Lost in the swarm of interest and information surrounding the United States victory and advancement in the World Cup: Major League Soccer returns from two-weeks in the dark with a full slate of games.
The Kansas City Wizards will mix it up with the New York Red Bulls at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 7:30 p.m.
Here are some things you need to know.
• Kansas City actually won a game before the World Cup break. I know it doesn't "feel" like they won a game this calendar year, but they did. Looked fairly impressive against Philadelphia on June 10 as well.
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• Despite having a negative goal differential (-2), the New York Red Bulls are on top of the table in the Eastern Conference. Oh, Major League Soccer, you are so crazy.
see the return of Stephane Auvray, which, if you ask me, has been the biggest thing the team has been missing.
• Red Bull's striker Juan Pablo Angel has taken a whopping 43 shots (17 of them on goal). He has 6 goals on the season. As a matter of comparison, Kei Kamara also has 6 goals this season, but he managed that feat with only 30 shots (13 of them on target).
• The game starts about 4 hours after the USA-Ghana game ends. This could be either one of the most festive Wizards games ever or one of the saddest. The Wizards will offer a bus between downtown and the CAB. Tickets are $5 for the bus and will be available during the watch party.
• Vuvuzelas have been outlawed in this country, don't forget. Anyone over the age of 12 caught with one will be arrested and thrown in jail. OK, not really, but wouldn't that be great?
• The referee tomorrow will be Ricardo Salazar. Fantastic. (That's sarcasm, btw.)
• I'm predicting a 2-1 win for the Wizards. I think the Philly game and the two-week break were good for KC. Goals will come from Kamara (both of them) and Angel.
• The UK Guardian actually had some nice things to say about our little league.Check it out.
An excellent point from the article:
The league's approach to talent allocation – the SuperDraft – would send Clint Dempsey to the New England Revolution in 2004. There, Dempsey would develop his diverse skill set to the point where Fulham came calling. Dempsey's move to the Premier League – from New England to Old England, if you will – culminated in an appearance in the Europa League final. It's difficult to imagine Fulham finding Dempsey at a college in South Carolina.
• No pressure, but, it's totally on Major League Soccer to capitalize on the success of the U.S. soccer team and build on it in this country. This is like someone handing you a winning lottery ticket. All they need to do is actually cash it in and spend the money wisely. Like I said, no pressure MLS.
The injury situationKANSAS CITY WIZARDS
OUT: MF Zoltan Hercegfalvi (R knee sprain/torn ACL); PROBABLE: MF Stephane Auvray (R knee pain); MF Korede Aiyegbusi (L ankle strain); MF Davy Arnaud (L knee sprain); MF Ryan Smith (L hamstring strain)NEW YORK RED BULLS
OUT: MF Giorgi Chirgadze (hip surgery); MF Austin da Luz (L foot Jones fracture); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (adductor surgery recovery); FW Macoumba Kandji (R foot broken fifth metatarsal); MF Dane Richards (R hamstring strain); MF Carl Robinson (R knee swelling); QUESTIONABLE: MF Roy Miller (L hamstring strain)International absences:
KC: Roger Espinoza (Honduras)
NY: Andrew Boyens (New Zealand)
Feel free to spill your thoughts (if you have some) on the return of MLS and the chances the Wizards have put their troubles behind them.