Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Former Wizards Update

The MLS has started, and a new former Wizards season has started as well. Multiple players have started the season, but quite a few spent games on the bench or not dressing at all. One former Wizard has a new, as Lance Watson has returned to Texas to play for the Austin Aztex. Another former Wizard looks like they could be headed back to MLS, as rumor today is that Claudio Lopez is on his way to Colorado.

Preston Burpo - New England - Started and played 90 minutes in NE's 1-0 loss to LA.
Adam Cristman - DC United - Did not play in DC's 4-0 loss to KC.
Nick Garcia - Toronto - Started and played 90 minutes in Toronto's 2-0 loss to Columbus.
Luis Gil - Real Salt Lake - Did not play in RSL's 3-0 win over San Jose.
Taylor Graham - Seattle - Did not play in Seattle's 2-0 win over Philadelphia.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Did not play in Dallas' 1-1 draw with Houston.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Columbus' 2-0 win over Toronto.
Chris Klein - LA - Did not play in LA's 1-0 win over New England.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Real Salt Lake - Came off the bench and played 27 minutes in RSL's 3-0 win over San Jose
Kurt Morsink - DC United - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 4-0 loss to KC.
Carey Talley - DC United - Started and played 90 minutes in DC's 4-0 loss to KC.
Shavar Thomas - Philadelphia - Did not play in Philly's 2-0 loss to Seattle.
Tyson Wahl - Seattle - Did not play in Seattle's 2-0 win over Philadelphia.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Don't play again until the US Arena Open Cup Final on April 10th.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Played in Baltimore's 2 playoff losses to Monterrey, 22-14 and 10-8
Paul Wright - San Diego - Don't play again until the US Arena Open Cup Final on April 10th.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 66 minutes in Ferro's 5-3 loss to La Emilia.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 31 minutes, scoring a goal in Puebla's 2-1 win over Club America.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Play Village United today.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Vinogradar beat Suhopolje 2-1.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Came off the bench and played 6 minutes in Aris' 1-1 Gree Cup draw with Kavala to advance to the finals. Started and played 63 minutes in Aris' 1-0 win over Levadiakos.
Chris Konopka - Waterford United - Ireland - Started and played 45 minutes in Waterford's 1-0 win over Salthill Devon.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Came off the bench and played 16 minutes in Aldosivi's 4-1 win over Defensa y Justicia.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - Did not play in Randers' 2-1 win over AGF Aarhus. Started and played 85 minutes, scoring a goal in Randers' 4-0 Esbjerg.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Did not play in Mughan's 1-0 win over Standard.
Khari Stephenson - Aalesund - Norway - Did not play in Aalesund's 2-2 draw with Stabæk.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not play in Frankfurt's 2-1 win over Union Berlin.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Did not play due to a red card suspension.

Wizards Take Down Tulsa

The Wizards got a midweek game in today before their friendly games this weekend against AC St. Louis and the University of Evansville. Today the Wizards took on the University of Tulsa. A game that I originally thought was likely to just be a game for the Rangers turned out to be wrong. The Wizards played a mix of starters and subs in the first half, Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Roger Espinoza, Jack Jewsbury, and Ryan Smith were the starters from Saturday night that did not play today. In their place in the first 11 were Korede Aiyegbusi, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Santiago Hirsig, Igor Kostrov, and Graham Zusi. Also not appearing at all today was Birahim Diop, Chance Myers, and Craig Rocastle. In the first half, the Wizards only managed one goal against the college team, coming through Josh Wolff who scored on a shot from the top of the area.

In the second half, the Wizards made multiple changes, with only Aiyegbusi, Hercegfalvi, Kostrov, and Zusi staying on for the second half. The second half also saw the introduction of newly signed forward, Sunil Chhetri. The Rangers did a lot more damage to Tulsa. Teal Bunbury made it 2-0 off of a rebound. Aiyegbusi made it 3-0 when he hit a cross from almost midfield that got caught in the wind and drifted over the goalkeeper and into the net. Three became 4-0 when Chhetri got his first goal for KC in a scrimmage after Pablo Escobar and headed on a Kostrov corner kick. Tulsa grabbed a consolation goal on a 40 yard shot that caught Eric Kronberg off his line. Kostrov made it 5-1 when he picked up the scraps after guest player Kyle Brown found Bunbury with a cross. Bunbury's header went off the bar and Kostrov put it away. Many of these players are going to get more time on Saturday in St. Louis. I'll be there with Twitter updates for the games.

And for those curious, here's a video of Aiyegbusi's goal with great commentary from Peter Vermes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The New MLS Website

MLS replaced their website, MLSnet recently, since then it seems it's been one misstep after another with that website. Today MLS fans received an update on the situation, and while it's a step in the right direction, there are just so many problems with this website. My biggest problem is general is that the site went live with ALL these bugs still in the system. This is the type of thing that a beta version, a test environment and QA is for. I mean I work for a company that updates our system weekly. Every week we're pushing in software. But if by chance the software pushes don't do entirely what they're supposed to, or screw something up, guess what, we back that software out of the system. We went back to the old system, apologized to our customers, and went back and did more testing on it. MLS didn't do this, instead they basically threw it out there, killed MLSnet, and said deal with it. That's poor customer service and in the end pisses off your most loyal customers more than anyone else.

As I mentioned over the weekend, it was a pain in the butt to find the match center, or anything the site to help me with my stat information. The match report didn't contain the time subs came into the game or even what players were on the bench that were unused subs. I finally found the match center for the game after scouring bigsoccer, finding one for another game and changing the web address until I got the Wizards link. It was at least a little better, and had some rudimentary play by play, although the substitutions only included one player when they were mentioned.

Before the game, it wasn't much better. The Wizards preview was short and didn't give any real information, nothing on the injuries, referees, suspensions, national team call ups, etc. All the stuff I'd come to expect from the previews was non-existent. I didn't even really want to visit the website as it gave me nothing to read.

Those are just my problems with the site when it comes to Wizards and game related stuff, there are other issues I currently have with the site. First is the scores on the website. It's been 4 days since the first game and STILL it lists the Seattle-Philadelphia game as 0-0. They must have superimposed Seattle fans from last year into the broadcast as well, as they list the attendance as being 0. Pretty sure there were a few more people than that there. Another problem (one that they've actually fixed already) was the times of the games on the website. It originally listed last week's Wizards game as starting at 1:30am. But as I said, this bug at least appears to be fixed.

Two final things that bother me about the site. First is the fact that the league site is posting article like this. The headline says it all, Quakes MAY Add Busch (emphasis is mine). Or this article about a report that it's being reported that Manchester United will be the all star game opponent. Seriously? The league website is posting a speculation article on someone that a team may sign or who the league might play in the all star game? I go to MLS' website to see finalized news, not speculation on who a team might sign. If I want speculation news, I'll go to one of the newspapers that covers the team. I want REAL news from the league website, especially when that league is a single entity league that owns all the player contracts, there should be no need on the site for an article that says a team MAY sign a player. Or if speculation articles aren't your interest, there's plenty of Tiger Beat type news, include photos of "Hot Players" and "Scary Men". Seriously is MLS going after the Twilight crowd now? Are we going to see ads for games featuring a vampire Jimmy Conrad and a werewolf Davy Arnaud? Some of the content is just horrible.

Finally, my other complaint with the new website is something that doesn't even affect me directly, but is something that could greatly affect the Wizards, and that's the changes to MatchDay Live. According to posts I've seen, this system is now not available at all outside the US and Canada. MLS signed an international rights deal back in 2008, but that didn't seem to stop people outside the US and Canada from being able to buy the package last year. My biggest issue with this part, is the fact that the Wizards just signed a player from the world's second most populous country. And while much of that country doesn't use the internet, plenty do. The league and the Wizards are going to be missing a huge opportunity. So instead of getting some money from those people via MatchDay Live, those people in India will instead be finding pirate feeds on your favorite online TV sites.

Overall the new MLS site is a nice visual website, it has lots of bells and whistles, but the meat, the part of the site that most people I talk to enjoyed is no where to be found, lost around a corner you can't reach without climbing through 3 different hoops to get there. Get your act together MLS.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Walls are Going Up

Yesterday before the Wizards game against DC United, I was invited to a presentation at the construction site of the Wizards new stadium site out at the Legends. the presentation was done by Wizards president Robb Heineman and vice presidents Dave Ficklin and Rory O'Connor. They explained some of the different suite sites out at the stadium and kind of the overall layout of what the stadium will look like in the different parts. Overall it was a great chance to check out the stadium site and see how things are coming along. The walls on the west side of the stadium are starting to take shape and you can see where some of the clubs are going to be located on that side, including areas for the players. Check out some pictures of what the site looks like right now.

