Sporting Kansas City won't return to Children's Mercy Park until May 27, but the last few days have nonetheless delivered considerable excitement on the Kansas City soccer scene.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who toured the club's new training facility at Pinnacle on Tuesday afternoon, joined Sports Radio 810 WHB to discuss a variety of compelling MLS topics with Between The Lines host Todd Leabo. Among the talking points were MLS expansion, the salary cap, legalized betting, acquiring high-caliber players from across the world while also developing American talent, and the impressive development of a Sporting KC franchise that has, in many ways, become a model for other MLS clubs to follow.
"We have a great model here (in Kansas City) with very passionate, committed owners who really understand the power of local community engagement, building a strong brand and connecting that brand with people who love the game but also the city and the region," Garber said. "You can get excited about supporting a local club that has a real focus on delivering a great fan experience, built an amazing stadium — which, for its size, is one of the very best anywhere — and all the boxes are checked.
"We use (Sporting KC) in many ways as an example that if you get it right with local ownership, the right stadium, facilities and location, delivering on the fan experience and having a very committed technical staff, you're going to have success. If you can do it in Kansas City, where the MLS team had struggled prior to the (new ownership), we can do it anywhere. So it's pretty much been a model for us."
Garber's interview was followed on Wednesday morning by Sporting KC captain Matt Besler's weekly appearance on The Border Patrol with hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John. The center back recapped his team's momentous 2-0 win over Atlanta United FC last week and looked ahead to Sunday's contest against Minnesota United FC, which will kick off at 1 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Listen to the entirety of both podcasts below.
Tuesday afternoon: Don Garber on Between The Lines
Wednesday morning: Matt Besler on The Border Patrol