In the 56th minute of Sporting Kansas City’s 1-0 win against Saint Louis FC, fans rose to their feet and gave Chance Myers a standing ovation.
Not that Myers had done anything special. He didn’t score or even have that large of an impact on the match.
But for the first time in 389 days, Myers joined his Sporting KC teammates in game action.
“It was fun,” Myers said. “I was obviously excited before the game with nerves that are in play but you just calm down and do what you do best.”
A thunderous roar erupted from the Sporting KC faithful during lineup introductions Tuesday night, as manager Peter Vermes inserted the fan-favorite Myers as the starter at right outside back.
Myers had been sidelined with a torn left Achilles’ since May 23 of last year. He began training two months ago as part of his 14-month rehabilitation process.
“Right after we did the national anthem we all huddled up right before the game, so 20 seconds before kickoff, I got a little emotional,” Myers said. “I was just really, really excited.”
Vermes was pleased with Myers’ outing, noting it was the one of several steps in an arduous journey back to the pitch.
“He was better than expected, especially with his conditioning,” Vermes said. “He probably could’ve easily wanted to play another 10-to-15 minutes.
“I’m glad he got through it. He played very well. It was a good day for him. He’s went through a lot of work for a year now trying to get back on the field and he looks like his old self. It’s good to see him out there.”
He was subbed out roughly 11 minutes after halftime and left with the match tied at 0-0. Saad Abdul-Salaam replaced him.
Myers said he had no set minutes mark, but insisted he start the second half and make a decision from there. He said he played with no limitations, other than his minutes total, and added he could’ve stayed on the pitch until the 75th or 80th minute no problem.
Much of the play in the first half took place on the left side and middle of the field, away from Myers. He was relatively conservative with the ball, but was unafraid of attacking the ball in the air.
In the 35th minute, Myers made his signature run down the right sideline, when he combined with midfielder Connor Hallisey on a give-and-go, but couldn’t produce anything out of it. Nine minutes later, Myers crossed low looking for Graham Zusi, but the Saint Louis defense snuffed it out.
He took a hard foul after an errant slide tackle arrived at his feet in the 47th minute, but popped right back up.
In the 51st minute, Myers made a strong cross but Saint Louis keeper Mark Pais made a dive across the middle of the box to scoop the ball up.
Sporting KC notes
Sporting KC remained without defender Erik Palmer-Brown and forward Krisztian Nemeth on Tuesday.
Palmer-Brown returned Monday from his stint with the U.S. Under-20 national team, which lost in the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup. He will be available Sunday, when Sporting KC travels to face Real Salt Lake.
Nemeth will return Wednesday from a two-game spell with the Hungarian national team. He will also be available to rejoin the lineup Sunday.
▪ Sporting Kansas City announced a crowd of 19,298, the largest crowd for a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match in the modern era. The mark is also Sporting’s U.S. Open Cup record. The team’s prior record for a U.S. Open Cup match was 18,863, set on Aug. 8, 2012.
▪ Jacob Peterson replaced Connor Hallisey in the 69th minute. Peterson had not played since May 23, when he injured his hamstring in the second half against Seattle.