After three years of soccer in a minor-league baseball stadium, the Kansas City Wizards are finally moving to an stadium designed for soccer. Which means this Saturday we get to say goodbye to CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
They've not been the three most glorious years in Wizards history -- the CAB only hosted one playoff game in three years -- and this hasn't been the most glorious year in Wizards history. There are probably many who will be in attendance who can't wait for the season to be over and the team to be out of the CAB.
While I understand that sentiment, I have to admit -- I'm gonna miss the CAB. So much so, that I feel it's time for a stroll down memory lane.
Quick piece of trivia: Who is the all-time leading goal scorer in CAB history? (I'll give you one hint: It's a trick question.) I'll reveal the answer at the end.
The Top 5 Moments in CommunityAmerica Ballpark5. Claudio's wonder goal (7/25/09)
The first designated player in Wizards history produced a bit of magic in a Wizards uniform -- he produced a bit of the opposite at times too. But there was no goal in his time with the team as unforgettable as his midfield chip over Donovan Ricketts in the only "DAVID BECKHAM!" game at the CAB.
My favorite part of that goal? Ricketts left the game injured. His injury was listed as "back spasms" only because the team was embarrassed to write "wounded pride."4. The first four-goal game (3/27/10)
Hard to believe, I know, that a team that played as "attractive attacking" football as the Wizards the last three years didn't break the four-goal seal until the home-opener this season. That opened the floodgates so to speak, as there were two more four-games this year -- the boys in blue had 4 against New England (8/21) and 4 against Houston (9/22).**The 7 goals scored in the Houston game, which will come up again pretty soon, on a Wednesday night are the most goals scored in CAB history. 3. Opening in Style, the Debut (3/29/08)
If you invite a few friends over for a house warming party, you want everything to go smoothly. You don't want someone to spill red wine on your new white carpet. Thankfully, the Wizards home opener went as smoothly as possible. In front of a capacity crowd, Ivan Trujillo and Claudio Lopez put two past D.C. United to send the Wizards to victory. The winning ways would, for the most part, continue from there. KC goes into Saturday's game 18-13-13 all time in the CAB.**Without looking it up, can you guess how many players that were in the team's 18 that night are still on the roster? Answer at the end. 2. Josh Wolff's Winner (9/22/10)
Wolff didn't have his greatest year as a Wizard this season. He lost his starting job when he didn't fit smoothly into the Wizards new 4-3-3 formation and has been a very highly paid situation sub since August. But he had his moments. The most important of them was his last-gasp stoppage-time header to lift KC to a 4-3 victory over Houston. At the time, it was a playoff-saving goal.
Wolff's goal starts about 4:47 into this clip:1. The San Jose Game (10/18/08)
This game, which secured the Wizards only playoff appearance in the CAB, was a back-and-forth on-the-edge-of-your-bleacher game from the outset. It featured 5 goals in total; twice KC surrendered a one-goal lead. The last 10 minutes of this game were INSANE. Chance after chance seemed to go for naught. That was until, with the game in its dying seconds and everything hanging on the line, mid-season acquisition Herculez Gomez scored his only goal as a Kansas City Wizard off a Lopez corner kick.
Pandemonium is a pretty good word to describe the aftermath.
Herc's goal is at the 5:00 minute mark:
I've not been following the Kansas City Wizards for that long. My experience with the team is a little shorter than the team's life at the CAB. This is in my favorite game in that span. And it's not really close.
Honorable mention: The Postal Worker Game (i.e. the Snow/Sleet/Rain Game against SJ in April 2009), The Prime-Time ESPN Game (the only Thursday night ESPN prime-time game in April 2009) and The Playoff Game That Wasn't A Loss (Nov. 1, 2008 against Columbus).
So long CAB. You weren't the prettiest fish in the sea, but you put up with us, cooked us dinner and didn't complain when we got abusive. So... what was your favorite moment in the CAB?
1. The all-time leading goal scorer in CAB history? It's a bit of a trick question. Davy Arnaud, Claudio Lopez and Kei Kamara have scored 9 goals as Kansas Wizards. Kamara, with his slightly famous goal* on July 4th, 2009 as a member of the Houston Dynamo, has 10 all time in the cozy confines.*Kamara went to the pitcher's mound after scoring and produced a glove and did a Michael Jackson impersonation in honor of the then-recently deceased King of Pop.
2. There are six Wizards who were in the team's 18 on opening night at the CAB who are still on the team: Jimmy Conrad, Jack Jewsbury, Jonathan Leathers, Michael Harrington, Eric Kronberg and Aaron Hohlbein. That's right, not a single attacking player!
An even more interesting question: How many players in the team's 18 on opening night in 2008 are still in Major League Soccer? The answer is 12: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas), Conrad, Jewsbury, Tyson Wahl (Seattle), Leathers, Harrington, Lopez (Colorado), Ryan Pore (just signed with Portland for next year), Scott Sealy (San Jose), Kronberg, Hohlbein and Kurt Morsink (DC United).
The other players on the team for opening night: Carlos Marinelli (Gyori ETO, Hungary), Kerry Zavagnin (retired, now assistant coach for the team), Ivan Trujillo (Deportes Quindio, Colombia), Amir Lowery (Carolina, USSF Division II), Michael Kraus (unattached) and Eloy Colombano (Ferrocarril Sud, Argentina).