Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.
It's a day that will forever remain one of the greatest and most unforgettable in Sporting Kansas City's illustrious history. On the four-year anniversary of the glorious occasion — and just two days prior to MLS Cup 2017 between Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders FC — we have the perfect #TBT.
Children's Mercy Park offered the picturesque setting on a sunny but frigid afternoon as Sporting KC hosted Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup 2013, a match that shivered with drama for 120 minutes — and then some.
As temperatures hovered in the teens, a raucous record crowd of 21,650 descended on the stadium for what was the coldest MLS game ever recorded at the time. And as fans will easily recall, Sporting KC were crowned MLS Cup champions after an epic, 10-round penalty shootout that followed a 1-1 draw.
With the hosts' backs against the wall heading into the late stages, fan-favorite center back Aurelien Collin headed home a Graham Zusi corner kick in the 76th minute to cancel out Alvaro Saborio’s 52nd-minute opener. That set the stage for an extraordinary shootout in front of the Cauldron faithful at the stadium’s north end.
In his final professional match, then-captain Jimmy Nielsen made two saves, including a ninth-round stop to keep Sporting KC alive. After Collin beat Nick Rimando in the 10th round, RSL defender Lovel Palmer blasted his attempt off the crossbar to ignite wild celebrations inside Children's Mercy Park.