Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Wishes

There are only a few hours left in 2010, here are the wishes for this year.

1. Return to the Playoffs - Two years of missing the playoffs and it's time to return. KC has never missed the playoffs 3 years running so it's time for KC to return to the playoffs. Missing the playoffs this year would be a major disappointment with the new stadium.

2. Silverware - Yes again I'm asking for silverware again. I want a trophy.

3. Re-sign Michael Harrington - Michael Harrington had one of his best seasons as a pro last year, losing him would be a big loss for KC, so re-signing him has to be one of the highest priorities for KC.

4. 10-15 points on road trip to start season - This wish is really hard to go with considering we don't know for sure how many games KC will play on the road before opening the new stadium, but hopefully KC can have a strong road trip to start the season so they're not in a huge hole when they return home.

5. Average over 15,000 in the new stadium - I'm hopefully betting on the low side, but with a stadium with a capacity of 18,500 I'd hope KC would be able to average at least 15,000 in the 2011 season.

6. Sell out half the home games - 17 home games next season, while selling out half the games and averaging 15,000 would mean a lower amount for the non-sell outs I'd hope that KC can pull out sell outs in half their games this next season.

7. At most 1 loss at home - Depending on the way the road trip to begin the season goes, KC is going to need to have some very good home form to have a good 2011 season.

8. Omar Bravo scores 10+ goals - KC's new designated player Omar Bravo will have the full preseason to prepare with KC for the 2011 season. With a full preseason, Bravo will hopefully be able to gel with the team and be able to put the ball in the back of the net many times for KC.

9. US in KC for the Gold Cup and double header sell out - The US being in KC is definitely not for sure, while it seems the US will be in Group B or C, it's not for sure they'll be in KC. But one can definitely hope and it's note completely beyond the realm of possibility that they will be in KC. If the US does play here, anything but a sell out would be a disappointment for KC.

Year End Review of 2010 Wishes

The year is almost over and it's time to take one more look at my wishes for the year 2010. Here was my take on the wishes half way through the year.

1. The stadium starts to take shape. While I respect Gooch over at the Star, this was the story of the year for KC soccer. The win over United was great, but the fact that this stadium has gone from being approved in January to being the structure you see below. It's amazing that 506 days after dirt started moving at the site the team will take the field for the first time at their new stadium. It's great, a sign of the work the team has done, along with an economy that favored the team to getting work done quickly.
photo courtesy of Thad Bell

2. Qualify for the playoffs early. May be better to just skip this one, the team didn't even qualify for the playoffs this year.

3. Some silverware. Another wish unfulfilled.

4. SI's that contribute more. I think this wish was fulfilled pretty well. Jimmy Nielsen did well, although wasn't as strong the second half of the season. Stephane Auvray proved how valuable he was. Ryan Smith will continue to be a difficult player for opponents to deal with and shut down. Craig Rocastle had a very strong second half to the season being a composed, strong presence in the midfield for KC down the stretch.

5. Re-sign Kei Kamara. This got done during training camp and Kamara was named the team's MVP for the 2010 season.

6. Round of 16 appearance for the USA in the World Cup. The US loss to Ghana was disappointing but it was a great trip for the United States. Overall it was a great tournament for the US and the goal by Landon Donovan against Algeria has been one of the best sports moments of the year, and this video never gets old and still gives me goosebumps.

7. A home record of only 1 loss. Another one that didn't happen. KC finished 7-5-3 in their last season at Community America Ballpark, 24 of 45 points at home isn't good enough and is one of the areas that the team must improve in 2010.

8. At least 40 goals this season. KC only got 36 goals this season, but only 6 teams out of 16 even hit 40 goals this season so while the team not hitting 40 sucks, they were in very good company. And they at least weren't DC who hit an all time low for MLS with only 21 goals.

Comets Win on the Road

From the Comets

It’s not quite on par with the “Miracle on Ice,” but the Comets certainly pulled off the “Miracle in Milwaukee” with a shocking, 13-8 victory over the undefeated Milwaukee Wave at U.S. Cellular Arena Friday afternoon. The Comets, coming off an embarrassing loss just two days ago to the Baltimore Blast, played their most complete game of the season and ended the Wave’s 13-game consecutive regular season win streak, dating back to last year.

“This is the best we’ve played all year long, and the hard work the team put in after that ugly loss on Wednesday really paid off,” said Comets head coach, Kim Roentved. “The guys really wanted to show our fans and themselves that they could play with the big-boys in this league. This was a collective team effort, and we couldn’t be happier right now. It’s going to be a very happy New Year for sure!”

Probably the most important play of the game wasn’t by one of the Comets players, but by Coach Roentved himself, who inserted the team’s second leading scorer and forward, Leo Gibson, to play defense. Gibson terrorized the Wave offensive players all game long, solidifying a Comets defense that has been prone to making costly mistakes all season long.

Equally as impressive as Gibson was Comets goalkeeper, Danny Waltman, who had his best game of the year after sitting out Friday night’s game against Baltimore. Waltman finished with 29 saves in the game.

The Wave got on the board first at the 6:52 mark with a power play goal by Giuliano Oliviero. The Wave would eventually score three of their four goals during power plays. Byron Alvarez answered for the Comets with less than a minute remaining in the period with an assist from Matt Iverson, giving Iverson his first point of the season. 1st Quarter Score: Tied 2-2.

The second quarter began like the first quarter ended – with the goal by Byron Alvarez, 20 seconds into the period, giving Alvarez two goals in 65 seconds. After another Wave power play goal at the 7:57 mark by Marcio Leite, the Comets’ Jamar Beasley responded with a goal of his own, assisted by Alvarez, a half minute later to give the Comets a 6-4 lead at halftime.

The Wave tied things up 6-6 at the 1:11 mark on a goal by Marco Terminesi, which ricocheted off Comets’ defender, Brian Harris. Again, the Comets answered quickly with a goal of their own, this time, by newcomer, Will John, earning his first goal as a Comet and giving the Comets an 8-6 lead at the 2:24 mark. The Wave tied things back up on another power play goal by Terminesi, after the Comets were penalized for having too many men on the field. The Wave should have scored moments earlier in the power play, when Harris of the Comets deflected a shot that surely would have gone in with his hand that went unnoticed by the officials. The Comets would take the lead for good though on Byron Alvarez’s third goal of the game on a ball that was mishandled by Wave goalie, Nick Vorberg, at the 14:11 mark. The goal, assisted by Leo Gibson, gave Alvarez a hat trick for the game. 3rd Quarter Score: Comets 10, Wave 8.

In the final period, Comets hunkered down on defense even more, punctuated by Waltman’s play in goal. After the Wave inserted a sixth attacker with two minutes left in the game, the Comets’ Jamar Beasley broke free and scored an unassisted 3-point goal to put Milwaukee away for good. The goal was Beasley’s first 3-pointer of the season.

The win brings the Comets record to 2-6 on the season, while the loss is the Wave’s first of the season. The Comets next game is a rematch against the Chicago Riot on Friday, January 7th at the Independence Events Center. Game time is 7:35p.

Comets single game tickets can be purchased online at Groups and youth soccer teams can also “Play Like the Comets” on the field before every Comets home game. For Comets group tickets, call 816-478-BALL. For all the latest Comets news, visit

For more information about the Major Indoor Soccer League, please visit the League’s official website

Box score below. Link to box score:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Espinoza Not Named to Honduran Team

Honduras today named their roster for this January's UNCAF Nations Cup in Panama. Unfortunately for KC fans, Roger Espinoza was not one of the 24 players named to the roster. Espinoza's last appearance for Honduras was in the team's loss to Panama back in November. He was and unused substitute in Honduras' win in the return leg in December. Espinoza then didn't travel to Spain for the friendly this week against Catalonia. Hopefully Espinoza will be able to work his way back onto the national team, but at this point he'll now look towards preseason training with KC.

