Monday, May 30, 2011

Espinoza Capped in Draw with El Salvador (Thomas Plays in Friendly)

Roger Espinoza earned his 16th cap of his international career over the weekend playing for Honduras in Houston against El Salvador. Espinoza came on as a substitute in the 54th minute. At that point Honduras had a 2-0 lead over El Salvador, but two goals in the span of 3 minutes saw El Salvador tie the game at 2-2. Honduras begin the Gold Cup on June 6th in LA against Guatemala. The cap ties Espinoza with Gary Glasgow for the most capped non-US player while a member of the Wizards.

In other international news for KC, Shavar Thomas and Jamaica had a friendly against the reserve side of Brazilian club Palmeiras FC. The Reggae Boyz fell 2-0 to the Brazilians, with Thomas being called for a penalty that led to the second goal after Jamaica's keeper mis-hit a clearance after a back pass from Thomas. Jamaica is in the same group as Honduras and opens against Craig Rocastle and Grenada out at the Home Depot Center on the 6th.

Sunday After Stats Monday Edition

A day late due to travel and a bus tire blowing on the bus on the way back to KC, but here are this week's stats. Not many this week though.

Ryan Smith's goal was the 12th road goal of the season for KC, they scored 11 all of last year.

Michael Harrington made his 110th league start, tying him with Jose Burciaga for 12th place on that list.

Reserves Draw in Colorado

Less than 24 hours after the first team pulled out a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids, the Swope Park Rangers picked up a 1-1 draw themselves. Like the first team game, Sporting KC was able to control the possession and pace of the game from the start. Milos Stojcev had an early effort that went off the bar and then set up an effort by CJ Sapong that Steward Ceus came up with a big kick save. Colorado came up with a few chances of their own off of free kicks, one saw an easy effort spilled by Eric Kronberg, but Kronberg did well to cover the spill. KC had trialist, Omar Colley back with the team as he partnered Julio Cesar in the center of defense. Another good chance by KC later in the half had to be tipped over the bar by Ceus, a move that probably would have kept him from giving up a goal to Teal Bunbury in the Open Cup qualifier last year in KC. Colley set up the first goal of the game in first half stoppage time, playing a ball over the top to Korede Aiyegbusi. Aiyegbusi out raced his defender and got to the ball before Ceus. Aiyegbusi's chip went over Ceus and it fell just underneath the cross bar giving the Rangers the 1-0 half time lead.

In the second half, the Rapids started to push the game more trying to find an equalizer. The possession for the Rapids went up in the 52nd minute when Omar Colley was given his marching orders for a second yellow card offense. Colorado started to try and test Kronberg more from distance, hoping that a chance would float in over him. The Rapids made their pressure pay off in the 65th minute, when Brian Mullan volleyed home a corner that went just under Kronberg when he couldn't get down fast enough. KC started to get back into the game, Juniors players, Nate Opperman and West White combined well with former Junior, Kevin Ellis down the right while KC was down a man. Mullan, who received a 10 game league suspension for his tackle that broke Steve Zakuani's leg, showed off the same tackling skills late in the second half, going through Stojcev to get the ball while Stojcev had his back to the field around midfield. It was a horrible tackle that didn't even earn the midfielder a yellow. Mullan tried to plead his case saying he'd gotten the ball, when in reality he'd slide through Stojcev's leg causing him to kick the ball out. How he avoided a card even Peter Vermes asked when he came over from observing on the far side of the field. KC had one late chance from Birahim Diop after a run by Ellis down the right. Diop got the ball at the top of the box by himself with just Ceus to beat but fired his shot wide of the post. KC is now 1-1-2 on the reserve league season with 5 points.

A Road Point

So my original prediction of the team needing 10 points on this road trip can now no longer happen. But at least KC ended their long term losing streak in league play as they came from behind to draw with the Colorado Rapids, 1-1 out in Colorado. KC came out strong from the start and put good pressure on the Rapids. Chance Myers had the first good chance in the 9th minute when he stripped Wells Thompson of the ball and fired a shot that Rapids goalkeeper, Matt Pickens had to tip wide. Shortly after Myers' attempt, KC found themselves down a goal due to a defensive mistake, this time by Aurelien Collin. On a ball over the top, Collin tried to play the ball calmly back to Jimmy Nielsen, but his pass didn't have anything on it and ended up being too slow. Conor Casey raced by Collin, rounded Nielsen and passed the ball into the net before Matt Besler could slide in to recover. KC continued to be the more aggressive side throughout the first half, controlling possession, but as has been the story for the team for much of the season, they could not find that final pass that would set up the goal for KC. The lack of a central midfielder that can create and find that final pass is seen more and more each game.

KC continued to push in the second half, and should have probably equalized within 2 minutes of the half time break. After some good possession, Myers fired a cross in to Graham Zusi, who did a good job of controlling the ball and then flicking it over his head to Omar Bravo who controlled the ball, did a nice step to get Pickens to go to ground, but Pickens recovered enough to get a hand on Bravo's chipped effort and keep it out as Colorado continued to lead. KC continued to possess, but Colorado created the better chances as the half continued. Collin again was almost responsible for giving CO a two goal lead in the 63rd minute, as he played another hospital ball this time directly to Casey who dribbled at the defense before passing off to Jeff Larentowicz. Besler missed on a sliding chance to knock the ball away and Larentowicz was in on goal, but he fired his shot high of the net keeping the scores level.

Teal Bunbury, a second half sub had a chance to score on a break away after being played in behind by Ryan Smith, but Bunbury got caught from behind by Marvell Wynne, who knocked the ball out for a corner. Shortly after Bunbury's attempt, Colorado again had a chance to grab the lead through Andre Akpan, but Nielsen came up with a good save on the play. In the 75th, KC got themselves back on level terms. Bunbury received a ball on the right side and tried to carry the ball into the middle, twice it appeared that he'd lost the ball, but both times recovered. Bunbury played the ball to Smith who dribbled at Kosuke Kimura, forcing him onto his heals. Smith got into the box and then fired a laser into the far upper90, leaving Pickens with no chance to get a hand on it.

After the goal, KC continued to push, but could not find a winner. Bunbury had a great chance to pull out a winner, but couldn't finish his chance. Colorado also had one more good chance as Akpan deflected a Caleb Folan shot just wide of Nielsen's post. The draw gives KC their first league points since their 3-3 draw with Vancouver on April second, almost 2 months ago. A good performance by KC in Colorado as they outplayed the Rapids and if not for a lack of the final pass, could have gotten all 3 points in the game. With only 1 road game left on the road trip, hopefully KC can finish the trip on a high note.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Ryan Smith - Changed the game for KC when he came on at half time. While KC still had trouble with the final ball, Smith at least did a better job at it than had been happening in the game up to his entry in the game.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Harrington 5, Collin 4, Besler 4, Sinovic 5, Rocastle 6, Arnaud 6, Zusi 5, Myers 5, Sapong 5, Bravo 6. Subs Smith 7, Bunbury 5, Diop NR.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The End is in Sight

There are only 2 games left on the seemingly never ending road trip for Kansas City. They head to the Rockies this weekend to take on the MLS Champion, Colorado Rapids. The team should have their spirits lifted after the 5-0 win over New England on the midweek, and should have some confidence heading into the game. Like Kansas City, the Rapids had a midweek game, in New York against the Red Bulls. The Rapids pulled out a 2-2 draw behind a brace from Jeff Larentowicz. KC will have their hands full with the Rapids, even if they are missing Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan. They still have Conor Casey who subbed into the game on Wednesday night, and could start against KC, causing them trouble. The back line for the Rapids continues to be solid for them, it should be a good match up for KC's attack.

The win on Wednesday should give KC some confidence, hopefully enough to end the league losing streak that they are still on. KC will have to make some lineup adjustments to their team though, as 4 players have left the team for international duty. Shavar Thomas and Stephane Auvray left before Wednesday's US Open Cup qualifier. Added to that list are Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara who are going to join Honduras and Sierra Leone for games. That will change the lineup, giving chances to Seth Sinovic and either CJ Sapong or Chance Myers to get into the starting lineup for this weekend's game.

Harrington - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Arnaud - Rocastle - Bravo
Myers - Bunbury - Smith

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of wins KC has at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Rapids home stadium. This will be the 5th game at DSGP, and KC has 2 losses and 2 draws, scoring 4 goals and allowing 6. So even when KC has lost in Colorado it's been a close game.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Conor Casey - This will be a fun match up to watch, both are strong physical players that will create a very interesting match up on set pieces and in games.

PREDICTION - KC played better against Seattle and will hopefully continue with that in Colorado in league play. KC won't have the excuse of the Rapids being more fit after their midweek game. I'm not so sure I'm ready to predict a win in Colorado, but I think KC can pull off the draw.

KC - 1 (Bravo)
CO - 1 (Casey)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kempin Starts Again, US Fall

Jon Kempin started in goal for the second straight game for the US under 18 team today in Portugal when the US took on the hosts in Lisbon. Kempin played the entire game, allowing only 1 goal, but it proved to be one too many as the US lost 1-0 to the hosts on an 83rd minute strike by the Portuguese. The US team finishes the tournament on Saturday when they will take on Finland.

Former SKC Wizards Update

Another week of former Wizards updates. A day late after the Sporting KC home game last night. The European season is winding down, and another former Wizard has appeared. Diego Walsh has apparently signed with the Charleston Battery, meaning there are 3 former Wizards playing in Charleston as he joins Stephen Armstrong and John Wilson. Here's the rest of this week's update.

