Somehow, the 1st round predictions lacked a matchup settled via PK, so that's going to have to change. Here are my semifinal and final prognostications.
In the "East", we have a projected game between the DP-infused New York Red Bulls and striker-infused Colorado Rapids. In a one-game playoff, I'm just as scared of Omar Cummings and Conor Casey as I am Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel, though the latter are a formidable tandem in their own right. This one will be in New York at pristine Red Bulls Arena, the second-best stadium in MLS come 2011. Home field gives NY a slight edge, but Colorado is dangerous. I see this one going to PKs after a 2-2 draw. Goals by, who else, Cummings and Casey for the Rapids and Dane Richards and former Rapid Mehdi Ballouchy for New York. Bouna Time shows up the shootout and eliminates his former club as Henry, Angel, Marquez, Lindpere and Chris Albright all connect for New York.
Out West we project an RSL-Seattle battle for a spot in the final. This match-up features the last two trophy winners (RSL MLS Cup '09 and Seattle US Open Cup '10) and some SERIOUS attacking prowess. Normally a team boasting Montero, Nkufo, Jaqua, Zakuani, Fernandez and Nyassi wouldn't have any trouble saying they were the most dangerous team in the building, but RSL can certainly hold its own with Saborio, Espindola, Findley, Morales, Johnson and Beckerman (when he wants to go forward). In my mind, the edge between these two teams will be in the home field advantage and RSL's stubborn back line (plus short but steady Nick Rimando). RSL squeeks by 2-1, on goals by Saborio and Johnson (both set up by Morales). Zakuani puts one home for Seattle on a break and keeps the Daily Mirror pushing for his consideration in the England National Team.
This sets up an RSL-New York final at BMO Field in Toronto. Neither team is unfamiliar with the cold, so weather shouldn't be a factor no matter what November 21 in Toronto throws at them. RSL won the season series 1-0-1 after a 1-0 win at home and a 0-0 draw on the road. What does that confirm? Well, nothing. We already know Salt Lake doesn't give up many goals, but the Red Bulls were able to stifle the RSL attack to the tune of one goal through two games. Will this be a cagey contest? For some reason, I don't think so. Call it post-season adrenaline for the attackers or jitters for the defenders, but I think this game will open up.
New York opens the scoring through back-from-injury Henry, but Salt Lake answers almost immediately as Saborio says "this is my Newcomer of the Year award". RSL then pushes ahead after a beautiful free kick from Morales and shaky hands from Coundoul, before Angel caps his time in the big city with a calm finish after a Lindpere through ball. With time winding down, Salt Lake draws a corner kick and big Jamison Olave out-jumps rookie Tim Ream and place on in the upper 90 for a 3-2 Salt Lake victory as the Toronto fans go crazy.
That officially means that everyone from the Kansas City Wizards thinks Salt Lake will repeat. Good luck to them and everyone else still fighting for the trophy. In 2011 it's coming home with the Wizards.
*If all of the scores and goal-scorers above are correct, I'll pay for a round inside the supporters club once it opens next year. That surely won't happen, but it's pretty fun to attempt.
The MLS Cup Playoffs are just around the corner (game 1 will be played tomorrow night in Colorado). Unfortunately, we're not part of the equation this year, but that doesn't mean we can't guess how things will turn out. Robb Heineman and Dave Borchardt have already said on-air that they back RSL to repeat. I won't yet pick a champion, but I'll give you my first-round thoughts on a game-by-game basis below (in italics).
ESPN.com columnist Leander Schaerlaeckens, who should be on the All-Interesting Name Team himself, recently penned an entertaining article about the MLS All-Interesting Team. Set up in every award systems' favorite 3-5-2 formation, Leander included a pair of Kansas City Wizards in the midfield.
Stephane Auvray makes the list for his prodigious chess skills, while Ryan "Smudge" Smith earns his spot due to his excellent rapping ability. Read the entire article here.
Prominent Kansas City video blogger Ramsey Mohsen stopped by KC Soccer Stadium site recently for a tour and created this look inside the venue. See what he had to say (remember that the stage will be filled with seats for games and not visible). Read his blog post (plus a panoramic photo) here.
Goodbye CommunityAmerica Ballpark! Birahim Diop sends us out in style with a hat trick that activates the Planet Sub Hat Trick Special. Props to Eric Kronberg for getting the win in his first-ever MLS game and for Jon Kempin for being the first-ever KCW Juniors product to suit up for an MLS match. Watch the highlights here:
Go get your Planet Sub Hat Trick Special tomorrow!
Tomorrow night marks our last game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark before opening our new shrine to soccer in 2011. How pumped are you? We're so pumped that we're going to have a post-game fireworks display and autograph session, in addition to a merchandise sale. We'll also be distributing signs that have helped you get around CAB for the past few years for a $10 donation to the KC Soccer Foundation. Read more on all that here.