Sunday After Stats

After working to find a way around MLS' new website (more on that later). Here is this week's Sunday after stats.

Largest open day or home opener win in Wizards history.

Jack Jewsbury's goal was his 13th in league play for the Wizards, tying him with Matt McKeon, Jose Burciaga, Sasha Victorine, and Claudio Lopez for 12th place on that list.

The goal was also Jewsbury's 14th in all competitions, breaking his tie with Chris Henderson for 19th place on that list.

Jewsbury made his 126th league start for KC, breaking his tie with Tony Meola for 9th on that list. It also ties him with Matt McKeon for 8th place on that list.

In total, 5 players made their MLS debut for KC last night, Korede Aiyegbusi, Stephane Auvray, Teal Bunbury, Jimmy Nielsen, and Ryan Smith.

It was Josh Wolff's 120th league appearance for KC, breaking his tie with Diego Gutierrez and Uche Okafor for 12th place on the all time list.

Exciting, Attractive, and Attacking

Wizards fans finally got to see the exciting, attractive, and attacking soccer that was promised by Curt Onalfo when he was named coach before the 2007 season. Who knew it wouldn't appear until Onalfo was actually on the opposite sideline for KC. For the first time since August of 2006, the Wizards won a match by more than 3 goals as they took out Onalfo's new team, DC United 4-0 at CAB to open the 2010 season.

KC started the game in a 4-3-3 with newcomers Jimmy Nielsen, Stephane Auvray, and Ryan Smith all starting their first game. The game early on was a little back and forth, with Nielsen having to make a good early save on Jaime Moreno in the 3rd minute. KC came back the other way, with Smith showing good pace, working a give and go with Josh Wolff before forcing Troy Perkins into a good save. Jack Jewsbury was the next to test Perkins only seconds later, but Perkins pushed the ball wide for a corner. In the 9th minute, the Wizards grabbed a deserved lead, as Jewsbury found Smith on the opposite side of the field with a nice pass across the top of the box, Smith dribbled into the box and once again forced Perkins into a save, this time the rebound fell right into the path of Kei Kamara who had an open net to put the ball into for the team's first of the season.

DC had thought they'd found the equalizer in the 14th minute when a Santino Quaranta free kick was cleared only as far as Andy Najar. The 17 year old let rip with a nice dipping shot that beat Nielsen, but not the post. The rebound fell to Chris Pontius who headed the ball into the net, but was ruled to have been offside when Najar's original shot took place. KC continued to press the game against DC, and doubled their lead in the 35th. Once again Smith was the creator, as he received a long ball from Auvray. Smith held the ball up and laid it off to an onrushing Davy Arnaud. The Wizards new captain took a touch and fired the ball low into the far corner making it 2-0 to KC.

Early in the second half, Smith got the goal that he deserved after his work throughout the game. Michael Harrington and Kamara worked the ball down the right before Kamara crossed into the middle trying to get the ball to Josh Wolff. Perkins got down and touched the ball away, but it went right into the path of Smith who was the trailing runner. Smith just placed the ball into the net making it 3-0. Even up 3-0, KC continued to push the game and were going for a fourth goal. That goal would come after Dejan Jakovic was called for a hand ball in the box, raising his arm up while going for a header with Kamara off a KC corner kick. After a little discussion over who would take the PK, Jewsbury stepped up and buried the ball to Perkins right as he went left.

Throughout the game KC was clearly the more dominate side, DC never seemed to really get into the game, especially after having Pontius' goal called back. There wasn't really any doubt once KC went up 2-0. The team overall on the field looked completely different. In previous years, while the Wizards may have won this guy, they likely would have given up a goal or two themselves in the process as well. The fact that they kept the shutout is well is a very good sign for the rest of this season. And while it's only one game, it certainly gives everyone that was picking KC to finish in 6th or worse in the East something to think about.

Wizards Man of the Match - Ryan Smith - Created 2 goals and scored one himself in his MLS debut before leaving the game due to injury. He was absolutely amazing last night and could have had multiple goals if not for some good saves by Perkins. Hopefully he doesn't become a victim of some of the leagues more physical players (I'm looking at you Dema Kovalenko as well as Philadelphia's entire roster). He could have himself a very good season.

Honorable Mention - Stephane Auvray, Davy Arnaud

Player Ratings - Nielsen 7, Harrington 7, Conrad 7, Besler 8, Espinoza 7, Jewsbury 6, Auvray 9, Arnaud 8, Smith 10, Wolff 5, Kamara 7. Subs Leathers 6, Bunbury 6, Aiyegbusi NR

Chhetri P-1 Visa Approved

Wizards new signing, Sunil Chhetri contract is official now according to Thad at The Back Post. Late last night Thad reported that Chhetri's P-1 Visa had been approved. The approval means that Chhetri's deal is official. What it also means is that the Wizards now have to waive, trade, etc. a player so that they become roster compliant again. Will be interesting to see which player it is that is eventually let go.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Podcast

Last night Thad and I recorded the latest edition of our podcast. In it we discuss the CBA, the latest player movement, KC's new captain, and we preview the DC game as well. Check it out. We are still having issues with the hosting site, but if you download the podcast, you get the entire thing. If you know of a good site, preferably cheap or free, please let us know.

Friday, March 26, 2010

First Kick Almost Here

First kick is now less than 24 hours away for the KC Wizards who will take on DC United for the sixth time in 15 seasons on opening day. The two sides will each have quite a bit of knowledge about the other heading into this season. KC will be familiar with DC's new head coach, Curt Onalfo, midfielder Kurt Morsink, and forward Adam Cristman. It should add a little more spice to opening day. DC has added a few new players, but it's KC that's made more additions, adding 9 new players to the team this year.

This team should bare little resemblance to the team that Onalfo coached in his last game against FC Dallas. Changes will be taking place all over the field as new players on the field and new positions for some returning players. It will be interesting to see how different the team will actually look once it takes the field. It looks like Birahim Diop is going to miss opening day with a knee contusion, but other than that it appears the team will be healthy, so here's what I think we'll see.

Wolff - Arnaud
Smith - Auvray - Jewsbury - Myers/Kamara
Espinoza - Besler - Conrad - Harrington

PREDICTION - I'm really excited and ready for this season, it'll be extremely exciting exactly what this team can do against top level talent. And while there are a lot of people that are saying the Wizards won't do much this season, I think we'll surprise quite a few people. I'm not overly impressed with DC's additions either, Troy Perkins is an upgrade in net, but other than that, Christian Castillo is the only noteworthy addition. Danny Allsopp does not really impress me coming from the Qatari league to MLS. I think this game could really be the start to something good for KC, but then again it could be the start to a really long season. Either way nothing can dampen my excitement for tomorrow, not even the forecast.

KC - 3 (Wolff, Arnaud, Smith)
DC - 1 (Moreno)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Davy Arnaud Named Wizards New Captain

I posted the rumor earlier today over on Twitter, and the Star has confirmed that rumor tonight, and that's that the Wizards have a new captain. His name is Davy Arnaud. Arnaud has replaced Jimmy Conrad as the captain of the Wizards. I'm not sure of the reason behind the change, but I personally have some questions about the move. After the way he finished last season I don't think Arnaud is an automatic starter. A captain should easily be penciled in immediately into the team's starting lineup, but that doesn't strike me 100% about Arnaud. Arnaud's a work horse and always busy, he's still one of the most underrated players in the league, but I just never saw him as captain material for the club. If Vermes was really wanting a new captain, I would have thought Josh Wolff, Stephane Auvray, or even Jimmy Nielsen before Arnaud. But it's all about what's on the field and in the locker room, so maybe there is something that I am missing.

What does this mean for Conrad? That remains to be see, but I'm sure it came as a bit of a shock to Conrad. How Conrad responds to this will also be a big question. Does he take it in stride, step up, do his job, and continue to be a leader on the field? Or does he sulk and are we starting to see the beginning of the end of Conrad's time in KC? I would hope that from what I've seen of Conrad's character holds turn and he does what he's done for quite a few years in KC, and that's anchor the Wizards defense.