Still looking for:
Vicente Arze
Nick Cardenas
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Santiago Hirsig
Michael Kraus
Ryan McMahen
Ivan Trujillo

Jimmy Conrad - Chivas USA - Did not dress in Chivas' 1-0 loss to the Galaxy.
Adam Cristman - LA - Did not dress in LA's 1-0 win over Chivas. Did not dress in LA's 1-0 win over Houston.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Away with the US U18 national team.
Taylor Graham - Seattle - Did not dress in Seattle's 1-0 win over KC. Did not dress in Seattle's 1-0 loss to Dallas.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Dallas' 0-0 draw with RSL. Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Dallas' 1-0 win over Seattle.
Frankie Hejduk - LA - Dressed but did not play in LA's 1-0 win over Chivas. Did not dress in LA's 1-0 win over Houston.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-0 loss to Portland.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Portland's 1-0 win over Columbus.
Jonathan Leathers - Vancouver - Did not have a game this week.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Salt Lake - Did not dress in RSL's 0-0 draw with Dallas.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not have a league game this week.
Ryan Pore - Portland - Came off the bench and played 6 minutes in Portland's 1-0 win over Columbus.
Scott Sealy - San Jose - Did not dress in San Jose's 2-1 win over New England. Came off the bench and played 75 minutes in San Jose's 2-2 (5-4) PK loss to Chicago in a US Open Cup qualifier.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Started and played 90 minutes in San Jose's 2-1 win over New England. Came off the bench and played 49 minutes in San Jose's 2-2 (5-4) PK loss to Chicago in a US Open Cup qualifier.
Tyson Wahl - Seattle - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Seattle's 1-0 win over KC. Did not dress in Seattle's 1-0 loss to Dallas.
Josh Wolff - DC - Did not have a league game this week.

Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Did not play in Minnesota's 2-1 loss to Edmonton.
Aaron Hohlbein - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 0-0 draw with Atlanta.
Amir Lowery - Montreal - Started and played 61 minutes in Montreal's 3-0 loss to Tampa.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Did not dress in Fort Lauderdale's 0-0 draw with Atlanta.

Stephen Armstrong - Charleston - Came off the bench and played 19 minutes in Charleston's 3-0 loss to Wilmington. Started and played 80 minutes in Charleston's 2-1 win over Richmond.
Edson Elcock - Richmond - Did not dress in Richmond's 2-1 loss to Charleston. Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 2-0 loss to Orlando.
Tom Gray - Pittsburgh - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Pittsburgh's 2-0 win over New York. Started and played 90 minutes in Pittsburgh's 3-0 loss to LA.
Neal Kitson - Rochester - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Rochester's 0-0 draw with Orlando.
Akeem Priestley - LA - Came off the bench and played 10 minutes in LA's 1-1 draw with Dayton. Dressed but did not play in LA's 3-0 win over Pittsburgh.
Diego Walsh - Charleston - Started and played 81 minutes in Charleston's 3-0 loss to Wilmington. Started and played 89 minutes in Charleston's 2-1 win over Richmond.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 2-1 loss to Charleston. Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 2-0 loss to Orlando.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 3-0 loss to Wilmington. Did not dress in Charleston's 2-1 win over Richmond.

Byron Carmichael - Ocean City - Came off the bench and played 32 minutes in Ocean City's 4-1 loss to Reading. Started and played 78 minutes in Ocean City's 1-0 loss to New Jersey.

Sunil Chhetri - Chirag United - India - Did not have a game this week.
Pablo Escobar - Deportivo Cali - Colombia - Did not dress in Cali's 4-1 win over Atletico Huila. Did not dress in Cali's 1-0 win over Athletico Nacional.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Budapest Honvéd - Hungary - Did not dress in Honved's 3-1 win over Siofok.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Loss 3-2 to Croatia Sesvete.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Did not dress in Fulham's 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
Igor Kostrov (Costrov) - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Lost 2-1 to Iskra-Stal.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Started and played 90 minutes in San Martin's 5-0 win over Inti Gas.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Started and played 55 minutes in Krasnodar's 4-0 loss to Spartak Moscow.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - Season is over.

Thursday After Stats

Here are stats from yesterday's US Open Cup game.

That's the first time we've won by 5 goals since our 6-1 win over Des Moines in the US Open Cup on 8/3/2005.

That's the first time we've scored 5 against an MLS team since we beat Dallas 5-1 on 7/3/2004

The last time we beat an MLS team by 5 goals was 4/29/00 AT Colorado, 5-0.

Chance Myers' second goal was the 50th scored in Open Cup play (including all qualifiers).

Myers and CJ Sapong are the only players in Wizards history to have multiple goals in Open Cup qualifiers.

Sapong is the first Wizards player to score in two different US Open Cup qualifiers

Michael Harrington made his 9th US Open Cup appearance, tying him with Josh Wolff and Jack Jewsbury for 7th on that list.

Eric Kronberg made his 6th US Open Cup appearance, tying him with Jonathan Leathers, Ryan Pore, Alex Zotinca, Francisco Gomez, Bo Oshoniyi, and Chris Brown for 12th on the list.

Kronberg and Harrington both made their 6th US Open Cup start, tying them with Leathers and Diego Gutierrez for 10th place on that list.

It was Kronberg's 3rd shutout of his career, tying him with Chris Snitko and Garth Lagerwey for 6th on that list.

It was Kronberg's 3rd shutout in the Open Cup, tying him with Oshoniyi for the most shutouts in the Open Cup.

Kempin Starts for US in Draw

Jon Kempin started the US Under 18's first game of the Libson Tournament they are in against the Netherlands yesterday. Kempin went the full 90 minutes as the United States drew 1-1 with the Dutch. The US goal was scored by Victor Peneda of the Chicago Fire in the 37th minute. The Dutch equalized in the second half. The US will play Portugal today and finish with a game on Saturday against Finland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And We're In

Yes it was basically the New England Revolution reserves. Yes it wasn't a league game. But it felt good tonight to get a win. And a big win it was. A mix of starters and reserves took it to the Revolution, winning 5-0 thanks two a pair of braces from Chance Myers and CJ Sapong on a night when it started to rain right before kickoff and continued to rain throughout the game. Aurelien Collin added the other goal. Kansas City got things starter early as Omar Bravo raced down the left wing in the 9th minute and played a ball into the middle where a sliding Chance Myers knocked the ball home giving Myers his first career first team goal for KC. Bravo and left back, Seth Sinovic, abused Ryan Kinne the Revolution's right back as in the 19th minute, Myers doubled his total and the lead. Bravo collected a pass from Sapong, turned and fired a shot that goalkeeper, Bobby Shuttleworth could only parry away. Right into the path of Myers who poked the ball home, doubling KC's lead. Only 5 minutes after Myers' second it was 3-0. Sinovic combined with Bravo, once again down the left. Sinovic played the ball into the middle for Sapong who touched the ball past Shuttleworth to make it 3-0.

KC let up a little bit after the 3rd goal and with some help from a strong wind at their back, the Revolution tried to get themselves back into the game. They had numerous corners as the half rolled on, including a stretch of 4 or 5 in the span of a few minutes where it was one corner after another as KC failed to clear their lines. You could feel the old anxiety begin to sneak in during that stretch and you felt a goal for the Revolution coming. Mainly because of KC's poor defending lately on corners. But KC came out without giving up a goal. And despite some late pushing between the two teams KC went into the break up 3-0.

The second half started similar to the way that the first half ended, with KC absorbing pressure from the Revolution. This time going with the wind, many of KC's attempts to break ended up going too long for Sapong up top. But the Revs really never made much of their possession, the shots that Eric Kronberg faced were mostly tame and right at him, there was one that got caught a little bit in the wind that he had to tip out, but other than that, the shots rarely troubled him. The complexion changed in the 57th, when Ryan Smith was introduced for Bravo. The move almost paid off immediately as Smith received a ball on the left, raced towards the middle of the field, slid a ball to Myers and continued his run. Myers played the ball back to Smith who was 1v1 with Shuttleworth, but Smith pushed his shot just wide of the post. Shortly after that, Graham Zusi fired a free kick from about 30 yards out that Shuttleworth had to tip out for a corner.

KC continued to press for a fourth goal, and found it in the 81st. A short corner from Zusi was played to Smith, who cut inside his defender and crossed into the box, where Collin rose to meet it, heading it past substitute keeper, Tim Murray to make it 4-0. Sapong finished off his brace in the 88th minute after some lax defending by New England. On a ball that should have been easily cleared by the Rev defense, Sapong pressured his man, causing him to misjudge the ball on the wet grass and it went through his legs. Sapong jumped on the chance carried the ball into the box and lifted the ball over Murray for the fifth goal.

The win was the biggest by Sporting KC since their 6-1 win over the Des Moines Menace in the 2005 US Open Cup. The most goals they've scored against an MLS team since a 5-1 over Dallas on July 3rd 2004. And it's the largest win vs an MLS side since a 5-0 win AWAY against Colorado in April of 2000. A span over over 11 years now. KC now will be placed into the round of 16 of the US Open Cup proper.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - CJ Sapong - I kind of hope Teal Bunbury watched Sapong specifically tonight, because that's how a target striker should play in a 4-3-3 formation. Sapong had a very good game overall. I could of given this to a few players, Myers, Bravo, even Collin or Sinovic could have received the award tonight, but I'm giving it to the rookie.

