Sporting Kansas City

25th Season First Game Played April 13, 1996

1996: On April 13th at Arrowhead Stadium, the Wiz played the first game in team history and played well, shutting out the Colorado Rapids, 3-0. The Wiz stars included midfielder Preki, Digital Takawira and were coached by Ron Newman. The first season in Wiz history would be successful, finishing 17-15 and earning a spot in the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Wiz would continue to play well, defeating the Dallas Burn in three games, winning the final game in a shootout. But in the next round, the Wiz would be shutout by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Following the season, the Wiz would give in to fan complaints and extend their name to “Wizards.”

1997: Building on their success from the previous season, the Wizards became the success story of the year, going 21-11 and winning the Western Conference regular-season championship. In addition, Preki was named MVP for the year. But in the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards would be shocked by the upstart and last seeded Colorado Rapids.

1998: After their stunning playoff loss, the Wizards started to head in the wrong direction, going 12-20 and sitting in last place in the West.

1999: The Wizards continue their downfall, firing Ron Newman in the summer and replacing him with Bob Gansler. The Wizards would finish the season with a disastrous record of 8-24, which put them in last place again.

2000: In their first full season under Bob Gansler, the Wizards return to their form from their first two years, playing well and having a solid defense. Goalkeeper Tony Meola would record the longest shutout streak in MLS history at 681 minutes. By the end of the year, the Wizards held a record of 16-7-9, the best in the league. In the playoffs, the Wizards beat the Colorado Rapids, 7 points to 1, and get revenge for their previous playoff appearance three years earlier. In the conference final, the Wizards would fall behind 4 points to 1 to the LA Galaxy, and their magical season seemed to be coming to an end. But Miklos Molnar, known as the “Danish Dynamite” scored a penalty kick early in game three to send the series into a tiebreaker, where he scored again to send the Wizards to their first MLS Cup.

2000 MLS Cup: At RFK Stadium in Washington DC, the Wizards, with the league’s best defense, tried to prove that defense wins championships by beating the team with the league’s best offense, the Chicago Fire. The Wizards would grab the lead early on an 11th-minute goal by Milkos Molnar. After that, the Fire would put together an onslaught of scoring opportunities, putting ten shots on goal, including three in the final ten minutes. But Tony Meola stopped every one of them, and the defense barely held on to the lead as time ran out on the Fire. A year after not even making double-digits in wins, the Wizards amazingly turned it around and claimed their first MLS Cup Championship.

2001: The loss of Preki to the Miami Fusion would be significant as there would be a hangover for the Wizards. They struggled to defend their championship, making the playoffs as the eighth seed with a record of 11-13-3. In the first round, the Wizards’ reign as champion ended with six points to three loss to Preki and the Miami Fusion.

2002: Despite getting back Preki, the Wizards sat in last place in the West, but they would make the playoffs with a record of 9-10-9. The last two teams in the East, the MetroStars, and DC United missed the playoffs, which propelled the Wizards into the playoffs. In the first round, the team would fall, six points to three to eventual champions, LA Galaxy.

2003: In a season that saw more fans attend than previous years, the Wizards would return to the top half of the West with a record of 11-10-9. In the first round, the Wizards would defeat the Colorado Rapids in the aggregate goal series, 3-1. That set up a one-game showdown with the San Jose Earthquakes for the right to represent the West in MLS Cup. The Wizards would twice take the lead, but twice, the Earthquakes battled back and forced golden goal overtime. It would be a long and tiring session until the Quakes’ Landon Donovan sent his team on and the Wizards home with a goal in the 117th minute.

2004: Looking to build on their momentum from the previous year, the Wizards would be mediocre out of the gate before turning hot in the summer and contending for the conference championship. When all was said and done, the Wizards lost only two games in September and finished the season on a six-game unbeaten streak to finish 14-9-9, good enough for the Western Conference regular-season championship. The season was not without controversy, though, as goalkeeper Tony Meola, an American soccer goalkeeping legend that had been on the USA roster for three World Cups, went down with an injury and backup Bo Oshoniyi would fill in well. Once the playoffs started, Meola had healed, but Oshoniyi was still in goal. In the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards would lose the first game to defending champions San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, putting in a seemingly impossible situation to score three goals and concede none in Game 2 of aggregate goal series. However, amazingly, the Wizards did just that by scoring two goals in the first half, while little known Jack Jewsbury scored the deciding goal in second-half stoppage time to move KC onto the conference final for the second year in a row. In that game, the Wizards would easily hold off the LA Galaxy on two Davy Arnaud goals to send the Wizards to their 2nd MLS Cup Game.

