Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peter Vermes interview 11-26-2008

I was able to pin Peter down for a pretty long interview a while back. It was right after the expansion draft so that plays a large role in this interview.

Part 1 Expansion draft
I asked him to comment on losing Tyson Wahl, about the quality of the draft. This part ends abruptly because he received a phone call.

Part 2
I asked:
How do you prepare for all the expansion drafts coming up? Comments on the roster change. Reserve league. He did not like losing the reserve league.

He was out scouting in Eastern Europe (Hungary, Croatia, Serbia) with Zoran Savic. He talks about the 3 year plan to manage cap and being a year ahead of schedule. Peter talks about Cristman and what he brings to team, competition for starting job…

I asked about the logic behind reducing the roster? Were the reasons economy and expansion. He added that it was also to allow more depth with more senior players.

Part 3
I asked if he found anyone on the European scouting trip. He found an incredible guy, attacking type player, explosive that he is working on.

I asked if he was going to bring back any of the Africans or the Cuban that was trying out with the team? He is not adverse to that.

College scouting? Yes, all over including local like UMKC

Africa scouting/combine? Was setup but has been postponed (maybe to springtime) because of roster changes

Team trips? Florida and to Mexico with Atlas…

Expansion draft logic – Why Hartman was relatively safe to expose? Seattle did not need and they did not think any other team could put together a package that would make it worth Seattle picking and trading Hartman. Tyson, Hohlbein and Morsink were the likely targets. Had to protect most important and slave to rules.

Marinelli vs Trujilio being protected? – did not matter which one, had to protect so many international players and both were going anyway.

Was Carlos a disappointment?

I'm back...

Sorry everyone. I took some time off, got sick, got busy, shot a bunch of photos, all that stuff.

Coming up in the next post is an interview I got with Peter Vermes just after the expansion draft. Once again, sorry it is a little out of date but there is still some good info in there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Random Shots 11/21/2008

Mike has his weekly Former Wizards update and some More on MLS roster changes. I can not see how going from 18 senior and 10 development players to 20 senior and 4 development will help the league in the long run. More money to sign senior players? That is good but is bad for developing players for the future.

Reduce the dilution of the talent pool for expansion? If we need to stop the dilution now, then what are we going to do when they expand 3 more teams by 2011. I hope MLS officials can explain it if that is what happens.

Wizards sign Jewsbury and Arnaud to extensions – good news. Vermes long term plans are coming together.

Hillcrest Road is all a Twitter. He also has a Coldplay update with photos taken by the Wzards players themselves.

The Science of Soccer Online blog has a bunch of interesting (to me) articles. The author is a Professor of Exercise Science at Virginia Tech. A couple of recent articles that female soccer players may be most interested in: Fatigue increases ACL risk and Can shoe orthotics reduce ACL risk. I need to go back and read some more.

Albert Pujols joins St Louis Soccer – Gotta be good for their bid. Not sure if that will impress other team owners but getting press like that in the non-soccer media always helps.

Speaking of bids, thee is an Expansion update from Goff. It seems that the expansion board is meeting today to get presentations from some of the potential ownership groups. I talked to one of the board members yesterday and let him know my preference.

My picks would be St. Louis and Portland to get the next two spots.

Local Colleges in their tournaments

The 48-team field for the 2008 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship was announced on Monday. The Kangaroos will take on Tulsa in the first in the first round of the tournament today. Kickoff for the match is set for 7 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla.
The Kangaroos finished the regular season with a 10-6-3 record and a 3-3 record in league play. Senior Brian Harris claimed Summit League Offensive Player of the Year honors as he led UMKC with 12 goals on the season, tying the single-season goal scoring record. Junior Bryan Perez added 10 goals on the campaign, as the Blue-and-Gold struck for 38 tallies on the year.
Sophomore Ken Cooper registered five clean sheets on the season, posting a 10-5-2 record with a 1.21 goals-against average, receiving Summit League Tournament MVP honors after registering 16 saves over 220 minutes, allowing just one goal.
Here is the UMKC release: UMKC Kangaroos go to the NCAA Tournament
See all of the teams in the NCAA soccer bracket

Park University - Go Pirates!!!
The No. 10 ranked Park University men’s soccer team will take on Baker University this Saturday, November 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round.
With an 11-3-3 overall record, Park received the No. 6 seed in the tournament and will travel to Baldwin City, Kan. to take on the No. 21 ranked Wildcats at Emil S. Liston Stadium. Park was one of only five teams to receive an at-large bid into the tournament.
Park faced six teams that have qualified for the national tournament and went a respectable 3-3-1 against those teams. Baker faced three national tournament team and finished 1-1-1 against those squads.
Park University Men's Soccer Qualifies for NAIA National Tournament First Round is the official version. See the NAIA soccer bracket for all of the teams.

Coach Onalfo Interview 11-19-2008

I talked with Coach by phone on Wednesday. I have to say thanks to Coach for taking the time and for calling back when we could not connect the first time. This was recorded over a speaker phone but I think it came out okay.

