Sideline Report: A sports hangover in Kansas City has its positives

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As many of you know, the Kansas City Royals’ and Sporting KC’s seasons have tragically ended. Both losses came in the playoffs, albeit in the beginning for Sporting and the end for the Royals. This soon led to heartbreak and shock. Fans everywhere (including me) might have even assumed that the Royals were most definitely going to win the World Series. I also thought Sporting would move past the elimination game. Yet it wasn’t meant to be.

The Kansas City Royals came out of nowhere and gave us all a glorious show. The Royals were not even supposed to make the playoffs. This was a team that roared into the second half of the season, finishing with the best record in all of Major League Baseball after the All-Star Break. Kansas City came up with a 90+ win season, yet disappointingly ended up with one of the American League Wild Card berths instead of the AL Central Division crown. But the Royals found ways to win all season and proved that the Royals are a force to be reckoned with in the coming seasons. Even more disappointment came when game seven of the World Series ended the Royals season, and remarkable playoff run, with defeat once again.

Sporting KC had a roller coaster of a season. Injuries, suspensions and a little tournament in Brazil kind of screwed up the season. Many players, including Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Andy Gruenebaum and Eric Kronberg, suffered some sort of roadblock during the season. For the first time since Kansas City changed the name from the “Kansas City Wizards” to the “Sporting” brand, the defending Major League Soccer Cup champions lost four straight games. At one point in the season, the Supporter’s Shield was in reach, but the focus quickly turned to actually making the MLS playoffs. One of the highlights was forward Dom Dwyer scoring a Sporting KC record 26 goals this season, yet it wasn’t enough to make another MLS Cup run. Sporting lost to the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference elimination game and before you knew it, the reigning champs were ousted. This season looked like a flop from the outside and there were many causes to the multitude of problems.

Yet here we are. We can reflect on these performances by our local teams and actually find some positives. Both teams made the playoffs. Yes, both were defeated in a span of 24 hours, yet both found enough success to get in that position in the first place. Encouraging signs have come out of the 2014 campaigns that the Royals and Sporting had. From a fan’s perspective, I can only think of one thing: I can’t wait until spring 2015.

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