Saturday is the season opener for the Kansas City Wizards they but they still have some injury concerns. The game will be the opening game at Kansas City’s new Community America Ballpark. In terms of injuries the Wizards have some good news and some not so good news on the eve of the season opener.
The good news for K.C. is that designated player Claudio Lopez, as his P-1 visa was recently approved, which means that he will be available for the season opener. Lopez is supposed to be a major cog in the attack of the Wizards, as he is a great finisher and was brought in to find the twine many times this upcoming season. The forward from Argentina has not played in any of the Wizard’s preseason games, exhibitions, or even scrimmages while he waited for his visa paperwork to be completed.
Injured midfielders Davy Arnaud and Sasha Victorine should also be available for the season opener. Victorine missed most of the pre season being with family for the birth of his daughter and when he did come back he suffered a high ankle sprain. Victorine recently stated, “Things are definitely moving forward, which is a good feeling after watching a lot of the last two weeks. We’re on track for everything to be going here pretty soon.”
Victorine played 75 minutes in last week’s exhibition against Real Salt Lake and Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo was pleased with his progress. He stated after the game, “The prognosis looks pretty good. That’s the first 75 minutes that he’s played all preseason. If everything goes well, he’ll probably be available this weekend.”
Davy Arnaud missed most of the pre season recovering from off season knee surgery and Onalfo said he might be ready for the season opener. Onalfo said on Arnaud’s recovery, “[Davy] is coming along well. The plan is for him to be training this week as a neutral player, and if he feels good into next week — full-out training. He’s feeling very, very good, so we’re not too far off. I don’t see him in the team this weekend unless he makes some very good progress in the next couple of days. I wouldn’t rule it out, there’s a small chance [he’ll play Saturday].”
The Kansas City attack needs these two playmakers to set up the scoring opportunities for the frontal attack. The Wizards offense will be hurt if these guys are not fit to be on the pitch.
Even though the news on Arnaud and Victorine is good news all is not rosy in the Midwest. Wizards captain Jimmy Conrad played the last exhibition with a cast on his left hand and also suffered another injury during the match. Onalfo said, “Jimmy came out of the game [Saturday] in the 81st minute with a hamstring issue, so he’s in doubt for this weekend,”
There are also several members of the Wizards supporting staff that are nursing injuries, as Ryan McMahen is not training because of a knee injury, Roger Espinoza, is out with a broken foot, and Lance Watson is also out with a broken foot. But with the players that the Wizards brought in they should be able to handle these injury setbacks, as well as others that will inevitably come up, during the long 8-month MLS season. Onalfo said, “We feel very confident going in. We know that we’re a little bit depleted with injuries with Sasha not being 100 percent and Davy not available. But we still have a lot of good depth.”
With a full squad the Wizards have high hopes and hope to build on last season when they reached the conference semifinals.