Sporting KC drops the hammer on Houston; win 4-0

Precisely 160 days had passed between MLS matches at Children’s Mercy Park. It was only appropriate, then, that Sporting Kansas City treated its fans to a show that was well worth the wait.

In a 4-0 smackdown of rivals Houston Dynamo on Saturday night, a host of stars delivered spellbinding performances on a historic evening made eve merrier by an electric, sold-out crowd whose hunger for MLS soccer was finally satiated after a five-month wait.

Before examining the individual accomplishments that stemmed from the memorable win, consider this: never before has Sporting opened an MLS regular season with consecutive victories by multiple goals. Saturday’s 4-0 triumph, if you need reminding, came on the heels of last weekend’s 3-1 defeat of Vancouver.

Moreover, 2020 marks the second season in which Sporting has scored three or more goals in its first two fixtures of a regular season. The first such occurrence unfolded in 2000 when Kansas City went on to claim the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield. Combine comfortable wins with explosive offense, and there’s a good case to be made that Sporting is off to its most dominant two-game start in club history.

“It was a great exhibition by the players,” said Manager Peter Vermes, who celebrated his 350th MLS match in charge of Sporting on Saturday. “As I told them, they prepared really well in this offseason, in the preseason and the first couple of weeks starting the season. All they had to do was go and execute. They were excellent and it was great for the fans.”

Great for the fans, indeed. In fact, the four-goal margin this weekend equaled the team’s largest margin of victory in an MLS home opener, matching a 4-0 win over D.C. United at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in 2010.

As for the headliners who thrived in the limelight? You better make space for red-hot newcomers Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda.

Both players found the back of the net on Saturday—Pulido with a predatory first-half finish off the post and Kinda with a cool close-range effort in the second half—to further endear themselves to the Children’s Mercy Park faithful. They also tallied their first MLS assists, making strong claims for MLS Team of the Week honors.

As you would guess, Pulido and Kinda have made collective history in their first two Sporting matches. They are now the third and fourth newcomers all-time to score in each of Sporting’s first two games of a regular season. The others to do so? Danish dynamite Miklos Molnar in 2000 and Argentine Claudio Bieler in 2013.