History of Wizards

The following information was originally taken from http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/mls/kansascity/kcwizards.html I have no idea who the author is as the site is quite vague. I have updated the text, however, if you know who the original author is please let me know so I can give him/her credit.

1996: On April 13th at Arrowhead Stadium, the Wiz played the first game in team history and played well, shutting out the Colorado Rapids, 3-0. The Wiz stars included midfielder Preki, Digital Takawira and were coached by Ron Newman. The first season in Wiz history would be successful, finishing 17-15 and earning a spot in the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Wiz would continue to play well, defeating the Dallas Burn in three games, winning the final game in a shootout. But in the next round, the Wiz would be shutout by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Following the season, the Wiz would give in to fan complaints and extend their name to “Wizards.”

Building on their success from the previous season, the Wizards became the success story of the year, going 21-11 and winning the Western Conference regular season championship. In addition, Preki was named MVP for the year. But in the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards would be shocked by the upstart and last seeded Colorado Rapids.

After their stunning playoff loss, the Wizards started to head in the wrong direction, going 12-20 and sitting in last place in the West.

The Wizards continue their downfall, firing Ron Newman in the summer and replacing him with Bob Gansler. The Wizards would finish the season with a disastrous record of 8-24 which put them in last place again.

2000: In their first full season under Bob Gansler, the Wizards return to their form from their first two years, playing well and having a solid defense. Goalkeeper Tony Meola would record the longest shutout streak in MLS history at 681 minutes. By the end of the year, the Wizards held a record of 16-7-9, the best in the league. In the playoffs, the Wizards beat the Colorado Rapids, 7 points to 1, and get revenge for their previous playoff appearance three years earlier. In the conference final, the Wizards would fall behind 4 points to 1 to the LA Galaxy and their magical season seemed to be coming to an end. But Miklos Molnar, known as the “Danish Dynamite” scored a penalty kick early in game three to send the series into a tiebreaker, where he scored again to send the Wizards to their first MLS Cup.

2000 MLS Cup
At RFK Stadium in Washington DC, the Wizards, with the league’s best defense, tried to prove that defense wins championships by beating the team with the league’s best offense, the Chicago Fire. The Wizards would grab the lead early on an 11th minute goal by Milkos Molnar. After that, the Fire would put together an onslaught of scoring opportunities, putting 10 shots on goal, including 3 in the final 10 minutes. But Tony Meola stopped every one of them and the defense barely held on to the lead as time ran out on the Fire. A year after not even making double-digits in wins, the Wizards amazingly turned it around and claimed their first MLS Cup Championship.

The loss of Preki to the Miami Fusion would be big as there would be a hangover for the Wizards. They struggled to defend their championship, making the playoffs as the 8th seed with a record of 11-13-3. In the first round, the Wizards’ reign as champion ended with a 6 points to 3 loss to Preki and the Miami Fusion.

2002: Despite getting back Preki the Wizards sat in last place in the West, but they would make the playoffs with a record of 9-10-9. The last two teams in the East, the MetroStars and DC United missed the playoffs which propelled the Wizards into the playoffs. In the first round, the team would fall, 6 points to 3 to eventual champions, LA Galaxy.

In a season that saw more fans attend than previous years, the Wizards would return to the top half of the West with a record of 11-10-9. In the first round, the Wizards would defeat the Colorado Rapids in the aggregate goal series, 3-1. That set up a one-game showdown with the San Jose Earthquakes for the right to represent the West in MLS Cup. The Wizards would twice take the lead, but twice, the Earthquakes battled back and forced golden goal overtime. It would be a long and tiring session until the Quakes’ Landon Donovan sent his team on and the Wizards home with a goal in the 117th minute.

Looking to build on their momentum from the previous year, the Wizards would be mediocre out of the gate before turning hot in the summer and contending for the conference championship. When all was said and done, the Wizards lost only 2 games in September and finished the season on a 6 game unbeaten streak to finish 14-9-9, good enough for the Western Conference regular season championship. The season was not without controversy, though, as goalkeeper Tony Meola, an American soccer goalkeeping legend that had been on the USA roster for three World Cups, went down with injury and backup Bo Oshoniyi would fill in well. Once the playoffs started, Meola had healed, but Oshoniyi was still in goal. In the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards would lose the first game to defending champions San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, putting in a seemingly impossible situation to score 3 goals and concede none in game 2 of aggregate goal series. However, amazingly, the Wizards did just that by scoring 2 goals in the first half, while little known Jack Jewsbury scored the deciding goal in second half stoppage time to move KC onto the conference final for the second year in a row. In that game, the Wizards would easily hold off the LA Galaxy on two Davy Arnaud goals to send the Wizards to their 2nd MLS Cup Game.

2004 MLS Cup
With their Arrowhead Stadium counterparts, the Chiefs, engaged in a long Super Bowl drought, the Wizards provided the stadium area championship feeling as they went up against DC United at the Home Depot Center in Carson California, as Bo Oshoniyi got the starting nod in goal. The Wizards would get off to a great start as Jose Burciaga caught United unprepared as he scored a long range goal in the 6th minute. However, It was all downhill from there as DC United’s Alecko Eskandarian scored 2 goals for his squad in the 19th and 23rd minutes respectively. Things would go from bad to worse in the 26th minute for the Wizards as Alex Zotinca committed an own goal. KC was given a lifeline in the 58th minute as DC’s Dema Kovalenko was expelled from the match for a handball in the penalty area and Joish Wolff scored the first penalty kick conversion in MLS Cup history. The Wizards hoped that that would propel them to more goals as they put 10 shots on goal. However it would not be enough as their season ended with a disappointing 3-2 loss at the hands of DC United.

With expansion, the Wizards would make the move to the Eastern Conference. Almost immediately, they would find the move troublesome. The team won just two of its first seven games. After going through a summer filled with mostly ties and losses, a four game winning streak at the end of August helped get them back in the playoff race. In the end, it wasn’t enough as the Wizards didn’t win another game to find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in with a record of 11-9-12. After the season, the team’s veteran leader, Preki announced his retirement.

Following a season in which they missed the playoffs, changes were in the air for the Wizards of the field. The late Lamar Hunt sold the club to a local group of people committed to keeping the Wizards in Kansas City and building them a permanent facility. Despite the good news off the field, and winning four out of five games to start the season, the Wizards just missed out on a playoff berth with a loss to the New York Red Bulls on the final day, finishing with a 10-14-8 record.

2007: This marks the beginning of the OnGoal Era, finally the owners of the wizards were concerned with the team’s image on and off the field. They finished in 8th overall out of 13 teams and in underdog fashion managed to knock off Chivas USA in the first round of the playoffs with an amazing set piece goal by Davy Arnaud. In the semifinals the boys in blue lost to eventual 2007 MLS Cup champions Houston Dynamo. Other big events of the year include the team switching to their alternate (rainbow free) logo as the primary logo, and late in the year the approval of the Bannister stadium project funding by the Kansas City Council. Midway through the season the team moved from Sprint Headquarters to the Swope Park Training Facility. Finally, in November Oz City was founded, yeah who cares.

2008: The Wizards play their first season out of Arrowhead Stadium and in CommunityAmerica Park which is a converted minor league baseball stadium.


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