bigsoccer, we have more information on the Wizards stadium site out at the Legends. The Unified Government held a public hearing on the stadium plan and have released some new information about the site. In the first document you get to see some side views of what the stadium will look like and just how dramatic the raise in the roof will be on one side of the stadium. The one really interesting thing from the first link is that it says the stadium will now only hold 16,500. I hope that's a misprint or doesn't include the Cauldron or something, because 16,500 is a drop of 1,500 from what Robb Heineman told Wizards fans and what's been in the media since this plan became official. It's disappointing if this new capacity is true, as the capacity of the Wizards stadium has gone from about 20,000 when the first site was considered to 19,000, to 18,500, to 18,000 and now 16,500. The capacity keeps dropping, but with the way things continually change in this process, the capacity could change 4 to 5 more times before the stadium is actually built. A second document contains more blue prints of the site and even has another rendering of the stadium from a different angle than the ones that we've gotten to see so far, that rendering is on the last page.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nielsen Official and Other Roster Moves

It appears that Casino Jimmy Nielsen has passed his medical with the Wizards, as the team officially announced the signing today of the Danish goalkeeper. I still have my problems with this move, as I've stated here, on Bigsoccer, and on the podcast I'm not a fan of using an international roster spot on a goalkeeper. There are plenty of capable goalkeepers in MLS that are probably as capable as Nielsen, but at this point, what's done is done and we'll see how Nielsen does here in KC. We'll see how the Dane adjusts to the MLS game.

The Wizards also announced today that they had released 5 more players from the team's preseason roster. Four of the five players were trialists (Rich Costanzo, Chris Gbandi, Patrick Hannigan, and Ian Walker) with the fifth player being 3rd round draft pick, Nick Cardenas. Cardenas is probably the biggest of the surprises, from what I'd heard he'd been fairly impressive at times during camp, and with the waiving of Rauwshan McKenzie, you thought he might make the roster. Unfortunately there were still too many center backs on the roster with Jimmy Conrad, Matt Besler, Aaron Hohlbein, and Pablo Escobar all trying to get time this season.

As for the trialists, Costanzo and Gbandi while trying to earn a spot likely found themselves in the same boat as Cardenas, where it was just a numbers game in defense. Hannigan was fighting for the back up keeper roster spot it would have seemed. Walker was competing for the starting spot and with the signing of Nielsen the fight for the number 1 shirt pushed Walker out of the picture.

Capped Wizards Players

I've been trying to do some research on Wizards players that have been capped for their respective national teams. I think I've got the list of Wizards players all time that have been capped for their national teams. Not surprisingly, the top capped player is an American in Tony Meola. The highest capped non-American for the Wizards was Onandi Lowe of Jamaica and his 65 caps. Lowe also has the most international goals of a Wizards player, with 27 followed by Alex Bunbury. The highest American is a tie between Frank Klopas and Eddie Johnson with 12. Here is the list of most capped players divided by country and the number of goals they've scored for their national team.

Tony Meola - 100
Alexi Lalas - 96 - 9
Chris Henderson - 79 - 3
Mike Burns - 75
Peter Vermes - 67 - 11
Mike Sorber - 67 - 2
Josh Wolff - 52 - 9
Brian Bliss - 44 - 2
Eddie Johnson - 41 - 12
Frank Klopas - 40 - 12
Roy Lassister - 30 - 4
Eric Eichman - 29 - 4
Preki - 28 - 4
Jimmy Conrad - 28 - 1
Mark Chung - 24 - 2
Chris Klein - 22 - 5
Kerry Zavagnin - 21
Mark Santel - 8 - 1
Herculez Gomez - 7 - 2
Davy Arnaud - 7 - 1
John Diffley - 7
John DeBrito - 6
Nick Garcia - 6
Yari Allnut - 5 - 2
Kevin Hartman - 5
Sasha Victorine - 4 - 1
Steve Pittman - 3
Matt McKeon - 2
Alan Prampin - 2
Ken Snow - 2
Diego Gutierrez - 1
Curt Onalfo - 1

