Friday, March 4, 2011

Wichita Wings return to MISL

The MISL announced today that Wichita will enter the league for the 2011-12 season. The Wings previously played in Wichita from 1979 to 2001. They will play their home games at the Hartman Arena located in Park City, KS.

The Wings will be owned and operated by Willis “Wink” Hartman, the President of Hartman Oil and founder of H2 Plains, LLC, H2 Drilling and H2 Trucking. Hartman has created or invested in over 40 additional companies including Hartman Arena, the Wichita Wild football team, Chester’s Chop House, H2 Plains, H2 Drilling and H2 Trucking.

Hartman Arena is a 6,500 seat, multi-purpose facility. The building is subterranean (the seating bowl is located underground), which helps keep costs down for heating and cooling, and runs on electricity from a 150' tall wind turbine when there are no events.

With the Wings back in the league, the Comets have added another close regional rival. There have been talks with investors in St. Louis about joining the league next year as well. If Omaha survives their financial difficulties and Chicago can find investors, the MISL has the makings of a very nice regional rivalry league.

Expect another new team announcement soon from a city that I have not mentioned. I promised I would not say their location or name but think north...

Sporting Kansas City adds a new announcer

Sporting Kansas City's latest foreign signing will not take up an international slot on the roster. While there has been no official announcement, the news leaked through twitter yesterday. BBC Correspondent Callum Williams will join Sporting KC as a presenter and commentator for the teams TV broadcasts.

He is coming directly from covering Chesterfield's fight to be promoted to league 1. It will be interesting to see his take on the game, lack of promotion/relegation, the culture, supporters and everything in general. Hopefully he will quickly be coached to not call the team Kansas as so many foreign announcers do. Someone let him know about the whole Border War aspect of being in this town also.

How he adapts to being a team guy and not a true reporter could also be interesting.

Good luck Callum, welcome to Kansas City.

Comets Mascot Game Photos

At halftime of the last home Comets home game, a large number of mascots and Star Wars characters played a little game.

More photos from the mascot game and the Comets game.

Darth Vader with a KC Cauldron scarf...

Funny Monkey was the Man (mascot?) of the Match and led the furry crowd in scoring...

Vader uses the force to clear the ball away from goal...

Coco is impressed with the Jedi light saber

You would think the mascot for a soccer team would know you should not use hands...

But Vinny the (Omaha) Viper plays like his team. Here he abuses a poor cow...

Run Chick-fil-A cow, Run!!

Speaking of edible barnyard animals, are those pork ribs?

JEDI DOWN!!! Twinkie the kid takes out a Jedi...

Boba Fett about to be slide tackled...

Coco takes out Boba Fett...

Mac, the Missouri Mavericks mascot...

Dollar Dog, Citizens Bank and Trust mascot...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Comets Acquire Anthony Maher from Chicago

The Missouri Comets acquired veteran forward Anthony Maher form the Chicago Riot. Terms were not disclosed. Maher has only played five games this season if the stats on the Chicago site is correct. In those five games he scored 4 goals and 5 assists. Maher missed a few weeks after fracturing his jaw in the game against Missouri on 12/19.

Maher brings some much needed size and experience to the Comets for their run to get into the playoffs and possible postseason play. Maher is also a member of the United States National Futsal team

Maher has played since 2002 including two seasons (2003-2005) with the Kansas City Attack.

Comets Tiguinho defending Maher...

Maher walking off with a fractured jaw...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cauldron Recording Session

Last week The Cauldron sent out an urgent request for help. They needed volunteers to help record a song or two for a new MLS App and they needed it quick. That app has not been released yet that I know of but hopefully it will be soon (before the season). I stopped by and watched, even sang a little bit. Since it was for an actual MLS app, of course the first songs needed to be Sporting Kansas City songs. I wanted to share a couple photos and the videos from that night.

The first three songs released for download:

I love Sporting Kansas City


Sporting Sporting Kansas City

Photo Gallery

There was a good crowd for short notice...

The mixing board...

Hector at the microphones...


Sporting Sporting Kansas City

Oh when the Wiz

Vamos KC Wiz

It's very simple (profanity warning)

Roster Speculation

With the need to be roster compliant coming up (maybe it already has) and the news that Jack Jewsbury was traded to Portland, I thought I would engage in some rare speculation. As I wrote this the news that Lorenz, Jones and Sapong were all signed. I was predicting they would be but it is a little late to really take credit. Dang!!

