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.