Weekly update: Title tilt on tap for K.C.

Davy Arnaud and the Wizards are hoping for a successful week.

Photo Credit: 
Edward Zurga Jr./MLS/WireImage.com

This Week with the Wizards - Headlines for Week of September 20th:

Wizards Host Fire in U.S. Open Cup Final at Arrowhead on Wednesday, September 22nd

Dewar Trophy Continues Tour of Kansas City

Kansas City Puts First Place on the Line Once Again Hosting Colorado on Saturday, September 25th

Preki Undergoes Successful Ankle Surgery

Brian Roberts Joins Wizards

Wizards Host Fire in U.S. Open Cup Final at Arrowhead on Wednesday, September 22nd

The Kansas City Wizards are one step away from claiming their first U.S. Open Cup Title in franchise history and will play the Championship match on their home soil. Kansas City will host the Chicago Fire in the 2004 U.S. Open Cup Final at Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday, September 22nd. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on GolTV, and available via video webcast online at www.MLSnet.com. The winner of the U.S. Open Cup will take home $100,000 in prize money, while the runner up will receive $50,000.

Wednesday's Final marks the first U.S. Open Cup Final for the Kansas City Wizards and the fourth for the Chicago Fire. The Fire has won each of their three U.S. Open Cup Championship appearances - 1998, 2000 and 2003. Wednesday's match also marks the second time the Wizards and Fire have met with a Championship on the line. Kansas City defeated Chicago 1-0 on October 15, 2000 to capture the MLS Cup Championship, the first championship in franchise history. Wizards midfielder Diego Gutierrez and forward Josh Wolff were both members of the Fire during the 2000 MLS Cup.

Tickets for the U.S. Open Cup Final are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Wizards Box Office. Lower Level Sideline seating is available for $18 for adults and $13 for youth (15 and under). Club Level seating is $22 for adults and $16 for youth. There will be no endline general admission seating available. Zard Card holders can purchase $5 seats for themselves and each accompanying family member with reserved seating in Sections 104 and 133 on the North side of the stadium. Gates into the stadium will open at 6:00 p.m.

The Open Cup Final is designated as "Special Game C" for Wizards season ticket holders. Each "Special Game C" ticket will admit one person into the Stadium and tickets can be used directly at the Gate without the need to exchange the ticket. All unused Season Tickets and Ticket Vouchers can be exchanged at the Wizards Box Office for best available seating. For more ticket information, please call the Wizards office at 816-920-9300.

The winner of the U.S. Open Cup will have their name added to the Dewar Trophy, the same piece of hardware that was presented to the winner of the first U.S. Open Cup final in 1914. The Trophy will then remain on display in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York. At 92 years of age, the Dewar Trophy is the oldest, team sport trophy in the United States.

The Dewar Trophy will be in Kansas City prior to the Open Cup Final, making various appearances around the Kansas City metro area. More information, including a schedule of events, will be available on the Wizards website, www.kcwizards.com, this week.

Dewar Trophy Continues Tour of Kansas City

The prestigious Dewar Trophy, a 92-year-old piece of hardware presented annually to the winner of the U.S. Open Cup, continues its tour of Kansas City this week in advance of the Open Cup Final on Wednesday, September 22nd. On Monday evening, the trophy will be on display at Price Chopper, located at 4201 Noland Road, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm CT.

On Tuesday, the trophy will be on display during the Wizards training session at the Arrowhead Outdoor Training Facility and will be available for media photos. Following training, all players and coaches will be available for media interviews. On Tuesday afternoon, the Dewar trophy will make a visit to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Office in Mission, Kansas. In the evening, the trophy will be on display at the "Top Dawg" Tournament at the Blue Valley District Activities Complex at 135th & Switzer.

Wednesday, September 22nd, the Dewar trophy will greet customers at George Brett's on the Plaza during the lunch hour from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and then will be at Arrowhead Stadium for the U.S. Open Cup Final that will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

Kansas City Puts First Place on the Line Once Again Hosting Colorado on Saturday, September 25th

On Wednesday, the Wizards play for their second championship in club history in the U.S. Open Cup Final, but three days later another huge battle looms on the horizon. On Saturday, September 25th, the first-place Wizards will host the second place Colorado Rapids at Arrowhead Stadium. On September 10th, the same two teams squared off, each with the same position in the standings - the Wizards in first place, the Rapids in second place. Colorado ended up victorious 3-1, knocking the Wizards out of first place.

This past weekend, Colorado (10-8-9, 39 points) suffered one of the worst losses in team history falling to the New England Revolution 6-1. The Wizards (12-9-5, 41 points) shutout the defending MLS Cup Champion San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 and vaulted past the Rapids and back into first place in the West, two points clear of Colorado with a game in hand.

The two sides will meet for the final time in the regular season with the Wizards leading the season series 2-1-0 after posting two consecutive shutouts, 2-0 in Kansas City on May 1st, and 1-0 at Colorado on June 9th before falling 3-1 on September 10th.

Preki Undergoes Successful Ankle Surgery

Kansas City Wizards midfielder and reigning MLS MVP Preki underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle on Friday, September 10th to repair damage. The surgery was deemed a success by Doctor Greg Horton, an ankle specialist in the Kansas City area. Preki will be sidelined for four to six months, but is expected to make a full recovery in time for preseason training for the 2005 season.

Preki dislocated his ankle and fractured his left fibula in a preseason game against the Columbus Crew on February 21st. He underwent surgery and went through extensive rehabilitation, forcing him to miss the first four and a half months of the 2004 season. He returned to action on August 18th starting in midfield, ironically, against the Columbus Crew.

After appearing in two regular season matches and one U.S. Open Cup match, Preki experienced more pain in the ankle and opted for surgery that will end his season.

Brian Roberts Joins Wizards

Kansas City Wizards defender Brian Roberts joined the team last week following the completion of his loan with the A-League's Minnesota Thunder. Roberts was signed as a developmental player on June 28th and was immediately loaned to Minnesota for the remainder of their season.

Roberts joined the Wizards in Kansas City early last week. He immediately began training with the team and was available for last Saturday's match against San Jose. The 22-year-old Yale graduate appeared in 16 matches with Minnesota including one U.S. Open Cup match for the Thunder. With his Open Cup appearance, he will not be eligible to play in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup Final for the Wizards when they host the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Wizards Injury/Absence Report
Out:

M - Chris Klein, Torn ACL (L)

M - Preki, Ankle Surgery (L)
Questionable:

F - Igor Simutenkov, Hamstring Strain (L)
Probable:

GK - Tony Meola, Strained Achilles Tendon (R)


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