It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. MLS First Kick. It’s been 20 weeks since the Kansas City Wizards were last in action and the new year has brought a new place to play and new faces in a new uniform. It’s game 1 of 30, Kansas City vs. DC United (MetroSports, Ch. 5, DirectKick, MLSlive.tv, 1480 AM, 1340 AM). Forecast calls for 45 degrees and cloudy at kickoff with 14 mph winds.
The Kansas City Star gets you ready for the game and the season with Wizard player profiles, MLS team capsules, and a match preview…. Jimmy Conrad shares his 2008 predictions…. President Robb Heineman invites you out tonight…. Sean Kosednar gives a video match preview…. and the KCWizards.com game guide.
ESPN.com’s Ives Galarcep has this to say:
Two teams that made dramatic changes to their rosters square off in a battle featuring Argentine stars Marcello Gallardo and Claudio Lopez. The battle between Kansas City’s revamped attack and D.C. United’s rebuilt defense will be one of the best of the weekend, but it will be Kansas City pulling the upset as Lopez makes a memorable Wizards debut. Wizards 2, D.C. United 1.
The Gist: Kansas City begins life in their new, albeit temporary, home against the team in MLS best suited to play on a field that includes part of a baseball diamond. D.C. United spent much of the past three seasons sharing RFK Memorial Stadium with the Washington Nationals and will not be confused by seeing two large yellow poles behind the goals. In addition to knowing how to play around second base, each team will debut their new Designated Players signed in the offseason.
Why You Should Care: Claudio Lopez, Kansas City’s new DP, will be expected to replace the scoring of the departed Eddie Johnson. The Argentine will team up with Colombian Ivan Trujillo to lead the revamped Wizards offense. Those two will face United’s new Argentine and Colombian defenders Gonzalo Peralta and Gonzalo Martinez, respectively. D.C. also will debut their own DP in Marcelo Gallardo, who replaces his compatriot Christian Gomez as United’s new attacking midfielder. As United has a pair of Champions’ Cup games under their belts, they will have the advantage on opening day with their new acquisitions.
He’s So Hot Right Now: Devon McTavish. Luciano Emilio broke out in United’s second leg against Harbour View, but McTavish, who had never scored a professional goal prior to this season, leads D.C. with three goals in two games. Though the midfielder has mostly finished easy tap-ins, his success is a product of United’s ferocious attack that can let anyone, even McTavish, score multiple goals.
Prediction: D.C. United 2, Kansas City Wizards 1
And to whet your appetite, check out highlights from the teams’ three meetings in 2007.
What are your predictions? How long until the first goal in CAB soccer history? And who gets it?
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