When Sporting Kansas City first assembled as a team in January, the club set a primary goal of securing home field advantage in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Half a decade had passed since Sporting KC defeated Real Salt Lake on penalties in the 2013 MLS Cup, the last time Children's Mercy Park hosted a postseason match. Heading into 2018, captain Matt Besler and his teammates knew that had to change.
And change it will.
In a 2013 MLS Cup rematch, Manager Peter Vermes' side will host Real Salt Lake in the decisive second leg of the Western Conference Finals this Sunday at 2 p.m. CT (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN, ESPN 94.5 FM and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM). A limited number of tickets for the highly anticipated playoff showdown, including standing-room only tickets, remain available via SeatGeek.com.
Besler made his customary appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning, joining Border Patrol hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John to preview this weekend's second leg. Sporting KC earned a 1-1 road draw in the first leg at Rio Tinto Stadium as Diego Rubio came off the bench to notch a 60th minute equalizer for the visitors.
With a hard-earned away result in the bag, Besler can hardly wait for his team to host a playoff match in front of the best fans in Major League Soccer.
"Coming home for the playoffs is huge," Besler said. "It's something we've talked about all year long, getting that home playoff game. We were able to go on the road and get the draw, so now all we have to do is go home and win.
"This is a really big opportunity for us, and it's going to be a really fun week in training leading up to this game. These fans are going to be fired up. It's going to be an amazing atmosphere on Sunday."
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday's first leg in Sandy, Utah, Besler spoke briefly with his brother and Real Salt Lake midfielder Nick Besler. They didn't exchange too many words, but the Sporting KC captain did have a message for his younger brother.
"I told Nick after the game, 'I can guarantee you this: our stadium is going to be 110 percent full, so you can get ready for that one.'"
Listen to the full podcast below.