Fans' View

Fan’s view: Who’s your second MLS team?

OK PSP readers, I’m going to propose a nutty idea., so bear with me.

During the World Cup, PSP had us think about who our second teams should be, and it was a lot of fun. It got me thinking whether I would want to have a second team to root for in MLS.

But why would I need a second team you ask? The Union already provide me with endless madcap entertainment, and as recently, and aptly, described them, they are “the biggest mystery in the league.” Who could want anything more? Hard to believe, I know, but perhaps having a second team to root for could temper the roller-coaster ride that we Union fans endure each season.

The league has grown enough in quality and exposure to make me want to watch some games that don’t just feature the Union. It’s actually nice to see what other teams are doing when I can watch with a level head, but it’s no fun to watch games without having some interest in the winner. So I’ve decided that yes, I do want a second team.

Obviously, this is tricky. How could I possibly root for another team in the same league in which the Union compete? First, I need some ground rules.

  1. It obviously can’t be NYRB, and even though I’m sure I’ll want to watch NYCFC’s star signings, I just can’t root for a team from NY. To do so would be to deny every core of my Philadelphia sports upbringing. My friends and family could disown me. I wouldn’t be able to look my kids in the eyes. Not gonna happen.
  2. It should be a team from the East. The conference is so bad this year, we need teams from the East to perform well against the West. Better yet, a second team in the East would give me more opportunities to root against NY.
  3. It should be a team that gets some exposure and has a chance of being successful in the future so that I can see their games on TV and maybe get to watch them in Champions League.
  4. I have to like the team.

So, after some deliberation, I’ve decided my second team will be…Sporting Kansas City. I had to struggle with a couple negatives of course, the least of which not being the name “Sporting.” However, there are some real positives in my mind. Here are five big ones:

5. Kansas City

I’ve never been to KC, and I’m still not sure if it’s in Kansas or Missouri (just kidding MO), but because of Sporting it’s now on my wish list. The city has some pretty amazing features for footy fans. Sporting Park appears to be a proper football ground. Their fans make a pretty good showing on TV, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen empty sections of the stadium. While they didn’t create the “I believe” chant, they can lay claim to bringing it to US Soccer. The downtown KC Live street party looked like a cool place to be during the All-Star Game festivities last year, but the scenes of thousands loosing their minds there during the World Cup viewing parties were unreal. And now, they’ve announced the plan to build a $70 million Mecca of Soccer training complex, otherwise known as the US Soccer National Training Center. Kansas City is starting to earn their moniker of “Soccer City, USA.” Also, Jesus supports the team, so there’s that.

4. Those kits

As much as I love our Bethlehem Steel jersey, Sporting has a couple nice ones as well. I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to actually buy the jersey of another MLS team, but if I were to do it, SKC might be the one. The blue hoops design is a classic and the black with argyle trim (yes, argyle!) is killer. I bet they do pretty well on jersey sales. Call me superficial, but if you’re not my hometown team, I get annoyed by looking at ugly jerseys week after week (I’m looking at you Seattle).

3. Peter Vermes

He was a hero of mine growing up. Rooting for the New Jersey guys on the ’90 World Cup team in Italy, he became a favorite. It certainly helps that he’s from Delran, but there’s more to like than just that. We all know that he can be a bit –vocal — on the sidelines. While playing against SKC, this can be a tad annoying, but that’s the kind of manager you want on the touchlines in the end. He also has a clear vision for his team, as Sporting have been one of the few MLS teams to successfully implement an attractive, attacking 4-3-3 mentality. I have no doubt that his name gets tossed around the USMNT offices when coaching positions open up.

2. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler

What’s not to love about these two USMNT players? Just about as prototypically American soccer players as you can get, and they’re practically brothers. Drafted together in 2009, Zusi ended up being “adopted” by the Besler family and living in their basement for the beginning of his professional career. The fact that the two of them have been able to stay together, win an MLS Cup, compete in the World Cup, and now both re-sign with SKC is pretty amazing.