Claudio Lopez - 58 - 10

Samuel Ekeme - 32

Alex Bunbury - 64 - 16
Pat Harrington - 1

Miklos Molnar - 18 - 2

Antti Sumiala - 36 - 9

Stephane Auvray - 14 - 1

Josué Mayard - 17 - 2

Dave van den Bergh - 2

Roger Espinoza - 9 - 3

Zoltan Hercegfalvi - 3

Sunil Chhetri - 35 - 16

Onandi Lowe - 65 - 27
Jermaine Hue - 30 - 11
Wolde Harris - 28 - 7
Shavar Thomas - 27
Khari Stephenson - 26 - 3
Peter Isaacs - 15 - 4
Akeem Priestley - 3

Dionysius Sebwe - 7

Uche Okafor - 31 - 1

Puerto Rico
Taylor Graham - 3 - 1

Igor Simutenkov - 20 - 9

Richard Gough - 61 - 6
Mo Johnston - 38 - 14

Serbia and Montenegro
Vuk Rasovic - 5

Sierra Leone
Kei Kamara - 4

Trinidad and Tobago
Gary Glasgow - 53 -11
Scott Sealy - 25 - 2
Anthony Noriega - 5

Refik Sabanadzovic - 8

Vitalis Takawira - 26 - 12

My next project is to try and get the number of caps each player has while playing with the Wizards. This will be a little more difficult, especially for all the countries other than the USA. I've got that part basically done, but now it's on to try and get the rest of the former Wizards and how many times they've represented their country while a member of the Wizards. Some I do have taken care of, like the current Wizards I have done, but the older players are the ones that will take more work.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Podcast Number 4

Friday night, Thad and I recorded our 4th podcast, we're trying out a name, "The Game, Set, Match Report", which most Wizards fans should understand if you've watched the Wizards on MetroSports, so let us know what you think of the name, whether we should keep it or dump it and try something else. To listen to the full podcast, click the download button and that will let you hear the full 45 minute (more or less) podcast.

Topics of discussion this week, were the preseason games the team has had so far, the roster moves the team has done up to this point, including the Adam Cristman trade, Rauwshan McKenzie getting cut, and the Jimmy Nielsen signing. We also touched on the collective bargaining agreement, and the return of my "stalker" update. Enjoy and please let us know what you guys think.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wizards Drop Preseason Game to San Jose

The Wizards closed out the first leg of their preseason camp in Arizona today with a 1-0 loss to San Jose. KC will now be heading back to KC for a few days before heading back to Arizona for the rest of preseason. Today's game featured 3-45 minute periods, with the Wizards making a lot of changes between each period. The Earthquakes goal came early in the first period off a header from their new signing Eduardo. From tweets by both the Wizards and San Jose, it appears the game was back and forth, although San Jose appears to have had the better of play in the first two periods. The third period for KC featured many of the players you'd expect to see starting opening day and that team produced more chances, but still could not find the net.

From reading the tweets, the worry for Wizards fans is the mention of an injury to first round draft pick, Teal Bunbury. Let's hope the substitution in the first period was just a precautionary measure. A couple things I noticed from the information the team put out today, first the goalkeepers for all 3 periods. There was no Louis Crayton or Ian Walker, now that could be by design, but I'm guessing they're likely gone from camp with the signing of Jimmy Nielsen. If true, the three keepers today (trialist GK Hannigan who I assume is Patrick Hannigan, Boris Pardo, Alex Horwath and potentially Eric Kronberg) are all likely fighting to be Nielsen's back up. The other player missing from the lineups today, was Stephane Auvray, although his absence right now doesn't really worry me.