Espinoza Doesn't Travel as Honduras Lose

Tuesday Honduras was in Spain to take on Catalonia in a friendly and Roger Espinoza had originally been named to the roster, but apparently did not travel. That may have been best for Espinoza because while it would have been a great opportunity to play against some good talent, Honduras was defeated 4-0 by the Catalonia side. The game was the last warm up friendly for Honduras before this January's UNCAF Nations Cup and Honduras' attempt to qualify for the 2011 Gold Cup. Word out of Honduras is that the roster for Honduras for that tournament will be announced today in a press release. It would seem a good bet that Espinoza will be on the roster, but we'll wait and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Comets Lose Again

The Comets opened the scoring tonight against the Baltimore Blast, but from there it went down hill. An early 2 minute tripping penalty on Pat Healey gave MO the chance to grab the early lead as Birche fed Bryon Alvarez who scored to give MO their only lead of the game. Shortly after MO's goal, Healey atoned a bit as he scored off an assist from Worteh Sampson. Sampson stole the ball off of Leo Gibson as he played with the ball too much in front of goal. Sampson again set up the second goal for Baltimore, feeding Max Ferdinand who beat Boris Pardo to make it 4-2. Robbie Aristodemo made it 6-2 when Machel Millwood found him at the top of the box. And just 11 minutes into the first quarter, Millwood scored his first goal to make it 8-2 finishing off a pass from Ferdinand at the back post. The Comets cut into the lead late in the first quarter as Gibson found Jamar Beasley at the back post for a tap in for him to make it 8-4 after 1 quarter.

In the second quarter Missouri stepped up the defense and bit and controlled more of the game, but at times it also seemed that Baltimore was just playing with the Comets at times that they could just turn their game on and blow by the Comets completely. Late in the second quarter the Blast did turn it on. On a fast break, Lucio Gonzaga directed the play and then found Millwood who beat Pardo to make it 10-4. Another give away, this time by Shahryar Dastan led to another goal. Dastan gave the ball away to Healey who dribbled towards the box. Pardo committed himself coming out to try to stop the play but Healey got the shot off before Pardo could get there making it 12-4. Gonzaga made it 14-4 a minute and a half after Healey's second of the game. Pardo made a few good saves to keep MO in the game, but it wasn't enough as the 14-4 lead stood into halftime.

Pardo continued to make a few good saves in the 3rd quarter, but the offense sputtered as they didn't produce many good chances. The only goal came fairly early in the half, as Healey finished off his hattrick with Millwood again assisting on the goal making it 16-4. In the fourth quarter things continued to spiral out of control and started early. Off the kick off Dastan received the ball and decided for some reason it'd be good to play a looping ball to Pardo. The pass though, while ill-advised considering it was played in the air was also off the mark, Pardo was unable to get to the ball and Sampson raced onto it and put it away to make it 18-4 with less than 10 seconds gone in the 4th. MO had a few chances to get closer on power plays, but it ended up being Baltimore increasing their twice scoring short handed goals, the first after Millwood collected the ball deep in the corner and was able to get the ball to Healey in the middle of the box for the former SKC Wizards' draft pick his fourth goal of the game. Then late in the half after Healey had picked up a second blue card for pushing this time, Mike Lookinghand collected a ball in the corner for the Blast and fired a shot that went into the far corner making it 22-4. MO did get one more goal, on the same power play. Birche fired a 3 point shot that deflected off of Gibson and past Sagu in the net for the Blast to give the Comets one more goal.

This team's defense is poor. Pardo didn't have a great game in his first start for the Comets but he got no help from his defense. At least 3-4 of the goals were the fault of defensive miscues. On top of that, the defense isn't exactly a strong part for MO anyways. The offense isn't much better either, as while the Comets can get possession and hold the ball in the offensive third their ability to get shots off and even their shot selection is poor as the losses continue to rack up for MO. At this time it's hard to see a turn around for the Comets this season.

Former SKC Wizards Update

A very slow week for former SKC Wizards players. Most of those that are currently in season are on winter break at the moment. There are a few that are playing indoor right now, including Will John, who signed a short term contract with the Missouri Comets. Here's the rest of this week's former SKC Wizards update.

Still looking for:
Nick Cardenas
Pablo Escobar
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Pete Marino
Ryan McMahen
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestley

Indoor soccer.
Jamar Beasley - Missouri Comets - Scored a goal in Missouri's 22-6 loss to Baltimore.
Chris Brunt - Omaha Vipers - Did not have a game this week.
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Scored 4 goals in Baltimore's 22-6 win over Missouri.
Will John - Missouri Comets - Played in Missouri's 22-6 loss to Baltimore.
Boris Pardo - Missouri Comets - Started for Missouri in their 22-6 loss to Baltimore.
Paul Wright - San Diego Sockers - Lost to California 9-8 in overtime.

National Teams
Sunil Chhetri - India - Did not have a game this week.

Vicente Arze - Aurora - Bolivia - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - On winter break until January.
Herculez Gomez - Pachuca - Mexico - Clausura has not started yet.
Santiago Hirsig - Quilmes - Argentina - Clausura does not start until February.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Did not have a game this week.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - With the Missouri Comets
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Came off the bench and played 37 minutes in Fulham's 3-1 loss to West Ham. Did not dress in Stoke's 2-0 win over Stoke.
Carlos Marinelli - Györi ETO - Hungary - On winter break.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - On winter break.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - On winter break.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Season over.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 1-1 draw with North Queensland.

Comets vs Blast PBP

Still having some issues, if I don't get to your comments I'm sorry Cover it Live isn't working tonight for me due to the issues with my PC. We'll do play by play here. for the moment, it's 8-2 right now Blast. Comets have had some moments, but when the Blast have turned it on they've looked much better. And I may have it up it looks like...

Or maybe not. I'm not really sure, I'm sorry, we'll see if it speeds up, first quarter is over 8-4 Blast, Comets goals from Alvarez and Beasley with 4 Blast goals sandwiched in between.

Still cover it live issues, so far in the second quarter the Comets have killed the penalty, and Pardo and Dagu have come up big in goal for each team.

Another save on the line for MO they are making it interesting but at this point are definitely still in the game.

Still having internet issues, goal again for Baltimore, Millwood with his second of the night from Gonzaga.

Goal was against the run of play a bit as the Comets had controlled a bit. Comets free kick is blocked out for another free kick and the Comets still control.

Another poor defensive give away by the Comets and it's 12-4 now Blast.

Blast controlling, when the Comets counter, Blast counter right back and Gonzaga scores to make it 14-4.

Comets get an opportunity, but two good saves by Sagu.

Back and forth a bit at the moment, neither side really testing the keeper with chances.

2:25 left and just as I think Cover it live is back it's gone, shot by Alvarez is blocked.

Under a minute left in the second, Comets controlling, but getting no where. And there's the half, 14-4 Baltimore at the half.

At half time it appears that the cover it live is the only thing really not working for me right now. Not entirely sure why that is...


13:40 second half is underway, neither team has really tested, but Balitmore gets a breakaway from Sampson, but Pardo stays his ground and stones the breakaway.

12:30, cover it live is done for tonight, sorry it's not staying reliable. Rodriguez has a 2v2 but ends up dribbling into trouble and is dispossessed.

11:30 Still back and forth, neither keeper has had to do much so far this half.

10:00 Comets get a shot that is off the post and Baltimore is back on the offense.

9:22 foul on Baltimore in the Comets end, free kick for MO coming.

9:10 inability to get the ball out of their own end almost costs the Comets for a third time tonight, but they're saved by a foul.

8:40 Comets with some chances now, but all are just wide of the goal.

8:26 Comets foul just to the right of Pardo's goal.

8:20 3 point shot off the foul is blocked.

7:35 John breaks but it left covered by 3 Blast players and is dispossessed, Baltimore goes the other way and Pardo saves.

1:30 it's 16-4 now, Healey finished off his hattrick as I fought the wireless again. Comets caught 3 v 2 and Healey finished a lay off.

1:00 Gibson has a shot well saved.

3rd quarter over 16-4 Blast, not incredibly pretty tonight for the Comets.


15:00 Comets kicking off

10:20 sorry more issues, it's 18-4 now, off the kick off Pardo was played a horrible back pass that went off the wall right to Worteh Sampson who five-holed Pardo for 18-4. The Comets have had some chances as have the Blast, Beasley hit the bar, John set up Gibson who skied it. and now a blue for Blatimore.

9:06 short handed Blast goal, 20-4, Healey with his 4th.

7:52 3 seconds left on the power play, the Comets have had shots, but they've mostly been wide, Baltimore call a timeout.

7:30 3,790 in attendance tonight.

6:20 John with a shot well saved, he's had some moments tonight but not totally on the same page.

5:40 some how MO has two chances to put one away and they can't, from the top of the arc it hit the bar and then from feet away John and Harris can't finish.

4:35 Comets controlling but that's more because Baltimore looks content to just sit back.

3:44 Blue card for Healey for Baltimore for pulling Beasley down.

