Friday, January 28, 2011

Murray, Warzycha and Scales interviews 1/27/11

I talked to three of Sporting Kansas City's draft picks after practice.

JT Murray - 2nd round draft pick

Konrad Warzycha - 3rd round draft pick

Sam Scales - 1st round draft pick of the supplemental draft

Scales running the beep test, he won his group.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Comets Retro Night and Reunion Game

The Comets game on Friday, Jan 28th is Retro night. This year’s Comets team will be playing in replica jerseys of the iconic rainbow-striped uniforms worn during the team’s inaugural 1981-1982 season. The jerseys will then be auctioned-off immediately following the game, with proceeds benefiting the Dalton Burner Foundation. Brian Harris is a big supporter of Dalton and would greatly appreciate everyone's help.

The Game ball for the reunion game...

Coach Roentved and Comets President Brian Budznski talking while players Jamar Beasley and Leo Gibson model the retro jersey...

Gino Schiraldi and Jim Schwab with Scott Levinson (Comets Director of Sales & Marketing)

The Team Captain's for the Reunion game are Gino Schiraldi and Jim Schwab.

The Blue team:
0 Alan Mayer
1 Kevin Zimmerman
2 Gino Schiraldi
5 Jason Putthoff
7 Bob Bozada
14 Ted Eck
14 Kevin Handlan
20 Chirs Duke
22 Gordon Hill
24 Edmond Rugova

The White team:
3 Tim Clark
8 Robi Goff
9 Goran Hunjak
11 Jim Schwab
12 Emilio John
15 Doug Neely
16 Shane Steadman
17 Kia
18 Tom Knox
19 Drew Perkins
21 Warren Westcoat

Rumor is the teams are talking trade so the above roster may change by game time.

Jim Schwab with his reunion game jersey

Jim Schwab discusses the Reunion game

Gino Schiraldi discusses the Reunion game and the old Comets legacy

Missouri Comets Jersey Sponsor

The Missouri Comets announced a three year partnership with Citizens Bank and Trust. As the official sponsor of the Comets, the Citizens Bank and Trust logo will be displayed on the team’s home and away jerseys, as well as on the Comets’ field at the Independence Events Center.

The partnership also includes CB&T’s sponsorship of Comets’ goalkeeper, Danny Waltman, and his “Danny Saves” program which benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City. For every save Danny (or any Comets goalie) makes for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season, as well as the 2011-2012 & 2012-2013 seasons, Citizens Bank and Trust will donate $5 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City.

The Comets will wear a retro jersey this Friday against the Wave so the first game with the new uniform will be on the road against Omaha on Sunday.

Geison Moura (Away) and Vahid Assadpour (Home) show off the newly sponsored uniforms.

I talked with Comets President Brian Budzinski about the importance of the jersey sponsor and a few other topics as well.

Podcast: Byline 2 Backpost 1/26/2011

The latest podcast is now available.

We discuss all the news around Sporting Kansas City and the Missouri Comets.

Get it from iTunes



Sporting Kansas City players performing preseason fitness testing...

Missouri Comets players celebrating their win over Omaha...

Calum Butcher interview 1/26/201

Talked with Calum Butcher after practice

Calum Butcher running the agility test under the watchful eye of Coach Vermes...

Adda Djeziri interview 1/26/2011

Talked with Adda Djeziri after practice. Seems he knows the White Puma pretty well and is staying with him while he is in Kansas City.

Adda Djeziri running the beep test. Prior to losing his lunch (breakfast)...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comets: Post game interviews - better late than never

I was a little busy the last few days and did not get these interviews posted when I should have. I still wanted to share them...

Byron Alvarez after the narrow home loss to Baltimore

These interviews are from right after the Comets big comeback win in Omaha:

Coach Roentved

Boris Pardo

Leo Gibson

Sporting KC: first day of practice thoughts and observations

Graham Zusi's new look...

Before I head out to day 2 of practice, I wanted to post a couple photos and observations. Day 2 is fitness testing and will not be as exciting as seeing Bravo and Diop score in practice but still interesting to me.

On day 1, three teams(9 plus keepers) scrimmaged. Each team was a mix of veterans, rookies and trialists. The pace of the games was very good for the first day.

Yesterday could be subtitled "Diop game #3" - Birahim scored 3 in the scrimmages, all them were quality goals.

Omar Bravo - scored a sweet goal, looks ready and appears to be the seriously good pro they want him to be.

Kei Kamara - was ready to go, had a nice match up with Djeziri in one game, two assists to Diop.

Teal Bunbury - mid-season form already which is understandable since he has been playing and practicing with one team or another since the end of last season.

CJ Sapong - looked good, can see why they picked him. Was getting his first day nerves out of the way.

Julio Cesar Santos and Calum Butcher did not stand out. I saw Santos but never saw Butcher but he was supposedly there.

Adda Djeziri - he looked pretty good to me for the first day.

