Wizards new Argentine playmaker ready to deliver

Santiago Hirsig (AP) 

Santiago Hirsig was in the heart of a title race last year in his native Argentina, but that didn't keep him from thinking about a career outside of his homeland. The veteran playmaker had long been eager to experience life and soccer outside Argentina and a contract conflict with San Lorenzo opened the door for him to consider a league he watched growing rapidly.

That league is MLS and the country the United States, where Hirsig now plies his trade as the Kansas City Wizards' new attacking midfielder. After a dozen years as a professional in Argentina, Hirsig is looking forward to the challenge of a new league and new country.

"It was my decision for some time to have an experience outside my country, so when I had this conflict with my former club, I saw this opportunity," Hirsig told SBI. "The United States has always been a place I have been interested in and when Kansas City approached me, it became an easy decision.

"There were other offers but I chose this club because I know it's a good club that works well and is in a beautiful city," Hirsig said. "I spoke with (Claudio Lopez) and some others and knew it was a good place to be."

Hirsig had been on Kansas City's radar for more than a year but the Wizards didn't think they had a realistic chance of landing him, at least until a dispute over unpaid wages helped clear the way for Hirsig to leave San Lorenzo.

"If you look around the world there are a lot of places where players being paid can be an issue, and in this case, it opened the door to sign a player we were very intersted in," Wizards technical director Peter Vermes said. "He's a polished player who should help our offense create chances.

"There will be an adjustment period for him, but I'm confident he will adapt."

The Wizards are banking on Hirsig being the playmaker the club has needed for years, and with Lopez back and Josh Wolff enjoying a strong pre-season, the Kansas City attack could see considerable improvement from 2008, when it managed just 37 goals (third fewest in MLS and fewest among playoff teams).

"I'm a player who feels comfortable with possession and the responsibility of creating," Hirsig said. "(The Wizards) are a team that plays good soccer and I already feel like I will fit in here."

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What do you think of Kansas City's addition of Hirsig? Could he wind up having a Schelotto-like impact? Do yo think he will struggle to adjust to MLS? Are you liking the Wizards as a sleeper team in 2009?

Share your thoughts below.

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30 Responses to Wizards new Argentine playmaker ready to deliver

  1. kpugs says:

    “Finally, Beckham’s wages with the Galaxy — some $6.5m, pro-rated — will not count against the team’s budget cap, nor will he occupy a roster slot. This will allow the Galaxy to sign another player … as well as side-step MLS’ new roster cutbacks.”

    Is this true? If so, anyone surprised the Galaxy are not required to follow the same financial rules as everyone else? STILL?

  2. Cam says:

    Hirsig is exactly the type of foreign player MLS teams should be going after. Hopefully he will be another Schelotto-type. I wish him the best at Kansas City (although I’m definately not a Wizards fan).

    Good story, Ives.

  3. MVK says:

    As a supporter I am very happy with what the Wizards have done for their roster in the last year.

  4. Slugger says:

    I don’t get the LA Times article either. Jones should know well that Beck’s $6.5M salary was never going to count against the cap — only $400K was. Even if they prorate that, which would amount to a hit of about $173K,they’d have to create that cap space for him to return, no? That’s a significant salary in the cap-limited MLS.

  5. EvenIsON! says:

    I have to agree with MVK. As a supporter, I’m very happy with personnel moves the Wizards have made over the last year.

  6. David BEckham says:

    With the wizars have done a great job recently. GEtting lopez as a non dp and signing hirsig who was a role player on a team that tied for the appeturua is great. he will be oneof the leagues top midfielders. just his technique and tactical ability soccer iq id up their with everyone except schellotto. Kansas city is also an underrated city. It has th plaza which is sweet and The power and light district is like 40 bars in a two block radius. it is heaven. you will never find more hot ass in one area. it is great to see kansas city attracting big name argentine player. it is no rome or buenos aeres but kicks the hell out of st. louis Go jayhawks.

  7. Tom P says:

    Just what the league needs- creative playmakers.

    BRAVO K.C. BRAVO !!!!!

    (and thanks Claudio Lopez for the sales pitch help)

  8. andrewdiceway says:

    [Insert exactly what CAM said]

  9. tdjakes says:

    From what I’ve seen of Wizards pre-season results, Hirsig has mostly lined up on the right rather than at AM. I hope he’s a quality addition to this league. Hopefully more like Richetti or Schellotto than Denilson.