That's right folks, your votes helped us win $25,000 from Pepsi to rehabilitate Belvidere Park in Kansas City, MO!! Thanks so much for voting. The children who use Belvidere Park on a regular basis couldn't be more excited. Read details of the grant here. See a couple more pics from today's event below.
We'll have another full slate of Champions League action today. For the full scoreboard, click here. You'll be able to watch Man United vs Bursaspor (Turkey) live on Fox Soccer Channel at 1:30 p.m. CT or Inter vs Tottenham live on Fox Soccer Plus at the same time. If you have DirecTV, just pick the match you want to watch and enjoy!
What game are you most interested in today? Will United be distracted by all the Rooney talk? I have a feeling they'll end up putting a hurting on the Turkish side.
Three of those four players were in Kansas City for their 2-1 loss to the Wizards July 25. Only Rooney, among that group, wasn't. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
This Wayne Rooney stuff is pretty nuts, isn't it? Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed today that his star striker wants out. Sir Alex is great in a presser. We know because he held one here in Kansas City this year (how cool is that?!). He doesn't usually, however, talk about player moves in such candid nature before they happen. This is clearly a unique case. Read up on the story here (or anywhere else that covers soccer).
This situation got me thinking. If you, as a Kansas City Wizards fan, could see us sign ANY player in the world right now, would it be Rooney? If it wouldn't, who is your ultimate pipe-dream signing? Let us know in the comments section.
Last Friday was the 10 year anniversary of the biggest win in Kansas City Wizards history, the 2000 MLS Cup. That day at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., Miklos Molnar sneaked a shot across the line and Tony Meola, Peter Vermes, Nick Garcia and company withstood shot after shot after shot from the Chicago Fire en route to a 1-0 win. See the highlights below.
If you were a fan of the team back then, what do you remember about the 2000 season and the club's first MLS Cup win?
As a special bonus, Wizards defender and Blue Valley West grad Matt Besler will be at the theater before the movie signing autographs and chatting with fans. Matt played college soccer with one of the main characters in Pelada and had the second as a TA. He went to see the film during its first run in Kansas City and loved it.
There will also be some silent auction/raffle prizes to raise additional funds for juvenile diabetes.
We will once again host a live chat with Josh Whisenhunt, Kurt Austin and Kyle Rogers to talk about tonight's vital game for the MLS Cup playoff picture. Feel free to join right around kickoff time (7 p.m. CT).
Kansas City Wizards captain Davy Arnaud will join fans Friday from 2-2:30 p.m. CT to chat live about the final two MLS games as the Wizards look to keep pressure on the Colorado Rapids in the hunt for the final playoff spot. The chat lobby will open just before 2, and Davy will start answering your questions live from the team hotel in Foxborough, MA at 2. Set a reminder!
Steve Goff of Soccer Insider has acquired the rules for this year's expansion draft for Portland and Vancouver. Teams can protect 11 players and can lose up to 2. Once a player i selected from a given team, that player can place one previously unprotected player onto the protected list. For all the details, click here.
If you're the Manager, who is on your protected list?
While the watch party is going on live tomorrow at Johnny's in Shawnee, you can also talk USA and KCW with us beginning at 7 p.m. CT right here on the blog. Once again Josh Whisenhunt, Kurt Austin and myself (Kyle Rogers) will be around to chat about both matches and hopefully watch a couple of wins. Set your reminder below:
Today is another day of outstanding international matches, as Euro 2012 qualification continues and the USA hosts Colombia in a friendly at PPL Park in Philly. Former Wizards striker Yura Movsisyan scored earlier in a 4-0 Armenia win against Andorra. Another former Wizards striker, Eddie Johnson, is with the U.S. National Team and could play this evening.
For the full rundown on today's games, click here. Many are underway at the moment and several others are starting at the bottom of the hour.
Good news about the weekend of July 24-25: Kansas City Wizards beat Manchester United 2-1. Bad news about the weekend of July 24-25: In order to play that match, the Wizards had to move their MLS game at the Chicago Fire to Tuesday, October 12, the same night as a U.S. National Team match.
What is a soccer-loving Kansas Citian to do tomorrow with their National Team playing Colombia at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and Galavision and their club team facing the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. CT on Metro Sports? Head to Johnny's Tavern in Shawnee, where the American Outlaws have set up a double watch party. See the Nats live from PPL Park in Philly at the same time you see the Wizards fight for their playoff lives at Toyoto Park in Chicago. Be there starting just before 7. RSVP to the Facebook event.
We didn't talk much about the game in case those of you at our match (and it was a PACKED house) were recording it at home. Now we can talk. Bob Bradley used a 4-2-3-1 that's not all that dissimilar to the 4-3-3 we proposed last week, and we hear that Jermaine Jones played a quality game in the center of the park. The defense was shaky on both goals. Highlights below:
Seems like we do one of these weekly, but we've got another traffic alert for you. Again I-435 from the southern part of town could be a little congested. We've received reports of reduced lanes between Metcalf and Quivera on westbound 435 and between 95th and 87th on northbound 435. Avoid if you can, or give yourself extra time.