Chhetri Announcement Set to be Made

The reports from earlier this week are true, the Wizards are signing Indian forward, Sunil Chhetri, pending him getting a P-1 Visa and getting his international transfer certificate from the Indian federation. The Wizards will be hosting a press conference tonight at Cerner's world headquarters while Indian media will be at Cerner's India facility for a tele-conference.

Chhetri will be competing with Teal Bunbury, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Kei Kamara, Josh Wolff, and even Davy Arnaud for playing time up top for KC. The signing of Chhetri will also force the Wizards to make another roster move as the team is currently at the 24 roster max. The player that is likely on their way out is an international player as I believe the Wizards are currently using all those slots. To me that last slot probably comes down to either Santiago Hirsig or Zoltan Hercegfalvi, the only internationals left over from last year. My thought remains Hirsig as the Wizards are already 5 deep in center midfield not even counting other players like Arnaud and Graham Zusi that can play there. Either way it will be interesting to see who does go to make room on the roster for Chhetri.

Webcam LIVE!

Robb tweeted it a little bit ago. You can now watch the progress at the Wizards stadium site live online. Check it out and enjoy as the stadium goes up out at the Legends site. I know I now have a new favorite website.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

End of the Former Wizards Season

Here's another week of former Wizards updates, and the end of the first "Former Wizards Season" that I've completely tracked. For the season I'm following the start of the MLS season, so while European seasons are still going on, their season is cut in half. With the season over now, here are a few of the top players in certain categories. First remember these records are as complete as I can find from sites on the net.

Most games played (all competitions)
33 - Carey Talley (Chivas USA) and Yura Movsisyan (Real Salt Lake and Randers FC)

Most games started (all competitions)
33 - Talley

Most games played (league)
30 - Dave van den Bergh (FC Dallas) and Ryan McMahen (Austin Aztex)

Most games started (league)
30 - van den Bergh

Most goals (all competitions)
14 - Byron Carmichael (Ocean City Barons)
11 - Ryan Pore (Portland Timbers)

Most goals (league)
11 - Carmichael
10 - Pore

I'm going to add more categories this year, including something for goalkeepers and probably a separate category for indoor soccer as well. Let me know if there's a category I should track.

Anyways, here is the final week of the former Wizards season. Chris Konopka continues his good form for Waterford United, while Eddie Johnson found net again for Aris.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Don't play again until the US Arena Open Cup Final on April 10th.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Scored 2 goals in Baltimore's 19-12 loss to Philadelphia to close the regular season. They play Monterrey La Raza in the playoffs.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Season is over.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Don't play again until the US Arena Open Cup Final on April 10th.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Did not play in Ferro's 3-2 loss to Bella Vista.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Started and played 45 minutes in Puebla's 2-1 loss to Santos.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Harbour View tied Humble Lions 1-1.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Lost 1-0 to Imotski.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Aris' 1-1 draw with Panionios.
Chris Konopka - Waterford United - Ireland - Started and played 90 minutes recording the shutout in Waterford's 1-0 win over Derry City.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Came off the bench and played 6 minutes in Aldosivi's 2-0 win over Instituto.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - Suspended for Randers 1-1 draw with Brøndby.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Did not play in Mughan's 0-0 draw with Karvan.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 2-1 loss to 1860 Munich.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Came off the bench and played 48 minutes, picking up two yellow cards in the span of 3 minutes, getting his marching orders in the 80th minute in Quindío's 2-1 loss to Cortuluá.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Wellington's season ended last week. Reporting Chhetri to KC Done Deal

Last night I posted how Sunil Chhetri was on his way to, if not already in, Kansas City with eyes toward signing a contract with the club. Thad at The Back Post is reporting that Chhetri's presence in KC is for a formal tryout, but also speculates that it's just a formality. And seems to be agreeing with that speculation as this morning they are reporting that Chhetri is set to sign with the Wizards. They say that an official announcement should come on Thursday after the player has passed a medical and had his P-1 Visa approved. There will apparently be a video conference for the Indian media after the announcement. If all this get finalized, it looks like the Wizards could be getting a lot more fans from the second most populated country in the world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chhetri in KC

More news on the Wizards potential signing of Indian striker, Sunil Chhetri. More reports out of India today say that Chhetri is on his way to, and now likely in KC. According to, Chhetri was set to land in KC at 0630 Indian Standard time, which is about 10 and a half hours ahead of KC. He's apparently set to sign a long term deal with the league and the Wizards. has gotten quotes from his father and his agent confirming the fact that Chhetri is on his way to the US. As for why he returned to India, it was to work on getting his work visa to work in the US.

This will be interesting if the Wizards do in fact sign him, as the Wizards have currently finalized their roster for the start of the 2010 season. It would also appear that the Wizards would need to get rid of an international player to sign Chhetri. With 4 forwards already listed on the roster, it could be Zoltan Hercegfalvi who could return to Hungary. Or it could potentially be Santiago Hirsig, because as I said last week, the Wizards are deep at the center midfield position.

Season Previews

It's hard to judge for sure what's to be expected from KC this year, there's been quite a bit of roster turn over been last year and this year, as 9 new players are currently on the roster this year. Yet there seems to be a consensus among "experts" and other bloggers that the Wizards will be one of the bottom feeders of the East. I put "experts" in quotes because my guess is that most if not all of these guys haven't seen the Wizards play once this season. They're basing their opinions on how the team did last season and the fact that there's been ton of turnover. From Duane Rollins at The 24th Minute to Steve Davis at, no one seems to be giving the Wizards a chance. Both Match Fit USA and Major League Soccer Talk both pick KC to pick at the bottom of the East this year. Another poor preview, was Four Four Two's very lame attempt at the expected baseball joke and inability to actually provide any real insight.

If you want the worst, though, you don't have to look any further than Davis' other preview, his preseason rankings. Davis says of KC, "Manager Peter Vermes likes the personnel and elected not to make many changes. I think that was a mistake – but that’s why they play these games. Prove me wrong, Pete!" Excuse me Steve? KC didn't make many changes? You don't call getting rid of 12 players, and adding 9 new ones (11 with Fuzetti and Chhetri potentially still being added) many changes? With those players gone, the Wizards got rid of 111 of the 330 starts last year, or 33% of their starts. Another 30 subs from those 12 players. A turn over of 33% of the Wizards starts isn't making many changes? But hey it saved him the trouble of actually having to research by just making a random statement. If you want to see another Wizards' fan's take on this, check out James post over at KCW Fans.

I'm going to make a wild guess that none of these people have seen much of the Wizards this preseason. In fact if you made either last Tuesday's game against UMKC or last Friday against AC St. Louis, you've probably seen more than these 4 have seen of the Wizards this preseason. This is what I don't like about these season previews, they make guesses off of what KC was like last season, look at the names KC has brought in, do a quick Google search of those new players, see how impressive they are and make their completely baseless guesses. There's a reason in my multiple years of doing this blog that I've never done a full MLS season preview, that's because I don't watch all the teams compete in preseason, I don't know how the new players for each team are looking, or what to expect in terms of formation changes. What I do know is what I've seen of the Wizards in the 3 preseason games I've seen and I'll say this, the Wizards are going to impress plenty of people this season and surprise many more. Based off of what I've seen of the Wizards I wouldn't call making the playoffs a stretch, as long as all the new players gel well.

CBA Details

MLS announced today some more details for the new collective bargaining agreement that was agreed upon on Sunday. Lots more details are out today, and although there are still some questions, there's a lot to look at. Ives has some of the highlights, especially some that I really like as well. Here are the ones that I really liked.

The salary cap will increase to $2.55 million, and will increase by 5% each season after this one.

Guaranteed contracts for all players over 24 with at least 3 years experience.

Minimum salary for senior roster players is now $40,000.

The reentry draft that MLS has set up sounds really interesting and I'm looking forward to what MLS will do with it, I think it's a positive step and a good compromise for the players that want to avoid a situation similar to what happened to Kevin Hartman and Dave van den Bergh.

The thing that I probably like the most about the new deal is that the league will work the players union in a committee to re-launch the reserve league. Personally I think getting younger, end of the bench players time in some form or another in at least semi-competitive games. The reserve league I think if in place consistently the reserve can only help to develop the players.