2004 MLS Cup: With their Arrowhead Stadium counterparts, the Chiefs, engaged in a long Super Bowl drought, the Wizards provided the stadium area championship feeling as they went up against DC United at the Home Depot Center in Carson California, as Bo Oshoniyi got the starting nod in goal. The Wizards would get off to a great start as Jose Burciaga caught United unprepared as he scored a long-range goal in the sixth minute. However, It was all downhill from there as DC United’s Alecko Eskandarian scored two goals for his squad in the 19th and 23rd minutes respectively. Things would go from bad to worse in the 26th minute for the Wizards as Alex Zotinca committed an own goal. KC was given a lifeline in the 58th minute as DC’s Dema Kovalenko was expelled from the match for a handball in the penalty area, and Joish Wolff scored the first penalty kick conversion in MLS Cup history. The Wizards hoped that that would propel them to more goals as they put ten shots on goal. However, it would not be enough as their season ended with a disappointing 3-2 loss at the hands of DC United.

2005: With expansion, the Wizards would make the move to the Eastern Conference. Almost immediately, they would find the move troublesome. The team won just two of its first seven games. After going through a summer filled with mostly ties and losses, a four-game winning streak at the end of August helped get them back in the playoff race. In the end, it wasn’t enough as the Wizards didn’t win another game to find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in with a record of 11-9-12. After the season, the team’s veteran leader, Preki, announced his retirement.

2006: Following a season in which they missed the playoffs, changes were in the air for the Wizards of the field. The late Lamar Hunt sold the club to a local group of people committed to keeping the Wizards in Kansas City and building them a permanent facility. Despite the good news off the field, and winning four out of five games to start the season, the Wizards just missed out on a playoff berth with a loss to the New York Red Bulls on the final day, finishing with a 10-14-8 record.

2007: In dedicating the season to their late owner, Lamar Hunt, the Wizards fortunes improved considerably. A quick start earned them four wins in the first seven weeks of the year. The club also picked up goalkeeper Kevin Hartman from Los Angeles as a move to help them with uneasiness in that position. But after a hot start to the year, the Wizards tapered off near the end of the season, winning just four games after the All-Star break and finished fifth in the East at 11-12-7. Shifted over to the West as a result of a playoff format change, the Wizards butted heads with Chivas USA, and all that was needed was a Davy Arnaud goal in the first game to win the series as the defense and Kevin Hartman did the rest and kept Chivas off the scoreboard. But then they would come up short to the Houston Dynamo, 2-0 in the conference final.

2008: Playing their home game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas, the Wizards ended a four-year playoff drought by posting an 11-10-9 record, which was good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Facing the Columbus Crew, who captured the Supporter’s Shield for the best record in the MLS, the Wizards had a strong showing, earning a 1-1 tie in Game 1 of the first-round series. However, with a 2-0 loss in Game 2, the Wizards lost the aggregate series 3-1.

2009: Mediocrity was the name of the game for the Wizards as they produced inconsistent results, including a winless July and August. This would be their undoing as they finished in sixth place with a disappointing 8-13-9 record.

2010: In their final full season in Community America Ballpark, the Wizards would have another mediocre showing not helped by a tough first quarter of the season in which they only had two wins. A three-game winning streak to close the campaign out helped the team feel good about the offseason as they finish third in the East and out of the playoffs at 11-13-6.

2011: To christen their new home, Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, team management rebranded the club Sporting Kansas City, in the vain of Sporting Lisbon. It turned out to be a season of two different teams as KC lost five in a row during a 1-6-4 run to start the campaign. But they would only lose three times after that as rookie C.J. Sapong and Teal Bunbury led Sporting to the top spot in the East at 13-9-12. In the playoffs, the club shut out Colorado 4-0 on aggregate before losing to Houston 2-0 in the conference final.

2012: After winning their first seven games to start the season, SKC kept up the solid play through the rest of the season and set an Eastern Conference record of 63 points to finish at 18-7-9. In addition, on August 8th, Sporting defeated the Seattle Sounders at home to win the US Open Cup, their first trophy of any kind in eight years. Aside from that, the season would come to a very disappointing end with the Houston Dynamo shutting out SKC in the playoffs on aggregate 3-0.

2013: After two straight regular-season Eastern Conference crowns, Sporting looked to take the next step. The team would start out well, winning four of their first seven matches and then having two different three match-winning streaks late in the spring and in the summer to help the club finish in second place with a record of 17-10-7, finishing one point behind the New York Red Bulls. In the conference semifinals, SKC fell in their first leg to the New England Revolution but bounced back to beat them on an extra-time goal by Claudio Bieler to win 3-2 on aggregate. Facing their nemesis for the last two years, the Houston Dynamo in the conference finals, two goals in the second leg by CJ Sapong and Dom Dwyer were enough to send SKC to their first championship match in nine years.

