Here is a brief timeline of the recent Sporting Kansas City hype.
- At the end of 2011 season: “They finished the season really strong. They could do pretty well next year.”
- 2012 Preseason: “KC looks good so far. They could be dangerous.”
- Start of 2012 season: “Woah, they are pretty fun to watch.”
- Currently: “OH MY GOD THEY ARE AMAZING!!!”
Ok, so maybe the last part of the timeline is a bit exaggerated, but it almost feels that way. With a record-setting 5 game win streak at the start of the season, Kansas City is sitting pretty on top of the Eastern Conference.
Now, we all know the common thought process when an Eastern team gets a lot of hype: “If they are doing well, they must be playing a lot of Eastern teams. They could never do that well against the West.” We’ve all been victim to this old standard. However, let’s take a look at their recent win streak.
D.C. United 0 – 1 Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City 3 – 0 New England Revolution
Sporting Kansas City 2 – 1 FC Dallas
Chivas USA 0 – 1 Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City 1 – 0 LA Galaxy
Notice anything? After KC’s first 2 wins, their last 3 victims were from the West, including last year’s champions, LA Galaxy. While LA in no way resemble the dominant force they once were, the recent matchup between the former champs and SKC was hyped to be the most anticipated game so far. Galaxy midfielder, Mike Magee, may have put it best when he said, ”We came to compete today, but I don’t remember us connecting five passes in a row.” Even though LA was missing David Beckham, his absence cannot be blamed for such a performance. A scoring header from forward Kei Kamara was the cherry on top of a strong KC performance.
So is it too early to say Kansas City is an MLS Cup contender? They have won all their games so far. Yeah, but that’s only 5 games. Well, they did just beat the former champs. But so have 3 other teams up until now. What is it going to take?
Let’s look at their next game. They play current West Coast toppers, Real Salt Lake. Since the LA defeat is in the past, this is now being hailed as the most important game of the season so far. Are they Cup contenders if KC wins? Well, if you want to base the rest of the season on a week 6 match, go ahead. But, you may want to hold off for at least a few weeks. After RSL, Sporting plays both Vancouver and Portland away: both very tough road matches. If people really want to hail SKC as the Cup contenders, at least wait for these 3 results first.
Now, most people singing KC’s graces are, in fact, Sporting KC fans (makes sense). It’s really starting to annoy other MLS fan bases. But who cares? No matter who you are, if your team was suddenly experiencing a record-breaking start to the season, you would be just as loud, passionate, and possibly annoying as the KC fans are right now. Don’t worry KC fans, everyone else is just jealous.