05 May 2009

know your foe - kansas city wizards

First place United travels to Kansas City to face the Wizards Wednesday night at Community America BallPark for their fifth game in the last two weeks. United (3-1-3) is tied for first place in the Eastern Conference after a 2-1 victory Saturday vs. FC Dallas, while Kansas City (3-3-1) comes off a 1-0 defeat at Toronto FC. Interestingly enough, the game will feature MLS's all-time leading goal and assist leader striker Jaime Moreno vs. goal keeper Kevin Hartman, MLS's alltime leading save and win leader.

One of the ten inaugural MLS teams, the Wiz began play in 1996. Originally know as the Kansas City Wiz, an homage to the Wizard of Oz, they were forced to lengthen the name to the Kansas City Wizards following the 1996 season due to a copyright infringement claim by electronic store the wiz. Originally owned by MLS founder Llamar Hunt, the team was purchased by On Goal LLC in 2006. On Goal, LLC is most notably known for their employee friendly work environment in which they sponsor mock drafts to determine which employee gets to bang the new hot female intern, as well as EO friendly practices of scouring potential employees facebook pages to see if they were hot enough to be hired.

Originally, the Wizards played their home matches at Arrowhead Stadium until 2007 when they announced they would begin playing at Community America Ballpark. The 10,000 seat ballpark is home to minor league baseball's KC T-Bones, and is most notably know for being the site that 1,683 guitar players simultaneously played Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water. Seriously? Deep Purple? Regardless, The Wizards plan to move to their own stadium - HillCrest Road in 2011.

Nickname & Mascot
Begging the question, why the fuck would you name your mascot after another MLS team, the Wizards mascot is some child touching lizard name Dynamo. He's available for your next corporate event, gas station opening, or bar mitzvah I'm certain. The Wizards are known as the Wiz, and also as the Swope Park Rangers, after their training grounds and also as a tribute to the Weston London club - Queens Park Rangers of the Coca Cola Championship League.

Jersey & Sponsor
Holy Shit. It's amazing Major League Soccer was able to survive those early years. With kits like this it's a miracle. Thankfully, the Wizards have adopted a more traditional look to their jerseys, sporting blue and white jerseys with yellow trim since 2008. Currently, the Wizards have no presenting partner deal, however rumors of the team be sponsored by Kansas City based Sprint have recently surfaced.

Head to Head Record
United and KC have an even record since 1996, both teams posting a 13-13-5 record, most recently in 2008 United was 1-1 vs. the Wiz. In 2004 United beat the Wizards 3-2 to claim their fourth MLS Cup.

Trophy Case
The Wizards won their only MLS Cup in 2000 while still a member of the Western Conference. In 2004 the Wizards would once again reach MLS Cup only to lose to DC United 3-2. They added a US Open Cup trophy in 2004 defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0 at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Wizards are coached by former DCU defender, and assistant coach Curt Onalfo. Onalfo managed to steal a championship in 1999 with United while only appearing in four games for the black and red. The Wizards have made the playoffs both years since Onalfo took over in 2007, notably posting a 2-2-1 record vs. United in regular season play.

Supporters Groups
The Wizards have a few supporters groups including the Cauldron, singing songs my son could have written:

Kansas City no one can beat us
We drink beer and wear Adidas
Anywhere we get the itch
We're off to find a proper pitch
Lace our sambas, get on out
Off we go to kick it about
Win or lose were havin fun
We won't quit until we're done
We got heart when we play
Take you on anyday
Kristen Dunst had better written cheers in Bring It On. (It's already been brought-EN) However, most impressive is the team's Starting XI girls, although I'm pretty certain I counted at least fourteen of them.

Seriously, is there a team Alexi Lalas hasn't ruined played for? Notable former players for the Wiz include; Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, current Cardiff City Striker Eddie Johnson, Preki, Chivas USA midfielder Sasha Victorine, & Mo Johnston. The current squad includes; designated player Claudio López, Herculez Gomez, Jack Jewsbury, pimp-daddy Jimmy Conrad, Josh Wolff, and GK Kevin Hartman.

The Game
United is on a roll lately. Undefeated in their last four matches; however, Benny, Fred, and Burch are not making the trip. Look for United's winning ways to continue in Kansas City. Gomez gets out of his drought to net one, Santino adds another one, with Namoff on the assist.

Prediction: DCU 2 - KC Wizards 1


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