Wizards Waive Kraus

The Wizards have made themselves compliant with the MLS roster regulations today as they made their last cut from their roster. The unfortunate player is forward, Michael Kraus. In the past few preseason games that I had seen, Kraus was not playing up top or in the midfield where he'd been playing lately, but in defense as a wingback. This to me pointed to Kraus' impending release. The same thing happened last year to former open tryout participant, who was waived after he'd spent time trying to find a spot on the field.

In his 3 seasons with KC, Kraus only in the last season had he really gotten playing time. Before the 2010 season, Kraus had only appeared in 2 games in all competitions, a 31 minute playoff appearance and a 57 minute appearance against Seattle in the open cup. Last year was Kraus' most productive in KC, making all 11 of his MLS appearances totally 147 minutes and scoring one goal against Colorado. He made 1 more appearance in the open cup, playing 98 minutes and scoring a goal in KC's penalty kick shootout win over Minnesota. He also made two sub appearances in the SuperLiga last year, picking up a red card against Santos. For his career he appeared in 16 competitive games for a grand total of 351 minutes played. In the previous exsistentence of the reserve league, Kraus appeared in 23 games, totally 1,376 minutes played, scoring 3 goals and getting 6 assists.

The team roster is now set for at least the start of the season. While there still are a few questions and additions (Mauro Fuzetti and Suninl Chhetri) and subtractions can take place, here is the Wizards 24 man roster for tomorrow's deadline.

Goalkeepers: Jimmy Neilsen, Eric Kronberg
Defenders: Korede Aiyegbusi, Matt Besler, Jimmy Conrad, Pablo Escobar, Michael Harrington, Aaron Holhbein, Jonathan Leathers
Midfielders: Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Birahim Diop, Roger Espinoza, Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Igor Kostrov, Chance Myers, Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith, Graham Zusi
Forwards: Teal Bunbury, Zoltan Hercefalvi, Kei Kamara, Josh Wolff

Saturday, March 20, 2010


New 5 year agreement has been announced today by the league in a teleconference. The new CBA will give the players more money, improved quality of life for players, greater players' rights, and greater ability to move. For the first time ever, the majority of the players will have guaranteed contracts. For those that didn't know, Jimmy Conrad was on the Players Union's executive board. There will be some form of "reentry draft" for players who are out of contract and not picked up by their team. It sounds like it may be similar to the old MLB free agent reentry draft. The guaranteed contracts will be based mainly on the length of time in the league. A full release is coming later today. Bring on the season!

MLS CBA Agreement Appears Close

MLS and the MLS Players Union have announced that they will be hosting a joint conference call today at noon central time. They will be discussing the collective bargaining agreement. If word from the AP is true, it sounds like it will be very good news. The AP is reporting that MLS and the MLSPU are close to a new 5 year CBA. This will avoid a strike that was set to start Tuesday morning at midnight to keep Philadelphia Union players from getting on a flight to Seattle for the season opener on Thursday night. One think that could have had a big effect (last paragraph in that article) on the negotiations is the fact that the league has stated health care benefits will be cut off for the players on March 31st if there is a strike. Certainly not something the players, would have wanted to happen.

While we won't know the final details of the agreement for a little while most likely, one has to wonder how a resolution was reached on the big issue of the discussions, free agency. The players had stated previously that they wanted freedom of movement within the league. In the past few days, the owners have started to come out and speak on the topic as well saying the league would not be getting free agency and a strike could very well kill the league. The past two days the two sides have been meeting for long hours in DC with a mediator. Wizards player union representatives Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff have been in DC for the negotiations. It will be interesting how these two sides that appeared so far apart reached an agreement on the free agency issue.

MLSnet is carrying the audio from the conference call. Andy Williams of Real Salt Lake has tweeted the deal is done.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Pair of Wins by a Pair of Goals

The Wizards are a little over a week away from their home opener and closed out their preseason with two wins by a 2-0 score line out at Swope Park. I didn't make it in time, but first the Swope Park Rangers played UMKC for the second time in week. Thanks to two first half strikes by Kei Kamara the Rangers pulled off the win. Kamara's first goal came off of a cross from Mauro Fuzetti, his second came from the penalty spot.

Next game the Wizards-AC St. Louis game, the game supposed to be played tomorrow, but rescheduled for today due to the expected weather tomorrow. The team was made up of mostly starters, minus a few injuries and Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff in DC for the CBA negotiations. KC came out as the more aggressive side early in the game and would have grabbed the lead if not for the post, as Kamara hit the wood work. The Wizards continued to be the more dominate side and St. Louis struggled to get many offensive chances in the first half. Their best chance came off of a mistake by central defender Matt Besler. Besler attempted to head the ball back to to Jimmy Nielsen, but did not get enough on it and the pass was picked off. Nielsen cut the angle but the St. Louis player found an open player in the box, but the shot was over the bar. KC had their chances as well, Santiago Hirsig missed just a little high and wide of the goal while Kamara hit side netting on a diving header.

In the second half the Wizards continued to dominate with Nielsen has little to do. KC finally grabbed the lead as a Chance Myers cross was met by Craig Rocastle who took a touch and then beat the keeper to his right to give KC the lead they deserved. The Wizards continued their dominance and they doubled the lead through the same combination, only this time it was Rocastle feeding Myers. Myers than 5 holed the keeper doubling the teams lead. KC held onto the lead for the rest of the game most of that time holding possession in St. Louis' half of the field. In the end the game wasn't as close as the score, St. Louis never looked likely to score and KC cruised to the win.

Wizards Man of the Match - Chance Myers - Is starting to really show the promise that made him the number 1 pick in the draft a few years ago. A goal and an assist was just the start of his performance, he dominated the wing for KC. Him and Harrington will be a force on that wing if they end up being the starters.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Single Digits to Start of the Season

We are 9 days from when the Wizards are supposed to kickoff the 2010 MLS season at CAB against DC United. That is if there is a new collective bargaining agreement bargaining agreement in place. The Players Union and the MLS management are meeting in DC to try and work out a deal. With the season so close, it's time to take a look at the Wizards roster again and see exactly how things look.

Earlier this week, the Wizards put out an updated preseason roster with 26 players on it. Add in Indian Sunil Chhetri who is still being rumored to be coming to KC and you have 27 players competing for 24 roster spots. Let's look at those 27 players and how the roster is set up.

First let's look at the 4 developmental roster spots. Three of those are already taken by the Wizards 3 Generation Adidas players Teal Bunbury, Roger Espinoza, and Chance Myers. There are likely 2 players fighting for that last developmental roster spot. Korede Aiyegbusi appears to be signed although no official word has been announced, one would think he could be a candidate for the position, the other potential player is third round pick, Mauro Fuzetti who is the only unsigned player still on the preseason roster. Other players with an outside chance of that spot are Jonathan Leathers and Graham Zusi who were both on the senior roster last year, but could see themselves taking a cut in hopes of staying with KC.

The rest of the players, including Aiyegbusi, Fuzetti, Leathers, and Zusi are all fighting for the 20 senior roster spots. But with one of those guys being in the above group, that leaves 23 players still for the 20 spots. Anyone looking at the roster can figure out players that are a good bet to make the team. But who are the 3 players that will be cut still is the more interesting view. I have a feel Fuzetti will be one of those guys cut, at this point with the roster the way it looks, I think the Wizards 3rd round draft pick is going to be gone. Another player that could be gone is Michael Kraus. Kraus is a very versatile player which could be what ends up saving him, but it could also be his down fall as well. Leathers and Zusi are two other players that could be gone as well as they may just be the odd man out in different positions. Especially Zusi who can play on the wing, but also in the center of midfield, which is very crowded at this point.

Speaking of the center of midfield, the team now has 5 guys that can play the holding midfield position after the signing of Birahim Diop. Diop joins Stephane Auvray, Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, and Craig Rocastle as deep playing center midfielders. I can't see the Wizards carrying that many defensive midfielders this season, so the question is who goes. Three of those players are new this year and with Diop and Rocastle being more recent signings I think both are likely to be on the team opening day. Auvray was one of the bigger signings for the team this offseason so he too seems fairly secure in his position. That leaves Hirsig and Jewsbury. With the number of internationals the Wizards have brought in, and Chhetri still being looked at, Hirsig could be the favorite to be gone. Jewsbury, though, may be the more valuable due to him being an American player.

