We are the Champions: USA – 2013 MLS Cup – Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City is a team from Kansas City, a city of Kansas of 145.768 inhabitants, that borders with an homonymous city in Missouri, and both cities form a metropolitan area with more than 2 million inhabitants. SKC is one of the 10 clubs that played MLS starting Season in 1996, and was owned by Lamar Hunt, one of the father of football/soccer in U.S.A., that owned two other MLS teams at that time.
In August 2006 Lamar Hunt, who would have passed away few months later, and whose name would have been given to U.S. Open Cup (a knockout tournament, the oldest football/soccer competition in U.S.A., where teams from almost all the American soccer Leagues are involved), sold the club to a Group of local enterpreneurs, currently named Sporting Club.
In 2011 the club switched its name from Kansas City Wizard, its original name, to Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City has won so far 2 MLS Cup (2000 and 2013) and 2 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups (2004, 2012).
2013 Title has been won after a very tight Final against Real Salt Lake: the regular time ended 1-1, such as a very thrilling overtime, so that 20 penalty kicks were needed to decide the winner, in which the goalkeeper and captain Jimmy Nielsen has been decisive to make SKC survive !
In 2011 the club started playing in Sporting Park, a new soccer specific stadium with a natural grass pitch that can hold 18.467 spectators, all of them seated and almost all of them covered.
It’s a very modern, maybe too much, stadium, with a powerful broadband, so that every spectator can access internet with his mobile phone and use the official apps, allowing the club
to track their data and actions, in order to send them customized ads and offers during the game.
Sporting Kansas City has played so far three times in the highest club continental Competition (that once was named CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, now CONCACAF Champions League) and reached the Semi-finals in 2002 (it was eliminated Monarcas Morelia from Mexico, after defeating Santos Laguna, a big name of Mexican football) and the Quarter-finals in 2005 (it was kicked out from Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica).
In the current 2013/14 Edition, SKC has qualified again for the Quarter-finals, in which they’ll have to face Cruz Azul, another Mexican team
He’s a 47-year-old former defender of US Man National Team, who played for Rába ETO (Hunghary), Volendam (Holland), Tampa Bay Rowdies, Figueres (Spain), NY Metrostars, Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards, with whom he won the MLS Cup in 2000.
He was selected for 1988 Olympics, 1990 World Cup, and 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup (1st Place).
Since 2009 he has managed Kansas City Wizards/Sporting Kansas City, with whom he conquered last MLS Cup, and a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, and his favourite scheme is 4-3-3.
THE PLAYERS (2013 SQUAD)
Jimmy Nielsen, 35 (C) (DEN)
Eric Kronberg, 29
Jon Kemplin, 19
Matt Besler, 26
Auréllen Collin, 27 (FRA)
Seth Sinovic, 26
Ike Opara, 24
Kevin Ellis, 21
Chance Myers, 25
Mechack Jérôme, 22 (HAI)
Erik Palmer-Brown, 15
Lawrence Olum, 28 (KEN)
Oriol Rosell, 20 (SPA)
Mikey Lopez, 2o
Jimmy Medranda, 19 (COL)
Paulo Nagamura, 30 (BRA)
Benny Feilhaber, 28
Peterson Joseph, 22
Josh Gardner, 30
Graham Zusi, 26
Jacob Petersen, 27
Christian Duke, 21
Soony Saad, 20 (LBN)
Teal Bunbury, 23
Dom Dwyer, 22 (ENG)
Claudio Bieler, 29 (ARG)
C. J. Sapong, 25
The most interesting and/or famous players have been: Jimmy Nielsen (former GK of Aalborg BK and Leicester City), Matt Besler (defender, USMNT member), Oriol Rosell (spanish midfielder that grew up in FC Barcellona’s youth sector), Graham Zusi (playmaker and offensive winger, USMNT member), Benny Feilhaber (USMNT member, former midfielder of Hamburg SV, Derby County and AGF Aarhus), Peterson Joseph (Haitian International, former midfielder of SC Braga), Soony Saad (offensive winger, International of Lebanon) and Claudio Bieler (former striker of/ex attaccante di CA Colon, Colo Colo, LDU Quito, Racing Club de Avallaneda, Newell’s Old Boys).
During 2014 winter market session the squad hasn’t been changed a lot, because the main movements regarded replacements and youngsters: we just want to point out the retirement of the “White Puma” (Jimmy Nielsen), and Teal Bunbury‘s (4 matches for USMNT) departure to New England Revolutions, while the goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum (from Columbus Crew) and the winger Sal Zizzo (from Portland Timbers) were signed.
2013 TIPICAL LINEUP
Nielsen (C)– Myers, Collin, Besler, Sinovic – Feilhaber (Nagamura, Olum, Joseph), Zusi, Rosell – Sapong (Zusi), Bieler (Dwyer), Saad.
Sometimes the playmaker Graham Zusi, probably the best player of the team, plays as offensive winger, so that the Spanish Oriol Rosell replaces him as playmaker and one among the Brazilian Paulo Nagamura, the Kenian Olum, and the Haitian Joseph occupies the remaining place in the midfield.
In 2013 Sporting Kansas City reported an average attendance of more than 19.000 spectators per game, more than the official capacity of the stadium, while the main supporter Group is ”The Cauldron“, a kind of bowl where wizards prepare their potions: you can easily imagine that the Group was formed when the Club was still named Kansas City Wizards.