Countdown to USL Cup: Rangers aim to become Kansas City's next soccer champion

For the second straight year, the Swope Park Rangers are on the precipice of USL Cup glory. The back-to-back Western Conference champions advanced to this exact stage in 2016, only to fall short of a league title in their inaugural season. With unfinished business still at hand, the Rangers will travel to face Louisville City in the 2017 USL Cup Final on Monday, Nov. 13, airing live nationally at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.

During the week leading up to the championship match, will visit seven relevant storylines surrounding the biggest game of the United Soccer League season. In Part Three, we examine the Rangers' bid to become Kansas City's next professional soccer champion.

The 2017 USL Cup Final represents an opportunity for the Swope Park Rangers to join a sacred class of soccer champions in Kansas City.

What do Sporting Kansas City, FC Kansas City and the Kansas City Comets have in common, other than a shared metropolitan area they call home?

Well, they don't call it the Soccer Capital of America for nothing. All three professional teams have been crowned league champions over the last four years. Sporting KC lifted MLS Cup in December 2013 before the Comets won a Major Indoor Soccer League title three months later. That paved the way for FC Kansas City to repeat as National Women’s Soccer League champions in 2014 and 2015.

SPR took their first shot at championship glory last October. Although they finished as runners-up to New York Red Bulls II, the Rangers have battled their way to the USL Cup Final yet again. This marks the fifth straight year a Kansas City professional soccer team has reached its league championship game (or championship series, in the Comets’ case).

(2013 – present)

Year Champion Result Opponent
2013 Missouri Comets Lost series 2-0 Baltimore Blast
2013 Sporting KC T 1-1 (W 7-6 in PKs) Real Salt Lake
2014 Missouri Comets Won series 2-1 Baltimore Blast
2014 FC Kansas City W 2-1 Seattle Reign FC
2015 FC Kansas City W 1-0 Seattle Reign FC
2016 Swope Park Rangers L 1-5 New York Red Bulls II
2017 Swope Park Rangers ? Louisville City FC

Monday’s USL Cup Final between the Swope Park Rangers and Louisville City FC — set to kick off inside Louisville Slugger Field at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU — also gives Kansas City a chance to add yet another soccer title to its already impressive collection.

Do the math, and no city in the United States has more professional soccer championships since 2013 than Kansas City’s four. This consists of running totals from every fully professional league in American soccer on the men’s and women’s side. That includes MLS, the NWSL, the USL and the NASL for outdoor. It also includes the current Major Arena Soccer League for indoor, which merged the MISL and PASL — two separate men’s indoor professional leagues — in 2014. (Consequently, men's professional indoor soccer had two champions in 2013 and 2014.)

(2013 – present)

City Championships Winning teams Year & League
Kansas City 4 Sporting KC
Missouri Comets
FC Kansas City
2013 MLS
2014 MISL
2014, 2015 NWSL
New York 4 New York Red Bulls II
New York Cosmos
2016 USL
2013, 2015, 2016 NASL
Portland 3 Portland Thorns
Portland Timbers
2013, 2017 NWSL
2015 MLS
Baltimore 3 Baltimore Blast 2013 MISL
2016, 2017 MASL
Buffalo 1 Western New York Flash 2016 NWSL
Chicago 1 Chicago Mustangs 2014 PASL
Los Angeles 1 LA Galaxy 2014 MLS
Orlando 1 Orlando City SC 2013 USL
Rochester 1 Rochester Rhinos 2015 USL
Sacramento 1 Sacramento Republic FC 2014 USL
San Antonio 1 San Antonio Scorpions 2014 NASL
San Diego 1 San Diego Sockers 2013 PASL
Seattle 1 Seattle Sounders FC 2016 MLS