On This Day presented by UMKC takes daily strolls down memory lane and celebrates memorable moments in Sporting Kansas City history. As one of Major League Soccer's proud charter members, Sporting has a decorated past full of thrilling victories, amazing goals, momentous off-the-field developments and more. This series pays tribute to these specific instances, turning back the clocks while treating fans to nostalgia and club history lessons. For more, visit SportingKC.com/OnThisDay.
Exactly 20 years ago today, legendary goalkeeper Tony Meola and the Kansas City Wizards made MLS history.
Riding a six-game shutout streak and boasting a 9-0-2 record heading into their May 27 showdown against the Tampa Bay Mutiny at Raymond James Stadium, the Wizards had jumped out to one of the best and most defensively dominant starts the league had ever seen. This particular fixture would put a bow on Kansas City's near-perfect two-month stretch to begin the 2000 campaign.
Facing an up-and-down Mutiny side, Kansas City struck twice in the space of a minute as center back Peter Vermes and lethal striker Miklos Molnar gave the visitors a 2-0 lead after 64 minutes. With Meola's longstanding shutout streak still in tact, Tampa finally ended his jaw-dropping run at 681 minutes when Mamadou Diallo scored in the 66th minute.
Meola's 681-minute shutout streak still stands as the longest by a goalkeeper in the MLS regular season. Kansas City's remarkable run without conceding a goal is the second longest in league history, eclipsed only by the Houston Dynamo's 727-minute stretch in 2007.
With the Wizards emerging as 2-1 victors that night, they also tied an MLS record for longest shutout streak to begin a regular season. The LA Galaxy went 12 games without a loss to open their inaugural 1996 campaign, and Kansas City had effectively matched the feat by starting 10-0-2 through a dozen matches in 2000.
Most fans know how the rest of the story went in 2000: under the guidance of head coach Bob Gansler, Kansas City nabbed the Supporters' Shield title before ousting the Chicago Fire by a 1-0 scoreline in MLS Cup 2000. The Wizards kept 17 clean sheets during the 2000 regular season, another league record that still stands today, and two of the club's best performers were awarded with major accolades: Vermes was named MLS Defender of the Year, while Meola was tabbed MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, MLS MVP and MVP of MLS Cup 2000, thanks to his 10 saves in one of the league's greatest all-time goalkeeping performances.
MLS Cup 2000 will re-air Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City with second-screen commentary from Vermes and current assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin, both of whom helped Kansas City to victory as players on that fateful autumn day at RFK Stadium.
As a compelling appetizer for the match, Meola joined the Sporting Kansas City Show on Tuesday to look back on Kansas City's unprecedented 2000 season. His discussion with hosts Nate Bukaty, Carter Augustine and Aly Trost can be seen above.