First look: Kansas City Wizards

player (age)

1 -- Tony Meola (35)

The 2000 MLS Cup MVP is not likely to be available, suffering an Achilles tendon injury in August which has kept him out of league action since, though he did backstop the U.S. Open Cup Final. Started and played all of the first 21 league matches for the Wizards. The MLS all-time leader with 55 shutouts, eight more than the Galaxy's Kevin Hartman. An MLS original, in his sixth season with the Wizards.

2 -- Vuk Rasovic (31),br>
Signed by the Wizards early in the season, he made just one appearance during the season. Spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons with Krylya Sovetov (Soviet Wings) of the Russian Premier League, where he moved after four seasons with Partizan Belgrade (Serbia). Serbia and Montenegro international (10 caps).

3 -- Nick Garcia (25)

Began the season as a fullback (mainly on the right), but moved into central defense in mid-September, where he's been ever since. Has been a regular for the Wizards in each of his five seasons since arriving from Indiana University, playing in no fewer than 24 games in any season in his career and missing just nine matches over the five years. Starter in the 2000 MLS Cup Final.

4 -- Shavar Thomas (23),br>
Jamaican international acquired from the Dallas Burn during the offseason, he was a starter in central defense for much of the season, but lost his starting place down the stretch. A 2003 SuperDraft pick out of the University of Connecticut.

5 -- Kerry Zavagnin (30),br>
Heart of the Wizards midfield who has had his best season as a professional this year. His form in the center of the park was not missed by U.S. national team manager Bruce Arena, who has made him a starter in recent World Cup qualifiers. Has become a regular ever since his arrival in Kansas City five seasons ago, after two unsettled seasons with the MetroStars which was followed by a year in the A-League. A starter in the 2000 MLS Cup Final.

6 -- Jose Burciaga Jr. (22)

Has settled in as the regular left back in his first complete professional season, after suffering two knee injuries in his first three years. In April, he made his first appearance in more than a year, but had taken over a starting role by May. A U.S. youth international at U-20, U-23 levels.

7 -- Diego Gutierrez (32)

After starting the season on the left flank as a fullback or midfielder, he's moved inside to cement his hold on a starting central role, highlighted by rampaging runs out of midfield that have led to his three league goals. An MLS original, he returned to Kansas City - where he spent the first two seasons - in 2002 after four years with the Chicago Fire. But he played in two MLS Cups in his period with the Fire, starting in both, scoring a goal in the 1998 victory against D.C. United.

8 -- Diego Walsh (24)
Very skillful midfielder, especially on the dribble, who has not held down a regular starting spot. The majority of his 11 starts came in the first half of the campaign, just two since the start of July. In his second MLS season, acquired from Columbus in the offseason after a fine career at Southern Methodist Univ.

10 -- Francisco Gomez (25)

In and out of Bob Gansler's midfield throughout the season, starting in back-to-back games just twice, though he appeared in the majority of the league matches. In his sixth MLS season, all with the Wizards, he's had a similar role over the last four years.

11 -- Preki (41)

Last year's MLS MVP and scoring champion, he went down with a broken leg and dislocated ankle in preseason and somehow returned, but the comeback lasted two games in August before he was forced to undergo more surgery on the ankle, putting him out for the rest of the year. Still the all-time MLS leader with 264 points (77 goals, 110 assists), 17 ahead of all-time goal scoring leader Jason Kreis.

12 -- Jimmy Conrad (27)

Missed just one match in the center of the Wizards back four - that late in the season due to suspension. In his second season with the Wizards after four years with the San Jose Earthquakes, where he won an MLS Cup in 2001, playing the entire 2-1 golden goal victory against the Galaxy. Five of his seven career goals have come with the Wizards - all while coming forward for set pieces.

14 -- Jack Jewsbury (23)

Second-year player who gradually gained influence over the course of the season, ending as a starter in midfield in whatever role was needed, whether on the flank or in a holding role. Made just two appearances last season in his rookie year out of Saint Louis University. Scored the vital goal in second-half stoppage time against the San Jose Earthquakes that sealed the semifinal comeback.

15 -- Josh Wolff (27)

The Wizards leading scorer on the campaign with 10 goals, his second MLS season with double-figures in goals scored (also 1999 with Chicago). He hit for four goals in K.C.'s first 11 games, then went two-plus months without a goal before jump-starting his team with goals in four consecutive games. Played in 26 league matches in his second year with the Wizards, his most after suffering through three injury-plagued campaigns.

16 -- Brian Roberts (22)

Developmental player signed in June who spent the season on loan with the Minnesota Thunder (A-League).

17 -- Chris Klein (28)

Hard-running, right-sided midfielder who was the first choice on the right side of midfield until a knee injury on Aug. 14 put him out for the year. His four goals and 16 points were both still third-best on the Wizards for the season. Before his injury he missed just one game on the season - that coming after he was sent off in the season opener. His run on the right flank created the goal from Miklos Molnar that gave Kansas City the 2000 MLS Cup victory.

19 -- Matt Taylor (23)

Rookie striker out of UCLA who made regular appearances over the course of the season, starting four matches. He scored two goals against New England in June after coming on as a 64th-minute substitute, sealing a 3-1 victory - and the lone goal of the July 10 victory against D.C. United.

20 -- Igor Simutenkov (31)

A torn Achilles tendon suffered in the preseason put him out for four months, but the former Russian international recovered to full fitness. Earned the tag of "designated scorer" from Bob Gansler after his knack of coming off the bench to score vital goals down the stretch - including the only goal of the U.S. Open Cup Final. Has figured mainly as a wide attacking midfielder this year.

22 -- Davy Arnaud (24)

Second-year striker out of West Texas A&M who just blossomed, starting every game in league play. Second on the club with seven goals, he didn't score after Aug. 11 - until his double in the Western Conference Final sent the Wizards through to a second MLS Cup. Suffered the most fouls of any player in the league.

23 -- Alex Zotinca (27)

Currently the first choice as an attack-minded right back, but he also made a number of appearances wide on the right of midfield. Signed by the Wizards in May of last year after spending the previous three seasons with the Kansas City Comets (indoor/MISL), after emigrating from Romania where he played with FC Steaua Bucharest (1998-2000) and FC Inter Sibiu (1995-1998).

24 -- Khari Stephenson (23)

He made just three brief substitute appearances during the league campaign - then became the Wizards secret weapon in the run to MLS Cup 2004. Given a start in a deep-lying forward role in the second leg against San Jose, his all-important early first goal sent the Wizards on their way. Jamaican youth international whose call into the senior national team camp this year was a key to his emergence.

25 -- Bo Oshoniyi (33)

After playing just eight minutes over the course of last season and the first five months this year, he took the gloves from Tony Meola on Aug. 21 and backstopped the Wizards to five shutouts in the final nine league games, then two more in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Now in his fifth season in Kansas City where he has always been understudy to Meola; his signing by the club in 2000 came after a four-year hiatus in the A-League following the inaugural season when he played for the Columbus Crew.

26 -- Taylor Graham (24)

Tall, lanky defender who was a regular contributor over the second half of the campaign, making a number of starts at right back. Fourth-round selection in the 2003 SuperDraft out of Stanford University.

27 -- Justin Detter (22)

Made two starts as a forward within three matches around the All-Star break, among his six appearances on the season. Fifth-round selection in the 2004 SuperDraft out of Notre Dame.

30 -- Will Hesmer (23)

Spent the entire season on loan to the Richmond Kickers of the A-League, where he played one game during the season. Second-round selection in the 2004 SuperDraft out of Wake Forest University.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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