For the first time since 2004, Sporting KC will be playing the LA Galaxy this weekend as a conference rival. With the additions of Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA back in 2005, KC has played the Galaxy in cross conference match ups. KC has played the Galaxy more than any other team in the league, 53 times in league play going 19-23-11 (across all competitions they've played 62 times, four fewer than the 66 KC has played against Colorado).
The last time these two teams met as conference rivals was in the 2004 MLS Cup playoffs. Having won the regular season Western Conference, the Wizards earn the right to host the Conference Finals after turning around a 2-0 deficit in the conference semifinals to win 3-2 on aggregate over the San Jose Earthquakes. Meanwhile, the Galaxy had qualified after a 2-1 aggregate win over the Colorado Rapids, losing the first leg 1-0 in Colorado.
At Arrowhead a day before Pitt State and Northwest Missouri State met at Arrowhead, the Wizards and Galaxy took the field to decide the Western Conference representative at MLS Cup. KC scored the opening goal just 24 minutes into the game as a ball was played up top to Josh Wolff who beat Tyrone Marshall to the ball, touching it inside and played it into the path of Davy Arnaud who was racing into the box. Arnaud put the ball between Kevin Hartman's legs and into the net giving KC a 1-0 lead. Shortly after that, tempers started to boil over after a Peter Vagenas foul on Jimmy Conrad. Arnaud came up and got in the face of Vagenas, who was also on the ground after the foul. Galaxy forward, Carlos Ruiz came up from behind Arnaud and grabbed him by the back of the neck pulling him away. This led to a larger scuffle between the two teams, with Nick Garcia surprisingly enough playing peacemaker trying to pull his players away from Ruiz.
KC continued to dominate the play for most of the game, looking like a team that had already won the US Open Cup and had lost out on the Supporters' Shield on a tiebreaker, the Galaxy were over matched on the night. It wasn't until the 69th minute though when KC doubled their lead, with Arnaud again being the scorer as he continued his break out season that saw him score 14 goals over the course of the season across all competitions. Alex Zotinca played a nice ball into the box that Arnaud ran on to. As Hartman came sliding out to try to grab it, Arnaud touched it past him towards the end line. Arnaud turned and fired a shot from a tight angle that squeezed into the net, possibly with a little help, but either way it doubled KC's lead.
At the time it was one of the best parties I've enjoyed with the Cauldron, or at a game period (probably only topped by the win over LA in the 2000 MLS Cup playoffs). The season ended disappointingly in LA a little over a week later when KC lost 3-2 to DC United in MLS Cup.
Saturday though KC and LA will meet up as conference rivals again.