It’s gonna be an uphill battle…
The KC soccer team formerly known as the Wizards – now Sporting Kansas City – face a disturbing dichotomy. On one hand the team is in the well-heeled hands of the main men at Cerner.
New name, new stadium, a couple concerts, better media coverage and an army of suits selling tickets and attending to every sports marketing and operational need imaginable. A front office that rivals – if not exceeds in some ways – that of the Chiefs and Royals.
Trust me, these guys are s-e-r-i-o-u-s.
Former owner Lamar Hunt was a piker by comparison. Sporting has bucks to burn and is not afraid to burn them. On the other hand Lamar – frugal though he was – delivered results on the field.
From the Wizard’s inception in ’96, Hunt fielded a competitive, fun to watch soccer squad. He delivered where it mattered, on the field. Preki, Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, Miklos Molnar, Uche Okafor, Nick Garcia, Mark Chung, Diego Gutierrez, Mo Johnston, Chris Klein, Frank Klopas, Richard Gough. And many, many more.
Rare was the season Hunt’s Wizards fell short of delivering competitve soccer, playoff appearances and under the guidance of general manager Curt Johnson in 2000, a Major League Soccer championship.
That was then.
The Wizards / Sporting, of the well-intentioned current regime, has failed to make the playoffs two years straight.
And not making the playoffs year-after-year in MLS is an embarrassment.
Star sports scribe Sam Mellinger ‘cannily warned, in the afterglow of the Lance Armstrong stadium naming deal, that serious steroid allegations pending against Armstrong could prove embarrassing. And that game is now afoot.
So as we approach the unveiling of Livestrong Park and Sporting’s first-ever home game this coming week, here’s the bottom line:
It’s time for the well-paid pilots of the Cerner soccer machine to deliver on the field.
It couldn’t and shouldn’t be stated more simply…