With the team returning to KC, I have a feeling we'll see a few more moves made, I think a few people will be let go this week and the team will return to Arizona a few players lighter for their final 4 preseason games down there.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Star Confirm My Thoughts From Last Night

The Kansas City Star this morning has quotes from Peter Vermes that confirm my thoughts that I posted last night about Kevin Hartman. According to the article from the Star, Vermes basically said that Hartman no long figures in the team's plans. It sounds like a bitter ending for a keeper that started every league game over his 3 years with the team, in all competitions, Hartman didn't play in only 4 games (all Open Cup) over that time frame. By the sounds of the article, the Wizards did indeed offer Hartman a new contract, which means that the team will hold his MLS rights for the next two years. That is, unless what appears to be the final sticking point in the current collective bargaining agreement negotiations go the way of the players and they get some form of free agency within MLS.

I'm not totally happy about this. I'm willing to give Jimmy Nielsen a chance, but this move seems like lateral movement. From everything I've seen, Nielsen has the same issues controlling his box in the air as Hartman did. He also couldn't help keep a team from being relegated from the Danish top division. All the highlights I've found of him are from his time with Aalborg, which was a few years ago now. Granted he is hitting the prime of his goalkeeping career, but with the number of keepers that the US seems to produce I'm not a fan of using a foreign slot on a keeper.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't Expect Hartman Back

In his 3 seasons in KC, Kevin Hartman has probably been one of the Wizards top players over that time frame, but that time appears that it is at an end. Earlier today the Star had an article about how Hartman still had not signed with the team. Shortly afterward, word came out about the Wizards signing Danish goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen. While nothing has officially come out, it's not hard to connect the dots and figure out that Hartman's days in KC are numbered. With Nielsen already signed he's the favorite now to become the number one keeper, although Louis Crayton and Ian Walker are still in camp and likely hoping to still get the number 1 spot. I can't see the Wizards signing a guy like Nielsen and then expecting to sign another player to be the number one guy. And I can't expect Hartman to come back expecting to be a back up keeper.

So what happened with the Wizards and Hartman? My guess is that the Wizards offered Hartman a contract that was less than his previous deal (which was $165,000), likely enough less that Hartman flat turned it down and neither side was willing to come close enough to the other. I'm guessing the two parties are to far apart, which is why KC is looking elsewhere. Again that's a complete guess on my part, but I don't think you'll see many people that will argue with this guess.

So what happens with Hartman now? Based on my previous guess and the current collective bargaining agreement, Hartman's MLS rights will be held by the Wizards for the next two years (The current CBA allows teams to hold an out of contract players' rights for 2 years if they make that player a contract offer). Meaning that if another MLS team wants Hartman they're going to have to trade with the Wizards for his rights. If there's no team that wants to trade for Hartman's rights, then Hartman's choices are limited, he can go to USSF Division 2 like Steve Ralston did with AC St. Louis, or he can go abroad and try to play elsewhere like a Scandinavian country or even try Mexico.

It'll be interesting to see where Hartman ends up playing, but I'm basically 100% sure now that it won't be in KC.

New Keeper for KC (UPDATED) (Second Update - Finalized)

Word out of Denmark is that the Wizards have a new keeper, former Aalborg goal keeper, Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen is a 32 year old Danish keeper who spent most of his time with Aalborg, but has most recently been with Vejle Boldklub of the Danish second division. According to the article, the Wizards bought Nielsen from Vejle, which I personally doubt. MLS and their teams rarely if ever pay transfer fees for players.

I'm not sure how trustworthy this site is, but according to another article, the Wizards were not the first MLS team to inquire about Nielsen, the other club is not named, but apparently KC only recently come after the keeper. According to the article, Nielsen has signed a one year contract with an option year if both parties agree to it. Nielsen says that Peter Vermes has told Nielsen would have to compete for the number 1 shirt and he wouldn't automatically come in as the number one keeper.

I personally still have my doubts that he's been signed, mainly because the first article says that we bought him when MLS rarely if ever buys players and the wording of the quote in the second article makes it seem like he's there on trial. If it is true, though, then I think this definitely signals the end of Kevin Hartman's time in KC. We'll see if the team announces anything on the player soon.

