KANSAS CITY, Kan. — LAFC midfielder Ilie Sanchez was welcomed by Sporting Kansas City fans in his return to Children’s Mercy Park for the first time since his departure last offseason.

Sanchez and LAFC came out with a 2-0 victory over his former team, but left a message with the Kansas City Cauldron ‘family’ before returning to the west coast.

“Cauldron family, I’m so glad I got to see all of you before the game. Thank you for the warm welcome. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay, we had a meeting inside in the locker room and after that you were all gone,” Sanchez said. “I hope you know I miss you so much. I always keep yo in my heart and I hope to see you soon again.”

Sanchez spent five seasons in Kansas City winning the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and being named an MLS All-Star in 2018.

Just like he did in 2017, Sanchez said he is rooting on Sporting to win the Open Cup in 2022.

“Go lift that Open Cup, please! We will be rooting for you! I love you guys,” Sanchez said.

Sporting travel to northern California on Wednesday, July 27, to take on Sacramento Republic FC in the semifinals of the tournament with a spot in the championship game on the line.

SKC has won the tournament 4 times (2001, 2012, 2015, 2017) and is looking to become the active MLS club with the most Open Cup wins in league history.