3:30 Beasley shot saved by Sagu. Healey now has 4 goals and 2 penalties tonight.

2:45 another short handed goal for Baltimore, shot along the wall beat Pardo by Mike Lookingland.

1:49 power play goal for MO, it's a 2 point goal, shot by Birche that deflected off of Leo Gibson. 22-6 now.

1:00 minute left in the game, Comets holding Baltimore in their end.

Game over, 22-6 Baltimore destroy MO, it wasn't pretty, Baltimore looked content to just play around but turned it on when they had to. It's hard to hard to say that a keeper isn't at fault when he allows 11 goals, but Pardo got zero help from his defense tonight, in fact at times they were his worst enemy.

That's it for tonight, sorry the PBP didn't work out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Comets Sign Another Former SKC Player

Today the Comets announced the signing of 2 new players to 15 day contracts, one of which will be known to most SKC Wizards fans. That player is local product, Will John, who graduated from Rockhurst High School and played for the Wizards in 2006 and 2007 before moving to Europe. John is still currently a member of NK Vinogradar of the Croatian second division according to the Comets press release, so this sounds sort of like a loan of sorts. The Comets also signed defender Jamie Harding, who previously played for the KC Comets in their previous incarnation. Both players will be in uniform tomorrow night when the Comets take on the undefeated Baltimore Blast at the Independence Event Center. I'm hoping to make the game tomorrow to provide a live blog, but it's not guaranteed at this time.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chhetri Named to Indian Roster

India has named their roster for this January's Asian Cup in Qatar. SKC Wizards forward, Sunil Chhetri made the 23 man roster for the tournament. Chhetri had scored a few goals after joining the national team for their extended camp after the Wizards play Manchester United this summer. He'd suffered from injuries the past month or so that have kept him out of India's last few friendlies along with many other members of India's team. Still, Chhetri was one of 4 forwards named to the team's roster for the tournament.

Chhetri and India kick off the tournament on January 10th when they take on Australia they then take on Bahrain on the 14th and finish against South Korea on the 18th. Korea has named their roster while Australia has a preliminary roster out and neither one are going to be easy for India to defeat.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Message From a Long Time Season Ticket Holder

I had a long time season ticket holder email me about a comment that I made on Bigsoccer about Robb Heineman's comment with regards to the roster and the lack of American players it seems like we're going after. The STH asked if I could post this for them. Have a Merry Christmas everyone, enjoy.

I am not often inspired to write on player matters of our club, but kuhnscoot/Down the Byline's post on BigSoccer about his father's concerns provided just such an inspiration.

Briefly summarized, he mentioned that his father (like myself, a long-time season ticket holder) expressed concern that next year's roster could have less of an American influence as ever, with as few as 3 or 4 starters coming from our shores.

First, is that correct? As of today, the following players would probably comprise our starting lineup:

Omar Bravo
Ryan Smith
Kei Kamara
Stephane Auvray
Craig Rocastle
Davy Arnaud
Michael Harrington
Roger Espinoza
Matt Besler
CB to be named later, but let's roll with Shavar Thomas
Jimmy Nielsen

I suppose Teal Bunbury could start at the expense of one of the attacking players above, but, either way, you're looking at only three or four players who are currently eligible for the USA. Ryan Smith could become eligible at some point. Matt Besler, the most local of all our current options, is also decidedly penciled in rather than written on the team sheet in permanent marker.

Kei Kamara and Roger Espinoza could both have pursued the route of playing for the US; both went to high school and college in the US, and both are much more products of the US than Smith, but the fact is that both chose to accept the offer to play for their homelands instead. As such, those who wish to deem them “foreign players” aren't all wet, even if they don't count against our international roster spots; after all, there is a special thrill that comes from seeing our
boys pulling on the US shirt, and that will never happen with those two.

The “club vs. country” debate is one that rages on message boards and in pubs worldwide. I haven't asked him about it specifically, but from reading his writing, I would imagine the owner of this blog is in the same camp that I am; namely, that, in principle, it doesn't much matter to us what shirt a player wears in international play as long as they perform with honor and pride in KC colors. After all, what player was more beloved in Wizards history for his unquestioned effort
and desire to play for the badge than Mo Johnston (oh, the irony!)?

Yet, how do we as American soccer fans balance our competing desires for the best possible team on the field and also the possibility of seeing them play for the USA? Or to know that our players have experiences and that are something akin to ours...namely, the burning hope that the US one day wins a World Cup?

A few different ways to look at it:
--Vermes and co. have as their job to put the best possible team on the field. Their job is not to produce players for the US National Team, no matter how much we as fans enjoy it, or even how much pride it gives them to see our boys put on the US jersey.

--I'm not wholly convinced that there's anything about an average American player that makes them any more devoted to our club in particular than any given foreign signing. Actually, it isn't that I'm not wholly convinced, it's that I genuinely don't believe it. I've seen nothing over the years that made me think players from California innately cared more about playing for us than players from Caledonia, Kinshasa or Qatar. After all, who are the regular players that have actually put down roots here that have extended/look to extend past their playing days? Other than the obvious examples of Peter Vermes and Kerry Zavagnin, Nick Garcia and Paul Rideout come most firmly to mind, and they came here in completely different ways from completely
different places, Nick being a US college players that played most of his career here, and Paul having just played a few twilight years here during a three-continent journeyman career. Maybe it means something that both have families and are from solidly middle-class backgrounds, but I'm just throwing darts.

--The short term. In a short-term mode, it is very difficult to improve your squad by adding American players, because the most likely means of acquiring American players (trades) are a two-way street. Most of the better American players are either in MLS already, thus requiring a willing trade partner and giving up materiel to obtain those players, which is possibly counterproductive, or they are overseas. Further, signing American players from abroad may not be good value for money, given that our immediate competition perceives those same advantages (no foreign roster spot taken, easier cultural integration, possible better marketing potential, and so on). Our team absolutely should pursue Americans abroad, but probably shouldn't pay over the odds for them, so as not to impact...

--The medium term. Our team has to set itself up for the next several years of success, and one good way of doing so is by maintaining roster/cap flexibility. We can't bog ourselves down in too many long-term deals, and most of the US players of proven quality coming back demand just that, complete with the elevated price of the home player compared to his value on the open world market. So, if you believe that:

PV, Robb and friends have it as their duty to put the best team on the field in both the short and medium terms. Also, insofar as there is any exclusivity, putting Americans on the field should never come at the expense of winning. And if you agree, at least on some level, that there isn't much distinction between the desire to perform and become part of our club between non-KC Americans and foreigners, then the only way to get what I think we all want (players with a connection to the club who can contribute to the US) is...

--The long term. That's the academy. We need to develop and promote academy players, and along the way instill in them pride in our club and our community. Jon Kempin is a great start, and nothing would make me happier than to see him take over when Casino Jimmy's contract expires in two years (?). Konner Knoll would be cool because he's a regional player (Wichita) long as he's good enough, of course. Jordy Rideout has the air of a pro about him, even though he isn't a standout athlete. I hear lots of whispers about some of the younger Juniors teams being a quantum leap of advancement in terms of individual potential, but until we see them for ourselves, the whispers are just that.

In short, I think the original kernel of thought here was right – namely, that next season will probably represent a trough, or close to it, in the number of US-eligible players getting regular time for our club. Further, I think all of us agree that we want more guys who are dedicated to the club; there's a real team-building aspect to the psychology of winning. I just hope we all can see that dedication to our club and region should not be prejudged based on nationality, that it is ideal that winning, talented players are also those that see our club as a part of a bigger picture, and that the only true route to that is through the continued improvement in our academy/Juniors programs. I'm beyond excited to see where this road takes us.

- Long Time Season Ticket Holder

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Latest From Heineman

Last night on Bigsoccer, Robb Heineman gave another offseason update for fans with regards to what is going on with the team and their search for players to improve the team in the 2011 season. Heineman talks about the recent trip to Tinidad for the games down there, saying they've found a few players to bring in for preseason, thanks to Thad we know 2 of those players, Daneil Cyrus and Sheldon Bateau, both players from Trinidad, Cyrus plays for Caledonia AIA, Bateau plays for San Juan Jabloteh, both teams are in the Trinidad Pro League. Cyrus just turned 20 and has already appeared for the full Trinidad national team, while Bateau turns 20 in January and has worked his way up through the Trinidad youth ranks. Both are defenders so it will be interesting to see what they can come in and do.

