Continuing my new Throw Back Thursday thing, I take a look back at the very first home opener for Kansas City, back on April 13th, 1996. The KC Wiz opened the inaugural MLS season at home against the Colorado Rapids at Arrowhead Stadium, in front of 21,141 people (an attendance record for KC that would stand until 2002) KC won the game 3-0 starting a strong tradition of opening the season well, as the team has gone 12-2-5 in their home openers throughout their history.
After a scoreless first half, Kansas City scored three goals in a 12 minute span last in the second half to see themselves past the Rapids. The first goal came in the 71st minute when a low cross by Tommy Reasoner was fired on goal by Mark Chung. The shot was initially saved, but the rebound fell to Digital Takawira who knocked the ball home for the first goal in KC's history and bringing out the first Digital Crawl (funny enough, even though his shot was saved, in the official stats, Chung was given an assist on that goal). Six minutes later a cross by Samuel Ekeme was not handled well by the Rapids defense and fell to US international, Frank Klopas who knocked the ball home to double KC's lead. Takawira capped off the night in the 83rd minute. Eric Eichmann received the ball out wide, dribbling into the box and cut inside his defender before firing a shot on goal that was saved. Once again though Takawira was there to put the rebound home (and like Takawira's first goal, Eichmann was given an assist).
For me personally I don't remember a ton of the details of that night as a kid, but I remember being there, and I remember the buzz of the crowd before and during the game. Unfortunately we don't have the full game highlights, but last year as part of the SKC Vantage Point series, Sporting put the goals from the team's very first game online for our viewing pleasure.
The very first KC Wiz lineup:
Pat Harrington; Samuel Ekeme, Sean Bowers, Tommy Reasoner (Scott Uderitz 83), Uche Okafor; Matt McKeon, Preki, Mark Chung, Eric Eichmann; Frank Klopas (Diego Gutierrez 83), Vitalis Takawira