Although it appears that it's being mentioned by many news outlets in Denmark, as well as ESPN.

My doubts are starting to slip away very quickly and it appears that KC has indeed signed the Dane, with only the physical left to be performed. That's according to Greg Seltzer over at Soccer 365 and No Short Corners who was able to get a hold of Nielsen and interview him. Still no comment from the team on the team, though, as the front office is at a staff off-site event today.

And for those that missed it, Robb Heineman just tweeted a welcome to Casino Jimmy, one of Nielsen's nicknames.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Former Wizards Update

The former Wizards are gearing up for another year in MLS play and other US leagues. Ryan Pore has re-signed with the Portland Timbers for another year, while Rauwshan McKenzie didn't wait long to find another team to try and make, he's now in camp with Real Salt Lake after being claimed off waivers. Also, my thought last week that Scott Sealy has left Bnei Sakhnin appears to be turn after finding this on the team's website. The poor translations of Arabic that I've found basically say the club has let Sealy go. Also, it appears that Ivan Trujillo is currently injured, but was last with Caracas FC of Venezeula. Here is the rest of this week's former Wizards update.

Shavar Thomas - Jamaica - Play Argentina tonight.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Play California this Saturday.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Play Sunday against Monterrey.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Defeated Revolucion Tijuana 10-7.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Play California this Saturday.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Defeated La Emilia 1-0.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Started and played 61 minutes, scoring a goal in Puebla's 1-1 draw with Atlante.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Played in Harbour View's 1-0 win over Boy's Town. Play St. George SC tonight.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Are on winter break until the end of February.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Started and played 90 minutes in Aris' 2-0 loss to Panthrakikos in a game that was divided by 2 days due to rain. Came off the bench and played 16 minutes in Aris' 1-1 tie with Xanthi Skoda.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Came off the bench and played 19 minutes in Aldosivi's 1-0 loss to Gimnasia Jujuy.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Came off the bench and played 32 minutes in Azerbaijan's 1-0 loss to Olimpik.
Scott Sealy - Bnei Sakhnin FC - Israel - Is no longer with Bnei Sakhnin.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with Aachen.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not play in Wellington's 1-0 win over Gold Coast United.

Kamara Hattrick in KC Win

The Wizards won their second preseason game as they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 in a 4 30 minute quarters game. All the scoring occurred in the first period as Kei Kamara scored a hattrick in the win. The Wizards have posted highlights of the Kamara's 3 goals which you can see at the end of this post. Kamara's first goal came off of a cross from the right by Chance Myers. Kamara's second and third came on fast breaks, on his second goal Kamara raced onto a miss clearance by San Jose off a flick on header by trialist Ryan Smith. The third goal also came courtesy of Smith as Smith raced down the left crossing into Kamara who one timed it past Cannon.

The second and third quarters of the game were fairly evenly matched according to reports, with San Jose have some decent chances in the fourth period. KC played a 4-4-2 each half according to the lineups the team posted, but the lineup of the first quarter team looks more like 3-4-3 lineup with Louis Crayton in goal, Jimmy Conrad, Aaron Hohlbein, and Chance Myers making up the back line, Roger Espinoza, Stephane Auvray, Birahim Diop, and Ryan Smith in the midfield, and Josh Wolff, Kei Kamara, and Davy Arnaud up top. Crayton, Diop, Wolff, and Arnaud all made way after 30 minutes for Ian Walker, Korede Aiyegbusi, Igor Kostrov, and Teal Bunbury. Almost full changes occurred after the second period, with only Aiyegbusi and Bunbury staying on the field. More changes came in the fourth period as 3 more trialists came on, a new goalkeeper, former FC Dallas defender Chris Gbandi, and former Minnesota Thunder defender, Rich Costanzo.

