Kansas City Wizards 2000
2000 Club by Club
The 2000 MLS season turned out to be KC’s most successful yet, as they completed the MLS double, winning the Supporters’ Shield and their first ever MLS Cup, defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0 in the final.
The Wizards got off to a 10-0-2 start and went on to win both the Supporters' Shield and the 2000 MLS Cup.
The cup final was played on Oct. 15, 2000, at RFK Stadium in Washington, and Kansas City took advantage of an early breakdown by Chicago to net the game's only goal. Wizards midfielder Chris Klein stole the ball from Chicago's Diego Gutierrez near midfield and ran down the right flank before sending a pinpoint cross into the box that eluded several defenders. Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch failed to clear the ball, allowing Miklos Molnar to roll the ball home to capitalize on the error in the 11th minute. Molnar was KC’s leading goalscorer on the year with 12 strikes, so it was fitting his goal earned the Cup for the Wizards.
The 39,159 fans at RFK Stadium were on hand to witness a defensive master class from KC as Tony Meola stood on his head to take home the MVP award, after making 10 saves and his defense recorded yet another shutout for the 2000 season.
Head coach, and MLS coach of the year, Bob Gansler was in charge of KC’s remarkable turnaround from last to first breaking many records along the way. KC set the record for must shutouts in a season, 17, must shutouts in the playoffs with five, and had eight straight home shutouts without conceding a goal for 817 straight minutes. The main reason behind this success was MLS MVP winning goalie Meola.
The US international won every award imaginable including Goalkeeper of the Year and the team got off to a flying start, undefeated after their first 12 games, winning 10 and finished the season conceding just 29 goals.
KC went neck and neck with Chicago all season long, as they edged them to the Supporters’ Shield by two goals after both teams recorded 57 points, and then narrowly defeated them in the final. Lamar Hunt who had backed KC as an investor was on the pitch to celebrate with the squad as they won the Cup in D.C. in jubilant scenes. Their victory and overall season could well be one of the best comebacks stories in MLS history, after they bounced back from a horrendous campaign in 1999.