1. This maze
SKC corn maze

Courtesy of KCTV Chopper 5

It’s not just how impressive this maze is (I’m actually not convinced it wasn’t made by aliens), but it’s what the subject represents. Soccer is a major sport in the heartland of America now. It’s not just on the coasts or big cities where immigrant parents are the main influence any more. Big strapping farm lads aren’t just funneled into the single lane highway ofAmerican football anymore. They are embracing, and playing, soccer. It’s as American as apple pie…and corn mazes. Having grown up in the days where soccer was not considered a major sport, it is amazing to see how fired up people in the flatland are about the beautiful game.

I’d like to think I’ll be a Union supporter when I die. But perhaps even above that, I’m a soccer supporter. Sporting Kansas City seems to be doing everything right from a club perspective, and the fanbase is one of the best in MLS. From here on out, as long as they’re not playing the Union, I’m supporting Sporting (don’t try to repeat that five times fast).

What do you think? Am I crazy to want to root for a second team? Is SKC the wrong choice? Who would you root for?


  1. Adriana Lacy says:

    I don’t think it’s a crazy idea at all! Both of my parents were born and raised in Portland so I definitely consider them my second team. I love everything that team stands for. They will never compete with my union though 🙂

    • I am not in love with Portland but I do watch them when I can. I’d say they are my second team if anyone ever asked.

  2. Mine’s Columbus. I’m a lifelong southeastern PA resident except for when I was in college in central Ohio. MLS, and the Crew, began playing its first season in spring of my freshman year. Other events out there in the pointy ball sport at around the same time are the reason I have a soft spot for the Cleveland Browns today, too. Jeez, I’m old…

  3. I don’t really have a 2nd favorite MLS team, but there are teams that I like watching.

    Vancouver is one of those teams. They seem to be a very well run organization, their kits are sharp, they have some pretty exciting young talent on their team (Mattocks, Manneh, Koffie, Tiebert, Hurtado, etc.) as well as IMO, the best attacking player in MLS right now (Pedro Morales) The only drawback is the turf that they play on at BC Place.

    Plus, Vancouver is an awesome city to visit.

  4. When they get in, I see Orlando being my number 2 team. Rowdy fans, nice climate to take in a game, and you gotta love that purple.

  5. TJunior1014 says:

    I always thought that Portland and Philadelphia had a lot of similarities: we both have a ‘younger brother’ attitude to cities up north (Philly:NY and Portland:Seattle), both seem to have that gritty artistic culture, easy access to the coast and good public trans. We also both share a lack of championships and as it pertains to MLS, we both don’t bring in a ton of star power. Ex: Dempsey/Martins in Seattle and Henry/Cahill up in NY. That’s why Portland is my “second” team.

  6. I Still have a soft spot for DC United. Their games used to be shown on CN8 back in the day so i still kinda have a little love for them.

  7. Clearly KC is well run, with good talent, but as an opponent, I find them incredibly irritating. Too much whining, complaining, and BS. Most recently, all the “soft goal” chat after Brian Brown tied it up was a good reminder of how they seem to operate. I’d rather not have a 2nd team in the Eastern conference, where we are playing them 2-3 times a year.

    I don’t actively support a second MLS team, but have always admired Real Salt Lake. Competitive year after year, intelligently run, and fun to watch despite not having the deep pockets and marquee DPs. Add in Beckerman, who’s game is so clean and efficient, plus Rimando, and you’ve got a couple of USMNT players as well. They’d be my recommendation to those looking for a 2nd team.

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    Did you really say that Kansas City is a proper football ground? Wasn’t it during last year’s Union game that Peter Vermes was helping put the grass back in the ground?
    But considering my wife and I got married at a corn maze in Lancaster, I like the maze.

    • Haha! True! I forgot about that horrible pitch. I haven’t noticed any problems this year, so they must have figured it out. I meant that the feel of the stadium is a good size, fans close to pitch, covered well. Take a look at some photos of the player and press areas. On par with what you see in the best clubs in Europe. Definitely one I’d like to visit along with Portland and Vancouver.