Overall it's a good result for what it is, a preseason game. Very good to see Kamara score some goals, hopefully it's a good sign for the coming season. There are still plenty of trialists in camp and lots of roster spots still up for grabs it would appear, so it'll be interesting to see how things progress as we head towards Saturdays friendly, once again against the Earthquakes.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Trialist X

This past Saturday in the Wizards preseason opener, the Wizards midfield for the first team out was Roger Espinoza, Davy Arnaud, Mauro Fuzetti, and Trialist X. Trialist X did not turn out to be the brother of Speed Trialist. Trialist X was named today by the team as Birahim Diop, formerly of the Metrostars. Diop played for the Metros in the 2001 and 2002 season. In two seasons, Diop played in 6 games, starting 3. Most of his minutes came in the 2002 season for the Metros. After leaving the Metrostars, Diop apparently followed former coach, Octavio Zambrano to Moldova. Diop just turned 31 this past Sunday. We'll see if Diop does enough to impress the Wizards.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Four Players Gone From Camp

The Wizards thinned out the number of players in camp today, as four players from the camp roster were let go. Rauwshan McKenzie, Ofori Sarkodie, Eric Gehrig, and Kyle Brown were all let go. McKenzie was the only player that was under contract for the Wizards, Sarkodie, Gehrig, and Brown were trying to earn a contract.

McKenzie started 5 league games in his 2 years in KC, all this past season for a total of 437 minutes. In all competitions McKenzie started 9 games, and appeared in 10. He scored one goal for the Wizards, a header in the team's US Open Cup game against Minnesota last year. In all competitions, McKenzie played 827 minutes for the Wizards. He was also named the Down the Byline Player of the month in July this past season.

Sarkodie was the Wizards 4th round draft pick in this past year's MLS draft. Sarkodie had captained the US U-17 national team and played at the U-20 World Cup for the US as well. Unfortunately it appears that Sarkodie's career may have peaked when he was with the US youth teams.

Gehrig was an undrafted college senior out of Loyola Chicago. He had 2 goals 3 assists in his senior campaign for the Ramblers. He also participated in the Wizards invitee tryout before preseason started.

Brown was the most experienced professional player of the 4 players let go. In 3 seasons in MLS playing with New England, Real Salt Lake, and Houston Brown had 24 appearances scoring 2 goals. Last season he appeared 25 times scoring one goal for the Austin Aztex.

Also, the Wizards did have some differentiating information about Saturday's game saying that it was actually trialist Alexei Casian, not Nelson Pizarro that got the Wizards 5th and final goal in the win over the Arizona Sahuaros.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wizards Win Preseason Opener

Last night in Arizona, the Wizards played their first preseason game against the Arizona Sahuaros at Grand Canyon University. No official report on the game has come out yet, the only thing I've found so far with the result is tweets by Wizards forward, Kei Kamara, who apparently did not have a good game in his 30 minute shift. According to Kamara, the Wizards won the game 5-0. Once more details on the game come out, I'll update this post.

UPDATE: Thad has the information on who played and who scored last night for the Wizards. The first team was the same as the "Blue" team that won the scrimmages on Friday in practice. Josh Wolff scored the first two, the first off a short corner from Roger Espinoza, the second coming from Zoltan Hercegfalvi. Hercegfalvi got the third goal off an assist from Mauro Fuzetti. Fuzetti got the 4th goal finishing a chance on the back side. All these goals came within the first 16 minutes of the game.

The second group appeared to struggle, which goes along with what Kamara said in his twitter post last night. The fourth goal came from the third group, as Nelson Pizarro scored with a diving header. New signing, Pablo Escobar was red carded late on for a rough tackle.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Podcast 3

Thad and I recorded podcast number 3 this past Sunday night, and here's a link to the 3 part podcast. We're still in the process of finalizing a name and once we get a name we'll start working on getting it up onto I-tunes for all you guys.

This episode we discussed the stadium construction starting, the US-Honduras game, Roger Espinoza's potential loan move, the trialists in camp, and the rest of the roster. Enjoy everyone and if you have any ideas for names, leave them in the comments section.