Honorable mention - Chance Myers, Omar Bravo

Player Ratings - Kronberg 6, Harrington 6, Besler 6, Collin 7, Sinovic 7, Rocastle 6, Sassano 6, Zusi 5, Myers 8, Sapong 9, Bravo 8. Subs Smith 7, Diop 5, Kamara 5.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Win and We're In

Tomorrow out at the Blue Valley District Athletic Complex, Sporting Kansas City continue their work to qualify for the 2011 US Open Cup proper. The opponent tomorrow will be the New England Revolution who made it here by defeating DC United 3-2 in their qualifier. Like KC, this game is sandwiched between two games for New England. They were out in San Jose this past weekend and are home against the Galaxy this coming weekend. Word out of the New England area is that the Revs are sending a "reserve heavy" squad to the game. That could certainly give KC a boost for the game and their attempts to qualify for the competition. I wouldn't expect the likes of Sharlie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, or Matt Reis to travel, but last rounds hero, Kheli Dube I'd expect to get a start for the Revs.

On the other hand, KC seems like they could put out a lineup that contains more starters. The main reason why I believe KC will put out more starters is because of their schedule the rest of the week. With a game on the weekend against Colorado, Sporting is set to have Thursday the 26th off. If the team isn't planning on playing a decent number of starters, you'd think that the first team would be practicing a bit that day in preparations for the Rapids. I'm sure we'll see a few reserves making starts for KC tomorrow, but it certainly won't be a full reserve squad out on the field for KC tomorrow.

If KC does plan a few starters, it could certainly be seen as a morale boosting game for KC which is not winless in 5 straight league games. At this point a win would do wonders for not just the players and coaches heading into the last 3 games of the road trip, but for the fans as well, many of whom have become disenfranchised over the past few games, even with a better performance against Seattle (the best 90 minutes of the season according to Vermes). KC got to this "win and you're in" game by defeating the Houston Dynamo back in April 1-0 in extra time. CJ Sapong was the hero in that game scoring the winner about half way through the first period of extra time.

My uneducated guess at a lineup of mixed starters and reserves.

Sassano - Cesar - Besler - Sinovic
Zusi - Diop - Stojcev
Myers - Bunbury - Sapong

Number to Remember - 1 - That's the number of losses that KC has in competitive games at BVDAC in 5 games there. That loss came in 2001, a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire on a 90th minute Hristo Stoichkov goal. It's also the number of Open Cup titles that KC and New England have each one (KC in 2004 and New England in 2007). Outside that both teams have struggled in the Open Cup, as both teams are under .500 if you take away their runs to the Open Cup title. Neither team made it out of qualification last year.

Key match up - Teal Bunbury vs New England central defense - With Bunbury being left off the US Gold Cup roster, you'd hope that Bunbury would come into this game with a chip on his shoulder, should he play. It'd be nice to see him get back on the scorers sheet to help KC get into the Open Cup proper.

PREDICTION - This game could potentially mean a lot for KC. A win here could be grabbed upon as a turnaround point of the season. As a time when KC leaves the struggles of the first 8 games of the road trip behind and makes a move up the table. Or it could just be another disappointment in a string of disappointments for KC that has been happening for much of the season so far. Depending on who New England travels it could be a game that most fans expect to win, especially if KC puts out the half starters, half reserve lineup that is being predicted. I actually feel good about this game, but it certainly won't be easy.

KC - 2 (Sapong, Myers)
NE - 1 (Dube)

Monday, May 23, 2011

4 to the Gold Cup, Plus Kamara Called Up

Last week Peter Vermes said that 5 Sporting KC players would be called up for this summer's Gold Cup. Today we found out that only 4 were actually called up. Roger Espinoza and Craig Rocastle we'd heard about last week. Today we learned the other two official call ups. Stephane Auvray and Shavar Thomas were the other two called up. Those two are not incredibly surprising, Auvray has captained Guadeloupe for the last few years, and Thomas captained Jamaica to the Digicel Caribbean Championship over the winter. The four are set to miss at least 3-4 matches depending when they leave. Grenada has a friendly against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday the 27th, and Honduras plays El Salvador on the 29th. I believe Jamaica also has a friendly before the Gold Cup starts. So at least 3 of the players appear set to miss the Colorado, Toronto, Chicago home opener, and Dallas games while at the Gold Cup. Players could miss more if they advance past the group stage.

The one player of Vermes' five that didn't make it, was Teal Bunbury. Bunbury was left off of the USA roster when it was announced today. The US brought in three forwards, Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, and Chris Wondolowski. The surprises along with Wondolowski were Freddy Adu and Robbie Rogers getting calls up. In response to why Bunbury wasn't called up, Bob Bradley said "he hasn't been as sharp as we would like so far in the season."

You can't argue with that logic, as since his brace against Vancouver Bunbury has been virtually invisible in many of the games since. He's struggled in the target forward role that Vermes has wanted him to play. He's certainly not out of the picture, but hopefully this will be the motivation to get him to get back to a competitive level.

Last week I also mentioned Kei Kamara's potential call-up for Sierra Leone and the potential issues for the country with the FA and the sports ministry at odds over who is the coach. It appears that Kamara has been officially called up based on his comments on Twitter today. Now whether that's a change from the announcement last week or not I don't know. But if Kamara truly is called up, he'll miss game in Toronto on the 4th of June.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


That's one word to describe Livestrong Sporting Park. I haven't really been inside the stadium since the end of last season due to scheduling conflicts, and an inability to get out there when I'd have a chance to get a tour. So this was my first time inside the stadium in a long time. But my reaction would likely be similar to what it was today walking in. The stadium is absolutely stunning.

While there is still a little work to be done, the stadium is so close to being done and so close to opening most fans can taste it. It was hard to walk by someone today that didn't have a smile on their face at the first of three season ticket holder ticket pick up events at the stadium. One of the coolest, but probably least relevant things about the new stadium was the signs for the bathrooms. They have the man or the woman (or both in the instances of family restrooms) kicking a soccer ball. A small detail but funny and a nice little touch at the same time.

Personally I've shied away from getting really excited about the new stadium. Not really sure why, but while some people have been gushing over it, I've been kind of just going about my normal business. That's not to say I wasn't excited about the new stadium, far from it, I was just focusing on other things. It was also probably one of those "out of sight, out of mind things" since I couldn't see it in person every day. Seeing the stadium so close to completion though and I am officially gushing, the place is amazing and I am now beyond excited for the 9th. More photos of the stadium.

Sunday After Stats

Here are some stats from last night's game.

In the 51st minute, Davy Arnaud moved past Preki and into 3rd place for the most minutes played in all competitions. Arnaud finished the game wtih 20,677 minutes played.

Roger Espinoza made his 50th start for KC. He's the 34th player to hit that mark for KC.

Kei Kamara made his 100th start in all competitions in his MLS career.

In the 53rd minute, Michael Harrington moved past Diego Gutierrez and into 12th place on the list of league minutes played. He finished the game with 9,801 minutes played.

Also it was Harrington's 109th league start, breaking his tie with Gutierrez for 13th place on that list.

It's a Cruel Game

The defense was much better last night, and the overall game play was good on the road for the most part, but for the second year in a row KC left Seattle with nothing after conceding a late winner off a corner. Putting out a lineup that saw Omar Bravo and Davy Arnaud paired in midfield with Craig Rocastle, I think many fans were worried about the way the defense would handle Seattle. But the defense stepped up and did a good job of shutting down the Sounders offense after giving up 4 last week in LA.

KC actually had the best chance early, when Ryan Smith got played in on goal against Kasey Keller. Keller saved Smith's effort and then collected the rebound after a shot from Omar Bravo. Seattle controlled much of the possession, but KC were able to ping the ball around themselves, keeping possession for good portions of the first and second half. The Sounders best chance of the first half came in the 20th minute when Alvaro Fernandez chipped a ball into the box for Mauro Rosales, whose header went just over the bar landing on the top of the net. Throughout the rest of the half, KC held out defensively, keeping Seattle from getting many looks at all on goal.

In the second half, KC dontinued to get forward on occasions, many of these came from Roger Espinoza and Michael Harrington racing down the wings (as they should have been doing all season in the 4-3-3 KC runs. In the 51st minute, Espinoza was almost free down the wing in what would have been a nice 2v2 situation for KC, but Servando Carrasco committed a tactical foul, pulling back on Espinoza as he was pulling away, drawing a yellow, but killing the scoring opportunity. Jimmy Nielsen found himself busier in the second half, having to come off his line a few times to punch the ball away. One such incident was in the 58th off a free kick. Nielsen punched the first effort, but not far enough and the ball came back into the box where Nielsen beat Fredy Montero to the ball, punching it further this time and catching Montero in the process. The rebound was then deflected out for a corner. Seattle continued to be the aggressive side, but KC had their attacks, but really failed to put Keller under much pressure. A nice tackle by Matt Besler in the 83rd on last year's hero, Michael Fucito helped keep the shutout. By this point I think most fans were thinking and hoping that the team would be able to hang on and get out of town with a point, ending the team's 4 game losing streak. Unfortunately, KC's defense finally broke in second half stoppage time off a corner from Tyson Wahl. Jeff Parke got up and headed the ball into the back of the net at Nielsen's back post. Espinoza was Parke's mark, but got "picked" while trying to get around Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and never recovered. CJ Sapong, who was in a free role on the corner was unable to get to the ball before Parke did. And unfortunately Nielsen did not have anyone standing on the back post, or else they'd probably had been able to clear it off the line. KC had one late opportunity off of another corner, but at the back post all KC could do was head the ball up into the air where it was easy pickings for Keller.

