KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City will enter a lengthy offseason after missing the playoffs, but one thing they have to look forward to when the league kicks off again is their newest rivalry.
Beginning in 2023, St. Louis City SC will join Major League Soccer as the newest expansion squad, joining the Western Conference with Sporting KC.
“I think its great. We’ve always been under the perspective it is really, really important for us to have a rival,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said. “There were years ago we were building a great rival with Chicago when we were in the East then we got moved to the West and that went away.”
Though SKC plays in Kansas City, Kansas, they form part of the Kansas City metro, which already has a long-time sports rivalry between the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals dubbed the I-70 Series.
“I think they’re excited, our fans our excited, I can’t wait to see the atmosphere,” SKC forward Daniel Salloi said. “This is something I think we’ve been missing. Other clubs have their rivals.”
Salloi added that the Kansas City-St. Louis rivalry is very real and not something that is just being made up.
“The amount of comments I’ve heard from people that live in St. Louis and the people who live in Kansas City just going at each other over anything tiny; it’s just ready, I think. It’s just good timing,” Salloi said.
Since the rivalry with the Chicago Fire died off, Minnesota United’s matchups with SKC have been referred to as the “friendliest rivalry,” in reference to both clubs being in the Midwest.
But Vermes thinks having a real rival will continue to push the clubs and the league forward.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s games like that, that change perspectives in our league for our sport and also it heightens all the players all the staffs during the course of the season which is tremendous,” Vermes said.