Random Wizards News

Not a lot of big news today, but some different random bits of news about the Wizards.

First, Wizards President, Robb Heineman has an update on what's going on out at the Wizards stadium site out at the Legends. No big news on that front, other than they continue to move dirt around and are getting ready to start moving dirt away from the site. Below is the video from Hillcrest Road.

Also from Hillcrest Road the past two days, Kerry Zavagnin has been providing practice updates over at the Wizards blog. Yesterday was the first day of those updates and today he added even more to the report on practice. Today's report provides a lot more information on what the team is doing in practice, but yesterday gave more thought to the belief that goalkeeper Kevin Hartman will not be back in KC. Yesterday Zavagnin said that the #1 shirt is wide open that there's not really a #1 at the moment. You could say people are reading to much into it, but some people, including myself see this as a sign that Hartman likely isn't going to be in KC next season.

On the US national team front, no Wizards were named to the US roster for the upcoming friendly against El Salvador in Tampa in late February. This move doesn't bother me at all, I'd rather Wizards players be in camp right now preparing for the 2010 MLS season.

Finally, a little delayed news from before the signing of Kei Kamara was completed. According to Soccer America before the signing was completed the Wizards were apparently contacted about former MLSer, Stern John, who has been playing in England since leaving MLS after the 1999 season. There isn't word on whether the Wizards were actually really interested in signing John, only that they'd been contacted about him. The signing of Kamara, as the SA article says, likely took KC out of the running to get John, as the Adam Cristman trade showed the Wizards already had too many forwards on the roster.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Former Wizards Update

Here's another week of weekly Wizards updates. As mentioned earlier today, there's a new former Wizard, as Adam Cristman has been traded to DC. I also believe another former Wizard may be on the look out for another team, as Scott Sealy no longer appears on the roster for Bnei Sakhnin on the Israeli FA website.

Shavar Thomas - Philadelphia - Started and played 90 minutes in Jamaica's 1-0 win over Canada in an international friendly.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Beat California 11-10 last Thursday.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Played in Baltimore's 10-6 loss to Milwaukee.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Lost to San Diego 11-10 last Thursday.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Beat California 11-10 last Thursday.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Drew 1-1 with Bella Vista on the 1st.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 20 minutes in Puebla's 2-1 loss to Querétaro.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Played Boys Town today.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Are on winter break until the end of February.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Came off the bench, scoring a goal in Aris' 2-1 loss to Xanthi.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Did not play in Aldosivi's 2-0 loss to Deportivo Merlo.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Came off the bench and played 13 minutes in Mughan's 1-0 loss to Inter Baku.
Scott Sealy - Bnei Sakhnin FC - Israel - Did not dress in Bnei Sakhnin's 1-0 win over Hapoel Haifa. I have thoughts he may not be with the team any more.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 2-0 win over SC Paderborn 07.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 1-0 win over Adelaide United.

Get Your Planners Out

Today the MLS schedule was released for the 2010 season and it's time for everyone to get their planners out and start figuring out their vacations and road trip plans to see the Wizards this season. Kansas City 13 Saturday night games, 1 Thursday night game, and 1 Sunday afternoon game. Most of the Saturday games are at 7:30 except for the game against FC Dallas in September which is at 7. For those fans outside KC, it's going to be a lot harder to see the team unless you get the Direct Kick package as the Wizards only have 3 games on national broadcasts this year. And those are KC's first three games in May. Saturday May 1st in Houston is on FSC, Wednesday May 5th on ESPN2 in DC, and Saturday May 15th against Chicago, again on FSC.

The close road trips for Wizards fans all come in July, as the Wizards play in Dallas July 3rd, Columbus July 14th, Colorado July 17th, and July 24th in Chicago. Longer trips to either Houston or Salt Lake are both in May.

