With the 2012 season 4 days away for Sporting KC, I thought I'd take a look back at past year's season openers for the club. Some of the earlier matches are blurred together in a mix of games from before my college years but I'll add comments where I can.
1996 - KC Wiz vs Colorado Rapids 3-0
The inaugural game for the team saw the Wiz pull off the shutout win over the Rapids. KC scored all 3 of their goals in a 12 minute span in the second half, with Digital Takawira scoring once on each side of a (71, 83) Frank Klopas goal (77)
1997 - KC Wizards vs San Jose Clash 2-2 (4-3)
The Wizards defeated the Clash in the 1997 season opener in a shoot out after the two teams tied 2-2 during regulation. Mo Johnston gave KC the league in the 13th minute. Eric Wynalda tied the game in the 50th before Preki gave KC the lead again shortly after. A 65th minute penalty kick from Wynalda got us to the 2-2 result.
1998 - KC Wizards at DC United 2-3
KC's first loss in a season season opener, also their first of 7 (including this year) against DC United. Johnston (5) gave KC a very early lead, but Roy Wegerle equalized from the penalty spot in the 13th. Johnston struck again in the 16th to make it 2-1 KC. Before the first half was over (38th), Wegerle had his second and the two teams were level again. John Harkes scored the winner for DC in the 75th minute.
1999 - KC Wizards at Dallas Burn 0-4
A dreadful start of a dreadful season for KC in Dallas for the 1999 season. With Tony Meola out for most of the season with a knee injury, and Chris Snitko out with another injury, KC signed Cesar Delgado to play in goal for KC. Delgado had a shutout in the first half, but Mickey Trotman (53)scored early in the second half, and the flood gates opened. A Jason Kreis hattrick (55, 80, 84) finished the scoring, and Delgado was basically waived on the plane flight back to KC.
2000 - KC Wizards vs Chicago Fire 4-3
KC's 2000 season started and ended against the Fire, but both games at least on paper look like they couldn't be more opposite. While the cup final was a 1-0 affair, the opener saw KC jump out to a 4-1 lead and then hold on late against the Fire. Miklos Molnar (14) opened the scoring, with Chris Klein (28) and Chris Henderson (42) each adding a goal before half time. Ante Razov (45) for Chicago also found the back of the net to make it 3-1 at the half. Preki (63) made it 4-1 in the 63rd, but goals from Diego Gutierrez (68) and Dema Kovalenko (90) made things interesting late.
2001 - KC Wizards at DC United 2-3
Another opener on the road against DC United. Once again KC grabbed an early lead through Roy Lassiter (18). KC's new winger, Bobby Convey leveled things for DC in the 33rd. Just before half time, Matt McKeon (44) put KC back on top. In the second half though, goals from Raul Diaz Arce from the penalty spot (65), and Mark Lisi (88) gave DC the win.
2002 - KC Wizards vs Colorado Rapids 1-1
Former Wizard, Chris Henderson gave Colorado the lead in the 16th. It took until the 78th for KC to find an equalizer through Chris Brown to level the scoring.
2003 - KC Wizards vs DC United 3-2
KC finally got a win against DC in a season opener, but it took overtime to do it. Preki (3) gave KC a very early lead. Mike Petke (36) and Santino Quaranta (45+) gave DC the half time lead though. Just after the hour mark, Chris Klein (61) equalized. Then in the short overtime period MLS had at the time, Chris Brown found the winner in the 92nd.
2004 - KC Wizards vs Chicago Fire 0-0
Tony Meola and Henry Ring pitched shutouts for their teams in goal that saw Chris Klein and CJ Brown sent off together in the 74th minute.
2005 - KC Wizards vs Colorado Rapids 3-2
KC ran out to a 2-0 in the first half thanks to goals by Josh Wolff (34) and Jack Jewsbury (34). An early goal in the second by Jeff Cunningham (54) made it a 1 goal game. Chris Klein scored in the 61st to restore the 2 goal lead. In the 81st though, Mark Chung made it 3-2, KC held on late though for the win.
2006 - KC Wizards vs Columbus Crew 3-1
KC opened the 2006 season with a win over the Crew without Jimmy Conrad or Josh Wolff in the line. Davy Arnaud (21) and Jack Jewsbury (25) made it 2-0. Kei Kamara in the 33rd brought Columbus within a goal, but in the 61st with 1 of his 2 goals that he'd score this season, Eddie Johnson finished at the back post to give KC the 3-1 win.
2007 - KC Wizards at DC United 4-2
The beginning of the Curt Onalfo era started well enough for KC. Michael Harrington scored in the 3rd minute to give KC the early lead. Sasha Victorine made it 2-0 in the 8th. Luciano Emilio cut the lead to 1 in the 11th before a Christian Gomez (34) free kick made it 2-2. Before the half though, Eddie Johnson made it 3-2 KC. Early in the second half, Johnson had an attempt saved, but Scott Sealy buried the rebound to make it 4-2.
2008 - KC Wizards vs DC United 2-0
Ivan Trujillo and Claudio Lopez both scored in the second half to open CAB in style as KC defeated DC United again in the season opener.
2009 - KC Wizards vs Toronto FC 2-3
Jim Brennan gave TFC the lead in the 33rd minute, the only score of the first half. Amado Guevara and Davy Arnaud then each traded 2 goals, Arnaud's being two blasts from outside the box as Toronto defeated KC 3-2.
2010 - KC Wizards vs DC United 4-0
Curt Onalfo's return to KC as DC United boss was not a happy one as KC destroyed DC. Kei Kamara (8) got things going early. Davy Arnaud (35) added another before half time. In the second half, Ryan Smith (54) scored on his debut before Jack Jewsbury (70) finished the scoring from the penalty spot.
2011 - Sporting KC at Chivas USA 3-2
A high point for me as it was the first road game I've actually been to that KC won. CJ Sapong scored 2 minutes into his debut to give KC the lead. Omar Bravo made it 2-0 in first half stoppage time. Jimmy Conrad came back to bite his old team in the 53rd minute. Bravo scored his brace in the 74th before Ben Zemanski got Chivas within one in the 84th. A bright start to the road trip, but it went down hill from there for the 10 game road trip.