KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s something about Soccer City, USA, that makes you want to stay a while.
“Clearly Kansas City does it right,” Sporting Kansas City stalwart Graham Zusi told a gaggle of reporters early Saturday morning, surrounded by anxious star-spangled fans ahead of the USA’s group of 16 game against the Netherlands.
“I don't know what the capacity is, but there's a lot of people here,” midfielder Roger Espinoza chimed in.
The duo, along with fellow league veteran Andreu Fontas, signed new deals with the club this week, cementing a "Run it Back" tour for Peter Vermes and club.
“I think we have such an amazing relationship,” Zusi said of his affection for KC. "I love the people here, love the sport and want to end my career here for sure.”
Zusi is SKC’s all-time appearance leader with 395 matches played in all competitions. Espinoza has spent 13 seasons at Sporting Kansas City and is one of the league’s longest-serving midfielders.
“Why?” Espinoza yelled, trying to hear a reporter's question better. “Because I want to win the MLS Cup. I felt like we fell short, and we did. We have a great team and you know we are always contending to make it very far.”
Sporting missed the playoffs last season for just the second time since 2011.
“I think the mentality of the group is fantastic,” Zusi said of this year’s team. "So I certainly see us going a long way and being contenders this year.”