Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fans Building, Football Brilliance and Funny Bloopers

What a day. Lots of time outside (or outside-ish), and lots of fresh air on very little sleep. These are some of my thoughts from June 27, 2015, date of the first (actually played) home match with the Colorado Rapids.


Kansas City. I don't care what anybody else thinks, but this is truly one of the great sports towns in this country. There's also a reason they call this the "heart" of America.

My day started early. Very early. Like seven in the morning early. While that may not sound like a big deal to you, that was after only three hours of sleep.

Unlike some days, though, I had a good reason for being up that early. Sleepiness for a cause, if you will. Today, I was going to participate in the inaugural Super Fans Big Build with Habitat for Humanity.

Heartland Habitat for Humanity (HHH) builds homes for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them, holding the mortgages on these homes for 30 years, interest free. In addition to the 300 hours of "sweat equity" each participant puts in on the building of their new residence, they also participate in 30 hours of classes on things like budgeting and other things that will help them be responsible homeowners and able to keep their homes.

Fan groups for each of the three major league teams in town were assigned to a HHH build site. Sporting KC's fans were helping build a house in the Armourdale section of Kansas City, Kansas. It looked like a small house from the outside, but was actually quite spacious once you looked around inside.

To make a long story not so long, of the three fan groups, the Sporting KC fans not only had the most volunteers, but also raised the most money (though, a $500 donation on their behalf didn't hurt). At the raffle during lunch, prizes were available from all three teams. I happened to pick up a replica American League championship trophy, which is heavy enough to almost kill somebody, and a pair of tickets to a Royals game.

All in all, it was a fun start to the day and I'll be able to drive by this house and say that I helped build it.


Krisztian Nemeth made some MLS history against the Rapids. He became the second player in league history to score on his first seven shots on goal to start his career. The first was Claudio Suarez, playing for the now-defunct Chivas USA.

The difference between Nemeth and Suarez is that Suarez was a central defender and took two seasons to get his seven goals in seven shots (2006-07). Nemeth is the first to get them all in one season.

In the locker room after the game, when he was asked about making league history, he said he was more concerned about the team getting the win. That seems to be something that should be common everywhere, but is especially common to Sporting KC and Liverpool, one of Nemeth's former clubs. The culture surrounding those two clubs is all centered more on the name on the front of the kit than the one on the back.


When you're around a game a long time, you begin to think that you've seen everything. Then something happens and it just blows your mind.

In the 47th minute, as Colorado was lining up for a free kick from a fairly dangerous spot on the field, a scene reminiscent of a commercial for Buffalo Wild Wings popped up on the pitch at Sporting Park. The sprinkler system, usually only on before the game and at halftime, suddenly sprang to life.

It took a couple minutes to get the water turned off and the explanation for how it happened didn't actually surprise me when I thought about it for a minute, considering the home club.

Evidently, one of the groundskeepers had an app open on his phone that controlled the sprinklers and he, in effect, butt-dialed the sprinklers. For a club that's as tech-savvy as this one, it's not really a surprise they'd have a high-tech way to turn on the water. The only surprise was they'd have the app open after play had resumed.


Up next for the club is a Round of 16 matchup in the US Open Cup with FC Dallas at Sporting Park on Wednesday, July 1. The timing is actually not bad considering that, yes, there are only three days between this game and that, but they have the following weekend off and aren't scheduled to play in league again until July 12, on the road against Vancouver.

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