Archive for Monday, October 16, 2000

Local backers elated with KC win

October 16, 2000


After five seasons of support, several Lawrence residents and Kansas City Wizards supporters celebrated Sunday night after the team's 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the MLS Cup final.

More than a half-dozen Lawrence residents made the trip to Washington's RFK Stadium for the game, won by forward Miklos Molnar's 11th minute goal and goalkeeper Tony Meola's 10 saves.

Mike Gaughan, the president of the Mystics, the team's unofficial supporters club, was nearly speechless after a win by the team dismissed by many as bound for second place.

"It's amazing. I'm still at a loss for words six hours later," Gaughan said. "I can't really say there were any low points. If nothing else, the lowest I could say was after the 55th minute I was so nervous, I could barely cheer my team on."

Mystics treasurer Jason Thompson, also of Lawrence, was nearly as spellbound.

"It was absolutely amazing. It was tense, because we got the goal pretty early," Thompson said. "Tony he was incredible, stopping everything. He deserved the MVP."

Meola, who had already won the season MVP award, the goalkeeper of the year and comeback player of the year awards, netted the Cup MVP for his performance.

Erin Simpson, who started going to games last year, also made the trek to cheer on the Wizards. Hampered by a cold, she still enjoyed the match.

"I'm a big KU fan, and the last time I remember feeling like that was when KU went to the Final Four in '93," Simpson said. "It's been a while, as a Kansas City native, to get that rush."

Luke Pfannenstiel said aside from the game, he enjoyed the weekend of activities for soccer fanatics, including the Supporters Summit, a workshop with coaches, players and MLS commissioner Don Garber.

"I like the fact that fans come in from all over the league regardless of whether their team is in the final," he said. "There's a great community of soccer fans across the country. Chicago had a large contingent that came. They were very vocal, but also good natured."

Before Sunday's match, Gaughan and former Mystics president Sam Pierron presented the MLS Supporters Shield to Wizards coach Bob Gansler at the MLS Cup Gala. The shield, created by Pierron and crafted in Lawrence, is awarded to the team who finishes the season with the most points. The Wizards bagged the prize with a team-record 57.

It was after that presentation that Gaughan and Pierron were in turn honored by the league.

"We received, on behalf of all the supporters clubs in the country, the Commissioner's award," he said. "It goes to any group or person the Commissioner believes is essential to the sport. To have everyone coming up and congratulating us is a strange twist."

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