[Story written by Chad Smith with contributions from Cindy Lara where noted.]
On Friday night, the Kansas City Current shattered an attendance record and had a come from behind draw against Angel City FC. All credit to the organization and the women on the field. But during halftime, there was a cluster of media members chasing the ball around the field in the inaugural KC Current Media Game. Team Heartland defeated Team Electric 1-0 on a late goal by The Blue Testament’s own, Cody Bradley.
We figured what better way to hear about the game than from the “players” themselves. Below are some comments from a couple staff members, all of whom were on Team Electric other than Cody. Look for more talk on this week’s Shades of Blue Soccer Show.
Chad Smith: It was really surreal being out on the pitch. As a member of the media I’ve had the unique opportunity to be in places that others don’t get to go: sitting in the media room, press box, interviewing players in the locker room, etc. However, walking through the Field Club onto the pitch just like the players do was unreal. And doing it in front of the biggest crowd in Kansas City’s NWSL history was something else.
Stepping onto the grass was odd too. It wasn’t like any grass I’ve ever played on before. Perfectly manicured and of an interesting texture. I knew I was in bad shape and hadn’t played soccer in a longtime and I could feel it immediately. I’m not sure I did anything more than jog at any point yet I was still so tired. I watch a lot of fighting, was this the vaunted adrenaline dump?
I’m glad I got some touches and made some positive plays. I didn’t get the message about the offside trap we were apparently setting and almost left Cody onside for his goal (he’s like a footstep off to my eye — but I’m not even sure that’s clear and obvious if there was VAR).
I’m still really glad I did it. I love the free jersey I got. And I’m motivated to be better for the media games in 2023 for both Sporting KC and the KC Current.
Cindy Lara: I was beginning to have second thoughts about playing in this game. I think the idea of having so many people watch this game made me nervous, but thankfully, I had two good friends, who attended the game, tell me I had no choice, and that I was playing. My nervousness eased once I got to the locker room, and there was so much excitement happening. Going into this game with 44 other media members, some from The Blue Testament, gave me a boost of confidence, and I knew I had to just go out there and have a good time.
Like Chad said above, it was surreal walking onto the pitch, just like the players do. The lights were so bright, and the field felt so massive, much so more than the indoor soccer field I’m used to playing every week. Thankfully, there were 45 of us to cover the entire field, at time feeling overcrowded when everyone rushed to the ball. I played more on the wing, and I had a few touches and good passes. Looking back now, I wish I had been more aggressive or taken the ball into the box to give my team some good chances for a goal. I think I could have easily dribbled past the defenders from Team Heartland.
Overall, as chaotic as the 7 1⁄2 minutes felt, with no tactical strategy whatsoever, it was an incredibly good time, even though my team lost on a missed offside call.
Update: Shades of Blue has thoughts from Cody, Thad, Robert, Mike and David on the game.
If you weren’t in the stands and want to see the game, the team was nice enough to provide it to us. Check it out, and a few select highlights, below.
Early in the game TBT’s Robert Rusert had a lovely cross into the box and an unknown member (feel free to identify him in the comments if you know) of the media whiffed on the doorstep for what would have been a tap in. I clearly should have played forward.
Also above, you can see TBT’s Thad Bell and Team Electric Captain Dave Borchardt giving referee Matt Belser grief for the offside call that was missed on the field. All in good fun of course. And hey, we can all say we shared the pitch with future Sporting KC Legend Matt Besler.
As for the goal itself, it really was incredible from Cody. When I stood static as Nate Bukaty crossed a ball in and Cody flew up to get it, he seemed so high in the air to me. I was completely gassed despite the game being only 7 1⁄2 minutes. What do you think, was he offside?