Part 1
What Coach was most proud of this year(team and himself).

Coach at one of the weekly press conferences...

Part 2
Next year, Off season plans, expansion draft

Coach after a practice. All the coaches scrimmaged the non-starters that week.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Three Trails project gets MDFB approval

Here is the offical word from the Wizards press release:

The Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) approved today tax credits toward The Trails development in Southeast Kansas City, a project proposed by local real estate company LANE4 Property Group that would include a soccer-specific stadium for the Kansas City Wizards.

"We are very appreciative of the Board coming to this conclusion," Robb Heineman, CEO of Wizards ownership group OnGoal, said. "Our goal would be to start demolition as soon as possible. Obviously our economic situation is improved in a new stadium, so we have every incentive to move the project forward."

In listening to the meeting and talking with Cliff Illig afterwards, there is still work to be done. The State TIF Board still needs to do some work/approval. It does sond like that is not a huge concern though.

From the conversation, it sounds like demolition will start early next year (January).

Robb Heineman and Cliff Illig all smiles after MDFB approval...

The board sounded supportive in general. There was only one question and that was about a labor dollar figure. After some brief scrambling, the Lane 4/Three Trails people with Robb and Cliff were able to answer to the boards satisfaction.

Items I heard that I found interesting:
Certain amount of office space was to anchor a Fortune 500 company on the Missouri side
The Board worked through setting phases with the developers to insure proper progress
There are clauses to pull back State money if phases are not met

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missouri 1 - 1 Illinois Womens NCAA soccer

Here is the official word: The No. 10 University of Missouri soccer team ended its season in a penalty kick shootout to the Illinois Fighting Illini 4-3 after a 1-1 game after two overtimes in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Walton Stadium. The Tigers ended their year with a record-breaking 16-5-2 record while the Illini improve to 12-8-2 on the year.

Here is my version: What a game!!! Players were flying all over the field.

The first half was relatively even. The Tigers controlled the ball a bit more and had more build up but the Illini had more dangerous opportunities.

In the second half, Illinois started well and had a bit of an advantage. In the 56th minute Chichi Nweke slid one past the Tiger keeper. From that point on, the Tiger’s turned up the pressure. Shot after shot went just wide, just high, just off the post or into the Illini keeper.

In the 74th minute, some smart passing and a good run into space put Mallory Stipetich in alone with Alexandra Kapicka, The Illinois goalie. Stipetich was able to force the keeper one way and then put the ball down the middle. Alysha Bonnick and Michelle Collins contributed the assists. Here is the Missouri goal...

Through the rest of the second half numerous opportunities came the Tigers way but again they kept going just past goal. Illinois countered when possible and weathered the storm. Regulation time ended tied at one.

At half time the shorts were relatively even with Illinois up 6 – 5 but in the second half the Tigers out shot Illinois 15 - 4 and that trend continued in the double overtime where Missouri added 6 to Illini’s 1 for a total shot advantage of 28-11. The Corner kicks favored Mizzou as well, 12 to 2.

As it so often does, it came down to the shootout from the penalty spot. Both teams put one over the crossbar to keep it even going in to the 5th round. The Illinois player placed the ball nicely out of reach of the Tiger keeper, but the Illinois keeper guessed correctly and blocked the Tiger shooters to win. Illinois moves on in the tournament and The Big 12 Champion Tigers stay home to reflect on a great season.

It was a hard fought and often physical game as both teams showed they really wanted the win. While the Tigers were not lucky, a little better shooting and they would not have needed any luck at all.

Looking forward to next year Missouri…
Good luck Illini…

The rest of the photos can be found in: MU vs ILL Gallery

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jimmy Conrad Interview 11/12/2008 Part 3 and 4

The last of the season ending player interviews... (I am working on some more, stay tuned)

Captain Kansas City talks about what they need to do for next year, getting players off the "scrap heap"...

Conrad on the attack, which happily he did well this year...

This year vs last years success, team identity, what he is proud of...

Jimmy being interviewed on a warmer day...

Jimmy Conrad Interview 11/12/2008 Part 1 and 2

In part 1, Jimmy is asked about the off season, to talk about this year, how far the team came, playing with Claudio Lopez, playing at Community America Ballpark, having the Cauldron so close...

Jimmy being Jimmy at the interview...

In part 2, Jimmy gives his predictions for MLS cup, how the season ended, how games turn on 1 or 2 plays...

There is a lot of love on this team...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tigers, Kangaroos and Pirates start well in post season

University of Missouri Women, UMKC and Park university men all won their first round games on Friday.

