Great times had by all in Lawrence on Wednesday. We rolled up, cruised around in a really, really cool van and put on a show for an important part of our fan base that we don't get to see all that often. All in all, a win for everyone.
The guys were pumped to be back on a college campus, so we asked them if they could share their craziest stories from their days in academia. Things got a little weird after that. Check out the video below from Alice Schroeder, a video from Kansas Athletics and the photos on our Facebook page on a day of recess from the regular training routine for Sporting KC.
Ben Cunningham has been a season ticket holder since 1996 and an active member of the Cauldron since 2000. Ben, along with roughly 100 other Sporting Kansas City supporters, travelled to the Pacific Northwest last week to follow the club from Vancouver to Portland and back again. Read the account of his journey below.
When the MLS schedule was released during the winter many of Sporting Kansas City’s fans saw exactly what they were looking for. Most importantly there were no ten game road trips to start the season. But then there in April was a northwest two game road trip that we had talked about since MLS expanded into that part of the country. Fans had often talked and dreamed about how much fun a Wednesday and Saturday road trip would be in the Pacific Northwest region known as Cascadia. Booking flights and hotels began immediately and as the idea spread through social media the number of fans making the trip slowly grew to nearly 100. We all knew that this would turn in to a trip to remember, one that we will talk about in the Members Club for ages. And we were right.
Nearly 70 fans made the trek into Canada at mid week to see Sporting duel the Whitecaps. While hockey dominates the city of Vancouver there is still a European feel to the city that is rich in soccer tradition. The Southsiders, Vancouver’s version of the Cauldron, invited our fans to join them at their home bar Doolin’s Irish Pub. Our hosts were wonderful and fans were quickly trading scarves and sharing stories about our teams over pints of great local brews. And true to their form our amazing owners Robb Heineman and Cliff Illig made an appearance at the pre-game gathering, chatting with fans and further confirming what every Sporting fans now knows. We have the best owners in all of MLS, and we are thankful for them.
The Cauldron marched down Nelson St. to BC Place and the local fans quickly took notice of our passion. While we may have been out numbered we certainly made up for it in effort both on the field and off. The boys performed well with Aurelien Collin sending the away fans into a fever pitch with the opening goal. The second half saw Sporting attacking toward the traveling Cauldron, which lead to two more goals. As we all know our shutout streak came to an end on a debatable offside call but when you win 3-1 on the road nothing could bring us down, although you couldn’t tell that from the reaction of Jimmy Nielsen after the goal. His “discussion” with the line judge may have earned him a yellow card but it also gained him further respect from the fans to see just how important protecting our net is to The White Puma.
After the game and another gathering at the local sports bar our fans went their separate ways visiting local attractions including the mountains, parks and downtown sites. Some traveled through Seattle, Washington to enjoy that city as well. By Friday the Cauldron had converged on Portland and the group had grown to over 100 fans. The Rose City is a unique place but one that all fans should visit. Many describe the town as “quirky” and that certainly seems to fit the bill. Breweries, coffee shops and food pods (gatherings of food trucks that serve wide varieties of food made to order) litter the town and provide many options for visitors to enjoy the city. Little did the visiting Kansas Citians know but we also brought our warm weather with us as Portland had one of its warmest sunny days, which lead the locals to be very happy. To the visitors it was a normal 80 degree April day, to the locals it was a welcome break from the clouds and rain.
The Cauldron was hosted in Portland by Timber’s Army, quite possibly the most passionate and knowledgeable soccer fans in all of North America. We were welcomed into their home bar, The Bitter End, that is across the street from the stadium. Again pints were shared as both sets of fans complimented one another for having great teams and great fans. It was refreshing to learn how much Portland appreciates what Kansas City brings to soccer and for those long time fans that remember the dark ages of our franchise that appreciation is wonderful. Being recognized by other fans and described as “awesome” and “the best” is not something that long time fans are accustomed to. On and off of the field our club is growing in stature at lightning pace.
The game in Portland didn’t go as planned, but to be honest every fan knew the day would come that we would lose a game. We can take comfort in knowing that the only way this team can lose is to score for the other team. What the game lacked in scoring it made up for in well played soccer and atmosphere. We all love Chance Myers and will support him even more knowing that he will continue to be one of the best right backs in MLS. It was very unfortunate to lose a game in that fashion but even the best can experience an unlucky bounce of the ball. And while the Kansas City fans seemed genuinely happy to bring home three points from the road trip there was visible relief within the Timbers fans as they were able to break their four game losing streak.
Beyond the game there was the experience that is a Portland Timbers home game at JELD-WEN field. Every fan has seen it on television but the real life experience is simply breathtaking. The atmosphere around the stadium, the national anthem scarf tossing, the stadium filling chants of “PT!!- FC!!” and Timber Joey sawing off a log all are difficult to describe and must be experienced firsthand. In all the travels that the Cauldron has made over the years the atmosphere in our home and Portland are two of the best in MLS. MLS 2.0 is here and many teams would be well served catching the new wave of soccer madness in North America.
The trip to Portland is something every fan should do at some point and those of us that made this trip will never forget the time we had. The Cauldron always seems to find good relationships with away fans and this was no exception. By the end of the night after the game Timber’s Army and the Cauldron were the best of friends, wearing one another’s scarves and telling each other that we must get together again in the future. One particular fan was a hit with her old school Wizards Jack Jewsbury jersey, our former hero and Missouri native is now a local legend in Portland and captains the side.