Combination of short practice and so many new faces, was unable to really focus on all the new players.

Players not there:

Sassano and Smith were rehabbing. Smith's knee, yes the same knee.

As mentioned in the Vermes interview, Omar Colley, Daniel Cyrus and Sheldon Bateau were not here and will join them in Arizona.

I know it was only 1 day and the first day at that so take all the observations here and elsewhere with a grain of salt. They all did well considering it was the first day and many did not know their team mates in the scrimmages, but it was still only one short practice session. Of course we only get a few days before they leave town to make judgments.

Adda Djeziri being chased by Kei Kamara...

Teal was the most popular interview request...

Peter Vermes Interview 1/25/11

Peter Vermes at the first day of Sporting Kansas City practice

Andrew Wiebe of and I interviewed Coach Vermes at the first day of practice. Here are the notes from the interview (not exact quotes). The videos are included below and contain a little more info than I transcribed.

Part 1 - Coach Vermes
I am very excited for two reasons, we are way ahead of schedule of where we were last year. Last year we just tried to bring a number of really good players, based on last year and especially the second half of the season. Our style is starting to become very evident. The roles and responsibilities of the players we have on the team became very evident. Now we have a strong core returning to the team. Those guys have set the standard. In the off season we could go select guys that were for very specific positions on the field as opposed to just going and getting a bunch of good players and seeing who could make the team.

Our draft picks, all 6 showed very well, not only athletically but technically and tactically on the field, that was really good to see. Very impressed with that. A few guys that we selected to bring in on trial, they have proven right away that they have the quality that we are looking for. We are going to find out over the next few days and early into next week if they are going to stick around for sure.

Targeted positions for trialists - We've been searching for a couple central defenders to add to our roster, another midfielder a couple more attacking players on the outside, we obtained one in Sapong.

Julio Cesar Santos - just go wikipedia him and you will see his illustrious career.
We have an agreement with him, it is a trial period for both the team and Santos so he can see if he wants to be here, they have already talked financials and come to an understanding. Now that he is 31 he probably has the full package, when he was younger he was probably the athletic guy.

Mike Jones - late in the supplemental draft, very good on the ball, good career ahead of him, especially with the reserve league where we can spend some time and bring him along

Schedule for this week - This week is the acclimation phase, testing tomorrow beep test and agility test, this week is light, next week the volume and intensity jumps up, then we play a bunch few games and that is really our evaluation phase. We will spend time in practice playing a certain way so we can evaluate players. By the time we come home for our regeneration phase which is 5 days and go back to Arizona, from that point forward it will really be about the team. We are going to get focused on it very quickly because we already feel we are a step ahead because of that foundation we have.

Invitational combine, some of them may make it and move up to the main group and go to Arizona. They are college players, foreign guys, USL, a guy that's played in MLS.

Omar Colley is held up and will show up in a couple days, the two Trinidad players had a Visa problem that has been sorted out they will join in Arizona. They have a few more players that will join them in Arizona as well.

Part 1 of Vermes interview video

Part 2
Sunil Chhetri - we have a couple options on him to do some things with him to keep him on our roster, we are working through those, another week or two before a decision is made. We may bring him back and loan him out and he would not take up roster spot, cap room or international spot. It would be difficult to have him here taking up a foreign slot based on some of the other things we are looking for.

Omar Bravo - He's here to prove something. he's not here to just say he played in MLS. He's here to actually play and be successful. You can see his play already fits into the way we do things. He scored a very nice goal in training today, very good combination play with him and Roger Espinoza.

Teal Bunbury - He's in good form (and a bunch of other stuff)

Zoltan - We still have an issue with his club, it's between us and the league together , we have an issue with his club, his club he is currently with. He was on loan with us. Until that gets rectified he will not be coming back here. If that gets rectified there is a chance he could. It's a timing issue, if ti goes to far we will probably have already made a decision on other players. But is a guy we really do like, have liked.

Calum Butcher - A player that has been at Tottenham. He's wanted to come here, we have been talking with him for a year now. He's here now, he's basically training and trying out like a lot of other players. Interesting kid, great presence, size for the position. Coming from Tottenham school, he plays out of the back. He does not just lump the ball forward.

Adda Djeziri - very interesting, he's Van Persi if you look at him, he's tall, left footed, he can do some damage. Very good talent, he was a big talent coming out but didn't work for some reason.

Connor Knoll - A Wizards Junior training with the Invitational combine

Kevin Ellis - played in the Wizards Juniors and with Barton Community College

Part 2 of Vermes interview video

Vermes coaching one of the new players

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kei Kamara interview 1/25/2011

Quick interview with Kei Kamara after practice

Kei Kamara at the first day of practice...

Jimmy Nielsen interview 1/25/2011

Brief chat with Jimmy Nielsen...

Jimmy did not stop this shot in a scrimmage on the first day of practice...

