Recently, MLSFemale.com created a survey to better understand the experiences of MLS fans.
We found that the Portland Timbers had the most representation in the survey, with 23.3% respondents noting the Timbers as their MLS team. Second place went to the Seattle Sounders, followed by Sporting Kansas City. All 22 teams had fan representation in the survey.
Only 40 out of 132 participants said they were not part of their teams’ supporters group. For those who were part of the supporter groups, the Timbers Army had the most members in the survey, as this group was listed most frequently. The Cauldron was the second most mentioned, and there were multiple individual responses such as Inferno, Ruckus, Resurgence, Sons of Ben, Third Rail, and Vancouver Southsiders to name a few.
Participants noted that they were most likely to attend 1-2 games per season (20.5%), with 17.6% going to 3-5 games. Interestingly, there were 12.1% who don’t normally attend games, compared to 7.5% who attend 25 games or more.
Additionally, 24.4% noted that they have been a fan of watching soccer for 20 years or more! Whereas 22.7% have been fans for 6-9 years and 18.5% have been fans for 10-14 years. There are lots of dedicated fans and some who are just starting their career as MLS fans. Furthermore, we found that 96.2% of respondents watch the US national soccer teams and 83.3% watch or follow European football in addition to their MLS team.
We asked the participants how they became fans of their MLS team. The most frequent response was based on geographical location. This included cheering for the local team, and overall proximity to their current location. Other responses included the influence of another individual, including friends, parents, and the players for that particular team. An honorable mention should also go out to the ‘atmosphere’, which was discussed numerous times as being an important role in continuing being a fan.
Thanks to all those who participated! Make sure to be on the lookout for future surveys!
Oh hey everyone! I’m back! I apologize for my hiatus. School was kicking my butt, but I’m done with the grading and the tests and the papers!
Sporting KC played three games in eight days! RSL, NYRB, and MNU. It was crazy! Luckily the first two games in the stretch were at home, because SKC has been straight fire at home since the home opener (and we do not speak of those: See a few articles ago).
Sporting started off the run on Saturday, April 29th at Children’s Mercy Park to take on one of our big rivals, Real Salt Lake. I’m not going to lie…I don’t like RSL, and it’s all Kyle Beckerman‘s fault. When I mentioned players I didn’t like I completely forgot Kyle Beckerman. Beckerman is the worst, but he didn’t play…so I’ll move on.
So I don’t know how many of you have been to Kansas City in April, but it tends to be rainy. It does not tend to be this freaking cold! This is not Toronto, it should not be freezing! We were all worried that the game would be delayed due to weather because it had been storming off and on all day, but luck was on our side and the game went off without a hitch. Also, the Cauldron‘s tifo went…up with just a tiny hitch, but it was fine.
RSL was coming in with new head coach Mike Petke (whom Ambrosia is very excited about), but unfortunately for Petke RSL has been plagued with injuries. This includes his two USMNT mainstays goalkeeper Nick Rimando, and the aforementioned Kyle Beckerman. Petke had spent some time during the week saying that RSL didn’t need any “bulletin board fodder” to pump his team up for SKC. A slight dig at Sporting perhaps?
Some of our guys (Dom…Benny) do like to get a little chippy. I like it to call it friendly banter… With how the scoreline ended up though maybe RSL could have used something more to pump them up. Benny Feilhaber got the scoring started in the 17th minute off a pass from Graham Zusi that led to a strike from just outside the penalty area. *Sidenote: I love when Benny scores. Not just because we get a goal, but our head broadcaster, Nate Bukaty, always yells FEILHABER really loudly and I think it’s the best thing.
There were some scares for SKC in between 20-30 minutes. Mulholland hit a shot wide, and then Plata had a ball bounce off his back and into the net. He was blatantly offside so it didn’t matter, but it was scary nonetheless. We also got to see some great shots from Gerso in the first half. Neither of them connected, but they showed the power he can get from about 20 yards out. In the 50th minute, Matt Besler fed a long ball up to Dom Dwyer who juked a defender and put the ball in the back of the net. After his goal Dom ran over to celebrate his first right-footed goal of the season with head trainer Kenny Ishii who helped him rehab after his ankle surgery in the offseason. The game ended on a garbage time goal by Gerso, and Blue Hell was sufficiently given.
Sporting’s next game was on the Wednesday immediately following the RSL game. SKC took on the Fighting Energy Drinks from New York. This game was a good bit warmer, and way drier than the last game.
Please note the lack of raincoats and the regular attire.
The first half of this game was a little worrisome, but mostly almost exciting. There were shots that were so close! But the proverbial cigar…no dice. Supposedly over the half time break Dom was telling his teammates that he was going to score a goal, and boy did he deliver. He didn’t waste any time with a follow up on a shot by Benny from point-blank range in the 46th minute.
