Scott Angevine has dreamed of playing at Sporting Park for a while, but he didn’t expect it to be with the opposing team.
Still, that’s exactly where Angevine found himself recently during the third round of the 100th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, starting in goal for the Des Moines Menace against Sporting Kansas City.
While Angevine’s squad suffered a 2-0 loss against Sporting on tuesday, the reigning Open Cup champions in the nation’s oldest soccer tournament, the night was far more sweet than bitter.
“When the bus first pulled up in front of the stadium, I couldn’t help but smile,” Angevine said. “It brings back a lot of great memories, and I knew that playing against my former team was going to be a lot of fun.”
Angevine, a 2007 Blue Valley Northwest graduate, signed with Sporting KC for a few weeks last summer when both of the club’s reserve goalkeepers — Eric Kronberg and Jon Kempin — were injured.
He moved on to Des Moines, a Premier Development League team, this season in an effort to gain additional match experience.
After an upset against North American Soccer League power Minnesota United FC, Angevine found himself playing against Sporting, and in an MLS stadium much sooner than expected thanks to the Open Cup schedule. It was an opportunity he relished.
“It’s probably the biggest game I’ve ever played in just because of the magnitude of it,” Angevine said.
But Angevine wasn’t overwhelmed by the moment.
He allowed goals to Kei Kamara in the 12th minute and Claudio Bieler in the 73rd minute, but credit Angevine — who made six saves, including a couple of the spectacular variety — for the fact that it took Sporting KC so long to lock down a victory.
“Scott was superb,” Des Moines coach Mike Jeffries said. “Certainly, he was everything we could have hoped for in goal.”
Angevine said he didn’t put any pressure on himself before the game.
“I’ve always been good with the nerves, because I train six days a week 10 or 11 months out of the year exactly for this. Once the first whistle blows, it’s just like being out there in training — the same ball, the same size field and same goal. Sometimes, it’s a little bit tougher competition, but it’s the same game. I was more excited than nervous for this game.”
Several former teammates were excited as well.
“I’ve seen him for two years now in practice, so I’m very happy for him and I think he was probably the man of the match (last Tuesday),” Sporting KC captain and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen said. “He had some incredible saves.”
Sporting KC trotted out a lineup that owns 585 career MLS appearances, including 444 starts. Kamara wore his trademark vampire-fanged mouth guard to enhance his intimidating presence.
“It was terrifying,” Angevine said. “He’s a big guy.”
Angevine even survived a hard collision with Kamara early in the second half that knocked the wind out of him — sort of a welcome-to-professional-soccer moment for the local product.
Angevine got treated like an opposing player as well, enduring a “Hey, Scott, it’s all your fault” chorus from the Cauldron after Bieler’s goal.
Not that he harbored any ill will toward his hometown fans or expected anything less.
“I honestly believe that Sporting has some of the best, if not the best, fans in the entire MLS,” said Angevine, who was called up briefly by the Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers as a former MLS pool goalkeeper. “They love their team, and when you come in and play against them, you really find out how much they love their team by how much they hate you.”