The youngest player ever to play in a season opener in franchise history, 20-year-old Oriol Rosell made it a truly special occasion by scoring the game-winner in Sporting Kansas City’s 3-1 win Saturday over the Philadelphia Union in Chester, Pa.
But the kid who spent much of 2012 training in Barcelona alongside the great Lionel Messi, took it in stride.
“I got a nice ball, which gave me a chance, so I took it,” said Rosell, who came over late last season and scored one goal during his five-game stint. “It was good for us.
“We got the three points. Now we need to keep going.”
SKC coach Peter Vermes would second that, saying that it would be unfair to expect Rosell to do this on a regular basis.
“We have patience with him,” said Vermes. “It’s going to take him some time to adjust to the league and also to our team.
“I think it’s big that he gets the goal. But he was very good tonight in so many areas. That’s why he’s a good addition to our team.
With leading scorer Kei Kamara on loan to Norwich City in England until May, Sporting KC definitely needs someone to step up.
• With 100 members of “The Cauldron” rooting them on, Sporting KC ran its season-opening record to an impressive 12-4-2. Not only that, but they’ve only lost once in the last 11 openers (2009) winning the last four. It was also the franchise’s first ever MLS win in PPL Park, where the Union embarrassed the eventual Eastern Conference regular season champs, 4-0 last season.
But SKC did avenge that with a 2-0 win in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup, eventually winning the Cup over Seattle.
• Philadelphia playing a Kansas City team in the home opener may turn out to be a common theme this year.
Following Sporting KC’s lead, due to interleague play, the Phillies will take on the Royals April 5-7 at Citizen’s Bank Park.
But what’s more intriguing is the possibility Andy Reid could bring his Chiefs to town to face his old team in the Eagles’ prospective home opener. Not only would that guarantee plenty of national interest, but it would put a four-year streak to a true test.
The Eagles’ last four home opener opponents: Saints, Packers, Giants and Ravens all went on to win the Super Bowl. No wonder Reid is crossing his fingers the Chiefs, too, will open here.