Over the last 10 years, few professional sports franchises have experienced a more transformational journey than Sporting Kansas City. From Wizards to Sporting, from minor league baseball park to world-class soccer stadium, from MLS afterthought to perennial title contender, the 2010s ushered in a Kansas City soccer renaissance as Sporting enjoyed a meteoric rise both on and off the pitch.
Throughout this decade of success, everyone tied to the club—from players and coaches to owners and fans—made priceless memories that will last a lifetime. As the 2010s come to a close, SportingKC.com is counting down the top 20 moments of the decade. The daily series will run from Dec. 12-31, looking back on the biggest matches, announcements and off-the-field developments that left lasting impacts on the club. The top 20 list was determined through voting among front office associates at Sporting. Click here to visit the top 20 as it unfolds.
On July 9, 2017, Sporting Kansas City was left to mourn the loss of co-owner Neal Patterson, who passed away from cancer.
In addition to serving as Chairman and CEO of Cerner Corporation, Patterson was a principal investor in the five-person OnGoal LLC, the group that purchased Sporting from Hunt Sports Group in 2006. He had helped transform Sporting into a model MLS franchise over the previous decade, and his loss was felt everywhere across the Kansas City community.
As fate would have it, Patterson's passing had set the stage for perhaps the most emotional night in Children's Mercy Park history.
Two days after his death, and under remarkable on-field circumstances, Sporting advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals with a riveting 3-0 extra-time victory over FC Dallas. After playing a man down for most of regulation, Sporting struck three times in a wild extra session as Latif Blessing bagged a brace and Daniel Salloi added a late third to secure a spot in the semifinals.
With emotions already running high before the game, the hosts promptly delivered a spirited performance amidst adversity. Manager Peter Vermes' men played their proverbial socks off, keeping FC Dallas off the scoresheet after defender Seth Sinovic was issued a straight red card in the 15th minute.
This instant classic pitted the winners of each of the previous two U.S. Open Cup titles. FC Dallas entered the night as reigning champion, but their quest for a repeat was dashed by the 2015 titleholders.
Sporting's subsequent U.S. Open Cup title that fall was dedicated to Patterson, as the club's championship wall in the northwest corner of Children's Mercy Park was adorned with "2017" in orange numerals—a nod to Oklahoma State University, Patterson's proud alma mater.