- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 27, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Season Preview, Claudio Lopez, Davy Arnaud, Jimmy Conrad, Josh Wolff, Season Previews
Last of the season previews for this week, we are about half way done with the previews for 2009. Today we turn our attention to the team in the middle of the country, the Kansas City Wizards. The boys in blue found a way to reach the post season a year ago as one of the wild card births, but with little changes did the Wizard’s improve their chances of repeating their playoff chances? Time to find out.
2008 record and finish: 11-10-9, 42 pts., finished 4th in east, lost in first round of playoffs.
Offseason Player Movement:
Adam Cristman (trade w/NE)
Matt Besler (SuperDraft)
Santiago Hirsig (via signing from San Lorenzo – Argentina)
Carlos Marinelli (waived)
Ryan Pore (waived)
Ivan Trujillo (waived)
Tyson Wahl (Seattle Sounders FC – Expansion Draft)
Kerry Zavagnin (retired)
Unsigned Draft Picks:
Questions going into 2009:
1. Have the Wizards done enough this winter to improve their chances in the east?
Let’s look at the bottom line, they bring in Cristman who is a work horse up top when healthy. He will compete for time with Abe Thompson and Herculez Gomez. They got Claudio Lopez back and at a discounted rate from last year’s DP tag. Which is good for their bottom line and probably good since he never really lived up to the DP hype anwyays.
In the midfield they bring in Santiago Hirsig, who is expected to help with ball control. That was always an area I felt the Wizards needed improvement in so this addition should be a good one.
2. Where will the goals come from this year?
Let’s get real honest here about something, the Wizards need a consistent scorer if they want to reach the post season again. They didn’t have a 10 goal scorer last year and were -2 in the goal differential department. Oh yeah and their best defender nearly lead them in overall scoring. This season that won’t cut it to reach the playoffs. Curt Onalfo has to find the best pair up top to give his club a chance here.
Keeping Josh Wolff healthy for a year will certainly help. Davy Arnaud may have to continue carrying part of the load (he lead the club with seven goals a year ago).
3. Player to watch out for in 2009.
Has to be Wolff or Lopez for me. If this club is wanting to return to the playoff promise land one or both of these guys have to have a big season. In a way both have to show that they still have “it”. I think as long as Wolff is healthy he will lead this club in scoring.
Look at the 2009 Schedule:
A decent schedule to navigate for Wizards fans. April and May are pretty tough months though with lots of road games. Out of the ten games in those two months, six of them are away from home. Get off to a rough start and it could be tough to get back into contention.
Thankfully June and July will lighten up in league play.
Only one Thursday-Sunday swing this year…it comes early in the season when they host New York and then travel to play Toronto.
The last month of the year could be rough on the Wizards if they are fighting for a playoff spot. They travel to Houston and Chivas back-to-back and then host two home games to close out the year against Seattle and DC. All teams I expect to be in the playoff hunt.
2009 Season Outlook:
I want to say this club has improved from a year ago but I just don’t see it yet. They never really wowed me last year and it mostly comes down to their offense, or lack there of. If they struggle once again to light up the scoreboard in 2009 you can expect them to be in the bottom part of the standings looking up at the playoff contenders.
Plus if this club struggles early I wouldn’t be all that shocked to see a coaching change. I like Onalfo but if he doesn’t get some sparks going in this club I would imagine the ownership group (which is a good one too by the way) won’t want a struggling team opening a new stadium next year. I fully see them making a change if they struggle.
With the way things have gone this winter in the east and even in the west, a wild card spot will be tough to come by for a club like KC. They will need some luck and some magic to pull one off. I felt they got some luck a year ago and if they can keep that up into 2009 you could see them surprise people once again and reach the post season.