Who do I think the final 24 will be at this point? This is my current guess: Aiyegbusi, Auvray, Arnaud, Besler, Bunbury, Chhetri, Conrad, Diop, Escobar, Espinoza, Harrington, Hercegfalvi, Hohlbein, Jewsbury, Kamara, Kostrov, Kronberg, Leathers, Myers, Nielsen, Rocastle, Smith, Wolff, Zusi. That leaves Fuzetti, Hirsig, and Kraus as the 3 players that are out. If the Wizards don't end up signing Chhetri, then you can add Kraus back onto the 24 man roster in his place.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Former Wizards Updates

Another week of former Wizards updates. Herculez Gomez continues to score goals for Puebla and is even starting to convince people he should be back in the national team picture. I'd missed the return of an MLS player as the Crew opened their CONCACAF Champion's League campaign. They closed that campaign tonight though. Hopefully we'll be seeing the MLS players return to this list as well. We'll also see another player in the US second division as Abe Thompson has signed with Miami FC. Also congrats to Sean Bowers and Paul Wright who won the PASL Premier title with the San Diego Sockers. Here is the rest of your Wizards update.

Will Hesmer - Columbus - Forgot to include last week's game, but started and played 90 minutes in the Crew's 2-2 draw with Toluca in the CONCACAF Champion's League. Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 3-2 loss to Toluca in the second leg.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Defeated Sidekicks del Estado de Mexico 6-5 in the PASL semifinals. Defeated La Raza de Guadalajara 9-8 in the PASL finals.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Had a goal and assist in Baltimore's 11-8 win over Rockford onn Friday. Had a goal in Baltimore's 8-6 OT loss to Philadelphia.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Defeated Calgary United 8-7 in the first round of the PASL playoffs on Thursday. Lost to La Raza de Guadalajara 7-5 on Friday to end their PASL season.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Scored a goal in the Sockers 6-5 win over Sidekicks del Estado de Mexico in the PASL semifinals. Had a goal and 4 assists in the Sockers 9-8 defeat of La Raza de Guadalajara in the PASL finals.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started for Ferro in their 3-1 loss to Alvarado.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 36 minutes, scoring another goal in Puebla's 1-1 draw with Monterrey.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Harbour View defeated Tivoli Gardens 2-0.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Did not have a game this week.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Came off the bench and played 3 minutes in Aris' 2-0 win over PAOK. Came off the bench in Aris' 3-1 cup win over Kavala.
Chris Konopka - Waterford United - Ireland - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Waterford's 2-0 win over Cork City.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Started and played 71 minutes in Aldosivi's 1-1 win over Sportivo Italiano.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - Started and played 90 minutes, picking up a red card in Randers' 0-0 draw with Nordsjælland
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Did not play in Mughan's 2-1 win over Turan Tovuz.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not play in Frankfurt's 2-0 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Defeated Juventud last Wednesday in the Copa Colombia. Play Atlético Huila tonight in the Copa Columbia.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in Wellington's 4-2 loss to Sydney FC in the Preliminary Final.

Wizards Sign Diop

In a move that seemed to be coming based off of his position in preseason games, the Wizards have signed Birahim Diop to a contract. The former Metrostars player is back in MLS after a 9 year leave from the league. Diop played for the Metrostars in the 2001 and 2002 seasons, not appearing much for the club. He played in 6 games, starting 3 over his 2 seasons with the club. For the Wizards Diop has spent much of the preseason partnering Stephane Auvray in the center of midfield for what's been what most would call the Wizards first team. In the two games I've seen Diop play he brings a strong physical presence in midfield and also is a threat on set pieces and the crosses the Wizards make during the game.

The move would seem to give the Wizards some major excess baggage in midfield as the Wizards now have 5 guys that can play holding midfield. Along with Diop and Auvray, the Wizards have Jack Jewsbury, Santiago Hirsig, and the team's other new signing Craig Rocastle. With all those players stacking up in central midfield, it would seem that someone is going to be on their way out of Kansas City. With the international players coming in it could be Hirsig, or with Jewsbury's American status Jewsbury could have the most value. We'll see, but I still think we'll see one of these players leave.

St. Louis Game Moved Up

Due to the predicted forecast for Kansas City this weekend, the Wizards and AC St. Louis have moved up the first leg of their home and home series from this Saturday to Friday. With the move, the "Supporters' Showdown" schedule for after the game Saturday has been canceled. The Wizards final preseason game is now set for Friday at 5pm. Before the first team takes on St. Louis, the Swope Park Rangers will once again take on UMKC. That game is at 3pm. So if you have part of the day off work make it out early for that game. I'll likely be a little late but should be there fairly early in the first half of the game against St. Louis.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wizards Defeat UMKC

The Wizards continued their preseason tonight out at CAB in a game against NCAA Division 1 UMKC tonight in a friendly that Wizards season ticket holders were invited to. The Wizards started the game with a lineup almost exactly like the one used by the white team in last Thursday's intersquad scrimmage, but early on the game was back and forth as UMKC held their own. In fact they forced a very good kick save out of Jimmy Nielsen very early in the game. Things also got a little chippy as the half went on, with Davy Arnaud taking a hard foul that earned the UMKC player a yellow. Shortly after, Arnaud and another UMKC player saw yellow and we got a bit of a shoving match as Arnaud appeared to elbow the UMKC player trying to get a little retribution for the hard foul. The Wizards grabbed the lead late in the first 45 minute period as UMKC had some very lax defending as Ryan Smith took the ball right off the defenders own foot inside his own box, took a touch and slipped the ball past the keeper to give KC the lead.

The Wizards made only one change after 45 minutes with Pablo Escobar coming on for Jimmy Conrad. KC doubled their lead on a very nice play by Stephane Auvray after a through ball from Chance Myers. Auvray danced by a few defender in the box that sent the keeper the wrong way and Auvray slid the ball into the net to double the lead. KC began to really control the game more and more and UMKC got less of the ball. UMKC started to get more frustrated and Arnaud was once again fouled about 25 yards from goal. Arnaud stepped up on the free kick and put it off the post and into the net to the keepers right, a really nice free kick to make it 3-0. With KC continuing to dominate possession, UMKC loss a player to a second yellow card. They immediately replaced the player so the Wizards didn't play with a man advantage, but it showed the physicality that was taking place in the friendly. KC made it 4-0 before the end of the second 45 minute period as Michael Harrington streaked down the left and played a nice lofted cross where substitute Jonathan Leathers had time to place a looping header back across goal and over the head of the keeper into the net.

KC had made a few changes over the course of the second period, but made even more before the final period started. With UMKC not having as many players, the Wizards continued to be the team that controlled the game especially with the fresh legs. It did take a little while for those fresh legs to get underneath them in the offensive end, but finally Zoltan Hercegfalvi hit a rocket that made it 5-0. The ball only rarely got deep into KC's half as the period went on and KC continued to find ways into the Kangaroos box. Teal Bunbury got brought down on one of those runs being awarded a PK. Bunbury stepped up and placed the ball to the keepers left out of reach to make it 6-0. With less than 2 minutes left in the game, KC added the extra point as Santiago Hirsig knocked home a corner to give KC the 7-0 win.

Overall it was a good performance although the lack of goals in the first period against the college team was a little frustrating, still it was nice to see the team continue to play well and combine. Smith continues to be very impressive and Auvray really is a beast in the center of midfield, both these guys I think are going to have good seasons in MLS.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rocastle Signed, Smith and Kostrov Official, More on Chhetri, and Pardo Waived

Quite a bit of player news from the Wizards today involving different players coming to and leaving Kansas City. First the Wizards have signed one of their latest trialists to a contract. While the rumors had been that Sunil Chhetri would be signing with KC, he's not the latest signing. Instead it's Craig Rocastle, the midfielder who came into camp around the same time as Chhetri. This move appears to be in the works for a week or so now. Rocastle has played for multiple English teams in his 9 year professional career, last playing with Forest Green Rovers. Of the moves the Wizards have made this preseason, this may be the one I am most underwhelmed with. Rocastle is on his 15th team in 10 years as a professional player, playing 174 for the previous 14 over the 9 years. He's also been going the wrong way down the table from his height at Chelsea as he was most recently playing in the English Conference, the 5th division in England. At 28 years old, the fact that he's not made his way back up the table is frustrating that we've gone and signed the player who 's better known as being the brother of David Rocastle. This move just doesn't make a lot of sense in my opinion.