  10. VPjr says:

    I’ve seen this guy play several times on TV. Solid player…not sure if he is of the quality of Schelotto but I’d be willing to wager that he automatically becomes one of the top 5 attacking mids in MLS once he settles in.

    good work Wizards.

  11. Miguel says:

    Only $400k of Beckham’s wages count against the cap, not $6.5 mil. And, no, I’m not surprised. I remember when Claudio Reyna retired last year and the league announced that the Red Bulls could not sign another DP and that Claudio’s $400k salary would still count on the cap because it wouldn’t be fair to other teams. The same rules don’t apply to LA

  12. Max Zorin says:

    MLS should be saying to these guys: we don’t pay as much as they do in Europe, but WE DO PAY. On time. Into your bank account. Too bad that’s an issue for so many players down there.

  13. Barry Jive and His Uptown Five says:

    Is that an ad for MILFs on the left side of the page beneath the “Recent Posts”?

  14. KTao says:

    “I know it’s a good club that works well and is in a beautiful city,” Hirsig said”

    I know that Latinos can be unflaggingly polite, but this statement is too much a stretch to take seriously.

  15. franks from sf says:

    yo barry j. , i’ve been waiting for someone to point that out.hahaha classic.

  16. Riiiiight says:

    “Beautiful city”?? Kansas City?? Someone sold him a bag of rocks. Have fun playing for the Gizzards.

  17. MVK says:

    “”I know it’s a good club that works well and is in a beautiful city,” Hirsig said”

    I know that Latinos can be unflaggingly polite, but this statement is too much a stretch to take seriously.”

    its the City of Fountains fool, I would put The Plaza in terms of beuty against any part of any major American city.

  18. KCB says:

    KTao – You ever been to KC in the past year?

    Good stuff, thanks for posting this Ives.

    C’MON WIZARDS!

  19. tdjakes says:

    Kansas City is an underrated destination for MLS fans. Central location and airport hubs = cheap flights from many cities for MLS roadtrips. Power and Light next to the new arena, the explosion of restored lofts and residents, the jazz district, Negro League Baseball Museum, not to mention the growth of the art district just west. 3 new stadiums/renovations in the next 3 years for the Wizards, Chiefs, and Royals.

    Definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re somewhat close like Columbus, Chicago, Denver, Dallas. Everything’s up to date in Kansas Ciy.

  20. Chris says:

    Onalfo is the most underrated coach in MLS. Big things coming for Wizards fans.

  21. joe says:

    KC a beautiful city. LOLOLOL

  22. Chris says:

    Hearing KC people talk up there city is hilarious. Jazz district? A guy playing a sax on the corner doesn’t count. Art district? Yeah that Kansas City art scene is bustling. Negro League Baseball Museum? Wow life must suck in KC.

  23. tdjakes says:

    Tampa originally, but I visit the company headquarters quite often. I forgot to mention the new College Basketball Experience I toured a few months ago.

    The Negro League Museum was mentioned only as one of the many recent projects that’s gone in the downtown core. It’s easy to be provincial, but out of all the midwestern cities I’ve spent time in, I would probably only move to Austin over Kansas City.

    LA, Boston, New York are great. More enjoyable living experiences are available many place throughout the US.

  24. Hugo G says:

    Hirsig ang Lopez intentions are clearly 2 get their green card…

  25. Richard says:

    KC has a long tradition of being a happening place for jazz (Count Basie and One O’Clock Jump ring a bell?), but other than BBQ, I don’t know what else KC has to contribute.

  26. Josh Dworak says:

    ha, ha joe! my thoughts exactly.

  27. KC SMURF says:

    Kansas City is the best city in the USA! With the best soccer club in the USA! We have more than BBQ and Plaza lights! We have the American Royal, Crown Center, Museums, Jazz, Union Station, Casinos, Worlds of Fun…and not to mention an MLS Championship(2000). There is everything to do in Kansas City!

    Wizards fans welcome all MLS fans to Kansas City. Come be a part of the 2009 Kansas City Wizards MLS Cup Championship season!

  28. Scott A says:

    Sounds like a standout guy

  29. Jimmy Bobo says:

    I hope that everyone is right about this guy. Nobody has mentioned that he is 31yo. Does anyone know if he has a history with injuries? I only ask because I am aware of the poor outcomes of many 30-something midfielders who have been brought into our league.

  30. Mike says:

    Is that an ad for MILFs on the left side of the page beneath the “Recent Posts”?

    That’s where you find you self a part time wife till she become a citizen.