Championship games. Star-studded friendlies. World Cup qualifiers. Marquee concerts.
Home to Sporting Kansas City and an active MLS sellout streak that eclipses 100 games, state-of-the-art Children's Mercy Park has established itself as a premier sports and entertainment venue in the United States. Just seven years since its opening in 2011, the stadium has welcomed thousands of fans for the country’s biggest soccer matches, hosted championships at the college, professional and international levels, and become an annual stop for famous musicians.
Below is a collection of the major events in Children's Mercy Park history—from unforgettable cup finals and pivotal international matches to high-profile friendlies and live music shows. Given the stadium’s acclaimed track record during its young existence, this list is sure to grow in the coming years.
Notable Sporting KC Matches
Sporting KC vs. Chicago Fire – June 9, 2011
Sporting Kansas City opened its new stadium to rave reviews as an over-capacity crowd of 19,925 filled Children's Mercy Park for its first ever match. The state-of-the-art venue helped Sporting Kansas City set a path toward long-term growth and success in Major League Soccer.
Sporting KC vs. New York Red Bulls – Oct. 15, 2011
A 2-0 win over Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls clinched Sporting Kansas City a playoff berth for the first time in three years. The victory brought Peter Vermes’ men within touching distance of the Eastern Conference regular season title and capped a remarkable five-month turnaround after the club lost six of its first eight matches, all on the road.
Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy – April 7, 2012
Children's Mercy Park’s current sellout streak in MLS matches began with a nationally televised showdown against then-defending league champion LA Galaxy. Sporting Kansas City dominated from the start en route to a 1-0 win, limiting LA to zero shots on goal and opening a 5-0-0 record to start the season.
2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final – Aug. 8, 2012
In the first club championship match played at Children's Mercy Park, a sold-out crowd saw Sporting Kansas City win their second Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. After a 37-minute rain delay and a 1-1 draw in regulation, the hosts beat three-time defending Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC 3-2 on penalty kicks. Captain Jimmy Nielsen made a crucial save in the fourth round of penalties to preserve Sporting KC’s title hopes before Paulo Nagamura gave his team a 3-2 lead. Eddie Johnson then fired his shot over the crossbar and into a delirious Cauldron supporters section, giving Kansas City their first trophy since 2004.
Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo – Nov. 23, 2013
Sporting Kansas City avenged postseason losses to the Houston Dynamo in 2011 and 2012 with a thrilling 2-1 win in the decisive leg of the Eastern Conference Championship. The hosts fell behind early, but goals from C.J. Sapong and Dom Dwyer in either half sent Sporting Kansas City to their first MLS Cup final in nine years.
2013 MLS Cup Final – Dec. 7, 2013
Sub-20-degree temperatures did nothing to prevent a record crowd of 21,650 from witnessing the pinnacle moment in club history. In the coldest MLS game ever recorded, Sporting Kansas City were crowned league champions with a 10-round penalty kick shootout win over Real Salt Lake following a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes. Aurelien Collin headed home a Graham Zusi corner kick in the 76th minute to cancel out Alvaro Saborio’s opener, setting the stage for an extraordinary shootout in front of the Cauldron faithful at the stadium’s north end. In his final professional match, Jimmy Nielsen made two saves, including a ninth-round stop to keep Sporting KC alive. After Collin beat Nick Rimando in the 10th round, Lovel Palmer blasted his attempt off the crossbar and sent Children's Mercy
Park into wild celebration.
Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy – July 19, 2014
Following impressive performances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi announced their decision to sign long-term designated player contracts at Sporting Kansas City. A few hours later—and in front of a regular season record 21,493 fans at sunny Children's Mercy Park—they led the team to a convincing win over eventual MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.
Sporting KC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Aug. 15, 2015
Grizzled veteran Paulo Nagamura stamped his name on arguably the greatest comeback in Sporting Kansas City history. Trailing Vancouver 3-1 in the dying embers of the match, Dom Dwyer ignited the rally with a goal in the 81st minute. Nagamura then delivered his unforgettable heroics, burying a superb strike in the 87th minute before heading home in the 94th to complete the turnaround and secure three unlikely points. Sporting KC’s three late goals marked only the second time in MLS history that a team which trailed by two goals in the 80th minute came back to win in regulation.
Sporting KC vs. Columbus Crew SC – July 3, 2016
Matt Besler came off the bench to score a dramatic game-winner in the 91st minute of Sporting KC’s pulsating 3-2 win over Columbus Crew SC. Benny Feilhaber’s penalty kick and Graham Zusi’s left-footed rocket were sandwiched between a pair of goals from Crew SC’s Ola Kamara, giving both sides all to play for as the game drew to a close. Besler’s big moment came in stoppage time when he headed into the back of the net for his first MLS goal since 2011.
Sporting KC vs. Seattle Sounders FC – May 17, 2017
Gerso Fernandes scored a sensational hat-trick to power Sporting KC to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC. The Bissau-Guinean was the first Kansas City player to record an MLS hat-trick since 2010, tallying three times in a rampant second-half performance as Sporting KC pushed its club-record home unbeaten streak to 15 regular season matches at the expense of the reigning MLS Cup champion Sounders.