KC falls to another loss, now 1-6-1 on the season. This is probably the most gut wrenching one, especially since KC had play so stout defensively shutting down the Sounders attacks, forcing Neilsen to only have to make 1 save. But as has been happening lately, the offense is starting to sputter, they haven't scored a goal themselves since Kei Kamara's PK in New England, and haven't scored in the run of play since Kamara's first goal in that game. Teal Bunbury was virtually invisible for much of the game, Bravo didn't have near as many touches in the offensive third as he needed to have, and Smith seemed to dribble into trouble too often. For the way the attack has played earlier this season, it is starting to get very worrisome. They now have a short week, flying back to KC today before playing New England in a US Open Cup qualifier on Wednesday and heading out to Colorado for a game next Saturday.

I do want to post one last thing about last night's game. Myself and many others have been very critical of the referees in MLS, but I want to give credit to Geoff Gamble, who reffed his first MLS game last night. I thought Gamble did a very good job of controlling the game and letting the players play. He let the players decide the game and didn't let it get out of hand.

Wizards Man of the Match - Craig Rocastle - When I saw the lineup I was worried Rocastle would be left out to dry the way our defensive midfielder has been for most of this season. But Rocastle did a good job of shutting down the middle of the field and supporting the central defenders.

Player Ratings - Nielsen 6, Harrington 5, Collin 5, Besler 5, Espinoza 6, Rocastle 7, Arnaud 5, Bravo 4, Smith 4, Bunbury 3, Kamara 4. Subs Sapong 4, Zusi 4, Myers NR.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Byline to Back Post

This week's From the Byline to the Back Post is up for your listening pleasure. This week Thad and I discuss the New York, LA, and New England Open Cup qualifier. We talk about the Teal Bunbury rumors, the Gold Cup call ups and their potential impact on the roster, and the job security for Peter Vermes. Finnally we discuss the news for the Sporting Club and the MISL/USL merger. Available on iTunes and Posterous. Also thanks to The Vandon Arms for the music.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Off to the Emerald City

Yes I'm using a Wizards of Oz reference for this weekend's Sporting KC vs Seattle Sounders game. KC is winless in 6 now after last weekend's 4-1 loss to LA. Seattle comes in on a losing streak of their own, as they are winless in 3, the last 2 being draws in Columbus and home vs Portland. The Sounders have plenty of injury issues to deal with as two of their top attackers this season, Steve Zakuani and O'Brien White are out with injury currently. Their midfield has also been hit a bit, but appears to be getting better as Mauro Rosales and Erik Friberg have both returned more fully to practice.

Kansas City is probably the healthiest it's been all season. Ryan Smith has been getting more game time and Omar Bravo appears to be on his way back to health. On the other side, Davy Arnaud has a neck injury that could potentially keep him out of this weekend's game. So it looks likely that we'll see yet another new lineup for Sporting KC tomorrow in Seattle. I think it'll likely be multiple changes, including in the defense after the performance last week in LA.

Smith - Bunbury - Kamara
Arnaud - Bravo - Rocastle
Espinoza - Collin - Besler - Harrington

Number to Remember - 19 - This road trip is getting long, but after tomorrow's game there will be only 19 days until the stadium opens.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Nate Jaqua - While Fredy Montero is probably the bigger threat, shutting down Jaqua is going to be a key for this game for Kansas City. Until last week in LA, KC had done a decent job of shutting down the main threat, it's been the lesser known player that has came back to bit KC.

PREDICTION - This is a trap game for Seattle, they're coming off of a rivalry game with a lot of emotion when they played the Portland Timbers last week. It's a game that on paper Seattle should win as well. But KC would have to completely turn around their play from the LA to fulfill the other side of the trap game. If KC plays like they did in LA, the Sounders will take them apart. I still doubt that KC will be able to pull off a win in Seattle and I just have a bad feeling the winless streak will reach 8.

KC - 1 (Kamara)
SEA - 2 (Montero, Frieberg)

Kamara Called Up, Or Not

It looks like Sierra Leone is having some control issues when it comes to the FA and who is the head coach of the national team. Two different rosters have been named for the Leone Stars upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifier on June 4th against Niger. One coach, local coach, Christian Cole has been named coach by the Sierra Leone FA, while the other, Swede Lars Olof Mattsson was appointed by the countries sports ministry. Mattsson had coached the teams last qualifier in Niger that they lost 3-1, and was apparently only supposed to coach that one game. The sports ministry offered Mattsson a three year contract.

Kei Kamara is on Mattsson's roster for the upcoming qualifier, but not Cole's. If Mattsson's position is held, Kamara will miss the last game of the 10 game road trip in Toronto on the 4th. Of course that seems unlikely to happen. FIFA tends to not take too kindly to nations getting involved in the country's FA. In this situation FIFA is likely to side with Cole being the coach of the national team. If the country's sports ministry fights this, then Sierra Leone is likely going to be warned about a potential suspension by FIFA for tampering.

While I feel sorry for Kamara not getting the chance to represent his country, I can't say I'll be incredibly disappointed if/when FIFA step up and likely side with the FA.

Espinoza Call Up Official

After Peter Vermes gave the word yesterday that Roger Espinoza had been called up by Honduras for this summer's Gold Cup. Today official word came from the Honduran federation confirming that Espinoza will miss time for KC as he goes and plays with his national team. Espinoza is the only player from MLS to get called up for the tournament, leaving behind Marvin Chavez of FC Dallas and Andy Najar of DC, both of whom were not named to the roster. The rest of the rosters should slowly filter out over the next few days until Monday when most are likely to be released.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bunbury Rumors Quelled

Teal Bunbury's agent has quelled the level of the rumors that came out yesterday from the French tabloid Top Mercato. In fact he quelled them quite humorously, saying that Teal Bunbury didn't even do that interview. Bunbury's agent does confirm that there is interest abroad in the Sporting KC striker and that teams have come to watch him play.

Sporting Club Announce KC Blues Affiliation

The announcement that was long rumored and long thought would happen has finally happened. Sporting Club has joined in with an affiliation with KC Blues Rugby, making them the second sport to be under the Sporting Club banner. The speculation on the Blues joining up with Sporting KC started back when the announcement of the name change was made. The Blues have been using KC's Swope Park training facility regularly for training for a little while now. A nice move for the club, it will be interesting to what if any others will join the Sporting Club

More Call Ups for KC

During today's weekly press conference, Peter Vermes confirmed that all 5 of the players that Sporting KC fans thought would be called up for this year's Gold Cup have in fact been called up. We'd heard that Craig Rocastle was called up yesterday, and that Roger Espinoza was available for selection. Vermes today confirmed that Rocastle and Espinoza would be joined by Stephane Auvray, Teal Bunbury, and Shavar Thomas for Guadeloupe, the US, and Jamaica respectively. The rosters won't officially be announced until probably next Monday. The tournament kicks off on June 5th, so the question will become how long those 5 remain with the team. My guess is that all 5 will depart after the game against Colorado on the 28th and the reserve game on the 29th. From that point KC will be playing with 21 rostered players.

Bunbury and Espinoza have been the only guaranteed starters when healthy this season. Rocastle and Auvray have traded time with Birahim Diop in midfield. Thomas has been a bench forward and at this time appears to be fourth on the depth chart at center back for KC. Still losing 5 guys off of our roster isn't going give great things for KC during the stretch of the Gold Cup.

The 5 are likely to miss at least 3 games, at Toronto on the 4th, the home opener against Chicago on the 9th, and Dallas on Sunday the 12th. Those that advance to the quarters will miss the 17th against San Jose. Semifinalists will miss the game in Philadelphia on the 22nd. And for any that make the finals, they'll miss KC's game against Vancouver. So players are going to miss anywhere from 3 to 6 games for KC during the Gold Cup.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Former SKC Wizards Update

It's another week for former SKC Wizards updates.One former SKC Wizard has moved on to a new position, Bo Oshoniyi has left Wake Forest University to take the same position at Pennn State. Congrats to Oshoniyi on the move. Here's the rest of this week's update.

Still looking for:
Vicente Arze
Nick Cardenas
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Santiago Hirsig
Michael Kraus
Ryan McMahen
Ivan Trujillo

Jimmy Conrad - Chivas USA - Did not dress in Chivas' 3-2 win over New York.
Adam Cristman - LA - Did not dress in LA's 4-1 win over KC.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Dressed but did not play in Salt Lake's 0-0 draw with Houston.
Taylor Graham - Seattle - Did not dress inn Seattle's 1-1 draw with Portland.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Dallas' 2-0 win over Philadelphia.
Frankie Hejduk - LA - Dressed but did not play in LA's 4-1 win over KC.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 3-0 loss to San Jose.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes, recording an assist in Portland's 1-1 draw with Seattle.
Jonathan Leathers - Vancouver - Dressed but did not play in Vancouver's 1-0 loss to New England. Play Toronto tonight in the NCC.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Salt Lake - Did not dress in RSL's 0-0 draw with Houston.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not dress in DC's 1-1 draw with Colorado.
Ryan Pore - Portland - Came off the bench and played 6 minutes in Portland's 1-1 draw with Seattle.
Scott Sealy - San Jose - Did not dress in San Jose's 3-0 win over Columbus.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a goal in San Jose's 3-0 win over Columbus.
Tyson Wahl - Seattle - Started and played 90 minutes in Seattle's 1-1 draw with Portland.
Josh Wolff - DC - Started and played 44 minutes in DC's 1-1 draw with Colorado.

Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Did not dress in Minnesota's 3-0 win over Atlanta. Dressed but did not play in Minnesota's 2-0 win over Puerto Rico.
Aaron Hohlbein - Fort Lauderdale - Did not have a game this week.
Amir Lowery - Montreal - Started and played 77 minutes in Montreal's 2-1 loss to Carolina.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Did not have a game this week.