      • They finally determined that bluegrass wasn’t going to live through the 95+ degree summers that we have here… Of course, this year we have had a relatively mild summer, though the bermuda grass wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t.

        They really put everything they could into the stadium – KC isn’t as cool of a place to live as NY, LA, Seattle, Philly, DC, etc. So they knew they needed a differentiator. Make sure you take the tour if you go.

  9. I certainly envy SKC’s front office, with their commitment to a vision, and their ability to pick up and plug in quality pieces without having the bright lights. And I kinda dug Jimmy Neilsen applauding the ‘Brigitte’ chant back in the day. But actually root for team with the dirtiest player in the game? No.

  10. neck label says:

    you mean the same fans who split neilsens face with his own bobblehead?

  11. kingkowboys says:

    I will never claim fandom for a 2nd MLS team. To do so is blasphemy in my opinion. If you lived in a city with another team be it moved there, born there, etc you have a justifiable reason. If it’s because you like the jerseys, the stadium, etc that doesn’t make sense to me. I could never identify with another team that does not represent where i’m from and where I live.
    Having said that there are certain aspects of other teams that I hope will rub off on the Union. 1) The fanbase in Seattle getting that stadium rocking is second to none in MLS. 2) The log cutting in Portland is utter genius. 3) Argyle kits are dope.
    I enjoy watching any MLS game regardless of who plays. Depending on the teams and what it means for the Union will dictate any rooting interest. I just love soccer, so any soccer is good soccer. Even NASL on OneWorld Sports.

  12. The Black Hand says:

    I love every team that we beat!

  13. SKC? So you’re a front runner then?

  14. I don’t need a second team. I watch any MLS game that is televised and I watch the teams that have influence on getting the Union into the playoffs.

  15. I root for the Rapids as my second team due to the fact that I go to college in Denver. While I’ll always be a Philly fan, born and raised, it’s a lot easier to root for my local team, too.

  16. Andy Muenz says:

    How about instead of having your second team be in the MLS, choose a second team that is overseas? As in “I guess I’ll watch the Tottenham game to help pass the time until the Union play again.”

  17. RSL because they have the best jerseys and that’s how I pick my second teams to the chagrin of the PSP editorial board. Gotta see what the new EPL jerseys look like…

  18. Portland Timbers.

    Beyond the borders though, I root for The Old Lady, Juventus- well truth be told – I follow Pirlo wherever he goes. Genius.

  19. Real Salt Lake b/c of Kyle Beckerman and Nicky Rimando. Two class acts who have put in many years of humble hard work. There are few other players like them in this league and they deserve all the respect in the world. Beckerman’s confidence and patience are nearly unmatched. He’ll pass it back to his centerback ten times and then BOOM, a no-look chipped through ball onto Saborio’s foot (2013 MLS playoffs, anybody?). Rimando’s comfortability with the ball at his feet is memorizing (and or nail-biting). Salt Lake supporters have quite the entertaining ball player between the sticks. Borchers and Morales are a different story entirely…
    That being said, I can’t wait for the next time Okugo pushes Beckerman to the ground and Le Toux slots one past Rimando.

  20. Seattle Sounders! Awesome fans, city, kits, Clint Dempsey, and DeAndre Yedlin. Had the pleasure of watching them play Chelsea 2 years ago in Seattle, amazing experience.

  21. I hate Kansas City more than I hate any other team in the league. So of course PSP goes and picks Sharting as its second favorite team – the same team that eliminated the Union from playoff contention last year and knocked the Union out of the USOC the year before. The same team with the player that tried to injure a recently concussed MacMath. How can you even have a second favorite team in your own conference?

  22. Nice article. If I had to chose i’td be the Galaxy. Love watching Keane

  23. I root for the Union players that I liked that are gone- Salinas, Mwanga (tho he can’t break the line up), Califf.

    Then its RSL. Years of pedigree. Beckerman’s Predator presence. Joao Plata (mini-scalpel).

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