Here is the Wizards schedule.
03/27 - Saturday D.C. United 7:30 p.m. DK,
04/10 - Saturday Colorado 7:30 p.m. DK,
04/17 - Saturday at Seattle 2:00 p.m. DK,
04/24 - Saturday LA Galaxy 7:30 p.m. DK,
05/01 - Saturday at Houston 7:30 p.m. FSC, FSE
05/05 - Wednesday at D.C. United 6:00 p.m. ESPN2, Deportes
05/15 - Saturday Chicago 7:30 p.m. FSC, FSE
05/23 - Sunday Columbus 3:00 p.m. DK,
05/29 - Saturday at Real Salt Lake 8:00 p.m. DK,
06/05 - Saturday at Toronto FC 3:00 p.m. DK,
06/10 - Thursday Philadelphia 7:00 p.m. DK,
06/26 - Saturday New York 7:30 p.m. DK,
07/03 - Saturday at FC Dallas 7:30 p.m. DK,
07/10 - Saturday Chivas USA 7:30 p.m. DK,
07/14 - Wednesday at Columbus 6:30 p.m. DK,
07/17 - Saturday at Colorado TBD DK,
07/24 - Saturday at Chicago 7:30 p.m. DK,
07/31 - Saturday Toronto FC 7:30 p.m. DK,
08/07 - Saturday Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m. DK,
08/14 - Saturday at San Jose 9:00 p.m. DK,
08/21 - Saturday New England 7:30 p.m. DK,
08/28 - Saturday at LA Galaxy 9:30 p.m. DK,
09/04 - Saturday at Philadelphia 2:30 p.m. DK,
09/11 - Saturday Houston 7:30 p.m. DK,
09/19 - Sunday at Chivas USA 7:00 p.m. DK,
09/25 - Saturday FC Dallas 7:00 p.m. DK,
10/02 - Saturday at New York 6:30 p.m. DK,
10/09 - Saturday Seattle 7:30 p.m. DK,
10/16 - Saturday at New England 7:00 p.m. DK,
10/23 - Saturday San Jose 7:30 p.m. DK,

Cristman Traded

Last year I spoke with some excitement when the Wizards traded for forward Adam Cristman. I thought given the chance he could be a big time goal scorer for the Wizards. Unfortunately a foot fracture and a hamstring injury limited Cristman to only 5 appearances for the Wizards, 3 starts, and only 213 minutes played. For those that missed it on Twitter today (still the best way to keep in touch with this blog during the day), Cristman's time in KC came to an end. Cristman was traded to DC United today for an international slot for two years.

Overall I like this trade and it makes a lot of sense. The Wizards are currently stacked at forward, with Teal Bunbury, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Kei Kamara, and Josh Wolff already with the team, it was going to be hard to justify having a 5th forward on the roster, and Cristman appeared to be the odd man out. I thought the Wizards would have trouble trading Cristman due to his lack of playing time and his injuries the past two seasons. But former Wizards coach Curt Onalfo brings in a player he helped originally bring to KC. And to get an international slot for him is a good move, especially with the number of foreign players currently in camp for KC. A smart move in my opinion by the Wizards team.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Preseason Camp Roster

Thad at The Back Post and myself have posted on this, but today the team has posted an official preseason camp roster. Missing from the list are the Wizards 3 remaining out of contract players, Kevin Hartman, Eric Kronberg, and Claudio Lopez. And the further along we get the less likely I feel that any of these 3 players will be back with the Wizards for the 2010 season. Here is the Wizards official preseason camp roster, broke down by position.

Goalkeeper: Louis Crayton, Alex Horwath, Boris Pardo, Ian Walker
Korede Aiyegbusi, Matt Besler, Nick Cardenas, Jimmy Conrad, Michael Harrington, Aaron Hohlbein, Jonathan Leathers, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chance Myers, Ofori Sarkodie (Pablo Escobar is not listed yet)
Midfielder: Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray,
Alexei Casian, Roger Espinoza, Mauro Fuzetti, Eric Gehrig, Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Igor Kostrov, Michael Kraus, Kurt Morsink, Nelson Pizarro, Ryan Smith, Kevin Souter, Lance Watson, Graham Zusi
Forward: Kyle Brown, Teal Bunbury,
Adam Cristman, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Kei Kamara, Josh Wolff

And there's always the chance of more trialists joining the team in Arizona, including the "left sided attacking player" that Robb Heineman has mentioned in the past. There's a total of 38 players in camp counting the new player and Escobar, so it'll be interesting to see who makes the final roster.

