KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Sunday, May 9, Sporting Kansas City hosted expansion club Austin FC at home in a 2-1 victory.
A few familiar faces returned to Kansas City including Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff and hometown hero Matt Besler.
This past offseason, Besler and SKC decided to part ways and the Overland Park native made his way south to Texas.
This was the first time Besler would take the pitch at Children’s Mercy Park wearing enemy colors.
Besler received a standing ovation of applause as he made his way into the stadium for warm ups and when he was announced as a starter.
After a nail-biting Sporting KC victory, Besler swapped jerseys with longtime Sporting teammate Graham Zusi and made his way to the Kansas City Cauldron.
Holding up a Sporting blue jersey with his No. 5 and reading “THANK YOU” across the top, he was met with more cheers and “thank yous” from the SKC faithful.
Besler then handed a letter to the fans to be read aloud, giving his thanks for his time with the club.
“Last year when I was informed I no longer had a future playing for SKC, I was heartbroken,” the letter started out. “What disappointed me most was not having the chance to play in front of you one last time, or to say goodbye the right way.”
Besler spent his entire MLS career with Sporting Kansas City, then-Kansas City Wizards, since being drafted in 2009.
He helped lift the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012, 2015 and 2017 U.S. Open Cup.
“Through all the wins, draws, and losses, I tried to defend and protect Kansas City with all I’ve got,” Besler wrote.
Besler may wear different colors now, but the Overland Park product will always have a place at Children’s Mercy Park.