Moving onto more official player signing news, news that had already been reported in other sources. That's the signing of midfielders Ryan Smith and Igor Kostrov. Smith has had an impressive preseason and appears to have won the starting left sided midfield spot, taking the place of Claudio Lopez. From what I've seen of Smith him and Espinoza are going to cause fits for teams down the Wizards left side, it was almost a seamless attack no matter which of the two was going forward. Kostrov had been with the Wizards for most of the team's preseason impressing enough to earn a contract. At this point it appears Kostrov will be coming off the bench playing anywhere in the midfield for the Wizards.

Yesterday I reported on the Wizards potential signing of Indian international, Sunil Chhetri. That news has continued today as more places pick up on the story making it appear more likely KC will be signing the striker. Some of the latest news talks about how Chhetri has an out clause in his contract with his I-League team that will allow him to leave to join the Wizards. While I'm a little cautious of this move as well based on where Chhetri has played, unlike Rocastle, Chhetri has at least consistently played at the top level and has been offered contracts with teams at high levels in England recently, unlike Rocastle.

Finally, the Wizards have parted ways with another former player, as the team has waived goalkeeper, Boris Pardo. Pardo had spent the past two years with the Wizards while the year before he was a league keeper and trained with Kansas City. In his 2 years with KC, Pardo appeared in one game for the Wizards, the team's 2009 US Open Cup game against the Minnesota Thunder. The Wizards won the game on penalty kicks in no small part due to Pardo who stopped 2 penalty kicks in the shoot out to put the Wizards through to the next round. He won man of the match for that performance. Also released was Louis Crayton. Neither of these moves is really surprising after the signings of Jimmy Nielsen and Eric Kronberg, while Pardo and Crayton were fighting for a roster spot their chances went far down with those signings.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chhetri Move Appearing Likely

It looks like the Wizards are definitely making a move to sign Indian national team player, Sunil Chhetri. Word out of India today is that Chhetri's I-League club, Dempo SC has released the striker so that he can make his move to MLS and the Kansas City Wizards. Chhetri will join what appears to be a growing strike force for KC. The Wizards already have Davy Arnaud, Teal Bunbury, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Kei Kamara, and Josh Wolff as forwards. Adding Chhetri would give the Wizards another potential speed forward up top.

With the team's lack of scoring last season, I like that KC is bringing in more forwards. After the struggles in the middle of last season, the Wizards have brought in 3 new strikers (Bunbury, Hercegfalvi, and Kamara) so Peter Vermes obviously saw that area of the team as a position that needed some upgrading. The question now is who's going to make the starting position theirs. Right now it appears Arnaud and Wolff have that distinction, which is ok with me, but I'd personally rather have at least one "target" striker in there, a guy that can get on the end of crosses. That's the one thing I think was missing last Thursday in the intersquad scrimmage, the white team didn't have a guy that could hold the ball up back to goal really well. Chhetri, as I said, is a speed forward, so he wouldn't fill that gap, but I like that we continue to bring in other players to challenge for spots.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Open Tryout Call Backs

The first day of open tryouts finished up out at the Wizards Swope Park training complex and the Wizards have announced 47 players that have been invited back for the second day. I didn't make it out to the tryouts today due to weather and other commitments, I'll be out for a little bit of day 2 tomorrow though.

A couple of players that I mentioned earlier this week have been invited back for the second day of tryouts. Those names include Alain Matingou, Jose Ballesteros, Brendan Hanaphy, Jason Blocker, Cesar Zambrano, Mauricio Curiel Hernandez, Garrett Jahn, Jorge Faivre, Derek D'Agostino, Makai Werring, Sam Klos, Stiven Ospina, Addison Stonestreet, Tyler Kellogg, Vincent Torres, Yannick Araman, Robert Mueller, Paul Kihara, and Matt Stufflebeam. Along with Tshepo Edwin Mutlaneng and Dorian Caballero who tried out last year.

Did another look for the other players that made day two and found some that I missed, Ben Everson and Dominic Furness are from Davy Arnaud's alma mater, West Texas A&M. Charles Brooks played at UNC Wilmington. Found this video of Horace James. Another youtube video, this time of Josh Gable.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wizards Win Intersquad Scrimmage

As was expected tonight, the Wizards won their game against, the Wizards. In a closed to the public scrimmage tonight out at CAB, the Wizards white defeated the Wizards blue 5-2. Chance Myers and Josh Wolff each had a brace while Ryan Smith added one. Blue got their goals from Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury. Judging by the lineups I posted in the play-by-play posting, the white team would appear to be a likely starting lineup if the season starts on time. That team got a quick start with Myers opening the scoring in the 9th minute with his head off a cross from Michael Harrington after he worked a good sequence with Davy Arnaud. Harrington was involved in the second goal as well when he played in Wolff who got in front of his man enough to get a shot off that 5-holed Eric Kronberg in the blue net to double the lead in the 13th. Blue continued to dominate play, with Wolff having another goal called back for being offside. Blue did have some decent moments in the first half though, but didn't really test Jimmy Nielsen much. Their best chance in the first half came when Nielsen made a mess of a clearance, but recovered in time to keep Bunbury from scoring.

At half time, Jack Jewsbury (who is still recovering from offseason surgery) made way for Igor Kostrov. As the half wore on, Mauro Fuzetti came on for an injured Jonathan Leathers and Boris Pardo entered for Kronberg, but that was the extent of the subs. The rest of the players got their first 90 minute game of the season. Myers made it 3-0 in the 54th minute, and only a few minutes later Smith had to just tap the ball in after Arnaud had drawn the defenders to his side of the field making it 4-0. As the game wore on, both teams started to get tired and the game opened up a lot more with breaks for each time almost one after the other. During this time we got to see what Nielsen could do and he made some very good saves on shots by Graham Zusi and Kamara. You knew that blue was going to score the way the game was going, but it took a brilliant goal by Kamara to finally breach Nielsen's net. Kamara received the ball at the top of the penalty circle with his back to goal, faked to his right, cut back left, turned and hit a rocket into the upper 90 of Nielsen's near post. An amazing goal that left Nielsen with no chance, very nice.

White came back down the field immediately though and regained their 4 goal lead, as Myers was brought down in the box. Wolff stepped up and buried the PK making it 5-1. White continued to push for a 6th, with Wolff going wide and then having a shot nicely saved by Pardo. Bunbury finished off the scoring in the 86th. Kamara dribbled into the box, going at Harrington and turning him, Kamara picked out Bunbury about 10 yards from goal, he took a touch and shot, the ball deflected off the hand of Matt Besler, but still trickled into the net, as Nielsen had already committed himself the other way to try and save Bunbury's inital shot before it deflected.

Overall it was an impressive performance from both teams, even though the score appears lopsided. The Wizards are going to be extremely dangerous this year on the wings, Smith and Roger Espinoza did extremely well working together on their wing working 1-2s and overlapping runs. The same was true on the right for Myers and Harrington they're going to be threats all season. My one issue is I'd like a taller forward like Kamara on the field to get on the end of their crosses. Stephane Auvray and Birahim Diop controlled the center of midfield making it hard for blue to develop their attack. Zoltan Hercegfalvi for blue also had some very good moments in helping develop attacks for blue but couldn't get people on the end for shots. While Kamara showed a willingness to go at defender and try to beat them which is something the team sorely lacked last season.

Wizards Man of the Match - Ryan Smith - After seeing him tonight, I am becoming a big fan he looks extremely impressive. He's going to surprise a lot of teams I think, he's fast not just speed, but speed of play, he sees the field well and makes good decisions.

Honorable mention - Chance Myers, Josh Wolff, Kei Kamara

Strike Appears Much Closer

The start of the 2010 MLS season looks to be in deep jeopardy after all the news that has come out today regarding the collective bargaining agreement. For those that missed it, the players union has voted overwhelmingly in favor of supporting a strike. The final tally was 350+ to 2 in favor of supporting it. Quotes from players in different articles posted today don't sound too encouraging either, and form the sounds of it, the players are planning to walk out at midnight on March 25th, the day the season is supposed to kick off. The league and the players union have since gone back and forth trading comments about the recent news of a potential strike. The fans are getting stuck in the middle.

And while many people support the players and there want to have more freedom within the league, just as many seem to be support the owners. And with unemployment still hovering close to 10%, it's going to be hard for the players to win over some of those fans that support the owners. And for a history lesson on soccer strikes in this country, check out the end of this Sports Business Daily article for information on the NASL strike that was one of the reasons for the leagues demise. The quote from Steve Gans is very telling because it's still as true today as it was then, "not enough people cared about it to keep the momentum going. The critical mass wasn’t there; there weren’t enough roots set down." Hopefully a strike doesn't happen, but at this point I'm not holding my breath on that.

