Friday, March 28, 2008

Projected Starting Lineups: Kansas City Wizards

Projected Starting Lineups:





Off the Bench: DF/MF Sasha Victorine, FW Scott Sealy, MF/FW Eloy Colombano, MF Kurt Morsink, DF/MF Aaron Hohlbein, GK Eric Kronberg, DF Jonathan Leathers

Claudio 'El Piojo' Lopez has his visa and is ready to go. Whether or not he'll be fit for the first game, well that's a different question. If that's the case, substitute Sealy in for Lopez. Believe it or not, based on his preseason, I think you're going to see Trujillo outperform Lopez and Sealy this year as he looks like he's got the work ethic to do so. This trio is much improved for the Wizards and could strike 'Angel-Altidore' fear into MLS defenses if they mesh.

In the midfield, Arnaud will get to concentrate on providing service again and will have several options instead of always looking for Eddie Johnson. Harrington is an industrious presence on the right wing and he undoubtedly will look to build upon his successful freshman year. Between those two, I would expect at least 15-20 assists. The platooning of Zavagnin and Victorine should prove effective, while those two scrappers free Carlos Marinelli to provide the proper service to the front line. All of Kansas City seems to be priming Marinelli for a record year as his preseason has him fitter and more composed than ever. Rookie Roger Espinoza is another guy to watch once he gets healthy again.

Along with their DP, the Wizards also have questions about defensive depth. Jimmy Conrad is the right leader for this team and will push Tyson Wahl to have a banner year, but after the starting four - it's rookie Jonathan Leathers and midfielder Sasha Victorine to provide help. Harrington could also move back to fullback, but he's much more dangerous on the wings. Aaron Hohlbein will also see significant time and if, between him and Wahl, they can take pointers from Conrad, the Wizards could have a very successful year. Nothing really needs to be said about the keepers. Kevin Hartman is a year older, which doesn't change much in the long run. If needed, KC has a very capable back-up in Eric Kronberg though.

Overall, as said above, KC's success depends on the development of the supporting cast around Marinelli, Lopez, Trujillo, and Conrad. That success however also is attached to the productivity of the new signings. If Marinelli, Lopez, and Trujillo can work together, this will be an extremely dangerous Wizards team. One capable of overrunning New England, DC, and RBNY in the East.

Outlook: 3rd in the East

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