In a cold, rainy night in Kansas City, a night where a city is watching the Kansas City Royals beat the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, a night where Landon Donovan is playing his last game as a member of the US National Team and a night where the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps are going for the Cascadia Cup, the Sporting Kansas City faithful still packed Sporting Park for the __ straight time to watch a team who hadn’t won a home league game in almost two months. If that isn’t the definition of a “soccer city,” I don’t know what is. What the Sporting KC fans received was a reward that they could be happy with, a win against rivals Chicago and a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The game started in typical recent SKC fashion. In the 11th minute, Benny Feilhaber gets fouled in the box and results in a PK. Typically, these rivalry games are low scoring so this early goal could easily be the difference between a win and some other result. Dom Dwyer sailed the ball over the crossbar and the thought of, “here we go again” crept into the minds of Sporting fans. Sporting KC has been struggling and struggling badly. On top of that, they haven’t had the best recent record against Chicago either. Since the Sporting KC rebrand, SKC is (2-3-5) against their rivals in the Midwest. Everything seemed to be going against Sporting KC’s way.
That is, until the 80th minute. Graham Zusi got his shooting boots out and ripped a phenomenal shot with his weak left foot into the net from about 25 yards out. The goal was a thing of beauty, the celebration…let’s just say I’m glad he still has his knees after that.
Sporting was up 1-0 late but they tried very hard to give that lead away. It took a man of the match performance by Andy Gruenebaum to keep the clean sheet for Sporting. A 92nd minute header by Dom Dwyer sealed the fate for the Fire and Sporting was on their way to the MLS Cup Playoffs once again. Sporting still needs points to avoid playing in the Knockout Round but the important goal is accomplished and they are in. Now that Sporting is in the playoffs, the real fun begins. Next game is against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. I’ll be there with my Cauldron brethren cheering them on.