Missouri 2 – 0 Evansville
Michelle Collins and Candace Ruff each scored a goal in the first half to give Missouri a first-round victory over Evansville and send them through to Sunday’s regional championship game. Mizzou totaled 28 shots on the night, 16 of them in the first half. With the win the Missouri women will advance to the regional championship match on Sunday (Nov. 16). The Tigers will face the University of Illinois who earned their spot in the title game by defeating Memphis, 1-0, in double overtime. Sunday's match will begin at 1:00 p.m. CST in Walton Stadium. The NCAA has awarded video streaming rights to the University of Missouri, allowing the Mizzou Athletic Department to stream this weekend's matches worldwide. The free stream, which will include a manned camera following the action from Walton Stadium, may be found on Mizzou's NCAA Soccer Central page.

UMKC 1 – 0 Western Illinois
Sophomore keeper Ken Cooper made 9 saves as the Roos were outshot 15 – 9 by Western Illinois. The big hero in the double overtime game was Bryan Perez who would hit paydirt in the 108th minute. A WIU foul 20 yards from goal set up a dangerous free kick opportunity for UMKC. Brian Quintana touched the ball to Perez who onloaded a low shot for the game winner.
The Kangaroos will face regular-season champion and top seed Oakland in the championship match on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET (11 a.m. CT) with live stats (free) and streaming video (fee) available at the tournament website.

Park University 2 – 0 Westminster College
Senior James Katajwa provided both goals as the Pirates fought through rain, wind and below freezing wind chill to defeat the Westminster Griffons. Both goals came in the second half as Park out shot their opponents 10 – 6.
With two goals from senior James Katajwa, the Park University men’s soccer team withstood the cold and rain to defeat Westminster College (Utah), 2-0, Friday night.
Host school Bellevue University also won its game on Friday by a score of 1-0. The Bruins took down the University of Great Falls (Mont.) in overtime. The Pirates and Bruins will play Saturday, November 15, at 6:00 p.m. at Tranquility Park in Omaha for the championship of the National Qualifying Tournament. The winner of the match tomorrow will earn an automatic bid into the First Round of the NAIA National Tournament.

More UMKC news…
With 11 goals and four assists during the regular season, UMKC men's soccer player Brian Harris was named The Summit League Offensive Player of the Year on Thursday. Harris, a senior forward collected the Offensive Player of the Year award after leading The Summit League in goals and points (26). His 0.65 goals per game are good for 26th in the nation and his 1.53 points per game rank him 27th. The Edwardsville, Ill., native received the league’s offensive player of the week award on three separate occasions and recorded a hat trick earlier this season helping UMKC defeat league foe Oral Roberts. Harris was also named to the All-League First Team for his exceptional offensive efforts this season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kevin Souter interview 11/12/2008 part 2

Kevin 'Soapy' Souter being interviewed...

Kevin is asked how he sees his and the team's future, his goal setting, and makes predictions on a few championships...

A shot back from April when hardly anyone knew who Soapy was.
Kevin beating Kevin...

Kevin Souter interview 11/12/2008 part 1

This one was little long so I broke it into two parts...

Kevin talks a bit about his first year, being a little starstruck, playing at the higher level and being a pro...

A little joking about Kevin and Beckham at begining, so in case anyone forgot. Kevin got into his first MLS game when the Wizards played LA. They happened to have Kevin's hero on the team. So the first thing young Soapy Souter does is steal the ball from David Beckham. Then after the game he tries to talk him out of his shirt as well...
The second part will be up soon...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Michael Harrington interview 11/12/2008

Michael's sophmore year has seen him starting every game. With the exception of a brief venture to the right side he has become The left back for the Wizards. His highlight and lowlight of the season probably came in one game, a handball to give up a PK and then a goal right after half to tie it back up. Well known for his hair styles as well.

This is Michael answering question from Sean and a couple from me...

Michael Kraus interview 11/12/2008

Another one of the end of season interviews. Michael got into the Columbus game which was a good achivement for him. The announcers on the game reported that Coach put Kraus into the 18 because he had a couple good weeks in practice and earned it. I can confirm that, everytime I saw him at the last few practices his play was exceptional.

Michael being interviewed.

Chance Myers interview 11/12/2008

Chance was one of the players I wanted to talk to and I almost missed him. While he was always avaialble and always friendly, I had not taken much opportunity to talk to him this year so I wanted to correct that.

Chance Myers after playing in the reserve game with NY...

Wizards end of season interviews

On Wednesday there was a number of players avialble to interview. I was able to talk to the following players: Chance Myers, Michael Kraus, Kevin Souter, Michael Harrington and Jimmy Conrad. I will be posting these over the next few hours so check back to listen.

A couple of the interviews are pretty long, should I chop them up or leave them intact?
Teaser photo: Jimmy and Sean from MLSnet...

Andy William's wife needs a donor...

Marcia Williams has leukemia. She is the wife of Real Salt Lake player Andy Williams. The NY Times has a good article: In Search of Donor, a Soccer Player’s Family Finds a Community . The Utah Soccer community has rallied together and formed Soccer Unites Utah to help. Evan in Texas has joined the effort and put some game used Kevin Hartman gloves on Ebay to raise money. Please help out if you can. Please also consider joining the National Marrow Donors. You may not be able to help Marcia but you might be able to help save a life. This is the sort of thing that transcends team, city and sports.

