With the 2020 MLS season on temporary hold, SportingKC.com is taking daily strolls down memory lane with an "On This Day" web series that celebrates memorable moments in team history. As one of Major League Soccer's proud charter members, Sporting has a decorated past full of thrilling victories, amazing goals, momentous off-the-field developments and more. "On This Day" pays tribute to these specific instances, turning back the clocks while treating fans to nostalgia and club history lessons. To catch up on the series as it unfolds, visit SportingKC.com/OnThisDay.
In the 25-year history of Sporting Kansas City, no player has equaled the on-field productivity of Sporting Legend and all-time MLS great Preki.
The Serbian-born playmaker, who gained American citizenship in 1996 and repped the U.S. at the 1998 World Cup, ranks first on Kansas City's career charts for goals and assists—and it's not even close. His 81 goals for the club are 14 more than any other player, while his ridiculous 104 assists will likely never be surpassed.
Widely considered one of Major League Soccer's greatest players, Preki was a seven-time MLS All-Star and a four-time MLS Best XI selection. To this day, he remains the only person to win multiple MLS MVP awards, having done so in 1997 and in 2003 at the remarkable age of 40.
So, what did Preki do on this date that was so significant?
Honestly, it was just another day at the office for the left-footed maestro.
On April 4, 1998, Preki propelled the Kansas City Wizards to a 2-0 victory over the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the club's home opener at Arrowhead Stadium. He assisted Paul Rideout's go-ahead strike in the 18th minute before turning goal scorer himself seven minutes into the second half, beating MetroStars goalkeeper and future teammate Tony Meola from the penalty spot.
Meola linked up with Preki in Kansas City the following season, and in 2000 the duo was joined by Peter Vermes, Kerry Zavagnin, Nick Garcia and Miklos Molnar to form the spine of a record-breaking team that won the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield double.