Saturday, January 03, 2015

2015 Wishes

Time to make my wishes for the year 2015. Yesterday I reviewed my wishes for 2014, so let's move forward.

1. Silverware - As always, number 1 on the list is trophies. I want more trophies. For a period of time last year, Kansas City held the MLS Cup, NWSL championship, and MISL title all at the same time. While I'd prefer it to be Sporting KC bringing home more silverware, I'd be thrilled to see FCKC and/or the Missouri Comets repeat.

2. Sporting KC improve their home form - Last year, Sporting was a mediocre 6-5-6 at Sporting Park. Over the past two years, Sporting KC has lost 10 league games at home, that's almost 30 percent of the team's home games over that two year stretch. With Sporting moving to the Western Conference, which on paper looks to be a brutal conference next year, Kansas City will need to take advantage of their home games.

3. A little more balanced scoring - Not saying that I want Dom Dwyer's scoring in 2015 to drop off, but Sporting needs a little more balance in their attack in 2015. While Dwyer scored 22 goals for KC, the next highest scorer in league play was Graham Zusi with 5. For Dwyer to have continued success, someone needs to pick up the scoring a little bit and get closer to 10-12 goals than anyone did this past season.

4. Finally defeat the Seattle Sounders at home - With the move to the Western Conference, Sporting KC will get to face the Seattle Sounders at least once at home in 2015. Since the Sounders came into the league in 2009, Sporting is 0-4 at home against the Sounders and 0-4-1 in all competitions (the US Open Cup goes in the record books as a draw). In face, KC has just one win period against the MLS incarnation of the Sounders, in the team's first match up in 2009. Since then, KC is 0-7-1 in league play and 0-8-2 in all competitions. It's about time to end that losing streak, both at home and overall.

5. Ike Opara (or whoever partners Matt Besler) is fully recovered and starts 25-30 games - I'm not foolish enough to think that Opara will make Sporting fans forget Aurelien Collin, but Opara is a talented center back. The question with him has always been his health. Like with Chance Myers, hopefully Peter Vermes' patience with him pays off this season when he's likely to be the starting center back. If he's not, hopefully whoever does replace Collin can be solid enough so that I don't see tons of "Collin wouldn't have made that mistake" comments this season.

6. Luis Marin is available for all 34 league games, allowing Jon Kempin to start all but a game or two with Oklahoma City - At this point in Kempin's development he needs to be regularly playing. With Marin the clear number 1 on the roster I'd like to see Kempin loaned out to OKC again for the season. Unlikely last year hopefully Marin can stay healthy which will allow Kempin to spend the entire season in OKC starting pretty much every game. That way, either late in Marin's contract or when it runs out, Kempin is ready to step up and take over the starting job.

7. US Men's national team says perfect in Kansas City - This summer, for the sixth time in KC and fourth time in Sporting Park's history, the US men's national team will be playing here. So far the US is 5-0 in Kansas City, and with the US hosting a group stage game, no matter who it's against the US should be able to beat them at Sporting Park.

8. US win the Gold Cup - A win in the Gold Cup would guarantee them a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. Thanks to their 2013 win though if they lose they still have a chance to make it, but the easier option is to just win the Gold Cup this year.

9. Missouri Comets return to championship game - The Comets are 10-0 at this point with 10 games left in the season. And looking at the schedule of remaining games, I can't see the Comets not making the playoffs at this point. With that, the next step should be to get back to the championship game. That should see the Comets have to face the winner of the match up between 2nd and 3rd place in the Central Conference, which could see another game against the Milwaukee Wave. From there the Comets are likely to have to face the Baltimore Blast out of the Eastern Conference, who at this point are also undefeated. Getting past them would see a final against the winner of the Southern Conference (either Monterrey or Dallas) and the Western Conference (likely San Diego). Still, the way the Comets are playing this season a trip to the finals should be expected of this team.

10. FC Kansas City improve attendance - With the move to Durwood Stadium last year, the Blues went from the second highest attended team, to the second lowest. Being the defending champion should help the team's attendance some, but there needs to be more to it than that. For this team, and league to continue, attendance needs to improve.

11. US women's team wins World Cup
- The women didn't get an easy draw, having to face both Australia and Sweden before closing the group out against Nigeria. The team showed some weakness in the recent tournament in Brazil where the women finished second and there have been plenty of questions about coach Jill Ellis. But there's no reason the US shouldn't compete, and it's been too long (16 years) since the US last won the women's World Cup.

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