It's a sad thought for many long-time Kansas City fans, but the departure of long-time midfield fixture Davy Arnaud is, almost quite literally, the end of an era.
Arnaud made 240 league appearances for Kansas City, the most in team history, with 218 of those appearances done in a "Kansas City Wizards" shirt.
He isn't the first name in "Wizards" history, but it appears he'll be the last.
Sure, there are a few players on the roster from the pre-Sporting days: Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Michael Harrington, Kei Kamara, Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Jimmy Nielsen, Shavar Thomas and Graham Zusi. But, midway through the next season, all of them -- except Harrington and Thomas -- should have made more appearances in a Sporting kit than a Wizards kit.
This is the third year in a row that Kansas City have let go of a once-thought-irreplaceable fixture on the Wizards team sheet. A brief bit of history:
•2009: Kevin Hartman traded to Dallas for a SuperDraft pick.
• 2010: Josh Wolff and Jimmy Conrad leave via the first MLS Re-Entry Draft, selected first and second, respectively, in the second stage.
• March 1, 2011: Jack Jewsbury traded to Portland for allocation money.
• Nov. 28, 2011:
Davy Arnaud is traded to Montreal for Seth Sinovic and allocation money at the end of the season.
Sometimes it can be personal, but it's mostly just a business.
And all have been mostly good business deals -- with the exception of Hartman, as KC haven't yet cashed in the pick received for him. (It's the 11th pick in the second round of the 2012 SuperDraft.)
Vermes turned the veteran "Wizards" into draft picks, allocation money and the return of Seth Sinovic. It's all part of the evolutionary process a team must undergo if it wishes to thrive. That much is the business part. The personal part is how fans deal with the loss of history.
It's hard to sit down a put a pin in someone's career with a franchise* -- especially a player you had pegged to retire with the same franchise that drafted him.*For the record, I hate writing these. It was hard to write something like this for Conrad last year.
You can rattle off his MLS stats if you'd like: 43 goals (second-most league goals in team history), 35 assists (third all-time) and 19,390 minutes (essentially, watching "Avatar" 119 times). He holds the record for most career appearances for Kansas City (240).**Michael Harrington would need three seasons of playing all 34 games just to catch Arnaud.
I prefer the memory route: His goal against Los Angeles at Arrowhead in 2008, in a very direct way, led to the existence of this blog. (Without that goal, and without the Cauldron going insane around me because of that goal, I probably don't come back to the office and tell the editors of Ink that I have an idea for a cover story. This goal begat that story which begat this blog.)
Skip ahead to 2:04 -- though, it's worth going back and watching Wolff's goal again.