OTC: Sporting KC Wins MLS Cup Makes Kansas City A Winner Once Again

“MLS Cup Champs! #SKCNation, you were amazing last night! Can’t begin to express what you guys mean to us. I love this city!!!”
Graham Zusi‏, @gzusi, in the aftermath of Sporting Kansas City’s scintillating MLS Cup win over Real Salt Lake, Twitter
GH: Hats and scarfs off to Sporting Kansas City for bringing a championship back to Kansas City’s professional sports scene. In a pulse-pounding live-or-die PK ending, SKC survived when RSL’s final PK hit the crossbar and slammed straight down harmlessly to the frozen turf. It was a weird way to end what was a remarkable cup match. I watched the final PK’s from the bar of the Bristol in the Power and Light District and the entire bar broke out into applause with Sportings’ victory. It was a pretty cool scene in a city that deserves to feel cool once again.

“I stuck with my plan and hit it well and it hit the corner and he guessed right and made the save. It happens. Graham and I were sitting there all week in practice and we’re just crushing it in the corner on our penalty kicks – and we were the two guys who missed it.”
Matt Besler, Sporting defender, on missing his PK in the overtime against Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, 810 AM
GH: Besler told a great story about he was practicing PKs against Rimando this summer with the national team and how the two discussed his strategy and thinking for PKs. It appears Rimando keeps a book on his opponents just like “Author” told Bruce he needed to do in Bang the Drum Slowly, a favorite and very underrated baseball movie of mine.

“Glad #SportingKC won but #RSL fans were great. I laughed when they did the #ibelieve chant when they were ahead.”
Michael Long, @mkaalong, Twitter
GH: Cool to hear that the RSL fans were enjoying the moment as well. They brought a very impressive contingent to frigid KC for the cup final. I think Sporting Park is one of the best-looking sports venues on television. Not just because of the raucous fans but the field, the lighting and the atmosphere that bleeds across onto my television screen just demands that you pay attention.

“I don’t know if we followed the rules. Some of the trophy officials were giving us dirty looks (during Sportings’ postgame locker room celebration).”
Matt Besler, 810 AM

“FYI, I bought my first hard copy newspaper in 2 years today thanks to @SportingKC. Sucker for nostalgia.”
G Low, @KCPRGuy, in a tweet directed to @jeff_rosen88, sports editor at The Star, Twitter
GH: The Kansas City Star did a nice job in giving both Missouri’s SEC Championship game and SKC’s Cup Championship match their own “front page” in the sports section. I wasn’t thrilled with either full-page photo they chose for each but the full-page spreads were a nice nod to the two local teams.

“It’s gotten quiet here in KC! #RSL! Shhhh.”
Bill Riley, @espn700bill, RSL’s radio play-by-play voice, after RSL took a 1-0 lead at Sporting Park, Twitter
GH: Riley was having some fun with his Twitter followers and I made sure to keep his tweet just in case SKC turned things around. When I retweeted Riley’s tweet on Sunday morning, he responded with class. Read on.

“The decibels dropped a bit. For a while. But unfortunately not long enough. It wasn’t quiet for long though. Was a Great, fun game to attend. One to remember for sure.”
Bill Riley, @espn700bill, Twitter
GH: Riley has been RSL’s voice since their inception in 2005 but he knows our KC market as well. He shot me a tweet that showed his local roots as a Kansas grad who has worked in Hastings, NE, Moberly, MO and Wichita. “KC has come a long way from the days of Harry and Fortune calling Comets games at Kemper,” Riley tweeted. I could not have stated it any better.

“SKC Nation, you are invited to the official MLS Cup celebration Monday night at Union Station! Join us at 6:30 p.m. CT as we celebrate Sporting KC being crowned MLS champions. The special event is free and open to the public with parking available in the front lot or in the garage on the west side of Union Station. Festivities will include a live DJ, complimentary Boulevard beverages, player appearances and opportunities for fans to have their photo taken with the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.”

What: MLS Cup Celebration
When: Monday, December 9, 6:30p.m. – 8:30p.m.
Where: Union Station, Sprint Festival Plaza, 30 W Pershing Rd
Who: Players, fans, staff
Parking: Fans can park in the lot in front of the building OR in the visitor garage to the west of the building

GH: I think this party is going to get ridiculously out of hand. Enjoy.

and Twitter / @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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33 Responses to OTC: Sporting KC Wins MLS Cup Makes Kansas City A Winner Once Again

  1. Richard Cranium says:

    Soccer Happened this Weekend? Did they tie?

