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Wizards Attendance Showing Growth for Fourth Consecutive Year

July 29, 2002 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City News Release

The Kansas City Wizards are well past the halfway point of the 2002 season and have already seen a significant increase in attendance over last season. Through eleven home games this season, the Wizards have averaged 11,251 fans. At this point last year, the Wizards average attendance was 10,210 through the first eleven games, an increase of 10.20% over 2001. Last season the Wizards were coming off their impressive run to the MLS Cup Championship in 2000.

In May of 2002, the Wizards hosted their largest crowd in team history as 21,301 fans filed into Arrowhead Stadium to watch the Wizards face their conference rival the Los Angeles Galaxy. The attendance mark surpassed the previous total of 21,141 that stood since April 13, 1996, the first ever Wizards game at Arrowhead Stadium.

On Thursday, July 4th, the fifth largest crowd in team history witnessed the Wizards Independence Day celebration as the Wizards faced D.C. United, followed by the city's largest fireworks display set to music. 19,641 fans came out to Arrowhead to salute America and experience the fireworks display from the field of the stadium.

On Saturday, July 6th the Wizards reached another milestone as 12-year-old Luis Londoño passed through the Gate C turnstile becoming the One Millionth Wizards fan to enter Arrowhead Stadium.

Last Saturday's game against the San Jose Earthquakes drew a crowd of 11,530 on a hot and humid July evening. The crowd was the largest July attendance at a non-4th of July match since 1996, the Wizards first season.

Wizards Travel to Dallas for Western Conference Matchup on Metro Sports

The Kansas City Wizards (7-6-7, 28 points) will travel to Dallas on Wednesday to face Western Conference rival the Dallas Burn (8-4-7, 31 points) at the Cotton Bowl on July 31st. The match will be broadcast live on Metro Sports beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT. Wednesday's match will mark the final regular season meeting for the two sides, after tying their first three meetings of 2002. Dallas owns the second best record in the league, but sits in the third spot in the playoff race, as the top teams from each Conference are seeded first and second regardless of their record. With the Wizards currently in the sixth spot, they would face the Burn in the playoffs if the season were to end today.

Dallas forward Jason Kreis leads the team in scoring with 26 points (12g, 2a) and is tied for fourth in the league. The only other member of the Burn in double-digit points is forward Bobby Rhine, who has notched five goals and four assists for 14 points. Veteran defender Steve Morrow heads up a defensive unit that has allowed 26 goals on the season, the third fewest in MLS. Goalkeeper Matt Jordan has played a large part in that total as well, posting a 1.33 GAA in 18 games for the Burn while suffering just four losses on the season, the fewest losses in the League.

The Wizards will see a new face on the Burn roster that they have not faced in three previous meetings this season. Irish midfielder Ronnie O'Brien joined Dallas on July 12th from Dundee United of Scotland. One day after joining the Burn, he scored the game-winning goal in Dallas' 2-1 win over San Jose. O'Brien is the second Irish international to join the Burn this season after Northern Ireland National Team defender Steve Morrow signed with the club in early February.

The Wizards will be without the services of midfielder Preki who has been issued a one game suspension by the MLS disciplinary committee. The suspension stems from an incident between Preki and Jeff Moore in last Wednesday's match against the MetroStars.

Four Wizards to Appear in 2002 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game

On Saturday, August 3rd, Kansas City midfielder Chris Klein will find himself on the opposite end of the field as his Wizards teammates Tony Meola, Preki and Mike Burns. Klein will suit up for the MLS All-Stars that will face a collection of U.S. World Cup All-Stars in the annual MLS All-Star Game at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Meola, Preki and Burns were named to the 18-man U.S. squad by National Team Head Coach Bruce Arena. The 2002 Pepsi MLS All-Star game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ABC.

Meola, who has been apart of three World Cup teams for the U.S. and will make his fifth trip to the All-Star game, will likely start in goal for the U.S. squad. Defender Mike Burns will make his second appearance at the All-Star game after appearing for the first time in 1998. Midfielder Preki makes his record seventh trip to the MLS All-Star game, joining Jeff Agoos, Cobi Jones and Brian McBride as the only players in MLS to appear in seven All-Star games. Last season, Preki became the only player in league history to start each of the first six All-Star games, and has a chance to add another start this year.

Chris Klein will make his first trip to the All-Star Game after being selected as a reserve by All-Star Head Coach Frank Yallop. Klein is one of eight MLS All-Stars who will be making their first trip to the All-Star game. In all, ten players were selected to appear in their first All-Star game.

Wizards Face Monarcas Morelia of Mexico in Champions Cup on August 7th and August 28th

The Kansas City Wizards have announced the dates of their two-game Semifinal series against Monarcas Morelia of Mexico in the 2002 Champions Cup. The Wizards will travel to Morelia on Wednesday, August 7th for a 3:00 p.m. CT kickoff from Estadio Morelos. The second match of the series will take place at Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday, August 28th. The match is slated for 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Wizards advanced to the Semifinals after defeating Santos Laguna of Mexico 3-2 on aggregate goals. The Wizards dropped the first match in Torreon 2-1, but rebounded to win 2-0 at Arrowhead on April 24th. Kansas City opened the 2002 Champions Cup in March with back-to-back shutouts of W Connection FC of Trinidad to advance to the Quarterfinals against Santos Laguna. Morelia earned the right to play in the Semifinals after defeating the Chicago Fire 3-2 on aggregate goals over two games in late May. Morelia opened the Champions Cup dropping Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica 3-1 on aggregate goals.

The winner of the Wizards and Morelia series will face the winner of the Alajuelense (Costa Rica) and Pachuca (Mexico) series. Alajuelense will host the first leg of the series on Wednesday, August 14th at Estadio Marrero Soto, while Pachuca will host the second leg at Estadio Hidalgo on Wednesday, August 21st. Both games will kick off at 8:00 p.m. CT.

Kansas City Advances in U.S. Open Cup, Will Face Milwaukee Rampage August 24th

The Kansas City Wizards have announced their U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal date against the Milwaukee Rampage of the A-league. The Wizards will travel to Milwaukee on Saturday, August 24th to face the Rampage at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Rampage Sports Complex in Franklin, WI. The Wizards advanced to the Semifinals after beating the Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) 3-2 in overtime on July 17th. Milwaukee knocked off the Chicago Fire in the third round of the 64-team tournament and became the only A-League team to advance to the quarterfinals.

Kansas City's win over Rochester marked the second consecutive year the Wizards have advanced past the first round in which they have been involved. Last year, the Wizards entered the tournament in the Second Round and advanced to the Round of 16 by defeating the Seattle Sounders 4-1. This year, the Wizards entered the tournament in the Third Round and defeated Rochester to advance to the Quarterfinals of the tournament.

The winner of the Kansas City-Milwaukee match will advance to the Semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup and face the winner of the Columbus Crew and MetroStars game, which takes place Wednesday, August 7th in New York. The Semifinal match will be held on Tuesday, September 10th and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Español.

Wizards Trade Discovery Pick for Two Draft Picks

Kansas City Wizards General Manager Curt Johnson announced the Wizards have traded their second Discovery Pick to D.C. United in exchange for one of D.C.'s Second Round picks in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft and their natural Third Round pick in the 2004 MLS Super Draft. The second round pick originally belonged to Kansas City, but was traded to D.C. United as the "future consideration" for defender Carey Talley in February of 2002. The Wizards used one of their two allotted Discovery Picks in 2002 to sign Argentinean forward Dario Fabbro in April of this year. D.C. used the Wizards Discovery Pick to sign 19-year-old forward Eliseo Quintanilla.

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