Heineman also said that there are some players that they are looking at for a potential residential academy set up in Kansas City, KS. A residential academy would be set up similar to the way many are in Europe where players go to school there while also playing soccer. Vancouver and Salt Lake have both set up residential academies to help them develop talent and it looks like KC will be one of the next ones to do so.

Heineman continues by talking about the college draft coming up on January 13th. Heineman gave a glimpse into the team's draft strategy stating the team has a top 10 per position and a "power 75". With the announcement that it looks like MLS has signed 7 players to GA contracts and a few seniors as well, it gives KC a small idea of who could be available at the 10 spot for KC to grab. Certainly a few ways that the team can go, but they've also got a lot of internationals that they are still looking at.

Heineman continued by talking about one of the team's efforts to get young designated player, saying that they've had the deal fall apart on them. Heineman said that late in the process the price basically doubled on them and they had to cut off the deal. There is another player that they are still looking at though to bring in that young, attacking minded, designated player.

Finally, Heineman finishes by talking about other players that they are looking at. He specifically mentions an attacking mid/winger that wouldn't be a DP, but would be close. Just from that mention it sounds similar to the Ryan Smith signing last year. He also talks about the continued work to bring in more central defenders, one that is close and two that are in early negotiations, based off the interview Thad did with Peter Vermes, it doesn't sound like one of those three is Aurelien Collin as his contract does not expire until June and the team is looking for someone in January. Certainly looks like a lot of work is still to be done on this team and it's going to be a very busy next couple months.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Former SKC Wizards Update

Not a busy time of year for former SKC Wizards players, either they're out of season, on winter break, or their game was canceled due to weather. In none game related news Diego Gutierrez was named the Philadelphia Union's Head of Scouting and Player Development. And Chris Klein was recently named the LA Galaxy's senior director of the academy and special projects. Here's the rest of the former SKC Wizards players update.

Still looking for:
Nick Cardenas
Pablo Escobar
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Pete Marino
Ryan McMahen
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestley

Indoor soccer.
Jamar Beasley - Missouri Comets - Scored a goal in the Comets' 14-13 loss to Chicago.
Chris Brunt - Omaha Vipers - Played in Omaha's 12-4 loss to Baltimore.
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Played in Baltimore's 12-4 win over Omaha.
Boris Pardo - Missouri Comets - Did not play in the Comets' 14-13 loss to Chicago.
Paul Wright - San Diego Sockers - Did not play in San Diego's 5-4 loss to Cincinnati.

National Teams
Sunil Chhetri - India - Did not have a game this week.

Vicente Arze - Aurora - Bolivia - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - On winter break until January.
Herculez Gomez - Pachuca - Mexico - Clausura has not started yet.
Santiago Hirsig - Quilmes - Argentina - Clausura does not start until February.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Defeated Tivoli Gardens 3-2, played Benfica yesterday.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - On winter break.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Game verse Liverpool was posponed.
Carlos Marinelli - Györi ETO - Hungary - On winter break.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - On winter break.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - On winter break.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Season over.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 4-0 win over Newcastle.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bunbury Called Up to "Camp Cupcake"

Thad called it last Monday and it became official today when Teal Bunbury was named to the 24 man roster for this January's US team camp in California. It continues the busy offseason for Bunbury after his trips to South Africa, Spain, and England. Bunbury will be looking to win his second cap for the US team when they take on Chile in late January.

It is a little disappointing to see that Michael Harrington still couldn't get himself called up after the good season he had for KC this year. I'd hope to see what he could do once called in to potentially either try to take the left back spot or bring more depth to the right back position. Although there could be other factors keeping Harrington out, maybe he has a trial or something lined up in Europe since he is currently out of contract, but now I'm just wildly speculating, I have nothing to back that thought up.

And for people that are wondering about Ryan Smith, I haven't heard anything regarding his citizenship since he was listed as an international for the expansion draft, so I'm working under the assumption that he was not available for selection.

Espinoza Called Up for Friendly

Roger Espinoza will get another chance this year to represent his national team, but he won't be earning an official cap for this game. A week from today, Honduras will play Catalonia in a friendly in Barcelona on the 28th of this month. While Catalonia isn't an official FIFA nation, they do put out a pretty strong side, this is the squad called up for the game against Honduras.

Monday, December 20, 2010

KC Opening at Chivas, Will Host Chicago in Opener

MLS announced the 2011 First Kick for each team today and we now know 3 of Sporting's 34 games this season. KC will open the 2011 season on March 19th in LA as they take on former Wizards player, Jimmy Conrad, and Chivas USA. The game is at 9:30 central time at the Home Depot Center. This opener had been rumored a bit with the coincidence of Chivas' parent club and SKC's designated player Omar Bravo. It should be a fun weekend and one that I'll be sure to be at. So feel free to join me as it'll be a lot of fun.

The second week of the season, KC will continue their long road trip when they'll travel up to Chicago to take on the Fire. KC will help the Fire open Toyota Park for the 2011 season at 3pm on March 26th.

The Fire will return the favor in June when they travel to KC to be the first opponent in KC's new stadium on the 9th. The time of the game hasn't been announced, but per Robb Heineman at the rebranding announcement, the game is set to be on "national TV" which means an ESPN game to open the new stadium.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bunbury and Kamara News

Some player news from over the weekend, first, Teal Bunbury's trial/training period at Stoke City is now over, but the news out of the UK continues to talk about Bunbury's time there as a trial, not training. Word is that Tony Pulis, Stoke City's manager, has played down the potential to sign Bunbury, which would seem to fit in with the whole "he's not on trial" line that Sporting KC has stated since he scored for Stoke in their reserve match. But comments like those from Pulis have also from time to time meant that an offer is forth coming and the team really is interested inn the player. Instead saying that it's unlikely as a bit of a bargaining chip in their favor.

In news for a Wizards player, Kei Kamara is trying to get himself back onto the Sierra Leone national team. Kamara had been suspended but the Sierra Leone FA shortly after the team's draw with Egypt earlier this year after comments he made about the FA covering his travel expenses. He is looking to apologize for those comments in hopes it will get the suspension lifted and give him the chance to represent his country as they try to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of nations. Sierra Leone currently sits in 3rd place in group G after two games, with 2 points. Their next game is in March when they play Niger. The top team in each group qualifies and the best 2 second place teams (plus the second place team in the 5 team Group K) qualify for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Comets Still Winless at Home

From the Comets.

All the Comets wanted was their first home win for the holidays, but the Chicago Riot wanted their first win of the season just a little bit more, as the Comets fell to the team from the Windy City, 14-13 at the Independence Events Center in a game the went back-and-forth all afternoon.

Bato Radoncic got the Riot got on the board first after a Comets defensive lapse at 6:19 mark in the first period, but a minute later, Vahid Assanpour tied things up for the Comets with an assist from Leo Gibson. The first quarter ended tied 2-2.

Tiguinho gave the Comets a 4-2 lead at the 1:46 mark in the second period, but the Riot came right back to tie it 4-4 on a goal by Alex Megson. The Riot would take the lead after a Chris Brisson goal made it 6-4 Riot. With a two man advantage, the Comets couldn’t capitalize after consecutive two-minute penalties on the Riot for pushing and too many men on the field. The Riot lead at halftime, 6-4.

Geison Moura tied things up after the half with an assist from Assadpour. Thirty-eight seconds later, Jamar Beasley scored his 5th goal of the season unassisted on a wicked shot from the right side, giving the Comets an 8-6 lead. Comets keeper, Danny Waltman, blocked a shoot-out attempt after a tripping penalty, but couldn’t stop a penalty kick by the Riot’s Novi after a hand-ball in the box penalty by defender, Jeff Davis, bringing the Riot even at 8-8. Birche of the Comets would give the Comets the lead again after a long-range 3-point shot on a Comets power-play, giving the Comets an 11-8 lead. The Riot would get on the board again after Radoncic’s second goal of the game. The Riot would take the lead at the end of the period after Comets’ goalie, Danny Waltman, was called for a hand-ball outside the goalie area. Eric Lukin scored on the penalty kick to give the Riot a 12-11 lead at the end of the 3rd period. It was Lukin’s first goal of the year.

Eric Lukin would continue the scoring for the Riot, extending their lead to 14-11 with an early goal early in the 4th period. The Comets would then get as close as they would get after a power play goal by Byron Alvarez on an assist from Leo Gibson, his 7th assist of the season and third of the game. Final: Riot 14-13. Gibson was named Comets’ Player of the Game.

