Sasha Victorine joined the Kansas City Wizards after five seasons with the L.A. Galaxy. The tall midfielder who drew acclaim during the 2000 Olympic performance of the U.S. team has been busy trying to help the defending Western Conference champs adjust to their move to another conference, since the Wizards were realigned into the Eastern Conference at the start of this season. The team has also had to cope with the loss of star players Josh Wolfe and Kerry Zavagnin due to national team call-ups. Finally, the team’s management has announced that the franchise is for sale if the right offer is made. Andrea Canales got Victorine’s take on the various situations.
How do you feel about the team’s performance this season?
I think we’ve been struggling a bit lately – trying to get our shots, trying to get our format. It’s tough without Wolfie – Josh Wolfe. He’s one of our playmakers up top. He creates a lot of havoc for teams. Without him, it’s going to be a little tough up top for us. His dynamic ability is to get the ball, face guys up and create things. Wolfie brings that to us – he gives a lot of movement off the ball. When that happens, our offense really builds.
How does it feel to come back to L.A.?
It’s nice. I’m happy to be home, back here, playing. The stadium is unbelievable. You forget how nice it is to play here. The atmosphere is great.
When you’re here, sometimes you don’t appreciate how nice the stadium is and how good the field is and how loud the fans are when you’re playing here. I think when you come back, you kind of appreciate it a little bit more.
You put this many people in another stadium in MLS and it sounds like no one’s there. Here the field sits tight and the ceiling keeps the sound in.
Is that your biggest complaint about Arrowhead Stadium – that it’s so big?
Well, yeah. Arrowhead’s tough. It is big. We’ll get decent crowds, but when you’re sitting in a stadium that sits 60,000 people, it’s tough to really feel that atmosphere that you’ll feel in a smaller stadium. Hopefully in the future, all teams will have something like this to look forward to.
How is Kansas City?
It’s great. The city is wonderful. It’s a very nice town. The speed is more calm, relaxed. Traffic is nonexistent. You don’t even need to use your car as much. It’s nice. It’s a very nice area.
What’s been your biggest adjustment to the team?
I think the biggest adjustment has been that this team’s been together for a few years now. I’m one of the new guys coming in – so I’m just trying to get used to their style of playing, without trying to force my style of how I want to play on the team. I’ve got to really adjust my game to how they play. I think that’s been the toughest, trying to adjust to how they play. They play a little more direct – trying to get on the attack – counters - and their transition game is a little big quicker. I’m just trying to get used to that and finding my opportunities when I can get the ball.
Jimmy (Conrad) is great. He’s been a great transition for me, getting on this team, making me feel comfortable, confident. He’s really helped me out.
What kind of affect has the potential move away from Kansas City had on the team?
I don’t think it has, on the field, hurt as much as it has off the field. In our league, most guys’ wives, girlfriends, fiancés, all work. They’re having to adjust as well as we are. Trying to plan for six months out or a year out is tough. If they’re going to get a job in Kansas City and three months later the team moves – then they’ve got to quit their jobs and it doesn’t look so good.
I think those off the field kind of things like trying to get your family adjusted, have been the toughest. On the field, I think guys have handled things fairly well.
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