The Kansas City Chiefs were present for more than the final word of the national anthem Saturday at Sporting Park.
Their equipment was on the field, too.
With an MLS record-low temperature to start the Eastern Conference finals against Houston, Sporting KC defender Matt Besler approached the Chiefs about borrowing some gloves. They obliged.
Besler, who often takes the majority of the throw-ins on the back end of the field, said he was searching for a better grip on the ball.
“The gloves we have are cloth, and I knew I couldn’t throw the ball in very far if I wore those,” Besler said. “So we contacted a couple of the receivers for the Chiefs, and they were generous enough to donate a pair of receiving gloves.”
Besler said it worked. Well, for the first half.
A referee instructed Besler to remove the gloves — which bore the Chiefs’ Arrowhead emblem — so Besler went without gloves in the second half.
The freezing temperatures affected more than throw-ins, of course.
Besler said it was so cold that it affected players’ ability to communicate quickly and clearly.
• Despite the cold weather, a crowd of 21,650 fans packed inside Sporting Park on Saturday, setting a stadium attendance record for the three-year-old stadium. It also marked the 35th consecutive sellout for an MLS match.
The previous mark was established for an Aug. 3 match against the New York Red Bulls.
“I think we felt it a little bit more,” midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. “Having said that, it’s every day you come here, these guys are amazing. It’s hard to say any one day is better than the other, but I think everyone was amped up a little bit more. Maybe one extra Red Bull for everybody tonight.”
| Sam McDowell, email@example.com