Chhetri Close to Contract

Word out of India today is that the Wizards are close to signing Indian national team forward Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri had trained with the Wizards down in Arizona, but has since returned to India. According to the report, though, Chhetri is close to securing a contract with KC. Chhetri had been on Celtic's radar and was close to signing with Coventry City and QPR but work permit issues got in the way. Chhetri would join a growing list of new international players in KC if he ends up signing.

Wizards Scrimmage Play-by-Play

In the Wizards press box getting ready to watch the Wizards closed door scrimmage. Play-by-play will be in this thread.

Harrington - Conrad - Besler - Espinoza
Myers - Diop - Auvray - Smith
Wolff - Arnaud

Hercegfalvi - Bunbury
Zusi - Hirsig - Jewsbury - Kamara
Aiyegbusi - Hohlbein - Leathers - Kraus

Game is on, white is controling most of play. Wolff pushed a chance wide.

Harrington down the left, cross in, but Kronberg claims it.

9th GOAL! White, Harrington to Myers, give Arnaud the secondary assist.

I got my stopwatch started late so the times are guesses.

13th Goal! White, Wolff gets in on the right on a play from Harrington, 1v1 with Kronberg, 5 holed him to make it 2-0 White.

Corner kick to white after another play in from the right. Harrington takes it low and it's cleared.

16th, Blue gets in on goal but is called offside.

19th, Nielsen makes a bit of a mess of the play, it goes to Bunbury who can't finish. Blue getting better possession now.

21st, Blue with a good string of possession right now, no real chances from it, but it's making the game look better.

22nd, Smith fouled about 35 yards out from goal after a nice run, Arnaud over it, plays it in, Kamara heads back to Kronberg.

24th, blue deep in white's territory, foul 22 yards from goal.

25th, Kamara takes and puts it over the bar.

27th, Wolff plays in Myers whose first touch lets him down, white wins it back and is still controlling.

28th, Wolff with another shot just wide.

29th, Myers again played in nicely but about 18 yards from goal his touch again lets him down and Leathers catches him.

31st, good one two between Smith and Espinoza, Espinoza gets a cross in but Kronberg claims.

32nd, more great work down the left by Espinoza and Smith, Smith with the cross, Wolff heads back into the path of Arnaud whose shot was right at Kronberg.

34th, good work by white, little lofted back into the box, but Diop is a step off.

35th, cross in by blue, easily claimed by Nielsen.

35th, little shoving match between Jimmy and Teal I believe.

36th, free kick by blue easily claimed by Nielsen.

37th, cross in from right Diop heads over the bar.

38th, Smith with good speed down the line cross too deep for Wolff, Myers with a bad cross back in. White back down the left, earn a deep throw.

40th, Teal tries to beat 3 guys while going on goal, can't get by.

40th, White right back down the field, Myers pass to Wolff is deflected back to Myers who finds Wolff, Wolff scores but it's call back for offside.

41st, back and forth now, corner for blue, cleared fast break by white cleaned up, Besler with a foul to the left of Nielsen's goal.

42nd, free kick deflected wide for a corner, taken short and cleared.

43rd, blue deep in white territory, good work but no real dangerous shots.

44th, Wolff now on the left, Smith up top.

45th, that's half time, 2-0 white.

Second half is under way.

48th minute, both sides have had chances, Arnaud tries for the glory shot from long range, well high and wide.

50th, Kraus with a nice tackle on Arnaud, springs a counter, Kamara shot deflected wide. Header over the bar.

52nd, blue getting more pressure. Now, earning a corner. Someone is down right now behind the boards, can't see who.

53rd, there has been a sub for blue, Kostrov or Fuzetti is in for blue Jewsbury is out.

54th, 3-0 white, Myers with the goal.

55th, another sub as whoever was hurt behind the goal is limping off.

57th, 4-0 white, Smith from Arnaud with an open goal. And it appears that Leathers went off hurt.

58th, Kraus tries to beat Harrington, but can't get past.

59th, shot wide by Fuzetti.

60th, first really nice reaction save by Nielsen, good reflexes to stop Zusi.

60th, white back down the field, Smith rounds Kronberg but puts it how.

63rd, Smith just off side on a fast break.

64th, Smith with a low cross, just too far out in front of Arnaud, Kronberg collects.

66th, Smith tries to cross over Kraus, earns a corner.

67th, on the corner Myers just misses

68th, Teal with a good turn, but shots right at Nielsen.

69th, Pardo on for Kronberg.

70th, good break by white, crosses is too far in front of Arnaud, but too far from Pardo, goes through the box.

71st, K finds Bunbury who beats his defender but then takes 1 too many touches and Conrad recovers.

72nd, GOAL, blue, Kamara gets the ball at the top of the circle, turns and fires a rocket that beats Nielsen near side, 4-1.

73rd, white back down the field, earns a PK when Myers facing away from the goal is fouled.

74th GOAL! white, Wolff from the spot, 5-1.

76th, getting a little chippy now, a few unneeded fouls, white with a free kick from 20 out to Pardo's left is headed just wide by Diop.

78th, Bunbury with a shot that hits Nielsen in the chest and is chested back to him by Conrad.

78th, Wolff with a volley just wide after a flick by Smith.

79th, blue with good possession, getting some crosses in but not getting on the end of it.

81st, blue earns another corner. Diop clears and then a foul on blue about 18 yards out.

82nd, free kick is off the wall. and then goes out for a goal kick

84th, Pardo with a nice save on Wolff for a corner. Pardo claims the corner.

86th, Kamara goes at Harrington, turns him, gets into box, crosses to Bunbury, shot is deflected on the way in off Besler's hand but still goes past Nielsen into the net. 5-2.

87th, blue continues to be dominate team right now, earns a corner after Bunbury misses from close range.

88th, white earns a corner after a through ball by Diop is deflected out.

88th, white plays short and holds in the corner, earns a foul.

89th, Kamara earns fast break, plays wide to Zusi who gets in box and shots at Nielsen, who parries shot high.

90th, blue tries to break one more time, but shot is blocked, and that's game, 5-2 final with white winning the game.

That's game, good performance by the first team, a little lax late with the lead and let blue get some goals, but a good performance overall, full write up coming tonight.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Former Wizards Update

Another week of former Wizards updates, the indoor season is winding down, but the spring starting leagues are coming around with Chris Konopka and Yura Movsisyan joining the list with their seasons beginning. Elsewhere on the field, Herculez Gomez continues his very good run of form scoring another goal for Puebla. Kevin Hartman has joined the former Wizards list with his trade to Dallas. Also in Dallas, but not the MLS team, is Jose Burciaga who has become the owner/GM/player for Texas League Soccer team, Los Lobos FC.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Defeated Vitesse Dallas 11-7 in the US Arena Open Cup.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Played in Baltimore's 12-8 win over Philadelphia on Friday. Played in Baltimore's 12-11 win over Monterrey Saturday.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Did not have a game this week.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Defeated Vitesse Dallas 11-7 in the US Arena Open Cup.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 59 minutes in Ferrocarril's 3-1 winn over Independiente Tandil
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in Puebla's 4-1 loss to UNAM.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Played in Harbour View's 3-2 win over Rivoli United.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Lost 1-0 to Segesta.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in Aris' 1-1 draw with Kavala.
Chris Konopka - Waterford United - Ireland - Started and played 90 minutes recording the shut out in Waterford's 3-0 win over Wexford Youths.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Started and played 90 minutes in Aldosivi's 2-0 loss to Olimpo. Started and played 57 minutes inn Aldosivi's 2-0 winn over All Boys.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - Started and played 90 minutes in Randers 0-0 draw with Esbjerg.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Did not have a game this past week.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with Kaiserslautern.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Columbia - Did not play in Quindío's 1-0 loss to Cúcuta Deportivo.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Came off the bench in the 109th minute, playing the final 11 minutes in Wellington's 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets in the Minor Semifinal.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Podcast for 3/6/10

Last Friday Thad and I recorded the latest edition of the Game, Set, Match Report (we are looking for a new name). We talked more about the CBA negotiations, the Wizards new TV deal with KCWE, the Wizards continued preseason results and the upcoming St. Louis games, we finished up by discussing more of the Wizards roster moves that they continue to make this preseason. The podcast was divided into two parts (part 1, part 2).