CJ Sapong interview 1/25/2011

Talked briefly with Sporting Kansas City's first round draft pick CJ Sapong after practice.

CJ Sapong and Teal Bunbury after practice...

Comets 21 - 20 Omaha Vipers

The game was action packed. There were momentum swings, great saves, not so great saves, scuffles and the strangest winning goal I have seen in an indoor soccer game.

Omaha jumped out to a lead when Comets keeper Boris Pardo's pass was intercepted by Moojen who did not miss the wide open goal despite Pardo almost making it back in time. Missouri seized the momentum with goals by Alvarez and Harding to end up leading 4-2 after one.

The second quarter belonged to Omaha. Johnny Torres opened the scoring just 7 seconds into the quarter. The Comets Leo Gibson scored to take the lead back but it was only momentary. Ryan Junge hit a 3 pointer and Carlos "Chile" Farias added a 2 pointer and a 3 pointer of his own to lead 12 - 6 at the half.

It did not look good for the Comets when the Vipers came out and scored another goal just a minute and a half into the third but the Comets were resolved to fight there way back into the game. Alvarez, Rodriguez and Assadpour all scored to close the gap to 14-12 after three.

Omaha's player coach Marcelo Fontana scored and Sandri Silva added another to extend the Vipers lead.

The Comets would not surrender quietly though. Jamar Beasley scored twice, one on the power play and Alvarez rounded out his hat trick to tie the game at 18.
The Vipers started pressing trying to win the game but the Comets were playing a high pressure defense. The Vipers Fabinho had the ball near midfield when Beasley pressured him, Fabinho turned and passed the ball back to his keeper Jose Bontti. The problem was that Bontti had moved up the field and the pass back headed straight for the goal. Bonti was not able to get back in time so Fabinho scored a 3 point own goal. The offical scorers gave the goal to Jamar Beasley but it did not look like he touched it.

Omaha did add another goal by Torres with the sixth attacker on the field but it was only a 2 pointer leaving the home team a point short.

Observations and Notes:

This was the highest scoring game of the season

The last game between these teams was the lowest scoring game of the season

Game settled by an own goal, a 3 point goal

The easy goal given up early by the Comets for 2 points - 3 point own goal by Omaha- game decided by 1 point. Vipers mistake cost them just that little bit more to lose the game.
These two teams have played four times, twice in each city. Both teams have won both games on the road. No home field advantage between these teams.

Omaha seemed much less composed in this game. Bontti and one of his field players had to be separated while exchanging profanities.

Omaha Player/Coach Marcelo Fontana got into a scuffle after the game with a Comets player causing a gathering of both teams. Pushing, shoving and a few words were exchanged. I was told that Fontana was unhappy when a Comets player suggested he should have stayed coaching since he couldn't play very well.

Boris Pardo made his second start and notched his firstwin of his indoor career. With the exception of the stray pass at the begining and one goal that went past the wall and beat him near post, he played well.

Brian Harris and Lucas Rodriguez are quickly improving.

Full photo gallery

Bontti goes over Brunt and Moura to deflect ball out...

Bontti hurried back but was unable to stop the own goal...

The ref signals it is a 3 pointer...

A little post game meeting between the two teams...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Teal Bunbury scores for US National Team

Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury scored his first international goal against Chile Saturday. When Juan Agudelo went down in the box, the US was award a penalty kick. Teal took the penalty kick to tie the game up at one all.

I do not normally post content from others but the call on Teal's goal is fabulous.

I know a lot of US fans were unhappy that the game was broadcast on Telefutura but if it had been on any other network we would not have had such a great call.


Prediction: We hear that call again. We see Boonburee on banners and t-shirts and maybe even a "I Like the Boonburee" chant for Teal this year.

Baltimore Wins as Comets Comeback Falls Short

Waltman making a save...

The Comets got off to a slow start against Baltimore. The Blast got on the board first when Max Ferdinand put a 3 point shot through Waltman. Pat Healey added a goal to give the visitors a 5-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Baltimore continued to dominate in the second quarter but the Comets were beginning to get organized. The Blast led 11-5 at half. Scoring was limited in the third with the visitors adding the only goal.

The Comets' rookie Bryan Perez kicked the fourth quarter off with a beautiful goal. After Baltimore scored another to take their total to 15, Byron Alvarez was awarded a penalty kick when Blast player Lookingland was calledfor tripping in the box. Alvarez's shot was blocked by Sagu but Alvarez followed his shot up and taped the ball across the line.

Beasley scored to keep the rally going. Waltman was pulled to bring in Vahid Assadpour as the Sixth Attacker. Alvarez quickly scored again to bring his team within a goal. Despite a flurry of shots and activity, the Comets could not complete the comeback. Final score: Missouri Comets 13 - 15 Baltimore Blast

Lucas Rodriguez's goal in the second and Bryan Perez's goal in the fourth were their first for the year.

Lucas Rodriguez scoring his first goal

Blast keeper Sagu made 19 saves...