Also do not forget the auction for Arnaud's and Watson's shoes to benefit their former coach.

Tigers, Kangaroos, Pirates and Devils, Oh my...

Lots of good college action lately.

University of Missouri Women’s soccer team won the Big 12 championship in San Antonio Sunday. No. 15 Missouri soccer team (15-5-1. 7-3-0) claimed the Big 12 tournament with a 1-0 win over No. 10 Colorado (14-4-4, 6-2-2). Senior captain Mo Redmond scored in the sixth minute and the Missouri defense shutout the Buffaloes.

Two Tigers earned team of the week selections for their performances in the Big 12 Tournament. Junior goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore was named by Soccer America and senior defender Kat Tarr was chosen to Top Drawer Soccer's best eleven.

The Missouri women will play Evansville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers, the four-seed in their region, were selected as one of 16 host sites for the first and second rounds. Illinois and Memphis complete the group. opening round matches will be played on Friday, Nov. 14 at Walton Stadium with the winners advancing to meet on Sunday, Nov. 16. For more info go to Missouri Women’s Soccer. Go Tigers!!!

The UMKC Kangaroos are the 3rd seed in the Summit League men’s soccer tournament. The tournament will be held Nov. 14 and 16 in Rochester, Mich., with the champion earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Go Roos!!!

The Park University Men’s Soccer team moved up one spot in this week’s NAIA Men’s Soccer Top 25 Coaches Poll without even playing a game last week. The Pirates were No.10 in last week’s poll receiving 465 votes, but this week moved up one spot to No. 9 receiving 477 votes. The Pirates are 10-2-3 on the season, falling only to now No. 1 Lindsey Wilson and now No. 8 Bellevue University.

No 2 seed Park University men’s soccer team will take the field this Friday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m. against Westminster College (Utah) in the NAIA National Qualifying Tournament. For more info visit Park Athletics.

Kansas City Kansas Community College soccer played in the Region VI playoffs to qualify for the National Championship and won the quarterfinal game 5-1 vs Cloud CC. Reon Thomas scored 3 goals to lead the way. The KCKCC Blue Devil’s advanced to the semifinal game vs. #2 Barton. KCKCC carried the game and had a 1-0 lead until the 85th minute when a questionable PK call gave Barton a goal. Momentum was lost and so was the game 2-1.

Leave a comment if I missed some other successful local teams.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Random shots - 11/12/2008

Donovan wins Honda Award as clueless voters get it wrong, Ives is not subtle in his opinions. He is not wrong either… Speaking of Mr. Forehead, Donovan To Train With Bayern Munich (Alternate headline: Donovan willing to do anything to escape “the Bruce”)

England storms up Fifa rankings - now if they can only qualify for something…

Andrea Canales had an interesting look at Blanco – not one of my favorite players but a good article with a view of his success and how other foreign players need to take the league seriously.

If soccer bloggers ruled the world, someone would pay me for this.

Locally, Yael T. Abouhalkah continues being supportive and positive towards progress.

Formally local - Eddie Johnson wants to stay on with Bluebirds

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Davy Arnaud called into National team camp

Davy Arnaud of the Kansas City Wizards has been called into camp as Bradley Names 19 Players for Domestic Training Camp in Colorado. More players will be called into camp as MLS teams are eliminated from the playoffs and foreign based players to round it out the roster.

Davy Arnaud celebrating after a goal against Chivas...

MLS Awards round 3

MLS announced the 2008 Newcomer and Coach of the year awards today. Columbus Crew Head Coach Sigi Schmid was voted the 2008 MLS Coach of the Year after, capturing the Supporters' Shield trophy and first place in the Eastern Conference.

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Darren Huckerby was voted the 2008 MLS Newcomer of the Year. Six goals and four assists in just 14 games. Not too shabby.

Huckerby at practice...

I absolutely agree with Huckerby. I watched their practice when they were here and could see his skill. I would like to have him here.

I would have voted for Yallop for coach of the year, he did great with an expansion team and came very close to making the playoffs. I can understand why Sigi won though, it’s hard to argue with the Crew’s performance this year.

Coach Yallop showing he still can play...

Veteran's day

Please take time to remember veteran's and the sacrifices they have made today.

Arlington National Cemetary

Monday, November 10, 2008

KC 0 - 2 Crew

That was not good. One bright spot was the KC fans traveling to Columbus to support their team. Check out

Cauldron crashes Columbus and also Wives crash cauldron to see some fun shots. If Hillcrest keeps this up we will have to get him a better camera.

Happy Birthday Marine Corps

Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps and to all Marines, past and present.

November 10th, 1775 - November 10th, 2008.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random shots - 11-06-2008

Goff reports that Tom Soehn to return for third season with DC United. The rest of the coaches in the east all applaud that move.