“Somehow, some way, we’ve got to figure out how to win these close ones, said Comets head coach, Kim Roentved. “Every game, we’re getting better and better. We just need to figure out how to get over that hump.”

The Comets next game is Wednesday, December 29th at 7:35 p.m. at the Independence Events Center against the Baltimore Blast. The Comets will also be hosting a special winter Youth Soccer Camp for boys and girls ages 6-13 to be held on the field at the Independence Events Center on Tuesday, December 28th and Wednesday, December 29th. Each camp participant receives specialized instruction from Comets players and coaches, a camp T-shirt, and a ticket to the December 29th game. The Comets will also be holding a special goalkeeper camp on the 27th and 28th with Comets’ goalkeepers, Danny Waltman and Boris Pardo, along with Columbus Crew goalie, Andy Gruenebaum, and Sporting KC goalie, Jimmy Nielson. The Comets will then hit the road for a 2p.m. New Year’s Eve Day game against the Milwaukee Wave. Boxscore can be found at

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Espinoza Sits as Honduras Win

Roger Espinoza was on the bench for the Honduran national team in their game against Panama. Unfortunately for Espinoza he did not get the opportunity to win another cap for his national team as he did not get on to the field tonight down in Honduras. Honduras though worked their way to a 2-1 win over Panama in the return leg of a friendly in November that Panama won 2-0. All the scoring occurred in the first half. Honduras made plenty of subs in the game, but Espinoza spent the game on the bench. Honduras will now prepare for this January's Central American Cup.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kempin and US Team Fall to Germany

Jon Kempin got another start for the US U18 team in Israel in the team's final game, against Germany. All the scoring came in the second half, after the hour mark. The US opened the scoring through Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler before Germany equalized and then grabbed a winner in the 89th minute as the US fell 2-1. Judging by only the stats, it looks like Kempin may have had himself a good game even in the loss as Germany out shot the US 20-3 and 12-1 in shots on goal. Kempin made 9 saves in the game for the US. Kempin now gets to return to the US and the Juniors team to prepare for the rest of the USSF Developmental Academy season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kempin, USA Draw with Israel

The US played their second game of their friendly tournament in Israel today as they took on the hosts in Tel Aviv. After sitting out the USA's first game, Jon Kempin started in goal for the US in the second game and picked up the shutout. The US though couldn't find the net as the two teams finished in a 0-0 draw. The US have one more game against Germany coming up on Saturday.

KC to Host Gold Cup

So the good news that Robb Heineman said would be announced today appears to be that KC will be hosting the Gold Cup. Today the announcement was made on the venues for the 2011 Gold Cup and KC's Soccer Stadium is one of the venues that will host first round games. The date of the doubleheader in KC is June 14th. KC looks set to host the final group play game for Group C in the Gold Cup. Based off the dates and the venues, it looks like KC will be grouped with Detroit and Tampa for group C. It seems likely that Mexico will end up in Group A with Arlington, Charlotte, and Chicago. So the US is going to end up in Group B (Carson, Miami, Harrison) or C. It certainly be great to see the US here in KC again, but we'll have to wait and see.

Mr. Conrad Goes to LA

I've been a fan of the Kansas City Wiz(ards)/Sporting KC since 1996, and I don't think any player move has affected me as much as Jimmy Conrad leaving to go to Chivas yesterday in the MLS Re-Entry draft. I knew it was coming just from the way things seemed to be going in the 2010 season. It started with Conrad losing the captain's armband and just seemed to continue from there. I think many fans saw it coming. Unfortunately it still hurts. Conrad was the face of this team for many years. Not just on the field, but in the media as well, Conrad was great for a quote or good for a laugh out at practice. I can lie to you and say that my son's name is Conrad because my great-great grandfather who came over from Germany was named Conrad, or that from the research I'd done on the name it meant "bold counsel", the same as my last name when I looked it up. And that's how I passed it off to my wife. But that wouldn't be the full truth. I originally joked about naming my son Conrad, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it and the connection to my favorite Wizards player. It's rough to see that part of the team's history go and disappointing that he couldn't get the same appreciate from the Cauldron that Kerry Zavagnin did when he retired.

Conrad came to the Wizards in much the same way Josh Wolff did, Conrad was traded to the Wizards from San Jose for draft picks on draft day 2003. He immediately slotted into the starting lineup for KC and never looked back. His partnership in the back with Nick Garcia helped KC to the Open Cup title, a trip to MLS Cup, and to within a tie breaker of the Supporter's Shield all in the 2004 season. The 04 season is when he became my favorite player, specifically after I caught the jersey he threw into the Cauldron after the team's 5-1 win over Dallas on July 3rd. I still have the jersey, it's hanging in my closet, and likely is going to be framed sooner than later.

His play led to Conrad being called up to the national team in 2005 and he became a solid contributor there, including earning himself a trip to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Conrad finished his KC career with 28 US national team appearances, and a goal against Mexico. He turned down the chance to go abroad and play in Sweden and instead became "Captain Kansas City" when he was given the captaincy. In what was a bit of a down 2008 season, Conrad finished tied for second on the team in goals with 6 behind Davy Arnaud, many of those goals being clutch, including a stoppage time goal against Dallas that tied the game at 1-1. He's also the first player to ever jump into the Cauldron at CAB and celebrate his goal. His quote afterward has become a favorite of many Cauldronites, "they're right there, right at field level. They're very welcoming, and they smell like beer, which is great. It was fun and I had to go in there. They're our diehards."

Conrad finished his KC career as KC's all time leading scorer for a defender for KC, with 17 goals, tied for 9th in league play with Eddie Johnson and 12th in all competitions with Johnson and Miklos Molnar. He has 5 game winning goals for KC, tying him with Jack Jewsbury and Igor Simutenkov for 12th on that list in league play and 14th in all competitions with Jewsbury. Conrad has played the third most league minutes for KC, 18,194, trailing only Kerry Zavagnin and Nick Garcia. He is 4th on that list in all competitions, 20,551, with Preki less than a full game in front of him. He finished 5th in league appearances with 204, and 3rd for league starts with 203. He finished 6th in all competitions with 230 appearances, and 4th in starts 228. In his KC career he only made 2 sub appearances in all competitions.

Thank you Jimmy.

Thank You Josh Wolff

During his time here, Josh Wolff was a bit of a polarizing figure for the team. It seemed most people either liked him or hated him, there was very little middle ground. He found the net plenty for KC (43 of his 75 career league goals came for KC, 46 of his 85 in all competitions came in blue), but those that didn't like him pointed to his lack of movement on the field and what seemed to be laziness many times on his part. But when a player finishes their SKC Wizards career second in league goals and 3rd in all competitions, he deserves respect and post thanking him for his time.

Wolff came to KC in a trade with the Chicago Fire that saw KC send their first round pick to Chicago for the national team forward. The Fire turned around and used that pick, the third overall on Nate Jaqua. Many KC fans were excited after his 2002 season and World Cup performance, but were also apprehensive as Wolff had torn his ACL after the World Cup and had missed the rest of the 2002 season. He had a slow start to his KC career, only scoring twice in an injury shortened 2003 season. In 2004, though he led the team in scoring in league play for the first of 3 times with 10 goals as KC advanced to MLS Cup. Wolff again led the team in 2005 before a drop off in 2006 where it looked like his mind was already over in Europe quite a bit of the time. After the 2006 season Wolff went to Germany and played with 1860 Munich for a season and a half. He returned to KC half way through the 2008 season. In 2009 he scored a career high in league goals with 11, leading KC in scoring for the third time. In 2010 he had another drop off as much of the team struggled to score at times. Wolff ended up losing his starting spot as the season went on.

Wolff finishes his KC career in the top 15 in multiple categories, along with his goal scoring points. He finished 5th on the list for league assists with 26, including a team high 10 in 2005 when he became one of only a handful of players to have a 10 goal 10 assist season. He was also 5th in all competitions with 30. Wolff is 3rd on the list of league game winning goals for KC with 11, and 4th in all competitions with 12. Wolff finished his career in 10th place for league minutes played with 11,467 minutes played, and 11th in all competitions with 12,939 minutes. Wolff finished tied for 9th in league games played for KC with 144, tied with Matt McKeon, 128 of them starts, good for 9th place on it's own. He was 10th in all competitions with 165 appearances, 144 starts, putting him in 11th place there. Wolff is also the most capped Wizards player while playing for the team, appearing 38 times for the Red, White, and Blue, scoring 6 goals during that time. Finally, he also scored the team's 400th league goal in KC's 3-2 opening day win in 2005 over Colorado and the 600th league goal in second half stoppage time of the team's 4-2 win over New England on 9/5/2009.

