Beyond The Box Score: Besler family reunion results in stalemate at Children's Mercy Park

Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake served as a Besler family reunion.

Anchoring the Sporting KC backline was captain Matt Besler, the club’s all-time leader in appearances and a World Cup veteran for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

On the opposite end of the field was fellow center back and fourth-year professional Nick Besler, decked in Real Salt Lake red amidst a breakthrough season in Major League Soccer.

Watching the action unfold from a Children’s Mercy Park suite were Matt and Nick’s parents, Greg and Diane, and their brother Mike. The special occasion allowed the three spectators to see 31-year-old Matt and 25-year-old Nick—a pair of Notre Dame products—square off in their hometown at the highest level of American soccer.

Needless to say, Sunday was a day to remember for the Beslers. It also marked a historical rarity, as Matt and Nick became just the fourth set of brothers to square off in an MLS match—and only once before were both brothers in the starting lineup.


Date Brothers Result Notes
06/14/2008 Jamil Roberts (SJ vs. Troy Roberts (LA) SJ 0-3 LA Both players entered as second-half substitutes
07/23/2011 Sanna Nyassi (COL) vs. Sainey Nyassi (NE) COL 2-2 NE Sanna started and Sainey was a second-half substitute
07/18/2012 Sanna Nyassi (MTL) vs. Sainey Nyassi (NE) MTL 2-1 NE Sanna started and Sainey was a second-half substitute
07/12/2013 Michael Farfan (PHI) vs. Gabriel Farfan (CHV) PHI 3-1 CHV Both players started
09/30/2018 Matt Besler (SKC) vs. Nick Besler (RSL) SKC 1-1 RSL Both players started

"Today was pretty special for me," Nick said after the match. "I could look up and see some friends, see some family. This was a stadium that I came to as a young kid, watching my brother play as a fan, and now—however many years later—to come and play in the stadium against him, it’s something you just really can’t even write up. So, it was really special for me. I tried to relish or enjoy the experience as much as I could."

Sunday's result keeps second-place Sporting KC (15-8-7, 52 points) two points behind Western Conference leaders FC Dallas (15-6-9, 54 points) with four regular season games still to play. Real Salt Lake (13-11-7, 46 points) holds a two-point cushion over the LA Galaxy (12-11-8, 44 points) for the sixth and last playoff spot heading into the decisive month of October.

Sporting KC will aim to secure a club-record eighth straight playoff berth with a win or draw next Saturday as Children’s Mercy Park welcomes international soccer icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. CT. A limited number of tickets for the highly anticipated showdown are available via or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.