Before this past Sunday’s game against the Columbus Crew, Sporting Kansas City celebrated as they received their rings from the MLS Cup championship last year. The rings look incredibly nice and I can’t be any happier for everyone with the organization. Those rings are more than just gold and diamonds. Those rings symbolize everything that has happened to that point where Sporting KC lifted the Cup in the middle of Sporting Park. From OnGoal buying the team from the Hunt family to the realistic possibility of having to move away from KC to the days of having games at Community America Ballpark and hosting the MLS All Star Game and MLS Cup Final in the same season. Those rings carry a lot of memories and it’s great to see those people I know and still keep in touch with enjoying something so well deserved and proud to have had a very small role in the journey.
It wasn’t all fun that day as there was still a game. A game before the season that wouldn’t really be a great game wound up being a must see matchup between two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. Just like all the previous teams who have played Sporting, they are getting nothing but the absolute best from their opponents. Sporting has the target on their backs and everyone wants to beat the champs.
While Columbus did just that, Sporting hit the ground running and scored first. While Sporting was trying to set up the goal, the ball deflected a couple of times and Jacob Peterson was able to convert with a side volley to make it 1-0 in the 10th minute. Peterson has been a very polarizing player in SKC fans eyes because his play is either praised or criticized. I myself have criticized Peterson’s play and there have been times where he just wasn’t good enough. But the more I watch him play, the more I appreciate his play because he does the work that nobody notices and appreciates. Peterson never gives up and you know he’s going to give it his all. He may not be the most talented player on the squad but it’s tough to name someone who is harder working than Jacob Peterson.
Along with Jacob Peterson, Eric Kronberg is another one of those polarizing players too. I have been defending Kronberg’s play throughout and felt he deserved to have the starting spot when Jimmy Nielsen retired. Kronberg learned under Nielsen and was a backup for many years and earned his chance to see what he could do. I don’t know what people expect from Kronberg because he’s not going to be Jimmy Nielsen but he can hold his own. Kronberg isn’t immune to making a mistake now and then but he’s been solid and put in a man of the match performance against Columbus. He also had a definite save of the week winner and possibly a save of the year candidate. Kronberg can only get better and better so Sporting KC shouldn’t be worried anymore about the goalkeeper situation.
After a Will Trapp red card, Sporting had 10 minutes in order to keep the three points. They tack on another goal off a Michael Parkhurst mistake and get a well-earned three points with the 2-0 victory. This definitely was a nice pick me up after the loss to New England last week. We’re getting closer and closer to the World Cup so it is to everyone’s advantage to get as many points as possible now. Sporting has been able to do that and have the lead in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand. Sporting goes up north to Canada to play Montreal Saturday. Some would say this is an easy game as Montreal has been slumping and Sporting already beat them 4-0 but Montreal will definitely make Sporting earn it by playing the same physical game Sporting will play against them.
(Image courtesy of Sporting KC)