FYI Thad and I have been noticing an issue with not hearing the whole thing when you play it on the site, but if you download it, you get the whole thing. If you got any name suggestions or if you know of a good site to host podcasts, please let us know.

Kings Fall Short at Nationals

The KC Kings made another good showing at the PASL Premier finals, but unfortunately once again the team fell short of the title, this year losing in the semifinals to the LA Bolts. In group play the Kings defeated the Bolts 10-1 and lost to Vitesse Dallas 5-3. Due to Alamo City not making it to the finals, the Kings got a bye into the quarterfinals where they defeated Ft. Collins 7-1 setting up a rematch with the Bolts. Unfortunately for the Kings, the Bolts had gotten their legs under them and put up a fight defeating the Kings in a shootout after drawing 2-2 in regulation.

This came after the Kings had to forfeit their US Open Cup Arena game against 1790 Cincinnati Express due to travel. The tournament as a whole that I've seen since following it is that the tournament was a complete clusterf*ck of a tournament.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Open Tryout Participants

It's that time of year again, time for the Wizards open tryouts. While none of last years tryout participants made the team, quite a few got invited back to train over the course of the season. This year's teams list is out now on the Wizards site, overall it looks like there are 133 players signed up this year, and here's a look at some of the players I may have found with some quick google searches.

Pride Nyakudya, a midfielder from the United Kingdom.

Alain Matingou, a local defender at Park University.

Joshua Schmidt, is listed as a field player, I did find a Joshua Schmidt who is a goalkeeper at Memphis, so I doubt it's the same player, but you never know.

Kory Pacheco, played at Rhode Island College.

It would appear that Hector Cardona did as well.

I may have found Diego Lozano, a high school player from Minnesota.

I found a Derek D'Agostino who played high school soccer in Florida.

Found Jose Ballesteros at North Idaho College.

Brendan Hanaphy played at York College.

Jason Blocker went to the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.

Makai Werring was a defender at Moorpark College.

Jacob Spalholz played at Broome Community College.

Tshepo Edwin Mutlaneng tried out last year.

Noah Suter played for Western Illinois.

Francisco Arellano played at Dixie State College.

Diego Cardenas played at Bethel College.

Andres Felipe Molano tried out last year and made day 2.

If it's the same guy, Mauricio Curiel Hernandez, played for Tapatío.

Cesar Zambrano played for the Rapids last year.

Paul Kihara is a Kenyan via Canada.

Djamel Bouriche plays for Birmingham (AL) City FC.

Dorian Caballero advanced to day two last year as well.

Elvir Kafedzic signed with AC St. Louis, I'm guessing he signed up for the tryouts before being signed.

If this is the same Sam Klos, he's the student manager for UMKC's golf team, but played soccer when in high school at Rockhurst.

Simone Bracalello tried out last year, found his soccer resume online again.

Sam Tejada, if it's the same guy, he's a former Arkansas ODP player.

Stiven Ospina played for the PDL-Pro Laredo Heat.

Elijah Yazdani, I found this youtube video of a guy with the same name, so not sure.

Sammy Tork played for Vanier College.

Garrett Jahn played at William Jewell and tried out last year.

George Busumbru played for Wallington FC if that link is correct.

Addison Stonestreet played for KU's club soccer team.

Kyamran Tairov participated last year.

Kingsley Folabit played for Schulz Soccer Academy in the US Soccer Developmental Academy.

Tyler Kellogg played at Kellogg Community College.

Gino Pecchenino is from Argentina if this is the same guy.

Jorge Faivre played for El Paso United (again if it's the same guy).

Uziel Franco is from Cassville.

Vincent Torres is playing for Florida Atlantic.

Kyle Yager played at St. Ambrose.

Yannick Araman may have played for German Plus Jakarta in 2007.

Kyle Bak attended Western New England College and attended the USL Showcase.

Robert Mueller plays at the University of Memphis.

Mark Pataky played for Western Connecticut State.

Matt Stufflebeam played for the Springfield Demize and has tried out the last two years.

Terry Watts played at Washtenaw Community College.

Let me know if you know of any I for sure missed, cause I'm sure there are a few.

Wizards Trade Hartman

Word earlier today from 3rd Degree was that the Wizards had traded the rights to goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to Dallas. The Wizards have officially announced the trade this evening. In return for the Wizards former starting keeper, the Wizards are getting a 2012 second round draft pick. Hartman started all 90 league games for the Wizards over his 3 years with KC and was considered by many to be the team's best player over that time frame. Many Wizards fans are still upset that Hartman will not be back in a Wizards uniform this year.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Wizards Leave Arizona with Win

The Wizards closed out their stretch of preseason today in Arizona with a 4-0 rain shortened win over the Arizona Sahuaros and Grand Canyon University. While a full break down of what happened hasn't been posted yet, we've been told via twitter that Teal Bunbury and Ryan Smith both had braces for the Wizards. Also mentioned through the reports is that Michael Harrington had three assists in the game. The other assist went to Stephane Auvray who assisted on Bunbury's first. The game was called in the second half due to a downpour.

The Wizards now return to KC and will train at Swope Park in preparation for the final preseason game against St. Louis and their season opener on the 27th against DC United.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Looking at Lance Watson

Last night while recording this week's podcast, I was reminded that I hadn't done my customary "goodbye" to Lance Watson that I have done for other players that have left the Wizards. In his career in KC, Watson appeared in 36 league games, starting 24 of them, 19 of those starts came in the 2009 season when he was consistently the team's right back. He recorded his only assist in the team's 1-1 draw with DC in May of the 2009 season. He finished with 2,182 minutes played in league play. He added one playoff appearance, for a total of one minute along with multiple US Open Cup games and a couple SuperLiga games to finish his Wizards career with 43 games played, 29 starts for a total of 2,626 minutes played in all competitions.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kick Around is Back!

Shockingly I heard from a friend of mine today that is wanting to get the local KC kickaround together for anyone interested. He's looking to potentially put an indoor team together so if you're interested in playing indoor, or just interested in kicking the ball around on Sunday, come out to the Wizards training facility out at Swope Park, we'll be playing on one of the nearby fields. Start time is around 10am.

AC St. Louis Games Set

According to KSDK out of St. Louis, the Wizards home and home series with St. Louis is set, and with a twist. The first leg will be in KC at the Wizards Swope Park training complex March 20th at 2pm. The return leg will be two weeks later on April 3rd at AB Soccer Park at 7pm. Not only will the Wizards and ACSTL be playing, but the teams are also setting up a "Supporters Showdown" to have the fans of the two teams play after each of the games. The winner on aggregate will get themselves a trophy presented to the captain. So the fans can get their boots out and have some fun as well.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Former Wizards Update

I missed this update yesterday, lost track of the days in my head. Two of the Wizards players that they waived last week have landed on their feet, as Kevin Souter was picked up by Seattle, and Kurt Morsink has followed Curt Onalfo to DC and appears set to earn a contract with them. Mean while another former Wizard is looking for a new team as Abe Thompson was waived by Real Salt Lake. Lance Watson also now joins this list as well. The Wizards registry is getting a work out. Here is this week's report.

Sean Bowers - San Diego - Beat Revolucion Tijuana 12-6 and Edmonton 8-3.
Pat Healey - Baltimore - Had a goal and an assist in Baltimore's 23-14 win over Philadelphia.
Vicente Figueroa - California - Finished out the season with a 9-6 win over Edmonton.
Paul Wright - San Diego - Beat Revolucion Tijuana 12-6 and Edmonton 8-3.

Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 90 minutes in Ferrocarril's 1-0 win over Racing Olavarría.
Herculez Gomez - Puebla FC - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 64 minutes getting a goal and an assist in Puebla's 3-3 draw with Jaguares.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Harbour view defeated Portmore United 2-0.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - Lost 4-1 to NK Split.
Eddie Johnson - Aris FC - Greece - Dressed but did not play in Aris' 2-0 win over Larissa. Came off the bench and played 14 minutes in the USA's 2-1 loss to Holland.
Carlos Marinelli - CA Aldosivi - Argentina - Did not play in Aldosivi's 2-1 loss to Instituto.
Akeem Priestly - FK Mughan - Azerbaijan - Did not have a game this week.
Matt Taylor - FSV Frankfurt - Germany - Did not dress in Frankfurt's 0-0 draw with Energie Cottbus.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not have a game this week.