Well its just been over a week now and I think I'm finally thawed out. Now obviously I thawed out a while ago but as I almost say every blog post I am a busy guy. I must say though what a game and what better way to cap off a season for Sporting as they took down Real Salt Lake in the 10th round of penalty kicks. I had been saying how evenly matched up these two teams were and they didn't disappoint for one minute to even include the final PK taken that smashed off the cross bar to clinch Sporting's first MLS Cup since 2000.
I had a handful of notes that I planned on writing into my blog post but with some of the stuff that has happened since the game I felt it more important to just put my thoughts about what has happened into my post. Obviously it was a very long game going into extra time, through overtime, and 10 rounds of PKs (normally you are done in 5 rounds which is the norm). People have been asking me if I enjoyed myself even in that frozen weather of a game and I tell them that it was completely worth it. Yes I was alive the last time Sporting, then the Wizards, won a championship but naturally I didn't pay as close attention nor was soccer quite as big back then. Additionally I was only 3 when the Royals won their World Series and I was no where close to being alive when the Chiefs won their Superbowl. Which brings me to another point. Kansas City Soccer now has two championships while the Royals have just one World Series trophy as does the Chiefs have with only one Superbowl. Peter Vermes said it best during his press conference that they got their job done so now its on the Chiefs. I couldn't agree more.
Now obviously another huge thing that happened since Sporting lifted the MLS Cup is that two year captain, two time MLS All-star, four year veteran in MLS and 19 year veteran Jimmy Nielsen decided to hang up his cleats as well and there probably isn't a better way to go out. Of course the public found this out Monday evening but I'm sure a lot of my other media friends felt it coming as well, but he is such a great guy and I only hope that he sticks around and I think he will. I told my family and nobody seemed to think anything of it nor did I think it would be a big deal, but when putting my children to bed my oldest son who is nine and has really like Jimmy, so much so that we have a picture that we got from another photography buddy of mine hanging up in his room which is painted in Sporting colors, started to break down in tears as it finally seemed to dawn on him just what Jimmy retiring meant. Now my son is a very sensitive child, but there has been similar things happen that he just seems to get bummed about but then moves on. This instance just goes to show how much one person can mean to someone especially a child. Sometimes as parents we forget how impressionable our children can be. That makes Jimmy's time here in KC that much better for me as he really made an impression on my son much like Soony has done to both my kids and Collin has done to my youngest son. I'm so glad that they have role models like this to look up to which I think is very important for children to have and has seemed to be lacking for quite some time. I've heard stories of kids having role models like this but personally I never had one quite like that. I would think that the closest I've come to have an iconic type person to look up to that friends/family also really liked would be somebody like a Wayne Gretzky or a Ken Griffey Jr. Obviously besides my own parents or other family members which are great role models but I feel it important for kids to have other people to look up to as well.
To close out and bring it back to what this post is suppose to be Sporting controlled most of the match with Salt Lake making good use of the ball when they had it and again these teams were very evenly matched and that would be why we saw such an epic match and in record breaking cold weather. Of course I'm so glad that Sporting won but Real Salt Lake I believe is a very good team as well and it will be interesting to see where each team mounts up to next year. Obviously it won't be easy as all teams will be gunning for them as most teams have been anyway because both Sporting and Salt Lake have been towards the top of the table the last few years but I believe next year will be another prove it season for Sporting as most people will want to see them repeat a similar performance from this season.