Top 10 Moments of 2017: Gershow Erupts and Nats lift the Cup

Before the calendar turns to 2018, is counting down the top 10 moments from Sporting Kansas City’s 2017 season. From thrilling wins and heroic performances to individual accolades and new arrivals, let’s revisit the very best of 2017.

#10-9: Homegrowns arrive and Rangers shine | #8-7: Ilie signs and Benny climbs

6. Welcome to the Gershow

If ever there was a tale of two halves, Sporting KC’s home tilt with Seattle Sounders FC on May 17 was just that. Manager Peter Vermes’ men were stymied through the opening 45 minutes, having failed to attempt a single first-half shot for the first time in the club’s 675-game regular season history.

The second half was an entirely different story, one that could be succinctly described as “The Gershow.”

Gerso, a 26-year-old Bissau-Guinean who joined Sporting KC as a Designated Player in January, bagged a scintillating hat-trick in the space of 13 second-half minutes to lift his team to a 3-0 win over the defending MLS Cup champions. In doing so, he became the sixth Sporting KC player all-time to score an MLS hat-trick, and just the first since October 2010. Gerso’s second-half salvo was the ninth-fastest hat-trick in MLS history and the first league hat-trick ever seen at Children’s Mercy Park.

“I’m feeling very happy to be a part of this story,” Gerso said of his momentous achievement after the match. “It’s important to get three goals and get this hat-trick, but it’s most important to win as a team.”

Gerso sat atop the Sporting KC goal charts in 2017, scoring 10 times across all competitions with eight goals in MLS. He also added three assists during his first season in Kansas City and finished among the MLS leaders in dribbles completed and touches in the opponent’s box.

5. Good as Gold

Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were crowned kings of CONCACAF on July 26 when the United States topped Jamaica 2-1 to win the 2017 Gold Cup Final in Santa Clara, California.

The Sporting KC duo played all 90 minutes along the backline, while Jozy Altidore and Jordan Morris scored excellent goals in either half to give the Americans their sixth Gold Cup title. The result made Besler a two-time Gold Cup champion, having previously hoisted the trophy in 2013. Zusi, meanwhile, achieved continental glory for the first time as an international.

Besler and Zusi played major roles during the U.S. MNT’s Gold Cup run. Both started a pair of group stage matches as well as the semifinals and finals of the biennial competition to highlight a busy year on the international stage. Zusi amassed a staggering 13 caps in 2017 alone, bringing his career total to 55. Besler logged eight of his 47 career appearances during the same timeframe.