2013 MLS Cup: As they finished two points better than Real Salt Lake, their opponents in MLS Cup, SKC, would play the championship at LiveStrong Park for the ultimate home-field advantage. A capacity crowd braved freezing 20-degree weather to watch their team. Following a scoreless first half, a goal by RSL’s Alvaro Saborio in the 52nd minute got the hometown team worried that the frigid conditions and hard ground might not help SKC and a shot off the post by Javier Morales further heightened the supporters’ apprehension. But not to worry as it turned out as Aurelien Collin evened the score off a corner kick to soothe the nerves of the home crowd. The rest of regulation went scoreless, and neither team scored in overtime although Saborio had a goal ruled out for offside. In the penalty shootout, SKC made their first two kicks, and RSL missed their first two, and Graham Zusi had a chance to win the game for Sporting but missed. RSL fought their way back in the contest and had a chance to win in the eighth round, but Sebastian Velasquez’s shot was saved. In the tenth round, Collin, the game’s MVP, made his kick, and Jimmy Neisen’s save of Lovel Palmer’s kick secured SKC’s first MLS Cup title in 13 years.

2014: The club had a decent start to the defense of their second championship, winning five of their first nine matches. Dom Dwyer had a team-leading 24 goals that helped SKC in the playoff run. But several call-ups and injuries took their toll on Sporting as they stumbled to lose seven of their last ten games to finish in fifth place at 14-13-7. In the East knockout round, SKC’s chance of repeating came to an end with a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

2015: With Orlando City and New York City joining MLS, Sporting returned to the Western Conference. Injuries would once again cause problems for SKC as they struggled with only three wins in their first ten games. Dom Dwyer scored twelve goals for the team during the season and helping them win eight games during the summer to get back into the playoff picture. A 3-7-2 finish to the year caused SKC to wind up in sixth place at 14-11-9. Against the Portland Timbers, Sporting held a 2-1 lead deep into extra time when the Timbers’ Maximillano Urruti scored to even the sides and head to penalty kicks. Deep into the sudden death stage, Saad Abdul-Salaam had the next round on his foot and fired a shot that beat the goalkeeper, but somehow bounced off both posts and out. A stunned SKC got the short end of the result 7-6.

2016: After getting eliminated from the playoff in excruciating fashion, SKC came out of the gate well, winning four of their first five before stumbling by losing five and tying two of their next seven. An up-and-down rest of the season, helped along by Dom Dwyer’s team-leading 12 goals, was enough to get SKC the fifth playoff spot at 13-13-8. The season would end in difficult fashion for Sporting as they fell to Seattle Sounders FC in the Knockout Round 1-0 on an 88th-minute goal by Nelson Valdez.

2017: Early optimism for a great season seemed spot on at the beginning with a 5-1-3 stretch where SKC conceded only three goals. The stellar defense led by Ike Opara was vital in keeping the team in contention through an unbeaten June and July. But Sporting’s offense was not a strong point, and that contributed to the team trading Dom Dwyer in the summer to Orlando City SC for allocation money. A winless last five games to end up in fifth place at 12-9-13. SKC’s season would come to a crashing end in the Knockout Round with a 94th-minute goal by the Houston Dynamo’s Alberth Elis. A nice consolation for the team was the fourth US Open Cup title in team history with a 2-1 win over New York in the final.

2018: After an opening day loss to the Red Bulls, SKC came together and lost only one of their next fourteen games to lead the West in the first half of the season. The team was able to withstand a five-match winless streak in the summer to finish the season as the top seed in the conference with a solid 18-8-8 record. The help came from Johnny Russell with his eight goals in league play, and Tim Melia followed up his record-breaking campaign with another solid season between the sticks. After tying Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their playoff series, SKC came back to crush them in the second leg 4-2 to win the series 5-3 on aggregate. A scoreless first leg in the West Final against the Portland Timbers set up a gut-wrenching second leg in which the Timbers outlasted the Sounders 3-2 to move onto MLS Cup.

2019: With the hope of taking one step further, SKC had a tough time to start out, winning only two of their first eleven games as injuries to key players began to take their toll on the team’s chances. In addition, Sporting were crushed 10-2 on aggregate by Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Lack of production from their go-to players conspired in sinking the club to another four-match losing streak in September and causing SKC to finish the season with an eleventh-place record of 10-6-8, finishing out of the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Stephen Mulvoy, all information, and team names are property of Major League Soccer. This site is not affiliated with the Kansas City Wizards or the MLS. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on July 23, 2004. Last updated on July 15, 2020, at 11:45 pm ET.

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