On an evening that saw Sporting Kansas City stroll to a 3-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, no one stood out more than the father-to-be.
Gerso Fernandes, who delivered a man-of-the-match performance on Saturday, scored one goal—arguably two, really—and assisted another as Sporting posted a second consecutive shutout win and moved within four points of playoff positioning in the Western Conference.
Given the special circumstances, you can safely assume Saturday’s match is one that Gerso won’t soon forget. After all, it came the day before he and his wife Emmy expect to welcome their first child Gerso Jr. into the world.
It would have been easy for Gerso to feel distracted in the lead-up to a pivotal game against Vancouver. Some 2,000 miles away in Kansas City, the imminent arrival of Gerso Jr. was about to change the winger’s life unlike anything else.
Instead, Gerso played the leading role in a resounding triumph, giving his son a warm welcome that the Fernandes family will be proud of forever.
“I’ve been praying for the baby to stay a little bit more,” Gerso said after the match with a beaming smile on his face. “His mommy told me to come back home and see him be born, so hopefully he hangs out a little bit more and (Sunday) I can get home and see him be born.”
Returning to Kansas City in time for his son’s birth is the least Gerso deserves after his decisive contributions on Saturday night. The forward was involved in each of Sporting’s three goals, including the winner in the 24th minute. His low drive across the face of goal deflected off Vancouver defender Ali Adnan and nestled into the back of the net, and although it would register as an own goal, arguments that Gerso should have received credit for the goal seem plenty valid.
Sporting took a 1-0 lead into the second half and doubled their cushion on 56 minutes when Gerso teed up Felipe Gutierrez, whose turf-trimming strike from 22 yards beat Vancouver goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
If Gerso was unlucky not to have his name on the official scoresheet in the first half, there was no denying the legitimacy of his 90th-minute tally. Substitutes Johnny Russell and Krisztian Nemeth combined down the left side of the box before the latter’s cutback found an unmarked Gerso, who squeezed a shot into the corner to seal a commemorative performance for his son.
Win/score on Saturday ✔️— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) July 14, 2019
Become a dad on Sunday ✔️
Can't wait to meet you, Gerso Jr. 👶 pic.twitter.com/QJR5RoClSe
The 3-0 result moves Sporting within four points of a playoff position currently held by seventh-place FC Dallas ahead of next Saturday’s clash between the two MLS charter clubs at Children’s Mercy Park. When asked if his team has what it takes to climb above the red line and reach the postseason for the ninth straight year, Gerso expressed confidence.
“I think if we keep playing like this, I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll make it.”