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Beware of the Wizards

The Kansas City Wizards are set to introduce Claudio Lopez as the team’s first designated player today and the high-profile acquisition is just the topping on what has been an excellent off-season for the Wizards, which should be considered a darkhorse title contender despite playing in a loaded Eastern Conference.

What’s so special about the Wizards? Well, KC did lose Eddie Johnson to Fulham during the winter transfer period but KC has added Lopez and Colombian striker Ivan Trujillo to the attack, while also reloading the defense with a draft full of quality back-line prospects. Now it will be up to head coach Curt Onalfo to make it all work, to incorporate Lopez to an attack that struggled at times last year and to turn Carlos Marinelli into the playmaker the team hoped it was getting when it signed him last season.

Are the additions at forward and in the back enough to boost a club that has either missed or barely made the playoffs the past three seasons? It will depend greatly on whether Jimmy Conrad can stay healthy, Lopez can deliver the goals lost when Eddie Johnson left and the rookie class can produce a couple of immediate contributors (with No. 1 overall pick Chance Myers looking like one of them).

What do you think of the Wizards’ moves this offseason? Think they are ready to challenge East powers D.C. and New England? Think they will struggle? Share your thoughts below.


  1. To Aristotle and the others who call the KC franchise “Flailing” and “embarrasing.”

    What does that make the MetroBulls then? At least KC has won a trophy now and then, and as mentioned before, their attendence was constantly on the increase before the team was put on the market, peaking around 15K. (Without the benefit of any double headers)

    Look at the MetroBulls in comparison. No trophies, only one playoff victory, a series of inept personnel in management, an extortionent rent at Giants Stadium, very meager crowds for such a huge market, etc. NYRB has been much more of an a hinderance and embarrassment to MLS than KC ever has been.

  2. MLSFan:

    Your posts show you know very little about soccer, period. What is it I don’t know and should research fanboy? You and your K.C. cronies keep harping on your precious local knowledge that has added up to nothing more than proving you can’t take your K.C. colored glasses off for even a moment. Using MLSFan as your screen name is an insult to every MLS fan. How about IgnoramusFan?

  3. Aristotle-

    Your posts show that you know very little about KC and what the franchise has gone through the last few years. Do some research, get the real story and then make an intelligent response if you even have the mental capacity to do so. Using Aristotle as a screenname is an insult to the great philosopher. He actually thought things through before speaking.


    Your post is obsurd. KC has one of the highest youth soccer participations in the country. They have shown in past years like 2003 and 2004 that they can draw good numbers when marketed properly. KC is a major league city, it is one of the fastest growing cities with lots of money and tons of families looking for quality entertainment. Get your facts straight before making uneducated responses.

  4. Onalfo is a smart coach and KC has amassed the right mix of talent in its roster for 2008.

    I am looking forward to the Wizards game at CA Ballpark. I love the soccer lay out and it’ll provide for an intimate atmosphere that will have fans begging for the construction of the new stadium.

    I have already signed up for a 100-person event sponsored by my company…

  5. If MLS is going to cap out at 20 teams or so, they need to look hard at cities like KC, major league, barely in sports like baseball and football. Do they fit in a 20 team MLS league? Are there locations that would do much better as the remaining teams? Everything here also applies to that other anomaly, Columbus.

    I think the answer is yes, Philly, St. Louis, NYC again, etc..

    Perhaps KC can kick off the MLS League 2, after 20 teams in truly major cities are created.

  6. Mike:

    Your arguing things that I’m not saying. Your first paragraph is basically what I said. After that you just continue with more info on why people disliked or felt betrayed by Hunt. I’m not posting without knowing the facts because nothing you have said or told me changes the basic premise of my original post or why others posted negatively regarding K.C.’s status in the league. It’s the whole picture, not just a little piece of it that you want to keep ranting about claiming you have all kinds of inside information because your a fan and may live in the area.

