For only the third time in the club's 23-year history, Sporting Kansas City opened its home campaign with a defeat.
Goals from Maxi Moralez and Jesus Medina paced New York City FC to a 2-0 victory in the earliest regular season match ever played at Children's Mercy Park, casting a shadow on a vibrant night in which nearly 21,000 supporters created an electric week-one atmosphere.
While Sunday's result left the hosts disappointed at the end of the night, don't expect Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes to push the panic button anytime soon.
"For us, we’re trying to get to a certain place, and it will take time," Vermes said during his postgame press conference. "You’ve got new players, you’ve got to bring them into the fold, but I feel confident in the guys we have."
The key word from Vermes' remarks above? Time.
In a league stricken with such parity, a certain mantra fits Major League Soccer perfectly: it's not about how you start, it's about how you finish. And with fresh faces such as Yohan Croizet, Felipe Gutierrez and Johnny Russell still integrating into Sporting KC's system, Vermes' men are far from a finished product.
Losing a home opener leaves a sour taste, to be sure, but it should be no cause for alarm bells. In fact, each of the last eight MLS Cup champions have failed to win their home opener that season. Additionally, each of the last five have been shut out in their home opener — a streak that began in March 2013 when Sporting KC was held to a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire at Children's Mercy Park.
MLS CUP CHAMPIONS SINCE 2010
|Year||Team||Home Opener||Started Season|
|2010||Colorado Rapids||T 2-2 vs. Chicago Fire||3-3-1|
|2011||LA Galaxy||T 1-1 vs. New England Revolution||2-1-3|
|2012||LA Galaxy||L 1-3 vs. Real Salt Lake||1-3-0|
|2013||Sporting KC||T 0-0 vs. Chicago Fire||1-1-2|
|2014||LA Galaxy||L 0-1 vs. Real Salt Lake||2-3-3|
|2015||Portland Timbers||T 0-0 vs. Real Salt Lake||0-1-3|
|2016||Seattle Sounders FC||L 0-1 vs. Sporting KC||0-3-0|
|2017||Toronto FC||T 0-0 vs. Sporting KC||1-1-4|
A look at the table above will also give reassurance to the likes of Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders FC, who have squared off in each of the last two MLS Cup finals. Both clubs suffered shutout home defeats this weekend, yet neither side will be overly worried heading into their second league matches. After all, Seattle started their 2016 campaign with three straight losses, while Toronto FC had just one win to show from their first six league fixtures during their treble-winning season in 2017.
Sporting Kansas City will look to bounce back in the win column on Saturday, traveling to face the Chicago Fire in a 5 p.m. CT kickoff at Toyota Park. Live broadcasts will air on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, ESPN 94.5 FM (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish). All fans are also welcome to attend the game's official watch party at No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District, featuring $6 Till Vodka cocktails, an all-you-can-eat buffet and bottomless domestic draft beers.