With 2014 here it's time to take a look at what my wishes are for the year 2014 for KC's professional teams and players.
1. Silverware - I'm greedy, I want another trophy in the trophy case, and I want to paint the wall again.
2. Kronberg or Gruenebaum emerges as a clear number 1 goalkeeper - Eric Kronberg has been given the number one jersey right now but his lack of MLS experience is troubling. With a more experienced Andy Gruenebaum also available this could have the makings of a goalkeeper controversy. Very rarely has a goalkeeper platoon worked out for a professional team so whoever it is I want them to establish themselves as the clear number 1 on this team .
3. Whichever keeper gets established as the clear number 1 finishes in the top third of the league in most goalkeeper categories - I don't expect Kronberg or Gruenebaum to be on the level of Jimmy Nielsen when it comes to overall goalkeeping statistics, but with the back four in front of them staying in tack, anything less than finishing in the top third is a major disappointment.
4. Whatever the Bieler situation, resolve it quickly - Sporting KC has said that they plan on Claudio Bieler being here next year. Meanwhile there have been rumors of Bieler wanting to return to Ecuador or Argentina. Whether he stays or goes, resolve it quickly so that you have time to find a replacement. Two years ago with Omar Bravo, the decision had already been made by this point and Bravo was back in Mexico. Whatever the decision get it done so that if he is sold, KC can move forward.
5. Find a forward that will excel in this system - Whether that player is already on the team or not, find a forward that can play well in Peter Vermes high pressure system. Claudio Bieler started well but his style didn't work as well with the pressure Vermes expects from the forwards. Dom Dwyer provided that pressure from the forward spot, but didn't score enough. KC needs better production from their center forward, especially down the stretch.
6. USA gets out of their group at the World Cup - This certainly won't be easy, playing in a group of death with the ghosts of World Cups past with Germany, Ghana, and Portugal but the US is at the point where advancement out of the group should be the lowest expectations for the World Cup.
7. Besler and Zusi have stand out World Cups - While this one may lead to more questions about how long they may be in KC, I want to see the two players from KC expected to be on the World Cup roster to do well. I want Besler to prove he can shut down attackers at the world's biggest stage. And I want Zusi to step up to prove he can be a creative force with the US team.
8. Neither Besler or Zusi leave KC this year - This might not happen if 7 happens, but I don't want Zusi or Besler to leave KC this year. I'm being selfish, but I want both to stay in KC.
9. Comets return to MISL championship - They broke up the "Big 2" last year, I'd like to see them do it again this year and get back to the championship game. The unbalanced schedule is a bit of a hinderance as it sees the Baltimore Blast get expansion Pennsylvania Roar, who they've beaten 74-2 over the last three games, another three times before the end of the season. Meanwhile the Comets get the Milwaukee Wave a total of six times this season and play the Roar just two.
10. Amy Rodriguez becomes the goalscorer FCKC need to take pressure off Lauren Holiday - FC Kansas City got an MVP performance out of Lauren Holiday last year. But during that time they realized they needed some further support for the player. In comes a trade with the Seattle Reign, sending first round pick, Kristie Mewis in return for the US international Rodriguez. She missed the 2013 season sitting out while pregnant, but has scored 26 goals in 102 appearances for the US. Hopefully the assistance takes some pressure off Holiday.
11. FC Kansas City top last year's attendance mark - FCKC finished second in attendance and filled 75% capacity at the Shawnee Mission District Athletic Complex, averaging 4,626. I'd like to see FCKC top that number in 2014.
12. National training center gets go ahead and ground breaks - The US Soccer national training center that was mentioned last year has been something that's stuck in my mind since the announcement. I would love for this to happen and for it to include the US Soccer Hall of Fame. But right now I'd just love to see the facility really happen here. It'd do so much for the development of the game in KC.