Another rumor: Lopez returning to Mexico is being discussed. I asked a couple people about this yesterday and found out nothing. Seems one or two admitted they had heard that but only online, not through the club.

Speaking of someone not saying much, Luis Bueno interviews Preki who says nothing much.

You can vote for who want to for Hall of Fame over at Ives: Who gets your vote for Hall of Fame. At last check, Preki was leading with Agoos and Stewart close behind. I think Preki would be deserving…

Ives also reports that Eddie Johnson may get more playing time. Got to take advantage of other players injuries sometimes.

Mike’s Former Wizards update is now posted.

2008 MLS Awards round 2

Crew’s Marshall wins Defender of the Year.

I would have voted for Conrad. He anchored a young back line. He had to contend with frequently changing lineups around and in front of him and a team that could rarely give them a lead to work with. Jimmy played every minute this year in leading the team to 10 shutouts. Of course I might just be biased…

Referees Jair Marrufo and Kermit Quisenberry were honored with the adidas Referee of the Year and adidas Assistant Referee of the Year awards.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008 MLS Awards round 1

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch was voted the 2008 Panasonic Goalkeeper of the Year.

New England Revolution defender Michael Parkhurst was named the winner of the MLS Fair Play award, and the Revolution earned the MLS Team Fair Play award, recognizing the MLS club with the fewest disciplinary points during the 2008 regular season (I don't think Khano Smith helped).

Still to be announced:
MLS Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Jon Busch - Chicago Fire
Kenny Cooper - FC Dallas
Santino Quaranta - D.C. United (my vote)

Visa Defender of the Year Finalists
Jimmy Conrad - Kansas City Wizards (my vote)
Chad Marshall - Columbus Crew
Bakary Soumare - Chicago Fire

Adidas Referee of the Year Finalists
Michael Kennedy
Jair Marrufo
Terry Vaughn

Gatorade Rookie of the Year Finalists
Geoff Cameron - Houston Dynamo
Kheli Dube - New England Revolution (my vote)
Sean Franklin - Los Angeles Galaxy

MLS Coach of the Year Finalists
Dominic Kinnear - Houston Dynamo
Sigi Schmid - Columbus Crew
Frank Yallop - San Jose Earthquakes (my vote)

Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Cuauhtémoc Blanco - Chicago Fire
Landon Donovan - Los Angeles Galaxy
Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Columbus Crew

Newcomer of the Year
Darren Huckerby - San Jose Earthquakes (my vote)
Claudio Lopez - Kansas City Wizards
Andre Rocha - FC Dallas

Conrad should be in the MVP finalists, a defending, scoring, player leading quote machine like Jimmy is the clear MVP to me...

Kansas City Wizards practice 11-05-2008

Went out to watch practice yesterday and today before the press conference. Got to see the part of te usual scrimmage but not the whole thing. Herculez was not playing with the first team (out with red card for next game). It looked like Roger will probably be in the lineup but coach has not determined the lineup for sure yet.

At one point Kraus came on for the starting team. Over the next 5 minutes he scored an awesome goal and had a sweet assist. Nice to see him play like that.

They practiced PK's after the scrimmage, always an entertaining opportunity. Overall the team looked sharp and ready to play.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Got shoes?

In this previous post, Double good cause we talked to Davy and Lance about their former coach. Coach Brian Arendale lost his house when Hurricane Ike hit Texas. Davy and Lance are auctioning their shoes to raise some additional money for Coach Arendale. If this is your sort of thing, go bid. If this is not your sort of thing, go bid and raise the cost for someone else. I have one question guys, what size are they?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Random shots - 11/4/2008

Hillcrest Road has now made 500 posts. Great job dude, keep it up. How do I get a job doing that?

Mike finds the Wizards after USL 1 player. Interesting, a Cuban in camp last week and now they are looking at a guy from Northern Ireland playing in Puerto Rico. Can not fault PV and CO for looking around.

The Wizards announced their team award winners on Saturday:

Defender Jimmy Conrad – Team MVP

Midfielder Davy Arnaud – Budweiser Golden Boot & KCW Heart Award

Midfielder/Defender Jack Jewsbury – Defensive Player of the Year

Midfielder Roger Espinoza – Rookie of the Year

Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman – U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Forward Ivan Trujillo – Reserve Team Player of the Year

Mike gives his Down the Byline awards. Can’t really argue with them, but I think we need a few more. I will be working on my version shortly.

The Sunday after Stats seem small this week. Dig some more up!!!

From late last week, Wizards lowering ticket prices. Nice move by the Wizards and something not often seen nowadays. Of course my seats only go down by a half buck a game...

Andrea Canales talks about the significance of Jozy's goal. She also contrasts that with some other Americans that played in Spain. Anyone remember Tab Ramos? I never really liked him much but her article makes me look more favorably.

Interestingly, Andrea’s former blog-partner Luis has more on Jozy.