    Then in your last paragraph you just throw out some attendance figures that everyone knows about and mean nothing. Once again we’re talking over a twelve year period, not a couple of better years you can refer to like that represents their twelve seasons in the league. That’s as bad an argument as the guy who thinks he’s so clever because he keeps referring to K.C.’s 232% season ticket increase. What a joke. That just makes the case against what K.C.’s defenders have been saying. Nobody cares about a percentage when you have sold a paltry 1500 season tickets. If the situation you describe is so rosy and perfect now with everything in place, and being completed in a couple of years, then why don’t the fans buy more season tickets to show they are on board?

    Your creating your own argument and then responding to that instead of to what I am actually saying. If it makes you feel better, lets just say you win and be done with it. Good luck to K.C.!

  7. Yet again aristotle, you’re posting without knowing all the facts on the situation. As much as I disliked Lamar Hunt for putting the Wizards up for sale, I love him that much more for the fact that he did keep the team in KC while OnGoal got their stuff together to buy the team. He could have sold them to Rochester, OKC, NYC, wherever, but he didn’t. He made a commitment to give local ownership the first shot at it, and local ownership came through and bought the team. For that I’m grateful.

    That said, the problem most KC fans have with Lamar, is the way he went about doing it. Right before KC was put up for sale, a big Bi-state plan failed in KC. That plan would have given the Chiefs and Royals money to renovate both Arrowhead and Kaufman. While at the same time, Lamar was working on a possible SSS for the Wizards. When the bi-state failed, he realized there was no way he would get both done, so he went with the Chiefs. (Honestly can you blame him with how much more money he would make with them?) That said, Wizards fans felt betrayed, as he’d spent the 2004 season pimping the team up to every one he could to get season tickets. To see the huge drop off that was there from 2004 to 2005 was what turned people against Lamar. He completely turned his back on the team it seemed like.

    As to your point that the team was failing for 12 years. No, it was not. In the 2003 and 2004 season, KC was middle of the pack in attendance. In 2003 they averaged more then both Chicago and DC. Then fell again after the announcement of the sale. They’d seen steady growth from the 2000 season up to the announcement of the sale. There’s no reason to doubt that the growth can’t happen again, especially with the marketing effort OnGoal is putting into the team now, which will carry over once they’re into their SSS.

  8. Nick B:

    Good post. You may well have a valid point, but you have to admit this type of scenario has developed before, or at least similar, and it did not work out. I think nearly everyone has heard about the changes in K.C. and it all sounds very impressive. However, as I said before this isn’t about just what’s happening now. It’s twelve years. These guys sound great and they are certainly going to get their chance, but surely even die hard fans can see if this doesn’t pan out it really is hopeless. I really do hope they succeed.

    Also, let’s not forget who waited patiently to get this team into the hands of what looks to be good owners and made it possible for K.C. to still be in K.C. even though he really wanted to sell the team and had offer outside the state. Lamar Hunt cared as much about the fans as anyone.

  9. OY!

    Yes, I did read Mike’s response earlier about the two years after OnGoal took over, and how Lamar treated the team.

    You can make a case for Hunt’s mishandling of the team in the last couple years of his ownership if you want, I HEAR you. This isn’t about a couple of years, though, is it? Lamar Hunt owned other MLS teams, and somehow they survived. He was patient with K.C. for many years before the period you are talking about. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? K.C. has been flailing for 12 years, not a couple of years where you say he mishandled the team. He gave it plenty of time. I have no doubt he lost quite a bit of money persisting with your franchise. Show a little gratitude, will you? How long did Miami’s “committed owner” take losses before he threw in the towel? Your lucky you had him as an owner or there would be no K.C. franchise right now.

  10. I will preface my statements by saying that I am not a KC Fan. I am an FC Dallas fan and live in Fort Worth.

    Anyway, I have been watching the KC situation closely over the last year and a half or so.

    I cannot see how anyone can continue to bash that franchise. They have done nothing but make positive strides since OnGoal took over. Things are going fantastic for them. The organization has done a complete 180. How can anyone be crying out, “Move KC”?

    They have secured an SSS, gotten a first-class office staff and coaching staff, built a nice training facility, started actually advertising the team, gotten TV and radio deals, signed international talent, and the list could go on forever.

    As someone said earlier, if you are still harping on KC, you are not paying any attention to what has been going on there.