  2. I recall Harry and Fortune doing the Comets games on TV, with Kevin Wall doing the Comets radio. Wall also did the TV for the weekly All-Star Wrestling program for the Kansas City territory. Little did we know in the mid-80s that both of those heydays (the MISL and territorial rasslin’) were nearly at an end.

    But I think the Comets success in that era showed that there was a base of soccer fandom in and around Kansas City that would support a competitive soccer team in a good league and in an appropriate (not too large) and raucous venue. We saw the culmination of that again on Saturday. And without so much as even a glimpse of Jack Harry!

  3. mike t. says:

    in a way, if not for this blog and all the soccer haters blasting the game, i probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to the game. as it was, i found the game on tv and flipped back and forth between it and mizzou/auburn and [email protected] still not a soccer fan per se, but the moment wasn’t lost on me either as the game went to PKs. i didn’t really understand why, but i was pretty transfixed at that point. kudos to the team and fans!

  4. Joe Blow says:

    It’s almost as exciting as when the Blades won in ’92..

    • The Word. says:

      +1…I wonder if the Missouri Mavricks win it all will that get this much attention?

      Afterall isn’tthe MLS semi pro compaired to what they have in Europe?

      Whats the big deal?

  5. Kick ball says:

    Where does the parade start … ?

  6. JP says:

    The Long Local Nightmare is Over!!!! Kansas City has a Championship to celebrate!!! It was a great game and totally agree with Greg about the look of Sporting Park on TV. It looks like a big time venue on TV, and the fans look awesome to boot.

    Hats off to Jimmy Nielsen, who played very well in the shootout, and kept KC in the game. Reports are he may retire, and he can go out a champion. In hindsight, it appears Sporting was destined to win this game. Falling behind it looked bleak, but they came up with the tying goal and got the win against arguably a better Goalkeeper in the Shootout. Great day for KC. Congrats to Sporting!!!

  7. Kyle says:

    Congrats to SKC. It was a very exciting finish. I am happy for the local soccer fans. However, nationally, this resonates about as much as the Omaha Royals (or whatever they are called now) winning the AAA championship. I work in an office of about 200 people, the majority men who are sports fans. I have heard a lot of talk about the Chiefs, Jayhawks, and mizzouri this morning and literally not a word about SKC. If this was the Chiefs or Royals the city would be shut down.

    • BlackJack says:

      Wow, I’d hate to work at your office. Where you work – a retirement community?

      • Kyle says:

        No BJ, most people are in their 20’s and 30’s. Outside of the Cauldron, it’s not really talked about that much.

  8. kcredsox says:

    To be fair, KC also belts out the #ibelievethatwewillwin chant when Sporting KC is leading. I always get a chuckle out of that.

  9. Be Reasonable says:

    Couple things I hope someone on here can get an answer for, since I’m a soccer fan, but really believe we’ve tricked ourselves in KC to believe this championship is bigger than it is:

    1) Did anyone see anyone Nationally tweeting about SKC and the Cup? I imagine we all follow lots of sportscasters and athletes, and not one person I followed outside of KC made mention of it. Did it trend nationally (one of you probably knows how to check that)

    2) What were the Household ratings of the SKC game vs KU vs MU? I think that would be a good measurement on how much soccer has really taken hold.

    I watched at a bar, so I had all of them on at once, just wanted to see what measured numbers looked like in comparison to us fans who live in the soccer bubble.

    • Superfreq says:

      Taken from Twitter:

      @FiftySixSG: Local TV ratings for Sat. in KC. #Mizzou got a 18.5 rating on CBS, #SportingKC pulled a 4.3 on ESPN, & KU Basketball a 1.8.

      I was in the Cauldron for the match. Best 6+ hours in below freezing temps ever.

  10. Say What? says:

    I was at a bar in Lee’s Summit watching the Mizzou game and there were plenty of other TVs on the Sporting game. During the shootout, a large portion of the audience at the bar were watching the Sporting game and the cheer and celebration after Sporting won the Cup was amazing.

    The old farts that post here won’t understand because ‘Murica don’t like soccer, but the rest of us greatly enjoyed it.

    • Joe Blow says:

      Well, they probably mostly liked the shootouts, which are the least soccer thing I can imagine. Otherwise, soccer is 95% watching teams punt the ball to each other without the excitement of a possible return..