Good luck to you Josh, thank you for your service to the team, and for your last goal, which will likely be the one most fans remember over any other.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Former SKC Wizards Update

Here is this week's former SKC Wizards update.

Still looking for:
Nick Cardenas
Pablo Escobar
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Pete Marino
Ryan McMahen
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestley

Indoor soccer.
Jamar Beasley - Missouri Comets - Had an assist in MO's 13-12 loss to Baltimore.
Chris Brunt - Omaha Vipers - Had an assist in Omaha's 17-6 win over Chicago.
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Scored a goal in Baltimore's 13-12 win over Mo.
Boris Pardo - Missouri Comets - Did not play in MO's 13-12 loss to Baltimore.
Paul Wright - San Diego Sockers - Did not play in San Diego's 5-4 win over Tijuana.

National Teams
Sunil Chhetri - India - Did not have a game this week.

Vicente Arze - Aurora - Bolivia - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 65 minutes in Ferro's 2-1 win over Grupo Univ.
Herculez Gomez - Pachuca - Mexico - Came off the bench and played 16 minutes in Pachuca's 1-0 loss to TP Mazembe in the Club World Cup. Started and played 63 minutes in Pachuca's 2-2 (4-2) PK win over Al Wahda in the 5th place match in the Club World Cup.
Santiago Hirsig - Quilmes - Argentina - Did not dress in Quilmes' 1-0 winn over San Lorenzo. Did not dress in Quilmes 1-0 winn over Olimpo.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Played 45 minutes in Harbour View's 1-0 win over Reno. Lost 1-0 to Village United.
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - On winter break.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Came off the bench and played 18 minutes in Fulham's 0-0 draw with Sunderland.
Carlos Marinelli - Györi ETO - Hungary - On winter break.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - On winter break.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - Game against Werder Bremen II and against Hansa Rostock were both postponed.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Season over.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 2-0 loss to Gold Coast.

Re-Entry Draft Busy Day for KC

Lots of coming and going today for KC when it came to today's Re-Entry draft. With the first pick of round 2, DC United selected Josh Wolff and shortly after announced that they'd agreed to a new 1 year contract with a club option year for the 2012 season. With the next pick, another long tenured KC player left the team, as Chivas USA selected Jimmy Conrad, returning Conrad to California where I think most people expected him to go after he retired to take his turn in following his spouse around as his wife has during his playing career. My "tribute posts" to both players will likely be out tomorrow.

With their first pick in the draft, KC grabbed Frankie Hejduk from Columbus. When the pick was made it certainly brought some interesting thoughts on the contract situation of Michael Harrington. With Harrington out of contract it seemed like KC was either looking for depth to back him up or a replace should Harrington not re-sign with the club. He would have been an interesting addition, but wasn't exactly my favorite pick as I'd been unimpressed with his performance this year. And with him turning 37 during the 2011 season, while he'd continue to show is crazy fitness level, his skill level is certainly deteriorating. Him as a veteran sub would be ok, but the pick worried me about Harrington's contract status.

Hejduk, though, was only a SKC Wizard for a few hours before his rights were traded away. KC made a trade with the LA Galaxy sending the rights for Hejduk to LA in return for the rights to Luke Sassano. Sassano spent the 2010 season with New York. Sassano made 3 appearances for New York, 2 starts in the 2010 season. KC now holds Sassano's rights and will have the ability to sign him. In the 2010 season, Sassano made $40,000 this past season, so signing him is extremely unlikely to break the bank. And while it's disappointing to see Conrad and Wolff go they create over $400,000 in cap space for KC with those two no longer on KC's books. If Sassano's signed he could certainly see plenty of time next season with Stephane Auvray, Craig Rocastle, and Shavar Thomas all potentially missing games as part of the Gold Cup this summer. And with Sassano being able to play midfield and defense he could certainly step in to any of those positions.

The final interesting player news of the day came from team's press release regarding the Sassano trade. The team announced that the following players are currently on the roster for 2011: Korede Aiyegbusi, Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Matt Besler, Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury, Sunil Chhetri, Birahim Diop, Roger Espinoza, Jack Jewsbury, Kei Kamara, Nick Kounenakis, Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Jimmy Nielsen, Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith, Shavar Thomas and Graham Zusi. What this means is that the only player still out of contract at this time is Michael Harrington (and Sassano obviously). There's also no Zoltan Hercegfalvi on there as well meaning it looks like his time in KC may be done too. Jon Kempin isn't listed either, but that likely is because of his home grown status and doesn't mean KC's already given up on their first home grown signing. Certainly more moves are on the way, including the "young DP" rumors that are continuing to be talked about and the Aurelien Collin rumors.

So there looks like there could be plenty of interesting information coming out in the next few weeks, including this tweet from Robb Heineman earlier today.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

US U18 Team Loses in Israel

Jon Kempin and the US U18 team lost their first game of the four game tournament in Tel Aviv today 3-0 to the French U18 team. SKC Wizards goalkeeper, Kempin, did not play in the game, instead Andrew Wolverton of the Concorde Fire out of Georgia started in net. The US team fell behind in the 20th minute as a cross was volleyed into the net. In the 55th the lead was doubled as another cross was slotted home at the back post. A deflected shot in the 88th minute gave the French the 3-0 win.

Bunbury Scores for Stoke Reserves

Teal Bunbury just can't be stopped this offseason for KC. After the US national team call up, the successful GA tour, and training with EPL side, Stoke City, Bunbury added to his accomplishments by scoring today for the Potters in the reserve team's 3-1 loss to Wigan. Bunbury scored after getting on the end of a through ball by one time Wizards designated player target, Eidur Gudjohnsen. The goal gave the Potters a 1-0 lead, but Wigan responded with 3 unanswered to win the game 3-1. The Stoke article refers to Bunbury as a trialist, and at least one article in Europe picked up on this and ran with the rumor saying that they were looking to sign the SKC striker to a contract to improve their strike force. SKC made their first comment on Bunbury's training with the club today to correct the comment about him being a trialist.

A move for Bunbury would seem unlikely at this time but you never know. If he impresses enough while training with the club he could certainly bring an offer from Stoke in January if they wanted to try and buy him. At this point I don't really see Sporting accepting any offer unless it was way over the top. I also wouldn't go if I was Bunbury, the lack of playing time and success in Europe for Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu should be signs for caution, while spending time developing in MLS can lead to big things as the play by Clint Dempsey and Stuart Holden show. Hopefully Bunbury would want to continue to develop instead of jumping at the money. It would also leave a big hole in the Wizards forward line. In fact with the way things have gone I wouldn't be surprised if Bunbury starts the season as a starter ahead of 2010 team MVP, Kei Kamara with Ryan Smith and Omar Bravo, but we'll have to wait and see.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Conrad and Wolff in Re-Entry Draft Round 2

If Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff's time in KC wasn't over when they were placed into the first stage of the re-entry draft, it certainly appears that it's now over as both Conrad and Wolff opted to stay in the draft and not renegotiate their contract with SKC. Today the list of players that will be available for Wednesday's stage 2 of the re-entry draft was released. Of the original 35 players, 32 will be entering stage 2. Joseph Ngwenya and Aaron Hohlbein were selected in stage 1, and Jovan Kirovski has opted out of the second round, instead choosing to try to renegotiate with the LA Galaxy. I just can't really see either one of these two players being in the new SKC Wizards blue next season at the stadium, which is definitely disappointing from a personal stand point.

It's the end of two very long careers in KC, both are in the top 10 in games played for the Wizards, Conrad is one of only a handful of players to have played over 200 games for the Wizards while Wolff is one of the top 3 scorers in team history. I understand from a professional standpoint why the players are moving on, but it is a bit disappointing. As for the Wizards selecting anyone Wednesday in the draft, no one really strikes me as a must have if they are available for us at the 8 spot, but we'll see if Peter Vermes and KC value any of the available players.

Juniors Player, Eduardo Moreno Invited to US U17 Camp

SKC Wizards' Juniors' player, Eduardo Moreno has been invited down to Bradenton, FL for a US U-17 camp this week. The camp is designed for players to experience the environment that comes along with the residency academy in Bradenton. Moreno is from Liberal, KS, which is down in the southwest corner of the state, just north of the Oklahoma border. This is a fantastic opportunity for Moreno to get some great training with some of the best young players in the US and bring that back to the Juniors.