Drive past the stadium on your way to CAB tomorrow.
Come on out to CAB nice and early tomorrow, as we have all sorts of stuff going on. The boys will be hungry for a win, as we pretty much have to get all 3 points to continue holding out hope of a playoff spot. Read the game preview here. With Shavar Thomas out, we'll have a new center back. Will it be Matt Besler, Aaron Hohlbein, Nick Kounenakis or Jon Leathers? Let us know who you'd prefer to see in the comments section.
Don't forget to drive by the new stadium on your way in. It gets more and more impressive every day.
Was going to post a whole long blurb about everything that's going on Saturday, but Mr. Charles Gooch just did so on The Full 90, so head over there to see everything that's happening for our crucial contest against Seattle Sounders FC.
Keystone College, a small, private university in La Plume, Pennsylvania, is proud of its alumni. So are we. Wizards smooth operator Dan Drelich was featured by Keystone on their website for all the hard work he's put in for us since graduating from Keystone in 2008. Check out the article to learn a little more about one of our operations dudes.
The final KC Soccer Stadium truss went up today, completing the structure portion of our stadium's most iconic feature, the roof. If you want to see some pictures on top of those just above, click here to visit our KC Soccer Stadium Facebook page. To see what Robb Heineman thinks about today's achievement, watch the video below:
With the season winding down, we wanted to take some time to thank La Barra KC and the La Barra KC sponsors for their support this year. As many of you know, La Barra is a group of die-hard soccer supporting Hispanic people from Kansas City who are big fans of the Wizards, their local team. They sit in/near the Cauldron and help keep the noise at a maximum throughout each match.
Special thank-you goes to several sponsors who have helped the group grow larger. The sponsors have helped by providing food for the group's pregame tailgates, a T-shirt for the group members that purchase season tickets, promoting the group on radio & print, etc.They have been sponsor all year long by:
Hector's Auto Repair
La Gran D 1340
Late Model Auto Parts
All sponsors have their company name/logo on the back of the La Barra KC T-shirts. La Barra KC group started with about 30 people at the beginning of the season but has grown to 70+ members. If you'd like information about becoming a part of La Barra KC or sponsoring the group, email Nahuel Rodriguez at email@example.com.
The Kansas City Pitch came out recently with their annual "Best Of" awards. They were mighty kind to the Wizards and soccer this year, awarding five soccer-related winners. Below are the highlighted Wizards or soccer awards:
The Kansas City Business Journal, specifically Editor Brian Kaberline, joined us for yesterday's KC Soccer Stadium tour with current Season Ticket Members. Check out their review of the progress, which is very thorough (with lots of pics).
Soccer by Ives has up a poll asking for fans to weigh in on their 2010 MLS Newcomer of the Year. He includes both Jimmy Nielsen and Ryan Smith in the poll, along with six other players. Vote for your winner here.
The poll brings up a great question. For you, who is the Kansas City Wizards 2010 Newcomer of the Year? Ives thinks enough of Smith and Nielsen to include him on his League-wide poll, but some KC fans might also include Stephane Auvray or Craig Rocastle. Let us know in the comments section below.
Remember that for MLS purposes, "Newcomers" are players new to MLS with prior professional experience. Teal Bunbury will qualify for the Rookie of the Year award.
Thank you to everyone who came out for yesterday's KC Soccer Stadium tour! Hopefully you enjoyed seeing it as much as we enjoyed showing you around. A few photos are posted here below, but far more are in this album on the KC Soccer Stadium Facebook page. We will be hosting another tour tonight from 5-6 p.m. CT. If you can come and haven't yet RSVPed, email Sarah Mohsen at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!
We're going to try out something new here for Wizards road games. Yours truly (Kyle Rogers) and KC Soccer Show host Josh Whisenhunt will work a little live chat during tomorrow's match at the New York Red Bulls. Josh will be camped out inside Johnny's in the Power & Light District (site of tomorrow's watch party) to add some on-location flair to the thing, while I hang out on my couch. Join us tomorrow starting at 6:15 p.m. CT if you'd like to talk and/or ask questions during the game. If you like the live chat, we'll bring it back in the future.
We've received word that our game broadcast tomorrow night will be picked and carried by ESPN UK. Based in England but love the Wizards? Family or friends of Ryan Smith, Craig Rocastle or K Aiyegbusi? You'll get a chance to watch! For more info on ESPN UK, click here.
What time is kickoff in England? How about 12:30 a.m.? Hopefully late-night revelers and family members of our English trio enjoy the contest and see a Kansas City victory.