Preseason Schedule Out, League Schedule Tomorrow

The Wizards are currently down in Arizona for the second leg of the 2010 preseason, with plenty of players competing for spots. Today the team released their schedule for the games the team will be playing down there. The Wizards will be playing 4 MLS teams while they are down there along with playing Grand Canyon University in their 7 games down in Arizona. The schedule kicks off this Saturday at noon when the Wizards take on the Antelope. KC then plays San Jose twice on the 10th and the 13th before returning to KC for a week. They then play Chivas USA, LA, and Columbus before closing preseason in Arizona against the Antelope again. Below is the team's full preseason schedule.

Date/Time (All Times Central) Opponent Location
Saturday, Feb. 6, 12 p.m. Arizona Sahuaros Grand Canyon University
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 12 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes Reach 11
Saturday, Feb. 13, 12 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes Arizona State University
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 12 p.m. Chivas USA Reach 11
Friday, Feb. 26, Time TBA Los Angeles Galaxy Reach 11
Thursday, March 4, 12 p.m. Columbus Crew Reach 11
Sunday, March 7, 12 p.m. Grand Canyon University Reach 11

As for the league schedule, that will be coming out tomorrow at 1pm central time. Meaning it'll be time to start planning the rest of my year and figure out where I'll be road tripping to this season to see the Wizards play. I'd love to make it to either Salt Lake or Toronto this year for a game, and I'll likely make it to one of the "close" road trips (Colorado, Dallas, Chicago).

Monday, February 01, 2010

Moldovans in Camp

Along with his mention of the Ryan Smith tonight, Robb Heineman also gave us the names of the two Moldovans that are training with the Wizards right now. While he only gives us last names, with some searching, it appears the players are Alexei Casian and Igor Kostrov. Casian appears to have last played for Dinamo Bender in Moldova. Casian also has a video out on Youtube of some of his play as well (seen below). Kostrov also appears to have played with Bender, but has also spent time in Israel. From what I saw out at practice on Saturday of these two, they're both decent players, we'll see if either or both of them make the team.

Left Sided Attacking Player in Camp

The Wizards have another new player in camp. Robb Heineman posted tonight on Twitter that the player has joined the Wizards for training down in Arizona. The player, former Arsenal youth player, Ryan Smith just recently left financially struggling Crystal Palace. He's jumped around different teams in league 1 and the Championship in England since leaving Arsenal. Smith has also not gotten a ton of playing time in his travels, playing 56 league games since leaving Arsenal after the 05-06 season. Most recently, Smith had a short trial at Grimsby Town before coming to Kansas City.

Kamara Re-signed

For those that missed the tweets earlier today, the Wizards have re-signed forward, Kei Kamara. Of the four players that were still out of contract when preseason had started, Kamara was the guy that I thought the least likely to re-sign as he seemed set on going abroad. As preseason started, though, I changed my mind, not because of Kamara specifically, but because of things involving the Wizards other 3 unsigned players (Kevin Hartman, Eric Kronberg, and Claudio Lopez). Kamara's re-signing is big news for the Wizards, it gives them another striker option and one that brings something to the table that none of the rest of the current strike force with the Wizards have.

Kamara's re-signing means that the Wizards have now have Kamara, Teal Bunbury, Adam Cristman, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Michael Kraus, Josh Wolff, and even Davy Arnaud as strikers in camp. You have to think that at least 1, possibly 2 of these guys won't make the roster once the season starts. It certainly adds to the competition for these spots and will make preseason extremely interesting.