I don't normally do any Best Ofs here at the end of the year, but here are a few today. Some moments of the year, enjoy.
Game of the Year
8/8/12 vs Seattle Sounders
Really was their any other choice? The game itself lacked a little bit, but the atmosphere and the result combine to make this the game of the year. A goal from the spot by Kei Kamara led to the loudest cheer I've heard at any Sporting game. The equalizer from Zach Scott a minute later. A scoreless extra time period that saw Patrick Ianni sent off led to penalty kicks. Kei Kamara made the first to put KC up. Brad Evans equalized. Roger Espinoza had his attempted saved and Marc Burch gave Seattle the lead. Matt Besler leveled things and Osvaldo Alonso sent his shot over the bar. Graham Zusi tried to be cheeky but put his attempt over the bar while Christian Tiffert had his shot saved by Jimmy Nielsen. Paulo Nagamura stepped up to be the 5th shooter and his shot stopped by Michael Gspurning. The PK was forced to be retaken though as Gspurning was off his line. Nagamura buried his second attempt. Eddie Johnson skied his attempt over the bar and the celebration was on.
Goal of the Year
Julio Cesar vs Toronto FC 6/16
I'm not sure you can strike a ball better than Cesar did here, it's absolutely fantastically struck.
Assist of the year
Peterson Joseph to Jacob Peterson vs Columbus 7/14
I just love the way Joseph goes completely against the movement of the movement of the ball using the outside of his foot to play the ball through to Peterson, a fantastic ball.
Goosebump moment of the year
Roger Espinoza's standing ovation after being red carded at the Olympics
The summer Olympics in London were a coming out party of sorts for Roger Espinoza, he was a known commodity the past two years for Sporting KC in the midfield, but in the Olympics many others found out. Espinoza had played a fantastic tournament and it was highlighted by his man of the match performance against Brazil in the quarterfinals. Espinoza set up one and scored another in Honduras' 3-2 loss to the eventual silver medalists. But it was his play and passion overall that won over the crowd at St. James' Park that day. He ended the day early picking up a red card, but walked off the field to many congratulations from players and a standing ovation from the St. James' Park crowd. Many fans expected Espinoza to be leaving KC after this season, the Olympics just confirmed that and Espinoza will be plying his trade in England starting in January.
Off field moment of the year
Lance Armstrong/Livestrong Saga
With Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France titles for doping and the on going discussion over that, talk eventually turned to Livestrong Sporting Park. KC's home stadium that has the name of the foundation that Armstrong founded to help people during their fight with cancer. The debate on whether to keep the name or change it has been one that has been discussed not just by soccer fans, but by sports fans as well as casual fans, especially locally. So far, publicly Sporting Club has made statements about the separation between the Livestrong organization and Armstrong. Whether Sporting will end up keeping the name, or eventually switch to another name is something that will still have to be watched.
Low moment of the year
4-0 loss to Philadelphia 6/23
While season ending loss in the series to Houston is a downer, the low point of the year was Sporting's 4-0 dismantling that they took at the hands of the Philadelphia Union. Sporting conceded in the first minute on a Jack McInerney goal and conceded again in the 42nd. Goals in the 81st by Lionard Pajoy from the spot and from Antoine Hoppenot in the 87th sealed the rout. KC never looked into the game and desperately missed Matt Besler who was out recovering from his appendectomy. What made the loss all that much wosre was that while KC was 9-2-2 heading into that game, Philadelphia was 1-8-2 sitting on 5 points, 24 behind KC when the teams took the field.
Moment of anger that was quickly forgotten
MLS Cup 2000 trophy
As one of my wants/wishes for 2012 I wanted to get the 2000 MLS Cup trophy back from Hunt Sports' Group. James from Sporting Times started a grass roots movement to attempt to get the trophy back. Turns out the trophy was in storage and had been put there during the renovations of Arrowhead Stadium. During the process, it came out that one of the requirements for selling the team was that HSG got to keep the 2000 MLS Cup trophy. Clark Hunt was going to have the trophy put into a portion of the Hall of Fame at Arrowhead. But first, it would spend the 2012 season with Sporting KC and then the team would receive a replica to keep. I saw the MLS Cup trophy twice I believe at the stadium, both times in the Members' Club shortly after the announcement was made. The trophy was supposed to "tour" the stadium throughout the season, but I never heard anything else about it's travels. The good news is that winning the Open Cup helped people to forget the 2000 trophy a bit.