Júlio César Santos Correa
He had played in all of the preseason games up until this last weekend. All the coaches have spoke favorably about him and talked about how he has improved throughout preseason.

From the last Peter Vermes press conference

When asked if Júlio César Santos Correa was out since he did not play in the preseason games that day:

He is not out. As you know, we've been looking at quite a few guys in that position of the field and we're still making some determinations around that position. He's not out, though. We haven't solidified anything yet.

That could be interpreted many ways. My guess is that he is in process of being signed.

Milos Stojcev
My guess is that he will be signed as well. He has been playing with the first team since he showed up.

Adda Djeziri
He has played less and less and been mentioned less and less. Have heard that he was at times brilliant, and at times very mediocre. While he may be a good talent, he may not be good enough, or consistent enough to use an international spot on.

Michal Mravec
Not sure on him he got lots of playing time early but seems to not gotten as much in the last game. Is that a sign, who knows. He would use up another international spot so that hurts his chances.

Omar Colley
With International Slots in short supply, it is unknown whether he has done enough to earn a spot. He seems to have been playing well and getting time but that international label is what really matters.

Mike Jones
The team announced he was signed while I wrote this...

CJ Sapong
The team announced he was signed while I wrote this...

Scott Lorenz
The team announced he was signed while I wrote this...

Some other International Player
I would bet that there is another international player coming. Even if there is not they will probably hold at least one slot to be able to sign another attacking midfielder.

What do you all think?

Jack Jewsbury traded to Portland Timbers

Jack Jewsbury has been traded to the Portland Timbers for allocation money.

Jewsbury, a native of Springfield, Mo., was a 5th round MLS SuperDraft selection in 2003 (43rd overall) after a standout career at St. Louis University.

While he appeared in 29 games and started 17, Jack has been fighting for consistent playing time over the last year. Jewsbury has always been a great 'Jack-of-all-trades' kind of guy and he could play almost any position on the field at a serviceable level. Unfortunately with the current talent level on the team (and in the pipeline) he was not likely to crack the starting lineup again soon except as an injury replacement. With an expanded and deeper roster, the highly versatile utility player is less required. With Zusi (and others) as a midfield replacement and Ellis and Lorenz as replacements for outside back, his best positions were not positions where depth was needed anymore.

Even with the need for one guy that can play multiple positions diminished, what probably most led to the trade was his salary. Jack was being paid what a starter in this league should be paid. He signed a 4 year contract in 2009 and last year (according to the MLS Players Union) he was making a guaranteed $154,000.

With Conrad, Wolff, Chhetri, Zoltan and now Jewsbury gone the payroll has been reduced by over $886,000 from last year. That number does not include a few other players that were traded, picked up in the expansion draft/re-entry drafts, released or may still be released.
Portland is getting a great team player in Jack. Not only was he versatile on the field, but he could remain best friends with the ULTRA-competitive Davy Arnaud.

Jack proved he was tough when he survived being sat on by the not so diminutive Zach Thornton in a game last year.

Podcast: Byline 2 Backpost 2/27/2011

The latest podcast is now available.

Mike and Thad talk Gold Cup, MLS News, Members Benefits, Preseason games, Sporting KC, Missouri Comets and more...

Get it from iTunes



Thanks to Quick's BBQ, stop in and say you heard them on the podcast, and the Kansas City Cauldron for the song between segments.

Thanks to The Vandon Arms, a great band out of Iowa. Their latest album is The Sent Off EP and contains several soccer related songs. You can hear their music here or check them out on their Facebook page. We will feature more of their songs on future podcasts.

The song used in the beginning and at the end is Over There. A great song in support of the US National Team.

The Missouri Comets Byron Alvarez celebrates one of the goals in his hat trick

Monday, February 28, 2011

Comets vs Vipers: Strange call and scuffle

I mentioned in the previous post that I would cover a strange call and a scuffle in another post.

So I will...

Situation #1

First a strange call.

I watched this whole play through my camera and was confused when I heard the penalties at the end. Comets rookie Brian Harris and Viper (former KC Wizard) Chris Brunt were playing hard and fighting for position and the ball.

Harris and Brunt watch as Mirsad Dzilic and Tijani Ayegbusi fight for the ball...

Harris gets position on Brunt and the ball comes his way...

Harris and Brunt race for ball...

Brunt takes down Harris with a choke hold...

A closer look...

Harris on ground...