Interview Poll #13

Who should we interview this week? Mike of Down The Byline and I are continuing the weekly interview poll.

Kevin Hartman - The Wizards amazing goalie
Roger Espinoza - Wizards rookie of the year
Davy Arnaud - lone goal scorer

Write in a candidate if you think someone else is deserving. If you have questions you want asked, keep it fairly respectful and write them in the comments. We are running out of season and opportunity to do interviews. Go to the poll on the side of this blog and vote for who you want interviewed. You can also vote at Down The Byline and both votes count.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kansas City Wizards practice - 10/30/2008

Press conference day today, but first practice notes.

Looks like the same lineup will start based upon practice lineups.
Goalies all looked sharp. First team practiced set pieces while everyone else that was fit scrimmaged. Chance and Josh did not scrimmage. Looks like both of them may not be ready for this weekend.

Josh watching practice and catching some rays...

Press conference had decent turnout (must be the playoffs). NBC, Fox and Metro Sports all had cameras there. The Star was present as well as 3 bloggers and a Spanish media outlet (I did not catch which one). Coach was pretty upbeat today and didn't even seem to mind explaining how the playoffs work to one member of the traditional media. Coach was pretty honest in his opinions of the play of New England in the last game. If anyone wants, I can put the audio up from the press conference.

Kevin and Davy were the players at press conference. Kevin was well dressed as always and Davy is pretty happy. He is a new dad. Congrats again Davy!!!

Hey MLS Rumors, I think we found the Wizards next player.

Random shots - 10/30/2008

Well deserved - Khano Smith suspended for 3 games total

Mike plays: Wizards where are they now? Okay, we know where they are but Mike let’s us know how they are doing.

Mike names his player of month and I can not disagree.

More interviews and media game 2 – How about New media vs old?

Ives who will win in the first round poll – People are giving the Wizards almost as little chance to win as New England. The Rev’s are decimated by 2 injuries and 2 STUPID Red Cards. The Wizards are playing better than they have all year. Think it is a little better chance than New England’s.

Maradona to coach Argentina I always thought he would make a good coach for DC, of course they already know how to use their hands. But seriously Argentina, a coach?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekly interview #12 - Herculez Gomez

Herculez was again the top vote getter on the interview poll both here and on Down The Byline.

I had to ask him about the incident in New England and I got the answer I expected. He took the high road, too bad some Revolution players did not do the same thing. We also talked about the upcoming playoff series with the Crew.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shalrie Joseph comments...

Saturday night at New England, Revolution player Khano Smith tackled Herculez Gomez in what appeared to be an obvious attempt to injure Gomez. The ref threw a quick and justified red. Smith was the second Revolution player ejected, and it all but ended hopes of winning that game. It also further damaged New Englands chances to win at least the first playoff game against Chicago.

Shalrie Joseph discussing Khano Smith’s extremely nasty tackle on Herculez Gomez: "He didn't get a yellow, he didn't get suspended or fined or nothing. So we know coming in [to Saturday's game] that we definitely wanted to give him payback and make him know we didn't appreciate what he did to Ralston, our teammate."

Prepared statement by (for) Joseph released on Monday: "I want to apologize for my comments after our game on Saturday night against Kansas City. I was still caught up in the heat of the match. I regret implying that we were looking for payback. I know my comments don't reflect the feelings of my teammates or the club."

New England said: "There was no concerted effort to single out any player on Kansas City's squad. We would never condone such behavior or actions."

Shalrie, are you kidding? You regret implying? You did not imply, you flat out stated the truth and now you and the team are trying to CYA after the fact.

When Gomez tackled Ralston, it may have been late but it was not intentional to injure. I have interviewed Herculez twice on this now. I have asked him directly if he tried to hurt Ralston, he looked me in the eyes and said no. He felt bad for Ralston.

When Smith tackled Gomez out of bounds it sure looked like the intent to injure was there. To be honest, if the Revolution just wanted to “rough up” Gomez a little bit I would understand it. If you ever played in a league with me then you know I have no problem with that. But to go after someone like Khano did? Not acceptable.

I hope the league delivers the appropriate justice.

Twellman out indefinitely reports Twellman out from concussion-related symptoms. I hate to see players hurt but maybe New England is experiencing bad karma...

Kansas City Wizards practice - 10/28/2008

The team was playing one of the small side tournaments they do frequently.

Good news - Herculez did not look to have any issues after having been targeted in the New England game.

More Good news - Josh was practicing today and looked pretty quick. He was fighting pretty hard for some balls, enough that he had some words with a teammate. Nothing serious, just proof of hard play in practice.

Not so good news - Chance got a ding in scrimmages and had to come out of the scrimmage leaving his team short.

Not good news - Roger was not practicing. Sounds like he thought he would be ready later in the week (or by game time at least). He confirmed it was from being tackled in the reserve game. I asked if it was as dirty as I heard and he said it was not a good one.

