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Sporting KC fall to Inter Miami in front record breaking crowd at Arrowhead

Lionel Messi had a goal and assist as SKC fell 3-2 in front of over 72k people at Arrowhead Stadium.



Lionel Messi prepares for a free kick vs Sporting Kansas City in a Major League Soccer match at Arrowhead Stadium.
Credit: Thad Bell

Lionel Messi bagged a goal and an assist in front of 72,610 fans at Arrowhead Stadium as Sporting KC fell by a final score of 3-2 against Inter Miami.

Exactly 28 years ago I was here at Arrowhead Stadium. I was a little bright-eyed redhead with a bowl cut that couldn’t possibly comprehend the momentous occasion. It was the inaugural match for the KC Wiz and the beginning of Major League Soccer in Kansas City. The start of a lifelong love affair with this club.

I no longer have that bowl cut, but I still had the glimmer in my eye as I entered the stadium on Saturday. Sporting KC had returned to Arrowhead to face the greatest soccer player of all time, Lionel Messi.

And the rest of his Inter Miami team too.

Peter Vermes deployed a 4-2-3-1 to combat the firepower of Miami, who were playing with all four of their big stars. The formation allowed for both Willy Agada and Alan Pulido to be on the field.

Erik Thommy got things going with his first goal in the 6th minute. Tim Leibold stole the ball with tons of room to run before setting up the German at the top of the box.

That lead wouldn’t last long. Out of nowhere, a quick diagonal pass from Lionel Messi put Diego Gomez on goal for a simple finish.

With Lionel Messi comes a fervor. Another level of excitement. Pink #10 jerseys filled the stadium. Unfortunately for the actual Sporting KC fans, the Argentinian wasn’t done.

It was exactly the kind of goal many of those fans were there hoping to see. But Erik Thommy was unimpressed. He was on a mission. In the 58th minute he scored another beauty to level the match at 2-2, kissing it off the post for effect.

The deciding moment came in the 71st minute off the boot of Luis Suarez. Gomez pounced on a mistake from Jake Davis and played it across the face of the goal for the 27-year-old Uruguayan.

The rest of the match involved a beachball, pitch invaders, and nine minutes of stoppage time. But Sporting KC couldn’t find the equalizer and the ref blew the whistle for a 3-2 final score.

The decision to move the match to Arrowhead Stadium wasn’t exactly popular with the fanbase. But it was a memorable night for the record breaking crowd of 72,610. It was the third highest attendance in regular season MLS history, and the largest crowd ever for a soccer match in the great state of Missouri.

The result wasn’t what I wanted, but the evening brought into focus how far the game has come throughout my life since those humble beginnings in 1996.

Up for SKC is another barn burner. Rival sT. lOuIs CiTy Sc is coming to Children’s Mercy Park on April 20.

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