Stephen Armstrong - Charleston - Started and played 71 minutes in Charleston's 1-0 loss to New York.
Edson Elcock - Richmond - Started and played 66 minutes, drawing a red card in Richmond's 1-1 draw with Harrisburg.
Tom Gray - Pittsburgh - Started and played 90 minutes in Pittsburgh's 1-0 loss to Orlando.
Neal Kitson - Rochester - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Rochster's 2-0 win over Antigua.
Akeem Priestley - LA - Did not dress in LA's 2-1 win over Charlotte. Came off the bench and played 45 minutes in LA's 2-1 loss to Charlotte.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started annd played 90 minutes in Richmond's 1-1 draw with Harrisburg.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 1-0 loss to New York.

Sunil Chhetri - Chirag United - India - Played in Chirag's 2-2 draw with JCT.
Pablo Escobar - Deportivo Cali - Colombia - Did not dress in Cali's 1-1 draw with Santa Fe. Did not dress in Cali's 1-0 win over Junior.
Herculez Gomez - Pachuca - Mexico - Season is over.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Budapest Honvéd - Hungary - Did not dress in Honved's 4-1 loss to Ujpest.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Defeated Dugopolje 3-0.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham - England - Did not dress in Fulham's 2-0 win over Birmingham.
Igor Kostrov (Costrov) - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Started and played 78 minutes in Tiraspol's 1-0 loss to Milsami Orhei. Started and played 90 minutes in Tiraspol's 3-0 win over Olimpia.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Started and played 90 minutes in San Martin's 1-1 draw with Sporting Cristal. Started and played 90 minutes in San Martin's 3-2 loss to Cienciano.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Came off the bench and played 33 minutes in Krasnodar's 2-2 draw with Tom' Tomsk.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - Started and played 90 minutes in Ahlen's 2-0 loss ot Hansa Rostock.

Craig Rocastle Called Up for Gold Cup

Grenada has named eight players that they have called up for the Gold Cup this year. One of those eight players called up was Sporting KC midfielder, Craig Rocastle. This will be Rocastle's second chance to appear for Grenada after appearing for them in the Digicel Caribbean Cup over the offseason to qualify for the Gold Cup. Grenada is in Group B where Rocastle could meet up with two other Sporting KC players if they are called up, Roger Espinoza and Honduras and Shavar Thomas' Jamaica. The fourth team in the group is Guatemala. Grenada opens against Jamaica at the Home Depot Center, take on Honduras at the FIU stadium, and finish up against Guatemala at Red Bull Arena.

Sporting Club Network Unveiled, Connecting Athletic Organizations Across the Region

Definitely something that you need to read, I like what could come from this.

From Sporting KC

Sporting Club announced Wednesday the launch of the Sporting Club Network, a groundbreaking membership of athletes and athletic organizations created to affiliate all interested soccer and other organizations in the Midwest with Sporting Club and Sporting Kansas City. Sporting Club Network affiliates will be provided with unique member benefits and access opportunities to Sporting Club’s facilities, content, and events.

“At Sporting Club, we are focused on connecting our membership with their passion,” Sporting Club Chief Operating Officer Greg Cotton said.

“We listened to the coaches, administrators, parents and participants in the youth and adult soccer community and created the Sporting Club Network to offer unprecedented opportunities to those organizations that wish to affiliate with us. We believe that together as affiliated organizations, our mutual desire to make Kansas City the hub of soccer in the nation becomes more than a dream – it becomes an attainable goal.”

The founding members of the Sporting Club Network are Heartland Soccer Association, Kaw Valley Soccer Association, Blue Valley Soccer Club, Metro United SoccerClub, Sunflower Soccer Association, Blackfire Soccer Club, Leavenworth Soccer Association, Prodigy Soccer Club, Newton United Soccer Club, Club Azzurri and the United Soccer League of Kansas City. As part of the Sporting Club Network, each organization’s membership will become members of Sporting Club, the parent organization of Sporting Kansas City.

“We are very proud to be a founding member of the Sporting Club Network,” Shane Hackett, executive director of Heartland Soccer Association said. “Heartland has a long standing relationship with Sporting Kansas City and we believe the Sporting Club Network offers our youth soccer players unparalleled access to the professional game, facilities, entertainment and training opportunities that have never been available anywhere.”

Players that participate and compete through a Sporting Club Network member organization will receive a SportingClub patch to wear during competition, as well as access to exclusive clinics and trainings. Local member coaches will also have the ability to take advantage of a coaching licensure program and premium coaches experiences at both the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park as well as at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on matchdays.

“We are honored, and extremely excited, about becoming part of the Sporting Club Network,” Kaw Valley Soccer Association Executive Director Marcus Dudley said. “We believe this partnership will not only increase awareness and participation around youth soccer within our community, we are confident that this alliance will provide a distinct advantage for our members both on and off the field.”

In addition to being founding members of the Sporting Club Network, BVSC and KVSA also become founding affiliates of the Sporting Kansas City Juniors program. The affiliation will provide each club’s players with a direct connection to the Sporting Kansas City technical staff, Senior and Junior teams. Coaches of each Sporting Juniors affiliate will have unprecedented access to advanced coaching and training methods and techniques provided bySporting Kansas City’s technical staff.

“I’m excited for both BVSC and KVSA to be aligned with the Juniors program. They are both two great clubs and now their best players have a clear path to our teams,” Sporting Kansas City Juniors director of coaching Jon Parry said. “Eventually, everyone is going to want to be aligned with MLS clubs across the country. The level of coaching and competition that MLS teams can provide is unmatched by any other youth soccer environment.”

Each affiliate will, amongst many other significantly increased benefits, have access to Sporting Kansas City’s Juniors curriculum, access for Affiliate coaches to attend Sporting Kansas City Juniors as well as senior team training sessions, and an invitation to attend roundtable discussions during and after summer tryouts for the Sporting Kansas City Juniors four academy teams.

"We feel that this opportunity bridges the gap between our recreational teams all the way up to Sporting Kansas City's senior team," Blue Valley Soccer Club president Mark Christophel said. “For the players that have the dream of becoming a professional soccer player we believe that this gives them a great opportunity to achieve their goal."

Elite teams from Blue Valley Soccer Club on both the boys and the girls side will play their competitive matches under the name Sporting BVSC in replica kits similar to what are worn by the Sporting Kansas City Juniors. Starting this fall, the boys teams will be playing in U.S. Club Soccer’s National Premier Leagues, while the girls will participate in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).

For more information on the Sporting Club Network, click here or contact Betsy Pollard, Sporting Kansas City director of youth soccer.

About Sporting Kansas City Juniors

The official youth development academy of Sporting Kansas City there are currently four Sporting Kansas City Juniors teams playing in regional and national competition from ages U13 through U18. The U16 and U18 Sporting Kansas City Juniors teams both compete in the prestigious U.S. Soccer Development Academy against the top youth clubs from around the country. The U16 and U18 Juniors teams are bothfully-funded by Sporting Kansas City.

About Blue Valley Soccer Club*

Founded in 1977 with the intention of providing children in Blue Valley a place to play soccer in a fun and safe environment, Blue Valley Soccer Club has grown to be one of the premier youth soccer clubs in the United States. BVSC is currently one of the largest clubs in the Midwest, supporting soccer programming for over 6,000 children. BVSC’s boys teams playing this fall in US Club Soccer’s National Premier Leagues, as well as the club’s elite girls teams playing in the ECNL will wear replica kits similar to what are worn by the Sporting Kansas City Juniors teams.

About Kaw Valley Soccer Association*

Founded in 1982, and based in Lawrence, Kansas, KVSA serves over 2,000 children a year, ages 3-18. The club will celebrate its 30th anniversary of operation during the 2012 season, and currently provides a variety of developmental soccer programs from recreation to premier. KVSA employs professional coaches from all over the world, including the Brazil,Holland and Senegal, and is currently the only club in the Kansas City area to offer an "all-girls" soccer academy. As an exclusive Sporting Kansas City Juniors affiliate, KVSA will help Sporting Kansas City develop local players in an area that now covers Leavenworth, Emporia, Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, and Salina.

*Sporting Kansas City Juniors affiliate

Interest Abroad in Bunbury

In an interview with, Teal Bunbury discussed the interest in him abroad. It's the first time we've heard some information on where some potential teams interested in Bunbury are located. In the interview Bunbury talks about teams in England, Holland, Spain, Turkey, and France. Clubs from these countries have apparently come over to watch Bunbury play to scout him. In the interview Bunbury talks specifically about a Ligue 1 club that was interested in him. According to the interview it's a club that plays regularly in European competitions.

This could certainly be a blow to KC, but I don't think it's likely to happen at this time. I think KC doesn't want to sell Bunbury at this point, they want to get another year or two out of his contract before selling him abroad. The only way I see KC selling Bunbury is if the offer just blows them away. But it's interesting to think about who these clubs are. Is Stoke still in the picture? Is the French club someone like PSG or maybe Monaco? We probably won't know, but since the transfer window hasn't even opened yet it could be a summer "silly season" full of rumors.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Heineman KC Star Chat

Today on the KC Star's website, Robb Heineman was involved in a chat and gave out plenty of little bits of information regarding the team. No real earth shattering information, but certainly some interesting information. With the Star running the Q&A, it was a chance for some fans to try and get some questions in that might be screened if the team had done the Q&A.

