The United States Men's National Team returned to Kansas City, and Children's Mercy Park for a friendly against Uruguay in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Head coach Gregg Berhalter trotted out an A-list squad featuring Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Walker Zimmerman and Sean Johnson in front of a sellout crowd of 19,569 ravenous fans.
“I thought it was great,” said Berhalter about the liveliness of the Children’s Mercy Park crowd. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and I thought it was very intense on the sideline.”
Although the scoreline remained scoreless throughout the 90-minute competition, the crowd at Children’s Mercy Park brought the energy and helped the US keep their unbeaten run in Kansas City alive. Now 10-0-2 all-time in Kansas City and 8-0-2 at Children’s Mercy Park, the USMNT has played at the world-class stadium more than any other venue in the country since it opened its doors in 2011.
With Kansas City in the running to be a host city in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and the announcement coming on June 16, the Kansas City soccer community showed out. The USMNT players had high praise for the fans, atmosphere and hospitality of Kansas City following the match.
“It’s always fun coming to Kansas City to play,” said Zimmerman 2021 MLS Defender of the Year as a member of Nashville SC. The fans always show up and I thought they provided a lot of support for us. It was loud, it was entertaining and the fans here, you can’t say enough about them. It’s always a great place to play for club and country.”
In an exhilarating friendly, the US and Uruguay battled it out for the entire match. With Uruguay putting four shots on target, and the US firing three on frame, both goalkeepers were called on to make clutch saves for their teams. The top save of the day went to the US and Johnson, who made a terrific kick save on a point-blank volley from Mathias Olivera.
“The atmosphere was great,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson who won the MLS Cup last season with NYCFC. “You could really feel the momentum swing in good moments. The energy was definitely there, and it’s always been there in Kansas City. Unbelievable fans. Played here quite a bit with the national team and with the club. Tremendous fanbase and we were happy here today.”
It was a special day for one player in particular as Erik Palmer-Brown returned to Children’s Mercy Park as a member of the US Men’s National Team. Palmer-Brown came up through the Sporting KC Academy, making 20 career appearances in Sporting blue before launching his European career, most recently playing for Ligue 1 side Troyes in France.
“I think Kansas City is a great city to have World Cup games,” said Palmer-Brown. “In my opinion, it should get one. I think the fans would show out if we’re playing at Arrowhead or at Children’s Mercy Park. It will be a great atmosphere and really great for this city because you know the fans will be there.”
The US will now head to Austin, TX for a Nations League match with Grenada on Friday before closing out the international window at El Salvador on Tuesday, June 14. Children’s Mercy Park will host Sporting Kansas City soccer again on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT when the New England Revolution comes to town.