With the 2020 MLS season on temporary hold, SportingKC.com is taking daily strolls down memory lane with an "On This Day" web series that celebrates memorable moments in team 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. "On This Day" pays tribute to these specific instances, turning back the clocks while treating fans to nostalgia and club history lessons. To catch up on the series as it unfolds, visit SportingKC.com/OnThisDay.
It's safe to say Erik Palmer-Brown was ahead of the curve.
The Kansas City native and Sporting Kansas City Academy product signed as a Homegrown Player in 2013, just 16 years of age but already rising rapidly through the youth ranks as one of American soccer's biggest prospects.
The following year, on May 18, 2014, a slew of injuries and international absences prompted Sporting Manager Peter Vermes to call upon Palmer-Brown a bit sooner than expected.
Six years ago today, at 17 years and 24 days, Palmer-Brown became the youngest center back to start a match in MLS history. Anchoring the backline in a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park, the defender logged 64 minutes in a record-breaking debut as Sporting took a narrow 2-1 loss. Both Chicago goals came via Mike Magee penalty kicks within the first 15 minutes, but the visitors conjured a spirited response by cutting the deficit in half with Dom Dwyer's second-half strike.
Palmer-Brown would play twice more for Sporting in 2014, notably leading the side to a gutsy 2-0 road win over rivals Houston Dynamo on June 6, and remained with his hometown team until joining European powerhouse Manchester City in 2018. He earned his first senior cap for the United States Men's National Team on May 28 of that year, spearheading a 3-0 defeat of Bolivia, before helping the Americans to an unlikely 1-1 draw at eventual World Cup champion France on June 9.
The 23-year-old Palmer-Brown, who grew up in Lee's Summit, Missouri, and attended Archbishop O'Hara High School, is currently on loan from Manchester City at Austrian Bundesliga side FK Austria Wien.