    I honestly think that KC probably has the best owners in the league. They seem fully committed to building a winning, productive franchise.

    Did you know that their owners actually post on Big Soccer?

    If any organization in the league needs to be bashed, it should be New York. Their attendance is pathetic, they have never one a trophy, and are named after a product we buy at the grocery store.

    Nick B in Dallas

  11. aristotle, did you not read Mike’s response earlier about the two years after OnGoal took over, and how Lamar treated the team? Here let me copy it:

    “You want to know WHY they fell back down? It’s because of the fact that Hunt put the team up for sale! Up until that point, the Wizards were upping their average attendance every year (up somewhere around 15K in 2004 before he announced the sale). In 2005, the team was a lame duck, there was no advertising money at all to be had, Hunt had the Chiefs ticket reps casually doing ticket sales for the Wizards, they didn’t even have their own ticket staff, the Wizards became a bastard step child. 2006 was better, as the league forced Lamar to spend more money on marketing after seeing the pathetic excuse for marketing that they did in 2005.”

    That’s what Does anyone even pay attention? was talking about when referring to the neglect of the previous owner.

  12. aristotle, did you not read my post about Lamar’s last 2 years in charge of the team? That’s what Does anyone even pay attention? was referring to about recovering from the neglect of the prior ownership.

    The Wizards had NO marketing department after the 2004 season, it was the Chiefs department and just fielded calls if anyone called about the Wizards, no marketing on their own. The only reason there was some in 06 is because the league told Lamar he had to because of the complete lame duck he made KC in 2005.

  13. Does anyone even pay attention? = Fanboy.

    “We have to recover from years of neglect from our prior ownership.”

    Yeah, that Lamar Hunt was an awful owner. What did he know about soccer in this country or running a business?

    I suggest YOU start washing your feet. You are sticking them in your mouth right now.

  14. Aristotle-

    Your post didnt irritate me. I know that things are going extremely well for my team.

    First of, the stadium deal does translate into fans. The whole thing had overwhelming public support and has created interest. I have had many people that I work with and friends that have had no prior interest in the team ask me about whats going on. The general interest is being created with all the positive activity the team is creating.

    Even if our DP doesnt pan out play wise it will still bring fans out because we have a very large hispanic population in KC. We had a strong increase in hispanic fans last season due to us signing our two Argentinian players last year.

    Our owners would not move the team not matter what offers come about. Once again, you havent been paying attention. They are LOCAL owners that own a very prominent local business and live in our city.

    Our team cant help it that they have to play in a minor league ballpark the next two seasons. Once again, you arent paying attention. KC has NO OTHER STADIUMS! none, nilch, natta. The only two major stadiums are under renovation.

    I suggest you start washing your feet. You will be sticking them in your mouth very soon.

    Chris – Yes, the total numbers are low but the percentage increase is huge. You cant expact miracles overnight. Growth is all you can ask for. We have to recover from years of neglect from our prior ownership. If you know anything about business, that doesnt happen with the snap of a finger.

  15. What’s hopeless? Our season ticket percentage just went up drastically?

    Wow, that certaintly seems hopeless to me. I couldnt think of a situation any hopeless than that. :/

    Posted by: Does anyone even pay attention?

    Yeah man. You guys have sold a whole 1,539 season tickets! Lighting the league on fire! And that’s a 232% increase! Last year you sold 464. That’s right. 464! You are second to last in season ticket and partial tickets so far this year. Raising ticket prices is an idiotic idea when you can’t even give them away. [sarcasm]Give this team a permanent stadium now![/sarcasm]

  16. People have commented recently how team presentations are getting more professional. The Philly announcement, the Seattle announcement. Go listen to the announcement on the Wizards website. It’s hilarious. This team is a complete joke. Minutes of dead silence, awkwardness, untranslated dialogue, “can you hear me?’s”, Jimmy Conrad stepping out when he was called on for his question. And I’m not even half way through it yet.

  17. “Wizards fans can fire off all the facts they want….”

    They can indeed. Facts: El Piojo as Designated Player. Four digit support. Major league soccer club playing in minor league baseball stadium. It is embarrassing. No one posting here “hates” the Wizards. That is part of the problem.


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