In other Juniors news today, Jonathan Kempin and the US U-18 team was supposed to play Germany today in Israel. The game though was postponed to Friday because Germany had been unable to land in Israel due to weather. The US team takes on France tomorrow.

Bunbury Being Called Up for January Camp

Thad at The Back Post is reporting that Teal Bunbury's busy offseason is continuing as he's been called up for the US national team camp in Los Angeles in January. Called "Camp Cupcake" by many fans, it's an offseason camp for MLS and Scandinavian US players to get a chance to train in front of the US team and finish with a friendly. This year the game is against Chile on January 22nd at the Home Depot Center. If any players are really impressive they're likely to be kept in camp for the US team's February 9th friendly in Cairo against Egypt.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Comets Falter Down the Stretch in Baltimore

From the Comets

Leading for three straight periods is hard. Holding onto a lead after three periods proved even harder for the Comets as they fell 13-12 to the Baltimore Blast at First Mariner Arena.

Baltimore struck first on a re-start goal by Adauto Neto early in the first quarter. Vahid Assadpour got the Comets on the board a few minutes later with an unassisted goal from beyond the 3-point line. After another Blast goal, Geison Moura scored, followed by Byron Alvarez’s unassisted 3-pointer to finish the scoring for the quarter and for the half, as neither team could find the back of the net in the 2nd period. Halftime score: Comets 8, Blast 4.

The teams remained silent until near the end of the 3rd period, when Tiguinho kept the Comets’ scoring streak going with a goal, assisted by Jamar Beasley. The Blast came right back to score 20 seconds later to end the 3rd period with the Comets leading 10-7.

The fourth period was a completely different story, as the Blast score quickly and often, tallying three goals in the period’s first 7 ½ minutes to take a 13-10 lead. Playing with a 6th attacker, the Comets’ Tiguinho would score with five seconds left in regulation. Final: Blast 13, Comets 12.

“We had this one, and to let it slip away is tough, really tough,” said Comets head coach, Kim Roentved. “We should be walking out of here feeling great and having a “W” in our pocket, heading to Chicago, but you have to hand it to the Blast for coming back the way they did.”

The loss leaves the Comets with a record of 1-4. The Comets next game is at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, December 12th at the Chicago Riot. The Comets next home game is on Sunday, December 19th against the Riot at 3:10 p.m. at the Independence Events Center.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bunbury Training with Stoke City

After finishing up a 3 goal performance in the MLS Generation Adidas tour in Spain, it looks like Teal Bunbury is sticking around Europe for a little while longer. This morning on Twitter, Bunbury posted "Just finished my first training session with Stoke City. Gonna be a great 10 days here. Praise God!! Much love." There's been no word that it's an actual trial with the EPL side, what it likely is, is just training for Bunbury. Similar to situations that other MLS players like Steve Zakuani and Osvaldo Alonso found themselves in already this offseason (both trained with Everton).

This is certainly a great opportunity for Bunbury to show how good he is against a team in one of the best leagues in the world. And while many people would likely laugh a bit at the fact that it's Stoke City and not a more glamorous club, the fact that Bunbury is getting a chance to train with an EPL side can be nothing but a good thing for Bunbury. I doubt that this is anything more than a training session, but it could be something that could eventually lead to something if Bunbury continues to show well.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Defender and Young DP, Not One and the Same

Recently in an interview with Thad from The Back Post, Robb Heineman said that the team was zeroing in on their first offseason signing of the season and according to Robb it wouldn't be surprising what area that was on the field. The assumption at the time was that KC was close to getting a defender, as that was an area that many people, including Heineman said that the Wizards needed to improve in. In fact in the same interview Heineman said the team needed to reduce the number of gift goals they give up. Last season each of KC's center backs seemed to have a high profile error that caused at least one goal. Most had more than one.

Then earlier this week, Andy over at The Daily Wiz posted his very well researched idea on who it was the Wizards were signing. That name is French defender, Aurelien Collin, who is currently playing in the Portuguese first division with Vitoria Setubal. Collin fits in with some of the comments that have been made about the signing, including being French and is currently playing in a location where Peter Vermes and the coaching staff traveled, which fits in with Heineman's comments from the interview with Thad. Collin certainly seems to be a very likely potential target, especially since he's been up on the transfer market recently as well.

Finally there is the comment by Heineman on Bigsoccer where he mentioned that the team is after a young designated player based on the players skill not their name. This comment along with the above has led some people to believe that these rumors are about one and the same player. Personally this doesn't make sense. If Collin is in fact the signing, he doesn't seem like a designated player based on skill alone. He hasn't exactly lite up the field anywhere he's played, according to his wikipedia page, he has played a grand total of 38 league games since he turned pro. Not exactly the amount of time you'd expect from a DP. The other thing is the order of the process, it's unlikely that in his interview with Thad, Heineman would have said that they were close to signing a player, then go on to Bigsoccer and say the team was pursing a young DP. That time line does not make sense. He's certainly possible, but based on what I've found out about Collin it seems unlikely that he's going to be the young designated player the team is pursing.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Espinoza Called Up for Honduras Friendly

It looks like a year full of national team call ups for SKC Wizards players will see 1 more cap for a SKC player. Roger Espinoza has been called up by the Honduran team for their final friendly of the year against Panama. The two teams met back in November in Panama with the hosts winning that game 2-0. This time the two teams will meet at the Estadio Olímpico in San Pedro Sula. This is likely to be both country's final warm up match before this January's Central American Cup in Panama. Where the top 5 teams will qualify for the Gold Cup. Honduras is in Group B with Costa Rica and Guatemala and is assured a chance to at least play in the 5th place game for a spot in the Gold Cup.

Former SKC Wizards Update

Time for another former SKC Wizards update. Seasons are winding down for many players. Aaron Hohlbein looks set to be a permanent member of this list after being selected today by Columbus. Here's the rest of your update.

Still looking for:
Nick Cardenas
Pablo Escobar
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Pete Marino
Ryan McMahen
Nelson Pizarro
Akeem Priestley

Indoor soccer.
Jamar Beasley - Missouri Comets - Did not have a game this week.
Chris Brunt - Omaha Vipers - Played in the Vipers 8-6 loss to Milwaukee
Pat Healey - Baltimore Blast - Did not have a game this week.
Boris Pardo - Missouri Comets - Did not have a game this week.
Paul Wright - San Diego Sockers - Scored 2 goals and got 2 assists in San Diego's 11-5 win over Louisville.

National Teams
Sunil Chhetri - India - Did not have a game this week.

Vicente Arze - Aurora - Bolivia - Season is over.
Eloy Colombano - Ferrocarril Sud - Argentina - Started and played 90 minutes in Ferro's 4-3 win over Liniers.
Herculez Gomez - Pachuca - Mexico - Apertura season is over, but is in the FIFA Club World Cup that started today.
Santiago Hirsig - Quilmes - Argentina - Did not dress in Quilmes' 1-0 loss to Boca Juniors.
Jermaine Hue - Harbour View - Jamaica - Lost to Waterhouse 1-0
Will John - NK Vinogradar - Croatia - On winter break.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Came off the bench and played 1 minute in Fulham's 2-1 loss to Arsenal.
Carlos Marinelli - Györi ETO - Hungary - On winter break.
Yura Movsisyan - Randers FC - Denmark - Started and played 90 minutes in Randers' 1-1 draw with SønderjyskE.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - Game against Stuttgart II was postponed.
Ivan Trujillo - Deportes Quindío - Colombia - Did not dress in Quindio's 1-0 loss to Cucuta Deportivo. Did not dress in Quindio's 4-1 loss to Once Caldas.
Diego Walsh - Wellington Phoenix - Australia - Did not dress in Wellington's 2-1 win over Adelaide.

Hohlbein Selected in First Stage of Re-Entry Draft

The first stage of the re-entry draft was today. The draft took a grand total of 5 minutes as all but two teams passed in the first round and those two passed in the second round. With the first pick, DC United selected Joseph Ngwenya of the Houston Dynamo. Heading into the draft a lot of speculation surrounded whether or not DC would use the first pick on Jimmy Conrad to help solidify their back line. Instead DC went for a cheaper option, and one to help their forward line that scored an MLS worst 21 goals last season.