To cap off the trip a good portion of the Cauldron had the thrill of sharing a flight home with much of the team. Our players are so amazing, thanking the fans for supporting them and traveling so far to be with them. It’s always nice to see the real side of players and get to talk with them about their families and life. Peter Vermes and Kerry Zavagnin, our Cup heroes over the last decade, personally thanked the fans for their commitment and support. As supporters that is the ultimate compliment and further proves to us that the partnership between the club and its fans is stronger than ever.
For those fans out there that have never gotten up the courage to travel to an away game the Cauldron road trips (www.kccauldron.com) are something you should experience. Vermes Army is loud and proud and the Cascadian Cauldron further solidified our position in the upper echelon of MLS fans. Come join us as we support our boys in blue all over North America on our way to cup glory!
A little audio for you on this fine Friday afternoon...
Happy gameday, Sporting KC nation. Hope you're ready for tonight, we certainly are.
While we expect the match to be wild, it could also be wet due to the weather that could move through. Then again, we were supposed to get rain last night, and that didn't happen.
If we do experience some showers, fear not, we'll still play. Everything possible will be done to ensure that the match is completed, with lightning and/or a significant tornado warning required to stop play.
In the unlikely event that tonight's match is delayed, we will provide updates on a potential restart throughout the wait.
Still, might be a good idea to grab a jacket for tonight, that big, beautiful roof only keeps you dry from the stuff that comes straight down. See you tonight.
This is Sporting Kansas City left winger Bobby Convey. At home. Wearing a bathrobe and slippers. In his favorite chair. Holding his yorkie named Cooper.
What's going on, you ask? Find out next week.
Dunno about you, but we're all sorts of hyped for tomorrow.
If you aren't all lathered up already, let the good folks at ESPN help you get on our level.
We're going to start making a habit of this. After every match--home or away, regardless of result--we'll package every piece of major content around the contest, tie it up in a pretty bow and present it to you as a gift, from us. The beautiful thing about the beautiful game is that everyone sees things a bit differently, we just want to make sure you see everything.
Another match, another clean sheet, another assist from Graham Zusi and another three points for Sporting Kansas City. If you weren't around last night, that makes 12 points from a possible 12 in 2012 for Sporting, good enough for tops in MLS and the best start to a season in club history.
You could say this is going according to plan, but don't tell Peter Vermes that. It's just another three points in a season that will require a lot more--and then some--to be considered a success.
It wasn't the most comprehensive victory in Vermes' tenure as manager, as you can perhaps infer from the stats. Sunday marked the first time this season that Sporting KC were actually outpossessed, but still not outscored which is the metric that, you know, matters.
Here's the Opta chalkboard for you to chew on, if you like. What jumped out to us? How about the performance of #HeartShaped, er...Kei Kamara? The winger ranked behind only Chivas right back James Riley in terms of logged activity on the night, and managed to win 10 headers. TEN. That's more than the attacking quartet of Ryan Smith, Laurent Courtois, Nick LaBrocca and Ale Moreno combined. What does this mean? Not all that much, just confirms that Kei's a [PV's word] "monster" and you probably wouldn't win an aerial duel against him.
Speaking of aerial duels, how about Zusi boxing out Heath Pearce to nod the final pass over to Sapong for the matchwinner? Get in there, Zeus! Kid looked like Withey going after that rebound off the bar. Reminded me of Landon Donovan's disallowed goal against Poland back in 2002, except the Ponytail actually pulled it off.
Video is below. Love the reaction of both Zusi and Sapong afterwards, just a whole lot of pent up aggression on both of their faces. LA's next. #Raaaaaa.
Aurelien Collin was the focus of yesterday's press conference at Swope, and for the second time in a week, he mentioned Sporting Kansas City's "cold blood".
Not sure exactly what he means, I think it has to do with the squad's ability to maintain a bit of calm when the going gets tough. Regardless, I think I'm going to start weaving it into my daily conversations.
"How was your trip to the grocery store, Josh?"
"It was great. They didn't have any rotisserie chicken left, but I kept my cold blood and got a sandwich from the deli, instead."
Yeah, this will be good.
Video is below, please note that Collin is proudly displaying a brand new 'I cannot disrespect ze cat' t-shirt while talking about how he likes to scare opposing strikers and how good it is to have Teal back from Olympic qualifying. We're proud to have you on our side, Aurelien.
Peter Vermes also addressed the unfortunate result for the U.S. Under-23s, offering some good perspective before going on to mention Julio Cesar and Lawrence Olum as competent cover at the centerback positions for Sporting KC in light of the knock that Matt Besler took on Saturday.
While it's quite clear that PV is comfortable with Cesar and Olum as deputies at the back, he also offered a glimpse into the life of a manager/technical director in MLS.
"I would say everyday we probably hit up about, 5-10 players, in all different positions on the field."
That's a lot. There's also some news about trialist Mozzi Gyorio, as well as his thoughts on Sunday's opponent, Chivas USA. No one asked about Ryan Smith.
Tuesday was press conference day at the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park, where manager Peter Vermes and defender Seth Sinovic answered questions about the win over New England, as well as issues pertaining to Sunday's match against FC Dallas.
Video of both Vermes and Sinovic is below. Vermes opened his segment by highlighting a few of the factors that he thinks have been key to Sporting's fast start this season, most notably the team's defensive attitude and the form of the backline to start the year. On the topic of defensive 'attitude', the manager addressed the status of centerback Aurelien Collin, who was substituted early against the Revs on Saturday. If everything goes according to plan, the Frenchman could be available for Sunday.
Finally, Vermes sprinkled in an analogy appropriate to the times, referring to C.J. Sapong as 'a guy who's hitting the 3' in terms of Sapong's current run of form.
To no one's surprise, most of the questions directed to Sinovic focused on defending. Though two clean sheets through two matches is an encouraging start, Sinovic touches on why the group isn't completely satisfied just yet.