The official call, holding penalties for both Harris and Brunt. Now maybe I missed something. It is possible that I missed Harris holding somewhere, but shouldn't Brunt get something extra for the choke hold tackle?

Situation #2

With approximately 12 seconds left, Vipers were down and they were not coming back. Fabinho got control of the ball and held it up so the game could end. Alvarez ran through trying to get the ball to get off one more shot. Perhaps he was trying to narrow the points gap so the tie breaker would switch to the Comet favor. Maybe he did not realize the time left in the game. The result was a scuffle between the two teams. No punches were thrown that I could see but a couple Vipers kept trying to get to Alvarez.

The scrum was broken up and a few words were still being exchanged when Tijani Ayegbusi came up on Alvarez from behind and tried to choke him.

A little closer look...

Should Ayegbusi get fined? Suspended?

Should the next match be with MMA rules?

Comets winning streak brings them closer to playoffs

The Missouri Comets took two big steps towards making the playoffs over the weekend.

Comets 11 - 6 Omaha Vipers

Friday night they defeated the rival Omaha Vipers 11-6. The win pulled the Comets within a half game of the Vipers in the standings.

The Comets Byron Alvarez opened the scoring and Missouri never relinquished the lead. With a goal by Leo Gibson and two more for Alvarez, the Comets led 8-2 with just under 6 minutes left in the game prompting Omaha go to the sixth attacker. The tactic quickly paid off for the Vipers when they scored within 9 seconds and added another with just under 3 minutes left to pull within 2 of the Comets. Vahid Assadpour scored a 3 pointer to seal the deal with just 40 seconds left.

The Vipers and the Comets have not shared a great deal of love since before the season when the two teams scrimmaged. They have gotten to know each other well splitting 6 games this year. There were a couple scuffles and a strange call which I will cover in another post.

Shot almost sneaks past but Riot keeper Joshua Miller stopped this one...

Byron Alvarez grabs a sombrero and dances with team mates after scoring...

Man of the match: Byron Alvarez for his hat trick
Runner-up: Danny Waltman for his outstanding play

Comets 23 - 7 Chicago Riot

Chicago took the lead quickly when they scored just 24 seconds in off a restart. Missouri tied it up at 8:39 when Lucas Rodriguez dribbled through three Chicago players and easily scored on Riot keeper Richey. Chicago scored a 3 pointer late in the first to lead 5-2 going into the second quarter.

Jamar Beasley responded just 26 seconds into the second and from that point on it was all Missouri. A goal by Geison Moura gave the Comets the lead and they never looked back. The third quarter saw three goals by Missouri and they added four more in the fourth to make it a blowout.

The best game the Comets have played and it came after having to travel early in the morning after their win over Omaha the night before. A pair of goals from Beasley, Moura, Alvarez (who is on fire) and Rodriguez (great to see him finding his goal scoring touch) and goals by Assadpour and Waltman. Yes, Waltman. Danny alertly (and accurately) threw the ball into the opposing net when the Riot's sixth attacker did not get back quick enough. Waltman's goal put an exclamation point on the game for Missouri.

Man of the match: Danny Waltman for continuing his great play in goal and for scoring a goal.
Runner-up: Lucas Rodriguez for a pair of goals.

A three game win streak and a two game home winning streak, both season long streaks.

Playoff chances

Win the win over Chicago, the Comets pulled even with Omaha for the third and final playoff spot. The first tie breaker is head to head and the two team are tied 3-3. Oddly Omaha and Missouri both won two of their three games at their opponents home. The second tie breaker is total points and Omaha holds the advantage 72-68. A few missed shots in all of those games really hurts.

Both teams have two games remaining.

Vipers remaining games
March 4: Milwaukee at Omaha
March 13: Omaha at Milwaukee

Comets remaining games
March 6: Chicago at Missouri
March 13: Missouri at Baltimore

Baltimore leads Milwaukee by two games in the standings and with only one game left between the two of them, there is little chance that the Wave will catch the Blast. So the question will be how hard the Wave and the Blast will play in their last few games. Will they take it easy and rest stars or will they play to stay sharp?

Milwaukee should win both games against Omaha, they are a far superior team and the Vipers do not seem to be well organized or disciplined at this point.

If the Comets keep up their form, they should be able to defeat the Riot at home before traveling to Baltimore.

So the short version is that the Comets need to finish ahead of Omaha, they need to keep winning to make the post season.