On the opener, we got some information on what some of the festivities are going to be, including a band on the plaza area, a stealth fly over, and the team's original coach, Ron Newman will be on hand inside the Members' Club before the game.

The topic of Peter Vermes was brought up wondering when the team would look to go in a different direction. Heineman said "we've set pretty clear expectations for the team, which is making the playoffs and competing in the playoffs, and if those expectations aren't met, there will be consequences."

This seems to mean that Vermes has the rest of this season, or at least until the team is out of the playoff hunt. And honestly that's not that surprising with the extended road trip. Things can certainly change if things really go down hill for the team, or if things don't go well after they return home. Currently the team has the same record on the road as they did through 7 road games last year, but KC will need to have some very good home form to fulfill OnGoal's expectations this season.

Earlier today the Aaron Galindo to KC rumor came back up in the Mexican media. It seemed that Galindo was trying to find a way out of his contract with Chivas to allow him to join KC in an out of contract signing. Heineman though said that this was the first he'd heard of the most recent rumor. Although after the window closed, Heineman had said on Twitter that they were still hoping to to sign him during the summer. Heineman also said that they are working on a number of players for the summer.

During the chat Heineman also confirmed the soccer/rugby doubleheader in October on the 15th the same day as the KC-New York game. The KC Blues will compete at Livestrong Sporting Park as part of the double header. He also said that they are continuing to work on other sporting events to take place at LiSP.

He also tackles the jersey sponsorship that has become a small joke to some people, because we've heard a few times that we are only a few weeks away from an announcement. Heineman says that they are currently negotiating contract terms and that he put the chances at 50-50.

One final thing that Heineman talked about was the work that KC has done to create a rivalry with Chicago. I know that I've talked about the team trying to manufacture a rivalry with the Fire, and Heineman is at least straight forward about that, saying they are "poking the bear", but they feel they need to create a natural rival. And with Colorado already having the Rockie Mountain Cup and Dallas battling Houston for El Capitan, leaving Chicago as the closest team for KC to try to build a rivalry against.

Lots of good information from Heineman today, but as I said earlier, nothing earth shattering, but I don't think anyone expected that.

Rangers Draw in Chicago

Sporting KC's reserves, the Swope Park Rangers, moved to 1-1-1 on the reserve league season after drawing 1-1 in Chicago today against the Fire reserves. One time rumored KC signing Christian Nazarit, got the opener for the Fire in the 11th minute. KC had some chances to equalized and finally did in the 40th minute. Chance Myers slotted home a rebound after a shot from Luke Sassano came off the bar. Myers had another chance in the 42nd, but his chip got carried by the wind and went out of bounds.

Myers is now tied for the league lead in reserve goals with 3. He's already drawing sarcastic comparisons to one of the reserve league kings for KC previously, Ryan Pore.

Monday, May 16, 2011

MISL Join Up with USL

From the Missouri Comets.

United Soccer Leagues is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and will operate North America’s most storied and tradition-rich professional indoor soccer league beginning with the 2011-12 season.

The MISL represents the top level of professional indoor soccer in North America and currently consists of seven franchises for 2011-12, with additional announcements expected in the coming weeks. The league roster includes existing MISL franchises in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Wichita. They will be joined in the MISL by a trio of first-year USL indoor franchises in Norfolk, Rochester and Syracuse.

The League will be led by Chris Economides, senior director of USL’s professional leagues. Scheduling, competition and playoff format and rules for the MISL will be determined by the league’s Board of Governors.

“We are obviously pleased to bring the top indoor soccer league in North America into the USL family,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “We announced several months back that we would be operating a professional indoor soccer league in November of 2011, and this agreement with the MISL allows us to move forward with our plans. Combining the experience and tradition of the MISL with USL’s team services and league management resources will ensure the MISL reaches new levels of success.”

The MISL will follow a financial model that is viable for team owners. USL intends to seek affiliation under the U.S. Soccer Federation umbrella, consistent with its other league properties.

"We are all pleased to join USL which has many strong leagues and numerous franchises," MISL Chairman Ed Hale said. "This will give us a platform for future expansion of our indoor game throughout the country."

“This is a great day for the Comets and the Major Indoor Soccer League,” said Comets President, Brian Budzinski. “USL’s footprint is all over the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. The ability to promote the MISL and the exciting game of professional indoor soccer to millions more soccer fans through this partnership only helps to strengthen our brand.”

MISL indoor soccer was developed to appeal to sports fans around the world. The fast-paced, fiercely competitive game is played on artificial turf on a hockey-rink-sized field surrounded by dasher boards and Plexiglas with eight-foot high by 14-foot wide goals receded into the end boards. Creative dribbling, pinpoint passing, acrobatic goalkeeping and rugged defensive play are all skills demonstrated by MISL players.

A typical MISL game features end-to-end-action resulting in approximately 60 shots and 11 goals per game. Each game includes four 15-minute quarters and a popular feature is multi-point scoring, with goals from long distance worth more. Other unique characteristics of the MISL include action-packed power plays and free substitution of players while play continues.

United Soccer Leagues
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, United Soccer Leagues has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (USL Super Y-League/USL Super-20 League), continuing up through the amateur level (USL Premier Development League/USL W-League) and on to the professional level (USL PRO, MISL). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.

USL Communications - Jay Preble / Nicholas Murray / David Wagner - Tampa, FL - 813.963.3909 - Twitter: USLsoccer

For Comets information, visit:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday After Stats

Here's stats from last night's game.

The own goal was the third own goal for KC against LA in their history, that's tied for the most own goals that have gone in KC's favor. New England also has given up 3 own goals against KC.

In the 5th minute, Teal Bunbury passed his dad, Alex Bunbury, for league minutes played for KC, Bunbury finished the game with 1924 minutes played.

In the 55th minute, Davy Arnaud moved past Jimmy Conrad and into 4th place on the list of most minutes in all competitions. Arnaud finished the game wtih 20,587 minutes played.

Arnaud also made his 225th league appearance for KC, breaking his tie with Nick Garcia for 2nd place on that list.

It was also Arnaud's 255th apppearance in all competitions, breaking his tie with Preki for 3rd place on that list.

Arnaud also started his 204th league game, breaking his tie with Jimmy Conrad for 3rd place on that list.

Michael Harrington made his 120th league appearance for KC, breaking his tie with Diego Gutierrez and Uche Okafor for 13th place on that list.

Harrington also started his 108th league game, breaking his tie with Okafor and tying him with Gutierrez for 13th place on that list.

Is the Road Trip Over Yet?

Another road game, another loss for KC, their fourth in a row and their fifth of the season in LA 4-1 last night. KC is now winless in 6 games after beating Chivas USA in the season opener. Silly mistakes ended up costing KC more than anything, stupid fouls and more lackadaisical defending, the things that have defined KC's season so far. The offense didn't bring much of anything to the game either as the lone goal was an own goal, and KC didn't really look like scoring other than that.

There was a big surprise before the game even started as Eric Kronberg got the start in goal ahead of Jimmy Nielsen. A surprising decision because while KC had allowed 13 goals, Nielsen has been arguably KC's best player this season. Kronberg was tested inside the first two minutes on a nice shot by Landon Donovan. KC was able to weather the early storm, with Kronberg making a few saves to keep the score level. In the 39th minute, KC grabbed a surprising lead as Milos Stojcev played a cross into the box for Kei Kamara. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez stuck a foot out to keep the ball from going to Kamara, but ended up deflecting the cross past Josh Saunders and into his own net giving KC the lead.

But the lead didn't last long, as a disturbing trend for KC of allowing goals within five minutes of scoring popped up again. David Beckham played a cross into the box that Roger Espinoza tried to take off his chest instead of just heading clear. Todd Dunivant hassled Espinoza enough after the play to cause him to give the ball away to Beckham in the corner of the box. Espinoza went in with a high boot catching Beckham in the thigh, an easy penalty kick for Baldomero Toledo. Landon Donovan stepped up and buried the PK, sending Kronberg the wrong way.

At half time you would think that KC might be able to hold out and maybe steal a point from the Galaxy. But those hopes were dashed inside the first minute of the second half when LA virtually came right down the field and scored to make it 2-1. Off a quick throw from LA, Donovan ran at the KC goal with Espinoza on his hip, Espinoza slid in and knocked the ball away, but the ball went to Chad Barrett who knocked the ball back into the path of Donovan who beat Kronberg to give LA the lead. KC had a chance to equalize in the 62nd after Kamara played Graham Zusi into the box. Zusi had time to get a good shot off, but instead fired the shot wide of the goal.

That miss came back to haunt KC moments later. A long ball from the back was headed by Juan Pablo Angel to Donovan who then heading it back to Angel who had made his run behind Julio Cesar who got caught ball watching along with Aurelien Collin. Angel raced in 1v1 against Kronberg and slotted home to make it 3-1 to the Galaxy. The Galaxy continued to push for a fourth, Kronberg made a good save on a Beckham free kick in the 75th minute, and then in the 81st Barrett shot over the bar after he held off and spun Cesar too easily. The Galaxy always looked the more likely to find a 4th and they did in the 87th. After Davy Arnaud was called for a fairly weak foul on Beckham out to Kronberg's right, about 25 yards out, Beckham stepped up an blasted a "Beckham Special" curling the ball into the top corner leaving Kronberg with no chance and giving LA their fourth goal.

Ryan Smith forced a good save from Saunders almost immediately after the goal, possibly the best chance KC produced all game outside the goal. Donovan almost completed his hattrick in stoppage time as he was played through as Collin slipped. Kronberg did well to cut the angle down and as Donovan tried to round him Michael Harrington recovered and was able to knock the ball away.

