The Wizards will face Guatemala’s CSD Municipal at 8 tonight in the inaugural New Mexico Cup. Some short notes on the matchup:
- The game will be played at midfielder Lance Watson’s alma mater, University of New Mexico. Watson, the 16th overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, was on the Lobos’ 2005 national championship runner-up side. Watson has been sidelined by a fractured foot since preseason and is still listed as out on the latest injury report.
- The game will not be played at the university’s superb soccer complex, but rather at the university football stadium. The soccer facility seats 5,000 thanks to a men’s program that annually ranks among the top supported programs in the nation. The football stadium, also a grass surface, has a capacity over 38,000 and has hosted soccer before: USA v. Mexico for Women’s World Cup qualifying, and USA v. Honduras in a men’s international friendly.
- Several KC players are not expected to play, including starters Claudio Lopez, Sasha Victorine, Roger Espinoza, and Scott Sealy.
- About the opponent, CSD Municipal won the 2008 Clausura in Guatemala’s Liga Nacional. The squad boasts several Guatemalan national team players, many of whom played against the US last June in the Gold Cup. They are led by club legend Juan Carlos Plata who has made 504 club appearances, scoring 392 goals, and has 88 caps for Guatemala, scoring 35 goals at the international level. Also of note is rising star Marvin Avila, who at 22 has gotten increased attention after scoring twice for the national team last October, the equalizer and match winner, in Guatemala’s first victory over Mexico in nearly nine years.
- Three CSD Municipal players have MLS experience, most notably Guillermo “Pando” Ramirez who scored the 2005 MLS Cup game winner for Los Angeles in extra time. Mario Rodriguez and Fredy Garcia both appeared for the Columbus Crew for one season each.
- CSD Municipal is also well known for producing MLS star striker Carlos Ruiz. Guatemala’s all-time leading scorer, Ruiz made 143 appearances and scored 59 goals for Muncipal. He debuted at 16, after joining their youth system at age 12.
- CSD Municipal has played four MLS teams, most recently facing Houston in the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals in March. Houston advanced 3-1 on aggregate.
- HillcrestRoad will be providing a running commentary for the match.
Other Wizards notes:
- The team looks set to play partner club Atlas AC of Mexico on Friday, July 11th at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Tickets go on Sale Monday.
- MetroSports’ Brad Porter reports that technical director Peter Vermes went to Hungary last week on a business trip. Very interesting information.
- Finally, the KC Wizards U-15 and U-16 Juniors qualified for the playoffs in the Midwest Regional League, the MRL announced yesterday. The U-15′s are 4-2 with 17 goals for and 4 goals against. They finish league play today at 2 pm at Swope Park vs. Springfield SC 92/93 with second place in the Southwest Division on the line. The U-16′s finished top of the Southwest table at 5-1-1 with 22 goals for and 6 goals against. Both teams will try to garner promotion to the league’s premier division via the playoffs.