Three Questions with the Blue Testament: Catching up with Sporting Kansas City

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Gartland of SB Nation's Sporting KC blog The Blue Testament (newly and excellently rebranded) takes some time out to answer some questions we have about Sporting Kansas City ahead of Saturday's MLS Cup rematch.

1) How much has losing Kei Kamara changed the club referring both to chemistry and quality at the forward position?

In terms of team chemistry it hasn't changed much. Sporting KC was used to not having him for the first few months of the season in 2013 and were able to get back into form when he left in September. He was a great teammate and was definitely liked in the locker room but Sporting KC has been able to adapt rather well.

In terms of quality the situation is quite different. Instead of having a sure-fire winger opposite Graham Zusi, there is a revolving door of forwards who are all trying to solidify a spot up top. This includes CJ Sapong, Soony Saad and Sal Zizzo. While all three have definitely contributed to the squad, none of them have been able to bring the talent that Kamara brought.

2) One widely held perception around the league is that Sporting Kansas City plays a very ruthless if not overly-physical brand of soccer. What are your thoughts on that perception?

I absolutely agree with the perception and welcome it. Sporting KC plays one of the most physical styles in the entire league and it works out. Yes, there is over-physicality at times but rarely is it dirty. Sporting KC had a ton of yellow cards last year, especially Aurelien Collin and Uri Rosell, but no red cards. Their style is a physical one but one where they are able to draw the line and to use their physicality to their advantage instead of as a detriment. They are able to out-muscle the bigger forwards such as Steven Lenhart and Eddie Johnson and are able to keep attacks from breaking through the back line. It's worked for three years running and I dint see it stopping anytime soon.

3) The fan base in Kansas City has shown to be reinvigorated as of a few years ago. What caused this renewed enthusiasm and what can other struggling fan bases learn from it?

In 2011 the entire franchise was given a fresh start: New name, new stadium and a new spirit. It was like an expansion team had been granted to the city and the city was taking it by force, except that there was already the organization of the Cauldron who had supported the team since the franchise was born. It didn't hurt that Sporting KC made a huge turnaround that year in the quality of soccer and finished first in the Eastern Conference. Winning heals a lot of fan base wounds that some other area teams still need to figure out *Cough Royals Cough*

In regards to struggling fan bases it's really not their fault if the front office doesn't invest a lot in building a relationship with the fans. Robb Heinemann and Co have made the organization accessible to the fans, they've worked with the Cauldron to provide the best game day experience, they've put wifi in the park, held rallies for jersey reveals, paid for away match tickets and provided the kind of service to the city that brings in fans. A good team will bring in fans but a front office that is willing to build a relationship with the fans will do wonders.

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