WIZARDS Man of the Match - Eric Kronberg - Really I almost gave this to no one this week, but after rewatching the game I'm giving it to Kronberg. Kronberg got hung out to dry on virtually each one of the goals by his defense. He had a decent game coming up with some big saves, but there were so many issues with the team last night.

Player Ratings - Kronberg 5, Harrington 3, Cesar 2, Collin 4, Espinoza 2, Auvray 4, Arnaud 4, Stojcev 4, Zusi 3, Bunbury 3, Kamara 3. Myers 4, Smith 4, Sapong 4.

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Byline to Back Post

A new From the Byline to the Back Post is up for your listening pleasure ahead of tomorrow's game against the Galaxy. This week Thad and I discussed the news, the New York and LA games, former Wizards, and the salaries for Sporting KC. Available on iTunes and Posterous. Also thanks again to the Vandon Arms for the music.

Back to LA

Kansas City heads back to LA for the second time this season and while KC doesn't look like it right now I certainly hope there's at least one more trip to LA in November. But first KC needs to pull themselves out of the funk that they are in having not won since their last trip out to LA against Chivas USA on opening day. The Galaxy are coming off a busy week where they played New York last Saturday night in LA, then flew to Philadelphia to play the Union on Wednesday before flying home. Both of those games ended in 1-1 draws. David Beckham didn't travel to Philadelphia, rested for the weekend. The other thing for LA is that they now have Juan Pablo Angel, who has scored 8 goals in his career against Kansas City. Certainly another tough test for the struggling Sporting KC back line that is still allowing over 2 goals a game.

Hopefully this performance turns out better than the last one KC had after a week off in Columbus. The defense did look stronger against New York two weeks ago, but the question is if they can do it again against another very good offensive team. The LA defense isn't as strong as New York's is, as they are averaging a goal allowed a game, which could certainly give the KC offense a boost. An interesting comment from play-by-play man Callum Williams that was posted today makes it sound like we could see some lineup changes again for KC. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same back line we saw against New York, but I could see more changes in the midfield and a change up top.

Smith - Bunbury - Kamara
Auvray - Arnaud - Rocastle
Aiyegbusi - Cesar - Collin - Harrington

Number to Remember - 3 - Straight wins for KC in LA. Two against Chivas and one against LA. KC's last three trips to LA have turned in 9 points for the Wizards.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Juan Pablo Angel - Angel has had the seasons he has had previously, but he's still a big time Wizards killer during his time in the league and is certainly a player to keep an eye on for the back line.

PREDICTION - The team looked better against New York and I'd expect a better performance again against LA, but at this point I can't see this team winning this game. True LA is coming in on short rest while KC is well rested, but that doesn't always work in the rested team's favor, especially since it was a full week off for KC. It's certainly a tough run for KC facing two of the better teams in the league in a row. Even with the break I think LA's class will show through in this one.

KC - 0
LA - 1 (Donovan)

Kempin Called Up to US U-18 Tournament

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper, Jon Kempin will travel with the US U-18 team to Portugal for the Lisbon International Tournament later this month. The team departs on May 19th before their tournament opener on the 25th against the Netherlands. The next day the 18's take on the hosts Portugal before finishing the tournament against Finland on the 28th. Kempin and Jeff Gal of the Sockers FC are the two goalkeepers that will travel to Portugal. With the two keepers Kempin is sure to get at least one game and the best performer in the first two is likely to get the start in the third game.

Open Cup Game to Have Webcast

Sorry for the delay in getting this out, Blogger was having issues for much of the day yesterday and even this morning and I was unable to get this post and the next one out yesterday.

On Wednesday I'd mentioned that it sounded like the US Open Cup qualifier against the New England Revolution would have no audio or webcast of the game. Turns out that is not true. Yesterday on Twitter, Sporting KC confirmed that there will be a webcast of the game. Callum Williams will be doing the broadcast with Brad Feldman who does broadcasts for the Revolution.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Former SKC Wizards Update

Another week of former SKC Wizards updates. First, I've found Igor Kostrov, he's playing back in his native Moldova, for FC Tiraspol. Another former SKC Wizard will be switching teams in the offseason, as Matt Taylor is moving back up to the German second division to play for SC Paderborn. Finally, another former player looks to be calling it a career after this season as Byron Carmichael will play his last season for Ocean City FC. Here's the rest of this week's former SKC Wizards update.

Still looking for:
Vicente Arze
Nick Cardenas
AJ Godbolt
Willy Guadarrama
Santiago Hirsig
Michael Kraus
Ryan McMahen
Ivan Trujillo

Jimmy Conrad - Chivas USA - Did not dress in Chivas' 1-0 loss to RSL.
Adam Cristman - LA - Dressed but did not play in LA's 1-1 draw with New York. Did not dress in LA's 1-1 draw with Philadelphia.
Luis Gil - Salt Lake - Did not dress in RSL's 1-0 win over Chivas.
Taylor Graham - Seattle - Did not dress in Seattle's 1-1 draw with Columbus.
Kevin Hartman - Dallas - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Dallas' 0-0 draw with DC. Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Dallas' 1-0 win over Toronto.
Frankie Hejduk - LA - Dressed but did not play in LA's 1-1 draw with New York. Dressed but did not play in LA's 1-1 draw with Philadelphia.
Will Hesmer - Columbus - Started and played 90 minutes in Columbus' 1-1 draw with Seattle.
Jack Jewsbury - Portland - Started and played 90 minutes, getting an assist in Portland's 1-0 win over Philadelphia.
Jonathan Leathers - Vancouver - Started and played 90 minutes in Vancouver's 0-0 draw with Chicago. Did not dress in Vancouver's game tonight against San Jose.
Rauwshan McKenzie - Salt Lake - Did not dress in RSL's 1-0 win over Chivas.
Kurt Morsink - DC - Did not dress in DC's 0-0 draw with Dallas.
Ryan Pore - Portland - Came off the bench and played 1 minute in Portland's 1-0 win over Philadelphia.
Scott Sealy - San Jose - Started and played 64 minutes in San Jose's game vs Vancouver today.
Khari Stephenson - San Jose - Came off the bench and played 26 minutes in San Jose's game with Vancouver.
Tyson Wahl - Seattle - Dressed but did not play in Seattle's 1-1 draw with Columbus.
Josh Wolff - DC - Came off the bench and played 36 minutes in DC's 0-0 draw with Dallas.

Kevin Friedland - Minnesota - Did not dress in Minnesota's 1-1 draw with Fort Lauderdale.
Aaron Hohlbein - Fort Lauderdale - Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 1-1 draw with Minnesota. Started and played 90 minutes in Fort Lauderdale's 4-2 loss to Carolina.
Amir Lowery - Montreal - Did not have a game this week.
Abe Thompson - Fort Lauderdale - Did not play in Fort Lauderdale's 1-1 draw with Minnesota. Did not dress in Fort Lauderdale's 4-2 loss to Carolina.

Stephen Armstrong - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 0-0 draw with Pittsburgh. Did not dress in Charleston's 1-0 loss to Rochester.
Edson Elcock - Richmond - Started and played 58 minutes in Richmond's 2-1 win over Wilmington.
Tom Gray - Pittsburgh - Started and played 90 minutes in Pittsburgh's 0-0 draw with Charleston.
Neal Kitson - Rochester - Started and played 90 minutes, recording the shutout in Rochester's 1-0 win over Charleston. Dressed but did not play in Rochester's 1-0 loss to Harrisburg.
Akeem Priestley - LA - Did not have a game this week.
Yomby William - Richmond - Started and played 90 minutes in Richmond's 2-1 win over Wilmington.
John Wilson - Charleston - Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 0-0 draw with Pittsburgh. Started and played 90 minutes in Charleston's 1-0 loss to Rochester.

Sunil Chhetri - Chirag United - India - Did not have a game this week.
Pablo Escobar - Deportivo Cali - Colombia - Did not dress in Cali's 1-0 loss to America de Cali.
Herculez Gomez - Pachuca - Mexico - Season is over.
Zoltan Hercegfalvi - Budapest Honvéd - Hungary - Did not dress in either of Honved's games this week.
Will John - Vinogradar - Croatia - Lost 1-0 to Mosor.
Eddie Johnson - Fulham/Preston - England - Has returned to Fulham now that Preston's season is over.
Igor Kostrov (Costrov) - FC Tiraspol - Moldova - Started and played 68 minutes in Tiraspol's 0-0 draw with Sheriff.
Carlos Marinelli - Universidad San Martin - Peru - Did not dress in San Martin's 4-0 win over Alianza Lima.
Yura Movsisyan - FC Krasnodar - Russia - Came off the bench and played 16 minutes in Krasnodar's 2-1 loss to Rubin Kazan.
Matt Taylor - Rot Weiss Ahlen - Germany - Started and played 90 minutes, scoring a brace in Ahlen's 4-3 win over Rot-Weiss Erfurt.

Farm Aid and the US Open Cup Qualifier

Some news from today that affects Sporting KC and their schedule a little bit. First, today was the first concert announcement for Livestrong Sporting Park. That concert is Farm Aid, which will bring the likes of Niel Young, Willie Nelson, and the Dave Matthews Band to LiSP this summer. The date of the concert is August 13th. Besides the concert taking place at the stadium, it also affects Sporting KC in another way. KC is currently scheduled to play the Los Angeles Galaxy on August 13th at Sporting Park. So KC is going to have to reschedule that game in what is already a fairly congested part of KC's schedule as they're in the middle of KC's extended home stand. There's talk that the game will be moved from Saturday to Thursday the 11th. The other thing to remember with the LA game is that it was supposed to be on FSC on the 13th. Will it still be on the channel after that is unknown right now.