The only other selection was by the Columbus Crew who picked up Sporting KC defender, Aaron Hohlbein. While everyone seemed to be predicting that Conrad would be the Wizards player selected, Hohlbein in the end made the most sense for most clubs, as he makes the league minimum $40,000 while also being fairly experienced making 43 appearances for KC in league play. Hohlbein's KC career looks to end with just under 3,500 minutes in league play (3,496), in 41 starts in those 43 appearances. He also scored two goals in the 2009 season for KC. In all competitions Hohlbein played in 48 games, 46 starts, and 3,945 minutes played. For the Crew he fills a much needed backup role in the center back position as they currently have Chad Marshall and Andy Iro to start but need to replace Eric Brunner who was taken in the expansion draft.

Now the teams have a chance to renegotiate with players not selected. This means that KC has a chance to renegotiate with Conrad and Josh Wolff. Overall I still thing it's unlikely that either one is going to be back next season playing in the new stadium in a SKC jersey. But we'll have to see over the next few days as the team has the ability to renegotiate through Monday.

Bloggers Summit Podcast

So what were you doing on Saturday? I was meeting with the largest gathering of soccer bloggers in Kansas City as Thad from The Back Post, James from Sporting Times, Andy from The Daily Wiz, Gooch from the Full 90 and KC Star and myself recorded the latest blogger summit for From the Byline to the Back Post. We recorded a good 2 hours worth of discussion on numerous topics including the World Cup, the 2010 and 2011 seasons for Sporting KC, player news, and the rebranding. Lots of discussion on all the interesting topics from the last few weeks. Get the podcast on Posterous or on iTunes. Enjoy

Bunbury Scores Twice in GA Win

SKC Wizards forward, Teal Bunbury and the MLS Generation Adidas team finished their trip to Spain undefeated today as they topped Athletico Madrid's reserves 4-1. Bunbury played a big role in the game today, scoring two goals and assisting on a third goal. Bunbury started the game on the bench and while the GA team played well they only scored once off a cross from FC Dallas player, Andrew Wiedeman that deflected off a Madrid defender and into the net for an own goal. Bunbury came off the bench at half time and made an immediate impact as he received a pass from Corben Bone and held off both of his defenders as he dribbled towards goal. Bunbury slipped a bit as he tried to cut back and it worked well in his favor as the two defenders over ran him, Bunbury was able to get up and slot the ball into the far corner doubling the GA team's lead. New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo scored the third as Bunbury played a cross in to him that Agudelo settled, cut around the goalkeeper and slid the ball into the net. Bunbury finished the goal scoring for the GA team he was played through on goal by Baggio Husidic. Bunbury raced in on goal and beat the keeper near post to make it 4-0. Madrid earned a late PK as Jeremy Hall brought down his player in the box, although it was a little soft, Madrid buried the PK, but it wasn't enough as the GA team won 4-1. Bunbury finished the trip with 3 goals and an assist, and helped set up another goal as well. Strong performance by the GA team. See the highlights below.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bunbury and GA Team Win Again

In the second game of their Spain trip, the MLS Generation Adidas team defeated Rayo Vallecano 1-0 today. Sporting KC forward, Teal Bunbury played the entire game in what proved to be a fairly physical game in very wet conditions, with standing water on the field. Bunbury was yellow carded in the first half after a foul by him led to a bit of a shoving match. A second half goal by Peri Marosevic of FC Dallas proved to be the winner for the GA team. The GA team have one more game tomorrow against Athletico Madrid's reserve team. Check out the highlights below.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Thomas and Jamaica Lift Digicel Cup

It took penalty kicks, but Shavar Thomas and the Jamaican team defeated Stephane Auvray and his Guadeloupe team 1-1 (5-4) in the Digicel Cup final. Colorado Rapids forward, Omar Cummings gave Jamaica the lead in the first half, but shortly after Guadeloupe equalized through Ludovic Gotin. Jamaica had the better of play through most of the rest of the game, but some good defending and goalkeeping, along with the some poor decisions by Jamaica kept the score level. Guadeloupe also had some good chances going forward, but couldn't find the net either. In extra time, Jamaica continued to be the more impressive team but didn't create many chances, the best came in the first overtime period where a Rodolph Austin volley had to be parried wide by Guadeloupe's goalkeeper. In the PK shoot out you saw a virtual clinch on how to take PKs on the first 9 kicks, as all were well taken with the keepers never getting a hand on any of them. On the final PK of the first set of 5 though, Jean Luc Lamboude placed his kick wide of the post giving the title to the Reggae Boyz. Thomas lifted the trophy after being subbed out late in the second period of extra time in a tactical move for penalty kicks while Auvray went the entire 120 minutes for Guadeloupe.

Earlier in the day, Craig Rocastle and Grenada played Cuba in the 3rd place game. The game turned out to be quite a bit better than the team's previous encounter when the two played to a drab 0-0 draw that saw both team's qualify for the semifinals. A 12th minute goal from Roberto Balmaseda was all Cuba needed in the game. Rocastle started again for Grenada and went the full 90 for the Spice Boys.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Jamaica and Guadeloupe to Meet in Digicel Cup Finals

Stephane Auvray and Guadeloupe will get a chance to get back at Jamaica for their loss in group play on Sunday in the Digicel Caribbean Cup finals after both teams won their semifinals tonight. In the early game of the day, Auvray actually was not in the lineup for Guadeloupe as they took on Cuba. Cuba grabbed the lead in the first half through Reysandri Cervantez. In the second half, Guadeloupe started to push the game more, equalizing in the 55th minute through Gregory Gendrey. In the 78th minute, Guadeloupe grabbed the winner through Jean Luc Lamboude on a free kick from about 35 yards out. Guadeloupe held on for the 2-1 win.

It took a little extra work for Shavar Thomas and Jamaica to get past Craig Rocastle and Grenada though as the team's were tied 1-1 after 90 minutes. A goal in the first period of extra time led to Jamaica pulling out the 2-1 win. Thomas captained the Jamaican squad who grabbed the lead in the 7th through Dane Richards off an assist from Ryan Johnson as Jamaica's MLS contingent continues to play well in the cup. In the 13th though, Grenada found the equalizer through Kitson Bain. Both sides pushed throughout the rest of the game with Jamaica being the more dominate side. After 90 minutes with the sides still level and went to extra time. Early in extra time Rodolph Austin found Troy Simmons with a cross, Simmons collected and then finished. Grenada pushed for the equalizer and were boosted by a Jamaican red card, but Jamaica advanced to the finals. Both Thomas and Rocastle went the full 120 minutes for their sides. Jamaica and Guadeloupe now meet in the final while Grenada will meet Cuba in the third place game earlier in the day.

Conrad and Hohlbein Join Wolff in ReEntry Draft

Today the full list of players that will be available for Wednesday's Re-Entry Draft. Along with Josh Wolff, whose contract option was not picked up, Jimmy Conrad and Aaron Hohlbein will be available in the draft as well. Conrad and Hohlbein are both out of contract, for the draft it means that both players can accept or reject a "bona fide" offer by the team that drafts them. If they reject it, the drafting team holds the player's MLS rights. As for Wolff, any team that drafts him will be taking on his current contract. The full list contains a number of former SKC players available for selection including Preston Burpo, Nick Garcia, Claudio Lopez, Khari Stephenson, Carey Talley, and Alex Zotinca. The draft will take place place at 1pm Wednesday. Players not selected will have until next Monday to negotiate a new contract with their old club. If they do not, the second stage of the draft will be Wednesday the 15th.

Looking at the list, no player really strikes me as currently being worth taking with the 8th spot and making a bona fide offer to.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Bunbury Scores in GA Win over Madrid

The MLS Generation Adidas team got their trip to Spain off to a good start, as they defeated Real Madrid's reserves today in Spain 2-1. SKC forward, Teal Bunbury started and played the full 90 minutes for the GA team. Bunbury scored the first goal for the GA team, the ball was crossed in by Houston midfielder, Danny Cruz and was knocked into Bunbury's path by Juan Agudelo. Bunbury one timed his shot into the net. Bunbury also played a roll in the team's second goal, as Bunbury picked up a loose ball and played a cross into the box. The cross was poorly cleared into the path of Dilly Duka who fired home to give the GA team a 2-0 lead. They held that lead until the 68th minute when Madrid pulled a goal back. The GA's held on and won the game 2-1. They next play on Tuesday, check out highlights below.

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