Interesting news - There was a player I did not recognize. I was told he was Cuban but nobody knew his name. The official line was he was here to fill a spot for practice and stay in shape. I am sure that it was a look at each other.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interview Poll #12

Who should we interview this week? Mike of Down The Byline and I are continuing the weekly interview poll.

Coach Onalfo - Got his team to the playoffs
Herculez Gomez - Khano Smith tries to take him out
Roger Espinoza - comes in game for Herculez, then gets hurt in reserve game
Davy Arnaud - Game winning goal scorer

Write in a candidate if you think someone else is deserving. If you have questions you want asked, keep it fairly respectful and write them in the comments. We are running out of season and opportunity to do interviews. Go to the poll on the side of this blog and vote for who you want interviewed. You can also vote at Down The Byline and both votes count.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stuff I found interesting lately…

Mike over at Down The Byline found out that there may be a Kurt Morsink call up. Costa Rica will be in a tournament and may take that opportunity to look at Kurt. A few weeks a go I asked Kurt about his Costa Rica dream and it is clear he wants to play for them.

Speaking of Mike, he has his usual Sunday after stats post up. Does every MLS team have a stats geek (said with all due respect) like this? Glad we do…

MLS released the expansion draft rules. Mike and George both jumped at the opportunity to make their predictions and opinions known on who Kansas City will keep and expose. They both have a good list. I would not be surprised if Peter Vermes has some move up his sleeve that will turn all the predictions upside down.

Here is Georges post: expansion draft rules announced who does kc protect
And Mikes: expansion draft thoughts and predictions

Speaking of Seattle, Ives is reporting that Freddie Ljungberg going to Seattle as their first DP. The expansion draft rules, the players they already have signed, the players they get to keep from the USL version of the Sounders and the money behind the scenes may allow them to hit the field pretty dangerous from the start. Good chance they will not be the bottom of the West in their first year.

Goff writes about a Special day for Quaranta. Good reminder that soccer players are human with human problems. Santino has played better this year but it looks like his real success has been off the field. Good luck and stay strong dude.

I link to the blogs that I like on the right side. I have the ones that focus on the Wizards and the ones that get good info and breaking stuff around the league. Sideline Views was based in LA and at times was LA centric, they also reported on and followed the US National teams. It was also common to find info on Mexico and a lot of other good info. It is sad to see them bid a fond farewell. Andrea Canales has moved to Goal.Com and Luis Bueno will not continue the blog by himself. While Luis is a good writer I have always liked Andrea’s outlook. Can catch both of them elsewhere but will miss the combo of the two. Part of the inspiration for this blog was reading how they were providing info from practice. Thanks AC and LB…

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kerry Zavagnin Interview -10/23/2008

I cornered Kerry after practice on Thursday, I setup near the media cookies and he fell right into my trap.

I had to of course ask him about the huge banner the Cauldron did for his last regular season game. That banner was awesome. I do not know who all worked on it but I know Jeff (Szazzy) coordinated it. The other banners in the back had some of Kerry's accomplishments. I'm sure the stats were provided by Mike of Down The Byline (who else?)

Kerry has a mini-me...

I stitched together pano's of the banner. Here it is outside at the tailgate with a bunch of the Cauldron...

Here it is inside, someone tell the guy in the middle to not be so tall...

These can be seen larger in the Banner panos gallery

Kerry jumped at the chance to thank the fans...

Weekly interview #11 - Herculez Gomez

Herculez scored the game winning goal last weekend and it couldn't have been more dramatic. He was the top vote getter in our combined polls so I stopped him after practice on Thursday.

Herculez talks about the goal, the upcoming game in New England among other stuff...

Herculez celebrates...

News and observations 10-23-2008

From observation and a few questions, it looks like the lineup will be the same at New England. Abe Thompson is the possible exception to that. He did not train all week until Thursday. My guess is that he will be a go but Ivan will be ready to come in.

Josh will still not be available.

Wizards are in the playoff already so this game will mostly determine who Kansas City plays.

No earth shattering news. With the exception of Josh noted above, everyone trained and looked okay in practice. Well at least everyone that we would expect at this point.

I talked to Gomez since the fans voted for him the most. I also stopped Kerry to get his reaction to the wonderful fan display of appreciation.
It is late so I will post the audio Friday.

The real team photographer was there and took a cool group shots and some other outstanding photos.

Park University 2 - 0 Southern Nazarene

Tuesday I was just driving around scouting out some photo locations and came across a soccer game. Being a sucker for a good game I pulled in and asked permission to shoot the game. Sadly the light was not great (overcast, cool, threatening to pour at any minute), but did the best I could.

It was a good game, SNU and Park seemed to be fairly evenly matched with SNU getting a little more possession but Park with the more dangerous opportunities of the first half. This was to be expected since they were both in the NAIA Top 25 poll. Park came into the game at 16th and SNU at 8th.

