Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Review of 2013 Wishes

With 2013 behind us now, it's a chance to take a look at my 2013 wishes that I posted back in January 2013 and see how they worked out.

1. Silverware - An MLS Cup is certainly a nice way to end a season and fulfill this wish. We should do that more often.

2. 15 goals from Claudio Bieler - Sporting KC's DP finished with 10 regular season goals, he adding another in the US Open Cup, and another in the playoffs, so even counting all competitions, this one didn't get fulfilled.

3. A second double digit goal scorer - This was another one that didn't get fulfilled. Kei Kamara was second on the team in scoring, with 7 league goals (8 in all competitions) and Kamara played in less than half of KC's 34 games. So this one likely wouldn't have been filled if Kamara hadn't transfered to England. It goes down as a negative though.

4. A game in the Hex at Sporting Park - KC ended up with the final home game of the Hex against Jamaica. It ended up not being necessary for qualification as the US had already qualified for the World Cup. That actually ended up being just fine because the game just became a big party for US fans and was capped off by Sporting KC's own Graham Zusi scoring the game winning goal.

5. No more than 1 home loss - KC struggled at home this season, it's becoming a bit of a routine since Sporting Park opened. The team has struggled to break teams down at home, especially ones that choose to sit back. KC finished with a 9-5-3 record at home, the five losses equaled the number that KC had at home the first two years that Sporting Park was open combined. It was KC's road record that again carried them in 2013 as they went 8-5-4 on the road. This was even true in the Champions League, where KC won their two away games, but drew their two at home.

To be fair, when it came to crunch time in the playoffs KC took care of business in the playoffs, winning two and drawing one, but also coming from behind in each of their home games to get the results that they needed.

6. Comets break the "Big 2" - This was a success for the Comets in the playoffs at least. In the regular season the Comets finished third in the league and after losing at home to the Milwaukee Wave it looked like another "Big 2" final. But in Milwaukee, the Comets won the game and then won the mini-game, both times with late goals that saw them make the finals against Baltimore, which unfortunately they lost.

7. Successful launch of FC Kansas City and the NWSL - This I think was a major success. For FCKC it was a successful year, they were a late goal away from finishing in first place in the league in the regular season and ended up as number two overall in attendance behind Portland. I think if you were to ask the owners of FCKC the only thing that could have gone better was a championship and potentially a more "soccer friendly" facility, although Shawnee Mission North is not a bad place to watch a game.

As for the league itself, I think the league is in a very good place after their first season. They're already adding an expansion team in Houston that is owned by the Dynamo. And there are rumors that other MLS teams are interested in an NWSL team. If that's true it speaks well to the stability of the league going forward. The short term goal has to be to make it to year four, something the previous two women's leagues haven't made it to. But it's been a very successful first year.

8. Advancement from the group phase of the Champions League - This was a success in the basic terms of it. KC advanced to the knockout round and will take on Mexican side Cruz Azul. But on one side it is also disappointing because of where KC ended up. With KC opening with two games on the road and winning both, hopes were high that KC would finish in the top half of qualifiers, getting to play the second leg at home, and having a better chance of avoiding a Mexican side. But KC then drew their two home games and ended up falling all the way to the seventh seed.

9. No friendlies - KC played a club record 45 competitive games in 2013 and this year they didn't add a friendly to that list of matches.

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