Sporting Kansas City 3:0 Seattle Sounders
Sporting Kansas City 3:0 Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance- 18,563 (Away ~100)
I took a 7 hour drive from Wisconsin to Kansas City on Saturday, staying overnight for a Sunday afternoon MLS game between Sporting Kansas City, who are currently sitting in 7th place in the Western Conference, 1 point behind the final playoff spot, and the 9th placed Seattle Sounders.
I was looking forward to my first visit to Children’s Mercy Park, which is always listed in the top 3 of sports venues in the United States (all sports, not just football grounds). Located in Village West, this area of Kansas City has sprung up in the last 10 years to include a huge shopping centre, Kansas Speedway (NASCAR), a minor league baseball stadium and a casino. It’s a rare example of a city using a sport venue to develop an area, with the Speedway being used to attract all kinds of shops, hotels and restaurants. Children’s Mercy Park opened in 2011, and has sold out every game for the past 3 years. While there are almost no public transit links, there is ample parking and no shortage of things to do either pre- or post-game.
I got to the ground about an hour before kick-off, on a nice sunny day with the temperature at 95 degrees (35*C), with it feeling like 106 degrees (41*C). Needless to say, it was extremely hot. I acquired tickets in the members stand, with the Kansas City Cauldron. At $27, these are pretty reasonably priced for how good the seats were. The west end of the stadium is all bleachers for the members of the KC Cauldron, which is an umbrella organization for all the disparate supporters groups. Next door, in the corner, is the Boulevard Members Area, which is a 1000 seat bar and food area under the south stand. This was very popular for this game, as it was showing the New York Derby and, more importantly, is air-conditioned.
I picked up a scarf, at $25, which seems to be the standard price at all MLS grounds. I also got a couple lemonades to replace all the fluid I’d managed to sweat away before the game even started. This game was a sell-out, but not everybody was there as obviously the heat scared some people off. I took my seat, and soon started sweating like a dirty pig being questioned if he was kosher. The teams came out, with the temperature on the pitch being reported as 105. The fans were loud, with some flares and smoke going off. Lots of standing, with some of the chants you’ll hear at any MLS game. They were also very friendly, as I chatted away with a couple near me and we talked football and traveling.
This game should have been a good even match, with Seattle boasting an attacking three of Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, and Herculez Gomez, all of whom are US Internationals. KC also started proven talent, like Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, and Benny Feilhaber. However, only the home team showed up. Dom Dwyer was deadly with his work rate, and intelligent movement to split open the Seattle backline. He ended the day with a brace, and probably should have had more. A 3-0 victory for Sporting Kansas City was well deserved, if not a little flattering to Seattle.
Now, I love football and I’ve traveled the world to go to games, but I had to admit defeat at this one. It was just too hot, so I left early as I had to drive the 7 hours to get back home. I loved the stadium, and the fans. The team also plays attractive football, which can’t always be said when you are watching the MLS. I will probably come back, as I’d like to catch a CONCACAF Champions League match here, but that’ll be a night game. I’d highly recommend going to a game here, but you need to go early or late in the season, or at night. If you go to an afternoon game, I’d suggest hydrating before hand. Also, be prepared to sweat. But I’d definitely go here again, especially in the Cauldron.