Benny had another great run about 15 minutes later that was deflected by Robles at the last second. It was pretty fun to watch actually. If you’ve ever played FIFA or watched someone play FIFA then you’d know about how when your player is making a solo run the camera blurs and all you can focus on is that one player. Maybe…or not. But it was totally like that. Take my word for it. Dom scored again in the 68th minute with a ball that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. T’was lit, my dudes!
I have to do a quick shout out to the defense by the way. Zusi, Bes, Ike, Seth, and I’m throwing in Ilie are really killing it. In the game against New York Red Bulls they were on complete lockdown! It was like a clinic watching them out there. Note to any and everyone…don’t change the backline. Things happen that we don’t want to happen (See below…or just ignore because hopefully it will never happen again.) Oh, and Tim Melia is the best goalkeeper in the land. The Cauldron chanted it, so it must be true! @DaynaOG also agreed with my sentiment of how Tim is the hero this country needs. ‘Nuff said.
With the win on May 3rd Sporting was on the top of the table with 18 points! Then…
Sporting played a game last Sunday…and some stuff happened…and that’s about it.
Now we’re tied…not really…but we have the same amount of points as FC Dallas. Dang goal differential.
Mo Johnston is this year’s honoree for the Sporting Legends Hall of Honor! Johnston played for the Wizards from 1996-2001, scored 32 goals, and had 31 assists in his 170 caps.
That is how a game should be! They were almosts no more! We have goals, and none of them were goalie gaffs!
Sporting KC played the Colorado Rapids at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday night, and it was finally the game we had been looking for. The defense continued to be phenomenal, Tim Melia is most likely a unicorn, and the offense was finishing against one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the United States.
Speaking of the aforementioned goalkeeper, I was within 10 feet of him, and that was pretty dang cool. Also, Tim Howard, I would like to apologize for how mean The Cauldron was to you. Well, not really. We still love you though…but only when you play for the United States. Otherwise, it’s all your fault.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
This game was the most fun that I’ve had so far this season. Sporting started the game off with a bang when they scored in the first few minutes. Defender Seth Sinovic had a career first when he scored his very first regular season goal in the 6th minute. Gerso’s shot was deflected by Tim Howard, and Seth caught the deflection with his left foot and slammed it into the goal. He is also only the 4th defender since 2015 to score a goal and have a primary assist in the same game.
The other big moment of the first half was a huge goal line save by Tim Melia that isn’t up for Save of the Week because some people at the MLS offices must be blind.
The first half ended with Sporting up 1 – 0, and then the teams switched sides as per usual. That meant The Cauldron finally got the Good Tim on our side! This Tim we love, and we would never yell at him because he is wonderful. This Tim also definitely won the Battle of the Tims by a landslide. (I have typed the name Tim so many times in this article…so many times)
The second half was twice as exciting as the first, and that’s because we scored twice…math!
Gerso Fernandes scored his first ever MLS goal in the 58th minute! He was set up beautifully by his teammates too. Dom Dwyer played a great ball to Roger Espinoza who held back just enough to stay onside. The defender was so preoccupied with Roger that he missed Gerso running up the middle to receive the assist until it was too late. Gerso is also so dang fast that no one could catch him.
In one final first for the game, Sporting KC’s fourth Homegrown player to play in a competitive match, Daniel Salloi subbed in for Soony Saad in the 83rd minute. *Sporting’s other Homegrown players to feature in matches are Kevin Ellis, Erik Palmer-Brown, and our first ever Homegrown player, Jon Kempin (who now plays for the LA Galaxy).
The third goal of the game was scored by our mainstay of the front line, Dom Dwyer. Soni Mustivar played a ball out to Seth Sinovic on the wing, and Seth made a beautiful delivery to Dom right in front of the goal. Dom blasted the ball over a diving Tim Howard, and Sporting was up 3 – 0.
Now the Rapids did “score” a goal. In a penalty that could have gone either way, Soni Mustivar tripped up/was tripped up by Kevin Doyle. The referee awarded Doyle a PK, and he got the ball past Tim Melia for the Rapids’ only goal of the game.
Sporting’s defense continues to be spot-on this season. Together with Tim Melia, the back line is tied with FC Dallas in goals against this season only allowing two goals in five games (FC Dallas has only played four games though). Good thing Ike Opara decided that coming back to soccer after a few years of injuries was worth the work and the risk. He is really killing it right now. I would like to make another shout out / apology to Ilie Sanchez. In first article I called out Ilie for his passing, and this week he proved me wrong again by completing 51 of his 52 passes. Lesson learned! I am an Ilie fan for life!
Week 5 fun facts
Four Sporting players earned their way onto Teams of the Week! Defender Seth Sinovic and forward Dom Dwyer made the Goal USA Team of the Week. While defender Ike Opara and midfielder Roger Espinoza were named to the MLS Team of the Week.
