CITY HYPE: A Fan's Perspective, Chapter Two
Or: One Sporting Way to Rivals
Date: September 26th, 2021
Matchup: Sporting KC vs. Seattle Sounders
Location: Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS
For those of you that are confused by the title, One Sporting Way is the road where Children's Mercy Park resides. This is the home field of what will be CITY SC's most heated rivals in 2023, Sporting Kansas City, or at least they will be, more than likely. Approximately ten miles on the Kansas side of the Missouri-Kansas border, Children's Mercy Park is nestled in a small community of businesses. As I approached, I noticed a Dave & Buster's and a movie theater nearby, along with several restaurants. In fact, I arrived a little early to the match so I sat down for a nice dinner at the nearby Chili's. During dinner I jokingly told the waiter that I was going to the match down the street to make enemies, pointing to the St. Louis CITY SC shirt I was wearing. He laughed. After I finished my meal, I headed over to the stadium. It was a gorgeous Sunday evening. Good thing it was because all of the parking nearby Children's Mercy Park was prepaid and I was unable to secure one of those spots. I had to park nearly a mile away, but parking was free. In the parking lot, several fans had fired up the grill and was cooking brats and tailgating with friends. They did have a shuttle from the parking lot, but since it was so nice outside I chose to walk instead. During the walk, I came across several Sporting fans that took their shot at the fact that St. Louis CITY SC does not even exist on the pitch yet. As I did my lap around the inside of the stadium to get photos, one fan jokingly stated "What?! St. Louis is here! They don't even have a team yet!" I sent back a jovial remark his way "They will soon and you all will know it too when we beat you!" It was this type of friendly banter between two rivals that will make these matches so much fun to attend.
There was an air of silence around the stadium during pregame, perhaps because the Kansas City Chiefs had just been defeated for the second time in three games a few hours before Sporting KC's match, but once the game got started the energy came with it. My view from the center line brought with it great images of star players from both clubs. This got me thinking about what star players may be coming to CITY SC in the near future. A year and seven months away from taking the pitch may seem like a long time, but it is coming quickly. I realized that in only a few months we will be hiring our first-team manager, and from there CITY SC will start looking at players. Soon we will be seeing our own club suiting up in their kits and boots to take the pitch in our own back yard. We will be watching star players from other clubs coming to our stadium, in our boisterous environment, in an effort to silence us. Yeah, good luck with that! One day many of us will be making the road trip to One Sporting Way to watch St. Louis CITY SC take on Sporting Kansas City in an important match with playoff implications. In the match I attended, it was Seattle's day to silence Sporting KC, me included. Before that, and throughout the match the crowd was electric, especially when the home team had their chances or made a good defensive play. The Cauldron, although a small section with 2,000-3,000 loyal supporters, was very energetic for its small size. The St. Louis CITY SC Supporters' Section, with over 3,200 of its most devoted fans, will be a much more treacherous place for opponents to dare venture into in an effort to claim glory. Yes, CITY fans, these images along with many others came to mind as I sat nearly 300 miles away, and with more than a year and a half away from our first match. On my way out of Children's Mercy Park, I realized that the next time I will be making this journey back to One Sporting Way will likely be the day that St. Louis CITY SC will have their first derby match with Sporting Kansas City on the road. What a trip that will be! St. Louis CITY 2, Sporting KC 0. I am good with that. See you then, SKC.
By Keith Smith