Monday, April 16, 2012

Sporting KC is making Kansas City notice them

Sporting KC is dominating on the pitch.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Aurelien Collin was the difference on Saturday.
  • Aurelien Collin was the difference on Saturday.
Kansas City is starved for a winner. It's why we pine for hockey and basketball teams. It's why we couldn't stop talking about the possibility of Peyton Manning suiting up for the Chiefs. It's why each and every year, Joe Posnanski managed to come up with the sportswriter equivalent of a Rube Goldberg theory as to how the Royals might just piece it together.

But Kansas City has a winner right now on the kind of streak that is the envy of soccer fans across the nation. With Sporting KC's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at Livestrong Sporting Park Saturday, the team improved to 6-0-0 on the season - one of only two teams in the history of Major League Soccer to start a campaign with six straight victories.

Forget championships, this is a town that has simply been starved for any success in the postseason. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since 1994. The Royals haven't won a playoff game since 1985 (although that last win was in the seventh game of the World Series). Sporting KC hasn't won a playoff game since last November - the last MLS playoffs to be played.

Kansas City fans are loyal. There's no shortage of blue and red on Fridays, and there is real passion on game days. The fanbase hasn't died. It still feels each loss. But with that losing has come desperation. And in that search for the next big thing, we can miss something very special that's happening right now.

Sporting KC is destroying other teams. They didn't allow a shot on goal for 335 consecutive minutes. That's a span of more than three games. That's a shot on goal. Not goals (they have five shutouts on the year), but a shot on goal. They're the soccer equivalent of a big brother with a palm on a little brother's head as the younger sibling swings wildly with arms too short to reach his tormentor. They can't be touched.

That's not to say they won't be touched. If Sporting KC keeps failing to finish on scoring chances, they'll always be in danger of a team sneaking a goal and stealing a victory. But this is a small point, the kind of luxury and nitpicking that one can enjoy with a team that is winning in dominating fashion.

In the coming weeks, eat up the national coverage of this team (here's a sample in this ESPN piece on defender Aurelien Collin). It's been too long since there's been a winner here, and the taste is sweet indeed.

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