The last time a professional sports franchise in Kansas City won a championship was 13 years ago*, when the Kansas City Wizards won the MLS Cup.*The U.S. Open Cup wins for Kansas City in 2004 and 2011 are very, very important. But they aren't the season-ending championship variety of trophies.
You're going to read a lot about this, probably, over the next few days leading up to the MLS Cup on Dec. 7 between Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake. Thirteen year is kind of a long time.
It was the first time Kansas City reached the MLS Cup. It was the first time a Kansas City sports franchise had reached a championship game since the Royals in 1985.
For many in the growing soccer culture in Kansas City, that MLS Cup win is an entry in Wikipedia or a memory from childhood. For those who've been around Kansas City soccer since the beginning, it might feel like an eternity.
But, on this day that we gather with friends and family to give thanks, here's something we can be thankful for: Major League Soccer committed the 2000 MLS Cup victory to video.
An often amazing, often hilarious NFL-films style tribute to the last major championship in Kansas City sports history.
Some of the details might seem a bit anachronistic -- the baggy uniforms, the less-than-HD picture quality, the curious hair styles -- but there's a quaintness to it that, to me, gives it an added air of nostalgia.
Let's set the stage: In 2000, the Kansas City Wizards were led by the great coach Bob Gansler. Under his tutelage, Kansas City had the league's best defense (anchored by 2000 Defender of the Year Peter Vermes) and the league's best goalkeeper (Tony Meola). The other familiar names: U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Preki, Mo Johnston, Kerry Zavagnin, Nick Garcia, Chris Klein.
The opponent: The Chicago Fire (ooooh, rivalry!). The setting: RFK Stadium (which seems crazy now, but was absolutelythe
American soccer stadium then).
Here it is in all it's glory. I hadn't watched it in awhile and forgot just how great it was. So, I've also given it the bullet-by-bullet breakdown treatment below.
0:00: Tony Meola was the league MVP. Let that sink in for a moment. A goalkeeper was the league MVP. Not only was he the LAST 'keeper to win the award, he was the ONLY 'keeper to win the award.
0:29: How many long-time Wizards can you spot in the pre-roaddron clan?