After half, with the wind at their back, Park applied more and more pressure. Their was a constantly building attack until the 64th minute when Raad Qumsieh (#21) crossed to Tazou Ali Tagba (#10)who put it home convincingly.

This is Tagba celebrating his goal...

Raad Qumsieh on the attack...

Alain Matingou (#4) scored in the 84th minute to wrap the game up for Park. Here he transitioning the ball out of the back...

The rest of the photos can be seen at Park 2 - 0 Southern Nazarene gallery. Park's next game is against Central Christian this Saturday, October 25 at Julian Field at 3:00 p.m. It is senior day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Playoff bound...

New York loses 5-2 in Chicago.

Thank you Chris Rolfe!!!

Update: "Collectively, except for one or two players, everybody else should be very ashamed of how we played," Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio said.

How about the coach?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Claudio Lopez, Player of the week and other stuff...

As many of you know by now, Claudio Lopez was named the MLS Player of the Week. A goal and two assists in a dramatic 3-2win will get that for you. This goal reminds of the magic of Lopez. Sometime he can just put a ball around/over a keeper in the coolest ways.

Each week, the team has a press conference. It is always Coach and then usually a player (once it was Vermes). This week Claudio will be the player.

The last time he was at the press conference he was pretty quiet until someone brought up the play of Argentina.

Do not forget to go bid on Hartman's Pink jerseys. I think someone should get one for WC.

Go over to Down The Byline, Mike has the Weekly update on former Wizards.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Interview Poll #11

Who should we interview this week? Mike of Down The Byline and I are continuing the weekly interview poll.

Herculez Gomez - he got the winning goal, created chances
Abe Thompson - assisted on Claudio goal
Coach Onalfo - he has brought his team back from brink to be in a decent position to get into playoffs

Write in a candidate if you think someone else is deserving. If you have questions you want asked, keep it fairly respectful and write them in the comments. We are running out of season and opportunity to do interviews. Go to the poll on the side of this blog and vote for who you want interviewed. You can also vote at Down The Byline and both votes count.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kansas City Wizards 3 - 2 San Jose Earthquakes

That was fun. What a great night. I do not know where to begin...
The fans were able to honor 2 of their favorite Wizards. Kerry Zavagnin's last regular season home game deserved a special display and it was delivered.
This is part of the display before the game. Many Cauldron members posing with THE centerpice of Kerry's TIFO. This may have been the largest full color display in MLS history.
Kerry is hugged by the Cauldron...
The game itself was great. A last second goal to end the game by Herculez Gomez, Claudio Lopez showing glimpses of his old form and some great play on both teams made it as good as it gets.
Here the ball is just crossing the goalline on the winning goal.
Herc and Jack start to celebrate as San Jose players have barely moved.
After the game, fireworks. Okay fireworks are always cool but these were better than normal for a few reasons. We won, in dramatic fashion no less. That is always a bonus.
The Cauldron. As Cauldron founding father Sam noted, the "fireworks show music was the Cauldron, going non-stop, for the 10+ minutes of the pyro display over the south stand. Spectacular, indeed." Agreed..., Spectacular indeed...
Don't tell anyone but I snuck my daughter onto the field during the fireworks. She danced to the Cauldron singing WOAS, 'Oh Kerry, Kerry' and others for the entire time. Could not have been scripted better for me.
After the fireworks ended, former Wizard Nick Garcia was brought over to the Cauldron to be recognized. Cauldron president Robert Houghton presented Nick with a fantastic gift. Nick was impressed I think.
Nick signed autographs and posed for photos for quite awhile. Someone even brought a "replica" of a seat from Arrowhead to be signed.
And yes, for those of you who know me and my previous writings, my daughter got to meet her favorite player. NICK GARCIA!
There was a huge line to get autographs from the entire team after the game.
Overall, a very good day to be a Wizards fan.
See KC Wizards 3 - 2 San Jose Earthquakes for more photos of the TIFO, the award to Nick and some Tailgate photos.

Friday, October 17, 2008

San Jose Earthquakes practice 10 17 2008

First I want to thank San Jose for letting me interview them. Coach Yallop, Nick, Scott and Flor Rivera (the San Jose PR person), were all very helpful and willing to answer questions.

Coach Yallop talks about playoff chances, being an expansion team, and his former Wizards players.

I asked Scott Sealy about his new team compared to the Wizards. Some of the other talking in this clip is Flor letting me know that I need to wrap it up. They were waiting on Scott to get on the bus to leave. Scott talks about his future plans and the upcoming game.

Scott Sealy laughing after a practice PK was stopped...

Nick Garcia - I had to ask about the differences between the two teams as well. That is something that I am interested in. And yes I ask my standard what would like to be asked question. He manages to answer it and finds a way to give Jimmy a hard time as well. He talks about his future a bit also.

Side story - Nick's father was out watching practice. I talked to him for a few minutes. He is a really nice guy and an obviously proud happy father.

Nick at practice...

Just a shot I liked...

The rest of the photos can be found in San Jose practice photos.