UMKC’s big party at Sporting Park continues despite loss to New England

Dan Moreno

Sporting KC and the University of Missouri – Kansas City jointly hosted Friday night’s Sporting KC game at Sporting Park, where 19,522 fans celebrated the partnership between the University and the soccer team.

Despite a 2-3 loss against the New England Revolution, Kansas City fans enjoyed the game’s giveaways, half-time contests, Kasey the Kangaroo’s shenanigans and Chancellor Leo Morton’s presence. Friday marked Sporting Park’s 51st consecutive sellout.

The defending MLS Champions were unable to secure the win after New England’s Jermain Jones scored a goal from outside the box in the 85th minute.

With New England’s goals in the 22nd and 35th minutes, Sporting KC hit halftime at 0-2, but in the second half Paulo Nagamura scored Kansas City’s first goal in the 54th minute off an assist by Kevin Ellis.

Two minutes later, Nagamura drove the ball all the way to New England’s box and headed an assist to striker Dom Dwyer, who pushed the ball into the net to tie the game.

Dwyer scored his 20th goal of the season and improved his single season scoring record, surpassing Sporting legend Preki’s 19 goals in 1996.

However, Jones, who represented the U.S. in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, blasted a right-footed shot that defeated Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg and ended the game 2-3.

Sporting KC remains in the top of the MLS Eastern Conference, tied for 2nd with New England, who reached 45 points after defeating Sporting on Friday.

With only four games left in the regular season – two away and two at home – Kansas City has an overall record of 13-11-6 in the MLS and is participating in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, where they lead Group 2 with 7 points over Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica) and Real Estelí (Nicaragua).

Sporting KC’s Head Coach Peter Vermes seemed content with his team’s performance despite the heartbreaking loss.

“After three games in nine days, it’s a massive effort by our team. I’m extremely proud of the way they played,” Vermes said. “It’s extremely painful for the guys to walk out of here with nothing, but when you look at the long term and play three games in nine days with the intensity that we played with, it’s a good sign for the future.”

Next up, Sporting Kansas City will visit D.C. United on Oct. 3 before returning home on Oct. 10 to host the Chicago Fire.