I know there are plenty of fans that are disappointed in this, but it was going to happen sooner or later. Basically all MLS teams with a soccer specific stadium have seen games moved due to concerts so it's not surprising that KC would also see a game moved. Anyone that didn't think this was going to happen eventually if not this season is incredibly short sighted. The stadium has a stage for a reason.

In other news for the upcoming US Open Cup qualifier against the Revolution, it looks like you'll want to get your ticket if you haven't already. That's because it sounds like there might not be any audio or video broadcast of the Sporting Kansas City broadcast. That's at least according to website on Twitter. It'd be the first one of MLS Open Cup qualifiers this year to not be broadcasted in some form for fans.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

KC Signs Sinovic

Local product, Seth Sinovic, who graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City has been signed by Sporting Kansas City. Sinovic was drafted out of Creighton by the New England Revolution last year in the second round of the Superdraft. Sinovic appeared 20 times for the Revolution before being waived in late March. Sinovic had been on trial with Kansas City for a few weeks before being signed today. It looks to be a straight swap for Mike Jones' roster spot after he was waived last week.

Deeper Look at Salaries

I just got beaten in posting this by Gooch over at the Star who basically posted some of the same information. But I spent enough time working on this I'm going to post anyway.

Over the weekend, the MLS Players' Union put out the salaries for players through May 1st. When the list was released there were certainly a few questions about the list. Some of my original questions were based on the roster set up for the team. I've had some time to go through the roster rules again and I have a bit better understanding, but I still have some questions.

One of the questions is wondering how much cap space KC still has available for potential summer purchases to help SKC should they need it. This is based off of how many of the players are “Salary Budget Players” as the MLS rules call them. KC can have up to 20 of these players on their roster. The other 10 roster spots are “Off-Budget Players.” From looking at the roster and the salaries I see 17 players that are “Salary Budget Players” and 6 players that are “Off-Budget Players.” There are still 3 more players that I'm not sure of where they fit.

Just looking at the salaries of the 17 players, KC is using $2,407,918 of the $2,675,000 salary cap. That includes the $110,004 for Nikos Kounenakis. That would leave around $267,000 in cap space. But I think at least one of the 4 questionable players (Korede Aiyegbusi, Luke Sassano, CJ Sapong, and Graham Zusi) is on the “Salary Budget Players” list. This is because KC would be charged a fee for not filling at least 18 of those roster spots. All three make $42,000, so KC would have around $225,000 of cap space if all the numbers on the players union list are correct.

But that leads to another question, Omar Bravo's salary. Gooch at The Full 90 is trying to look into it, but has not been able to get a response from the players' union. The union's list says that Bravo's salary is only $120,000, which doesn't make sense as a designated player. Designated players cap hit is supposed to be $385,000. Now the cap hit can be lower if a transfer fee is used to bring the player to the league. But all the information back in August seemed to point to Bravo being a free agent, which would mean he should likely have a salary of $385,000. If Bravo is making the DP salary, then KC only has about $2,000. That's before factoring in one of the 4 questionable players.

With all four players making over that amount though, it would seem to point to KC being over the cap. But there are other things that likely knock KC below the cap again. 1) KC still has allocation money that they could use to pay down the salary to get people in under the cap hit. 2) Philadelphia could still be covering a portion of Shavar Thomas' salary. Last year when KC traded for Thomas, the Union covered a portion of his salary. It's possible that the Union is still covering a portion of Thomas' salary making it possible for KC to fit one of the other guys in under the cap.

If Bravo is on the designated player level, then KC doesn't really have much of any cap space left at all. So with that information, I would be more inclined to believe the listing on the players' union website. Which is still surprising.

Here is how I believe the players are divided up on Salary Budget vs Off-Budget

Salary Budget players

Davy Arnaud
Stephane Auvray
Matt Besler
Omar Bravo
Julio Cesar
Aurelien Collin
Birahim Diop
Roger Espinoza
Michael Harrington
Kei Kamara
Eric Kronberg
Chance Myers
Jimmy Nielsen
Craig Rocastle
Ryan Smith
Milos Stojcev
Shavar Thomas


Teal Bunbury
Kevin Ellis
Mike Jones/Seth Sinovic
Jon Kempin
Scott Lorenz
Konrad Warzycha

Unsure (1 is on the Salary Budget the other three are on the Off-Budget list)

Korede Aiyegbusi
CJ Sapong
Luke Sassano
Graham Zusi

Sunday, May 08, 2011

March/April Player of the Month

The first month and a half or so of the season is over for KC and it's time to look at who should be the player of the month for the March/April time frame.

During the stretch, KC went 1-4-1, the one win coming on opening day against Chivas USA. A draw in Vancouver was KC's only other point so far this season. KC has scored 10 goals while allowing 13 during that time frame. Teal Bunbury and Kei Kamara are tied for the team lead in goals with 3. Kamara is the team leader in assists with 2. Omar Bravo has 2 goals in only 120 minutes of play so far this season.

Player of the month for this month plus is Jimmy Nielsen. While KC has allowed a league high in goals, and has yet to record a shutout, you can't help but feel that things would be worse if Nielsen had not been in net for KC during those games. Congrats to Nielsen and winning this month, and here's to a more productive month in May.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Sporting KC Salaries Out

The MLS Player's Union has released player salaries for this year, as of May 1. There are certainly come surprises on KC's list. Here is the list, at the end I'll have my thoughts on the salaries. For those wondering why there are two numbers, the first number is the player's base salary, meaning what counts against the cap. The second number includes any signing and guaranteed bonuses, annualized (meaning the bonus divided out over the length of the contract). Here is the list.

Club Last Name First Name Pos 2011 Base Salary 2011 Guaranteed Compensation
KC Aiyegbusi Olukorede D $ 42,000.00 $ 42,000.00
KC Arnaud Davy M $ 250,000.00 $ 258,750.00
KC Auvray Stephane M $ 170,000.00 $ 208,125.00
KC Besler Matt D $ 58,410.00 $ 69,660.00
KC Bravo Omar F $ 120,000.00 $ 170,000.00
KC Bunbury Teal F $ 85,000.00 $ 183,000.00
KC Cesar Julio D $ 210,000.00 $ 213,750.00
KC Collin Aurelien D $ 185,004.00 $ 191,254.00
KC Diop Ibrahim M $ 60,000.00 $ 64,250.00
KC Ellis Kevin D $ 32,604.00 $ 33,354.00
KC Espinoza Roger M $ 100,000.00 $ 133,750.00
KC Harrington Michael M-D $ 110,000.00 $ 136,833.33
KC Jones Mychel D $ 32,604.00 $ 32,604.00
KC Kamara Kei F $ 200,000.00 $ 202,500.00
KC Kempin Jonathan GK $ 42,000.00 $ 49,083.33
KC Kounenakis Nick D $ 110,004.00 $ 120,004.00
KC Kronberg Eric GK $ 62,500.00 $ 62,500.00
KC Lorenz Scott D $ 32,604.00 $ 32,604.00
KC Myers Chance D-M $ 72,000.00 $ 87,666.67
KC Nielsen Jimmy GK $ 200,000.00 $ 241,666.67
KC Rocastle Craig M $ 110,000.00 $ 116,062.50
KC Sapong Charles F $ 42,000.00 $ 42,000.00
KC Sassano Luke M-D $ 42,000.00 $ 42,000.00
KC Smith Ryan M-F $ 140,000.00 $ 144,375.00
KC Stojcev Milos M $ 90,000.00 $ 99,000.00
KC Thomas Shavar D $ 160,000.00 $ 174,375.00
KC Warzycha Konrad M $ 32,604.00 $ 32,604.00
KC Zusi Graham F-M $ 42,000.00 $ 42,000.00

Thoughts. Omar Bravo's salary appears to be a misprint based off of the way that all the other designated players in the league read on the list. All the rest that are paid over $1,000,000 have the 7 figures there. So I'm thinking it's likely that there is a zero missing off of Bravo's salary and he's getting closer to $1,200,000. The listing of him counting $120,000 against the cap is likely wrong. It's the standard $385,000 for a DP.

We're still paying Nikos Kounenakis? According to the salary list we are. Either that's a misprint, or KC gave a 2 year guaranteed contract to a player who made the bench only 2 or 3 times during his time here and never played in a game. Yeah, rumor is he had some kind of medical condition, possibly a stroke, but the move seems to reinforce a lot of people's thoughts that it was a desperation move for a defender.

Julio Cesar is our third highest paid player? Seriously? After Davy Arnaud, who's making a quarter million, and Bravo's $385,000 cap hit, the Brazilian defender who has really failed to impress is the team's next highest paid player at $210,000.

Based on my understanding of the roster rules, I've removed Teal Bunbury (GA), Jon Kempin (HG), and the four players making under $40,000 (Kevin Ellis, Mike Jones, Scott Lorenz, and Konrad Warzycha) from the team's total salary. Counting Bravo's cap hit as $385,000, KC is currently using around $2,840,918 of their salary cap this year. The salary cap for players 1 through 20 is $2,675,000, so there is other stuff going on not mentioned that gets us down below the cap. Either way it appears unlikely that we have as much cap space as we may have thought...

Are we paying all of Shavar Thomas' salary this year? Last year when we traded for him from Philadelphia, the Union picked up a large portion of his salary. I wonder if they're doing the same this year. If so that knocks the cap hit down a little bit.