2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal – Aug. 9, 2017
Sporting KC secured passage to the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final with a thrilling 5-4 penalty kick shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes following a 1-1 draw at raucous Children’s Mercy Park. Danny Hoesen fired San Jose ahead after just four minutes, but Diego Rubio was the recipient of a superb team goal in the 32nd minute to restore parity. Sporting KC dominated for extended periods throughout the night, but the Earthquakes survived 90 minutes in regulation and an additional 30 minutes of extra time to force a shootout. Goalkeeper Tim Melia would prove heroic by saving two penalties, including the game-winning stop on San Jose’s Victor Bernardez, to ignite wild celebrations inside the stadium.
2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final – Sept. 20, 2017
Sporting KC were crowned champions of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in a nail-biting final at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park. A 25th-minute header from Latif Blessing and a 66th-minute strike from Daniel Salloi were just enough to secure victory as Sporting KC continued their mastery of North America’s oldest soccer tournament, lifting the Open Cup title for the fourth time overall and the third time since 2012.
Another euphoric dose of Open Cup glory made Sporting KC the only American MLS club with four major championships from 2012-2017. Manager Peter Vermes also became just the second coach ever to win an MLS Cup (2013) and three Open Cup titles (2012, 2015, 2017), continuing an era of trophy-laden success in Kansas City since the turn of the decade.
Notable Club Friendlies
MLS All-Stars vs. AS Roma – July 31, 2013
Major League Soccer’s best players converged on Children's Mercy Park for the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game against AS Roma. Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi started for an All-Star side that also included U.S. international Landon Donovan and French legend Thierry Henry. Italian soccer icon Francesco Totti sparked a 3-1 win for Roma, who went on to finish second in the 2013-14 Serie A.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Manchester City – July 23, 2014
A sold-out crowd saw English Premier League titleholders Manchester City open their 2014 preseason against defending MLS Cup winner Sporting Kansas City in the Champions Shield.
Other club friendlies at Children's Mercy Park:
- Sporting KC vs. Newcastle United (England) – July 20, 2011
- Sporting KC vs. CD Guadalajara (Mexico) – Oct. 12, 2011
- Sporting KC vs. Montpellier (France) – July 24, 2012
- Sporting KC vs. Stoke City (England) – Aug. 1, 2012
Notable International Matches
2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader – June 14, 2011
Children's Mercy Park hosted the United States Men’s National Team for the first time in the nightcap of a CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader. Playing its first ever match in the state of Kansas, the U.S. beat Guadeloupe 1-0 to progress to the knockout stage. Canada and Panama kicked off the evening with a 1-1 draw as Dwayne De Rosario scored the first goal in stadium history.
U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada – Sept. 17, 2011
Playing its first match since a dramatic run to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, the United States tied Canada 1-1. Abby Wambach, the USWNT’s all-time leading scorer, buried a 10th-minute penalty kick to give her team an early lead.
2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament – April 2, 2012
Two spots in the 2012 Summer Olympics were up for grabs when Children's Mercy Park hosted the semifinals and finals of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Honduras and Mexico sealed their berths in London with semifinal wins over El Salvador and Canada, respectively, before meeting in the championship two days later. Led by Marco Fabian, Mexico won 2-1 in extra time and went onto claim Olympic gold four months later.
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala – October 16, 2012
Graham Zusi and the United States booked a place in the final round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying with a 3-1 win over Guatemala. The Sporting Kansas City winger started in front of his home fans as Clint Dempsey’s first-half brace ensured the U.S. would be competing in the CONCACAF Hexagonal the following year.
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica – October 11, 2013
Having already punched their ticket to Brazil, the United States beat Jamaica 2-0 to secure top spot in CONCACAF’s final World Cup qualifying stage. To the delight of a sellout crowd, second-half substitute Graham Zusi scored the game-winner while centerback Matt Besler helped the U.S. post a shutout in his first international match at Children's Mercy Park.
2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship – Oct. 15, 2014
The United States opened their dominant run to the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship title with a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. More than three years after becoming the first woman to score at Children's Mercy Park, Abby Wambach was on target again to net the game-winner. The night began with Haiti defeating Guatemala in the other Group A opener.
2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader – July 13, 2015
Children's Mercy Park welcomed a sold-out crowd to Children's Mercy Park for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A finales. Haiti opened the night with an impressive performance, defeating Honduras 1-0 behind a goal from Duckens Nazon. In the night cap, Panama and the United States split the points following a 1-1 draw. Michael Bradley scored the lone goal for the United States after FC Dallas midfielder Blas Perez gave Panama an early 1-0 lead.
Farm Aid 2011 – Aug. 13, 2011
Children's Mercy Park’s first live concert, Farm Aid 2011, attracted world-class musicians from around the world. A crowd of more than 15,000 enjoyed performances by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and many more.
Flatlands Country Music Festival – Sept. 12-14, 2013
The 2013 Flatlands Country Music Festival featured performances from several of the most popular country music artists over three days. The weekend-long event—headlined by Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Maranda Lambert and Darius Rucker—drew 24,000 fans.
Buzz Beach Ball - 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
Sporting Kansas City and 96.5 The Buzz present Buzz Beach Ball, the city's premier alternative concert, on an annual basis. The event has attracted some of the biggest names in modern rock, including Jane's Addiction (2011), Incubus (2011), Foster the People (2012), Arctic Monkeys (2014), Weezer (2014), Alt-J (2015) and Alabama Shakes (2016).
Other concerts at Children's Mercy Park:
- Journey with Pat Benatar – Aug. 31, 2012
- Zac Brown Band – Sept. 11, 2014
Other Sporting Events
- NCAA Division II Football Championship (2014-2017)
- 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer College Cup
- 2015 Kansas State football spring game