      • Kingnothingkc says:

        lol….and American football is a 3 hour time waste where there is only 11 minutes of actual action. #letswatchpaintdry

  11. BlackJack says:

    Had the MLS cup on TV front and center; mildly followed the KU game and SEC games on Twitter. The Cup was as riveting, frustrating, painful and joyous to watch as any other sporting event that happened this year. Although the Wizards won The Cup in 2000, I think this one will resonate much more in the long-term, given it happened under this ownership and the current brand, and given how far futbol has come both locally and MLS in general. Aside from a few old bitter haters on this blog, of course. Eat it, suckas!

    • Joe Blow says:

      Good job SKC. Don’t think hardly anyone cares..

      • Ashley says:

        You apparently care enough to keep commenting on it. A disinterested party would have left by now.

    • JP says:

      This team is resonating big time in this area, especially with the younger whippersnappers out there. It is a very young crowd that has embraced this team, and that will carry on through generations. Soccer is still a very young sport with America and we are at a point where the NFL and NBA were back in the early part of the 20th century. Some people want to hate on the sport for whatever reasons. Let them, the victory was a sweet one, and hopefully Sporting goes for and gets the Repeat in 2014!!

      • Joe Blow says:

        When MLB, NFL, NBA, and even NHL were coming around, the other ones didn’t exist. A *really* slow moving minor league niche sport like MLS is not going to overtake any of the other ones, especially with their backwards rules that seek to prevent scoring at every opportunity..

        • JP says:

          First of all, if it’s about scoring then you must love the NBA where there is scoring almost every minute. How many NBA games are that exciting. Scoring doesn’t make a sport exciting.
          I used to take your viewpoint about soccer. Then I watched a few matches and saw that the excitement comes from the opportunities and the chances. I do like the fact that the games are over in 2 hours and don’t drag on.

          As for the league, it’s not going to catch on overnight. But they have a sound business strategy and they are letting the sport and the league grow organically. That is probably the smart solution. It won’t overtake the NFL or MLB anytime soon, but those Sporting stickers on cars are everywhere in every suburb in KC.

          • Joe Blow says:

            MLS goes out of its way to suppress offense. I actually hate the NBA and don’t follow it, but the offside rule ruins soccer.

            You say it won’t overtake the NFL or MLB anytime soon — it will never come *close* to those leagues pretty much ever. I (thankfully) don’t live in a KC suburb, so I don’t even know what an SKC sticker looks like, but I doubt they’re overtaking one of the more popular teams..

  12. George Wilson says:

    The last World Cup finals produced TV ratings in the United States that exceeded the TV rating of every game of the 2013 NBA finals, the 2013 World Series, and the 2013 NHL finals even though the World Cup final did not have the advantage of being telecast in prime time. The 24 million who watched the 2010 final almost matched the 26 million who watched last year’s BCS final between Alabama and Notre Dame. This past year there were 15 games in the United States that drew over 50,000 fans, including 81,000 for the Gold Cup semi finals in Dallas.

    MLS averages over 18,000 fans per game, more than either the NBA or the NHL. Average game attendance is now the eighth best of all soccer leagues in the world and total attendance has more than doubled in the past seven years.

    I know it makes a lot of old white guys who still sleep with their teddy bear football nervous and irritable, but the growth in this country of soccer in general and MLS in specific is rapid and accelerating.

    • Joe Blow says:

      Once again, comparing apples & oranges, fewer games vs more, nothing on vs something..

      I mean, 15 games that drew 50,000? That’s a single day out of 162 in MLB, but, wow! That’s every NFL game each weekend, but, wow!

  13. jim says:

    My feeling towards the SKC Championship reminds me of Clark Griswold looking at Stonehenge. Really cool in the moment. Glad I saw it. But a few seconds after seeing it, I’m ready to go look at the more interesting and exciting sports.

  14. Tim says:

    I’ll start taking Sporting KC seriously when they have a 12 hour pregame show.

  15. Steve says:

    I’m always amused by the time people who find this sport so insignificant and boring spend commenting on these type of stories. I love sports, however I don’t have any interest in nascar, golf, ufc and a host of others. I don’t take the time to click and read stories about these sports and I certainly wouldn’t spend time commenting on them. We all get you don’t like soccer, I don’t see what your goal is in constantly bashing it. (I counted six posts from Joe Blow on this topic he doesn’t care about)

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