Sporting has been having a little fun with photo frames through their app for every game. This week’s frame happened to be of my favorite player, Matt Besler. So I can now say I have a picture with Bes…more or less. Actually just less, but it was pretty cool.
This is something I have never seen before, Sporting had a theme night, but the theme night was not for the fans it was for the players! The players had a Russell Westbrook night, and it was great for some laughs!
I mean Saad Abdul-Salaam with the Tune Squad jersey…Graham’s huge chain…Kevin Ellis‘ poncho…Bes and the sleeveless turtleneck…fresh to death.
Sporting takes on first place Portland in the late game on Saturday. If you’re in KC we’ll see you at No Other Pub in the Power and Light District for the watch party at 9:00 pm!
Three points? A goal by Benny Feilhaber? A nutmeg goal by Soony Saad? I’ll take one of each, please!
Saturday’s game versus the San Jose Quakes at Children’s Mercy Park started off much like the rest of the season so far. Sporting Kansas City was creating, but not capitalizing, and Tim Melia was staying strong in goal.
*Before I go any further, you should know that there is no love lost between Sporting and referee Jair Marrufo. Some of you may know about the game against San Jose last year when Dom Dwyer was tripped by Andres Imperiale in the box, and was not awarded a PK. Afterwards, both coaches agreed that a PK was warranted.* With that said, there was a good bit of chippy-ness going on (read chippy-ness as Dom getting tripped up three times and play continuing each time). I know Dom has a tendency to “embellish” fouls, but not to that degree.
Now, moving on. There were so many close shots in this game! If the goal was one foot wider the score would have been something like 5-2. Benny missed just wide right in the 18th minute, Jimmy Medranda missed slightly wide left in the 39th minute, Dom tripped in front of the goal after beating keeper David Bingham in the 54th minute and he then missed the far post by about two feet in the 58th (the U-S-A chant by The Cauldron was a nice touch though).
This is the same issue we had the majority of last season. Sporting would get forward and make shots like no one’s business, but they couldn’t convert. The thoughts of many SKC writers were that we needed someone up front to help Dom, ala Krisztian Nemeth, and this off-season we signed Gerso Fernandes, Latif Blessing, and Dom’s Man Crush Monday Soony Saad.
Let’s see how this turns out once the team gets going and some more of these guys get worked into the Starting XI. One other worrisome note is Ilie Sánchez in the midfield. Some of his decisions seem a little questionable, and his passes aren’t connecting as much as I would like them to. Hopefully, he just needs a little more time to gel with the rest of the team.
But on to the fun stuff! Nearing the end of the first half Benny Feilhaber lofted the ball over David Bingham and into the corner for the first goal of the season! Bingham had no chance, and Sporting got to celebrate!
Luckily for Sporting, San Jose didn’t have much of an answer. Our defense was solid minus a terrifying two minute stretch at the end which led to a stoppage time goal by Florian Jungwirth. This would have been an issue, but Soony Saad’s 89th minute shot nutmegged David Bingham and rolled into the goal. We’re going to say it was a goal for Soony…the MLS is saying it’s an own goal off of Bingham…tomato tomato (that is way less effective when you type it). You know a goal is lucky when the team’s tweet about it is “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”.
The ending was probably the best part of the game. If you look at the picture at the top of the article you can see The Cauldron in the distance. At the end of the game The Cauldron sang “When the Wiz Go Marching In”, and the players sang, swayed, and jumped along. It was a great ending to an awesome game!
Week 3 fun facts
Captain Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have been called up to the National Team for the World Cup Qualifiers! You can watch them play against teammate Roger Espinoza when the USMNT meets Honduras on March 24. The other US qualifier is against Panama on March 28.
Forward Dom Dwyer is officially a US citizen! He had his swearing in ceremony on Thursday, so we may be seeing him on the USMNT roster some day soon…
Sporting KC did an “official” team bracket on Tuesday, and it was pretty interesting. The guys who had teams in the tournament got together to make their picks: Matt Besler – Notre Dame, Soony Saad – Michigan, Graham Zusi – Maryland, Ike Opara – Wake Forest, Cameron Porter – Princeton, Colton Storm – UNC. Ike basically took over much to the chagrin of his teammates. Ike’s picks were a Duke vs UNC final with Duke winning. Benny came in once everyone left and lambasted Ike’s choices. The video is on Sporting’s Facebook, you should check it out.
*Note: at the time of writing Duke had just lost to South Carolina. Also, the KU Jayhawks have made it through to the next weekend…Rock Chalk
Have a great spring break, everyone, and I’ll see you for the next game on Friday, March 31st at Toronto FC!
