Kansas City’s partner club, Atlas AC, won 1-0 yesterday in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores round of 16. The Mexican side was away to Lanus (Argentina) but secured the victory through Bruno Mariani’s cheeky first half finish. Highlights below.
UPDATED: The team blog has confirmed the signing. Kevin Souter will take Yomby William’s roster spot.
A brief update on prospective player Kevin Souter. The Graceland product does not appear on the team roster on the Wizards website, but today in an interview with the newest signing, Nelson Pizarro, Wizards PR man Dave Borchardt comments: “Nelson, an open tryout guy, we’ve got two of them now on the roster with you and Kevin…” Also, several contacts at Graceland have indicated that the word is spreading that he signed a contract.
Kevin was not listed for the last reserves game in Toronto on Saturday, but has been pictured at practice throughout the season. Emails sent on Thursday to Kevin and Wizards press officer Kyle Rogers were not responded to.
In related news, Kevin’s coach at Graceland, Ivan Joseph, resigned last week after 11 seasons to become an athletic director at Ryerson University in Toronto. Joseph was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 2006 after winning the Yellow Jackets their first national championship.
A few more news and notes…
In a Soccer America article evaluating MLS’ international imports published Tuesday, one gets the impression Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear isn’t impressed by El Piojo. He says, “No offense, but Claudio Lopez ain’t exactly lighting it up.” Which led to today’s article clarifying the comments, explaining that Kinnear feels it takes some time for foreign acquisitions to get comfortable and make an impact. Not quite bulletin board material and I’d imagine it will be long forgotten by the time the two teams meet again in September.
US U-23 coach and former Fire captain Peter Nowak was a noteworthy observer at Sunday’s match in Chicago. With the Olympics set to start in August, the Wizards’ Chance Myers is listed in the 2008 player pool and participated in camps prior to qualifying. His goalline clearance in the 54th minute proved to be a pivotal moment in the shutout, and he also put himself in position for a good scoring chance in the 65th minute only to see his header go over the bar. Fellow Olympic prospect Chad Barrett didn’t fare so well, missing an absolute sitter in the 40th minute. KC coach Curt Onalfo touches on the possibility of losing players to the Olympics and/or World Cup qualifying in this interview earlier this week.
Lastly, while on the topic of Chicago, a tremendously touching story today by former Fire President and GM Peter Wilt. Mr. Wilt was a fan favorite in many of the same ways that OnGoal and Robb Heineman have become in Kansas City before he was replaced by the recently ousted John Guppy. Wilt’s recap of Sunday’s game also gives us some interesting, albeit trivial information on the Wizards 2000 MLS Cup victory over his Fire.
One interesting difference. Despite long and loud protests by Fire leadership (me), MLS refused to let us wear our red uniforms in the championship game. MLS broadcasting executive Michael Cohen would not permit the red uniforms, because the contrast between the red and blue was not enough on the camera operators’ black and white monitors and it would cause them confusion when receiving direction in their headsets. At least Sunday, fans were able to watch two colorful sets of uniforms on the same field.
Kevin Hartman gets quote-of-the-week honors for this gem in responding to the bottle of beer thrown at him during Sunday’s win:
I’m not really sure what the security set up that they have is but I was actually going to have a sip if it was in the 89th or 90th; but since it was around the 85th, I decided to hold off and just throw it in goal.
While he makes light of a serious situation, Chicago’s supporters group, Section 8, has made it clear they do not condone the fan’s actions.
This is our home and our field. It’s very important, indeed essential, that we treat it with respect. There will alawys be someone that screws up, but more of us must take action to ensure everybody understands such behavior is not accepted in our stadium.
MLSnet Extra Time’s Greg Lalas praises Kansas City’s designated player acquisition (4:35 mark of video).
A guy who’s impressed me: Claudio Lopez. The louse has a goal and he set up the winner for KC against Chicago on Sunday. Mostly though, I love his work ethic. He’s not here to retire which is so nice to see. And KC’s Kerry Zavagnin told me how amazed he is at Lopez’s ability to bring other players into the game.
Finally, a couple items from last week worth mentioning. First, a sneak peak at the Wizards new advertising campaign. Plans include 30-second television spots, two anthems, and viral videos throughout the season – sounds promising. Secondly, a comment from Topeka Capital-Journal columnist Rick Dean.
Q: Is there going to be much coverage on the KC Brigade this year?
A: The Brigade, like the KC Wizards, present an interesting dilemma for the Cap-Journal. I’ve written about the Brigade several times in past years…But those stories were always met with indifference – by CJ editors and readers alike. I stand ready to do more Brigade stories, but honestly there ain’t a lot of demand there.
For what it’s worth, the Brigade are averaging 13,337 in their first five home games this season (just above their all-time average of 13,329). Lest we forget, both are niche sports according to the Kansas City Star.