Well it’s finally here. It’s the offseason. The 2019 Sporting Kansas City season has come to an end. It would be an understatement to say that it was disappointing. No playoff games to watch. The number of losses or draws feels really bad. Sixteen losses! Eight draws! It sure outweighs the 10 wins.
Right now the majority of Sporting fans feel glad to have this season finally end. It seemed to drag on and on and on. The offseason will be full of rumors, people coming, people going and lots of talk between fans about what the right and wrong moves are. The fandom is loud right now about how terrible the team is, how it just needs to be gutted and rebuilt from the ground up. People are talking about how Peter Vermes needs to go or at least be on a very hot seat. People are mad about the organizations treatment of season ticket holders and supporters groups. People are frustrated, mad, angry, sad, disappointed and very vocal.
I want to take a minute to remember the good times. I, like all of you, am frustrated with the losses and not making the playoffs, but unlike a lot of you I didn’t want to see the season end. Sure the team needs to take a break, regroup, rest, change a little bit and come back ready to go, but I love soccer season and going to CMP in all kinds of weather and traveling on road trips with my sister to watch the team play. I hate to see the season end. That’s why instead of thinking about all of the negatives about the year I want to look back on a couple of the moments that make me smile when looking back on the season.
One of the happiest moments of the Sporting season seems like it was long ago and a different team, but don’t forget that game way back on February 28th when Sporting went to Mexico to take on Toluca in the CCL and won 2-0 (5-0 on aggregate). Not only did they win, but they won in style. The Toluca fans were chanting for Sporting! The MLS national pundits were talking about how Sporting was playing the most beautiful soccer they had ever seen an MLS team play. Sporting KC Nation was buzzing. That was a day to be a proud SKC supporter.
And don’t forget the absolute shellacking of Montreal on March 30th. SKC won that game 7-1! Krisztian Nemeth scored a hat trick. Russell scored twice. Busio and Gutierrez added in another goal apiece. Children’s Mercy Park was hopping! It’s always fun when the chant goes up for “We want another one just like the other one! We want 8!” I mean come on….that was fun!
I won’t kid you...after that, it was a long dry spell without much fun. A few wins, some losses, a handful of draws. The Open Cup run was short-lived. The summer was tough. The injuries piled up. The grumbling of fans started.
Then we got to have a little bit of fun when we started to realize, somehow, even with so many injuries and disappointing results, the team was still in the hunt for the playoffs and for a few weeks we got to participate in watching the standings and trying to figure out just what that team needed to do to make it in.
Honestly, I think most of us knew that it wasn’t going to happen, but the team wasn’t eliminated and we had some hope. The matches started to mean something again and we were ready to get the team pumped up and cheer them on and….well we know how that ends.
There were moments of fun. There were some really good goals. We got to have some fun with Benny Feilhaber’s shross against Portland. There were exciting matches. We all celebrated with Daniel Salloi when he finally got a goal in September. We can be excited about Johnny Russell having another year with at least nine goals and nine assists. We can celebrate the fact that Felipe Gutierrez won the team Golden Boot with 12 goals this season. We saw the return of Jimmy Medranda and Jaylin Lindsey after they missed so much time with serious injuries.
It would be really easy to forget that in the midst of so much disappointment and anger and frustration that there were some great moments this season. Don’t forget them. Use the offseason to reset your mindset. Trust the process that this team is going to have to go through. Voice your opinions in a respectful manner. Have fun hashing out what should happen in the offseason and be ready. Be ready for 2020. Be ready for returning players that will need your support. Be ready for new players that need to understand what it means to have SKC nation supporting you. Be ready for the reemergence of Sporting Kansas City!