This was my matchday in a nutshell. As I mentioned in my “About Me” article I am a Graduate Student at the University of Central Missouri (UCM). Part of my job is to run the UCM Pep Band for basketball games. This is normally not an issue and a super fun part of my life, but this time it got in the way. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams, the Mules and the Jennies, were playing in the MIAA Conference Basketball Tournament in KC this weekend, and I had two games on Saturday. The Mules played at Noon, and the Jennies played at…you guessed it…6:00pm, AKA gametime.
My husband was lucky enough to get to No Other Pub, our Sporting KC bar in the Power & Light District, to watch the game with members of The Cauldron who didn’t make the trip up to DC. *Side note: Great job to The Cauldron and SKC for having the most traveling fans of any MLS team by far this week! Anyway, my husband was at No Other Pub and kept sending me updates by text, when he remembered. Here is the extent of my gametime commentary:
“Medranda starting as attacking mid, Zus right back”
“Gerso is contributing a lot”
“Melia saved a pen”
and that was it…please note his lack of punctuation. All of these things happened before 17 minutes on the clock. The lack of communication may have been helped out by the $30 unlimited burgers, wings, and beer at the watch party.
So, here are my thoughts from watching the game and highlights, and listening to interviews after the fact.
Sporting KC’s starting XI has gone through some changes since last year with the retirement of Paulo Nagamura and Brad Davis and Jacob Peterson being signed away by Atlanta United. Last year we also had a crazy defensive rotation that was forced by injuries. Hopefully this season we see a stabilized line up with Captain Matt Besler, a healthy Seth Sinovic and Ike Opara, and utility man Graham Zusi.
One of SKC’s immediate needs was to get Dom Dwyer some help up front. The answer for this first game was the addition of Gerso Fernandes and Jimmy Medranda on the wings with Benny Feilhaber and Roger Espinoza at attacking mid. Gerso has previously played in Portugal, and he made an impact right off the bat. Not only is he fast, but there was a play late in the game where he made a crazy shot from right inside the box. It would have been perfect if he had been another 10-15 yards out.
The player of the game definitely goes to Tim Melia. This may have been the hardest I have seen anyone work for a clean sheet. Shots seemed to come in flurries, and there was no relaxing in goal. Timmy also had some assistance from his teammates with Jimmy and Dom providing huge goal-saving headers in the 66th minute. Tim’s heroics in no way diminish the show put on by DC’s Bill Hamid. Dom, Benny, Gerso, and Jimmy all had some legitimate chances, and Bill was on fire, so props to Bill!
Though it was freezing out, manager Peter Vermes chose to keep all 11 starters in for the full 90 minutes. I don’t think this was detrimental to the team’s performance though, because the guys were still playing strong at the end of the game. It seemed like DC United was bunkering down in the last ten minutes, and SKC was still making chances literally up until the final whistle.
Some things I’m curious to see coming up this season are how Jimmy and Zus are utilized, Latif Blessing…period, and the return of Soony Saad. Blessing may prove to be one of the fastest players in the MLS, and he was the leading goal scorer in Ghana’s premier league last year. Look for him to get worked into the line-up soon. Soony’s return is also a big point of interest, because him and Dom have had such great chemistry on the front line in the past.
This week is the home opener at Children’s Mercy Park, and there’s supposed to be freezing rain…welcome to Kansas City.
Oh, and by the way, the Jennies lost…
*The Tuesday before the game SKC hosted a preseason kickoff party, and that was the best time! We got to meet a few players, and play drums in the fan march through downtown KC! I was on Dom Dwyer’s insta story, so that was pretty awesome.
My name is Kirsten Arpin, and I’ll be serving asthe MLSFemale Official Reporter for Sporting KC this season!
For the past year, I have been a full-time graduate student at the University of Central Missouri (Go Mules!) pursuing my Masters of Music in Wind Band Conducting, which could be jokingly described as ‘professional stick waving’. I received my bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Kansas, and I am a lifelong Jayhawks fan. I also like to play roller derby when I can.
My husband and I are both huge Sporting KC fans, and since he’s a Kansas State Wildcats fan, SKC is one of the teams we agree on! One of our favorite dates was the Wizards vs Manchester United games in Arrowhead Stadium in 2010. Once we moved to Kansas City from Manhattan, KS we attended as many Sporting games as possible, and at that point we were hooked.
After attending games where we could be seen sitting in seats all around the stadium, we decided to try out The Cauldron. That was the end of it – We joined The Cauldron immediately, and have never looked back. We’ve even gotten our dog Kevin in on the action, and now he goes by the aliases Dog Dwyer and Mutt Besler!
Sporting KC is an amazing team and organization. They have not only united the city to become the Soccer Capital of America, they also initiated The Victory Project, which works to help children who are fighting cancer or other health issues, socio-economic issues, or development issues. Sporting KC is not only a phenomenal club, but they are an inspiration to Kansas City and the people who call it home.
I am very excited to spend this season with you and to share all that is great about Sporting KC!