A Smile in The Storm

When someone walks in the entrances at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, there is a lot to behold. There is the pavilion area that links up to a circling concourse. There is also the sun beating down on the stadium, affecting only a sliver of the pitch as kickoff begins. 

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In contrast, when a fan looks down at the pitch after beholding their surroundings they see a flurry of emotions. Frustration, annoyance, and irritation. These are the emotions of a struggling Sporting KC club who has dropped ten of their last eleven in MLS play. The decuple match for SKC being their recent loss to Real Salt Lake, the Western Conference leader. Sporting, despite scoring a trifecta of goals, allowed four, forcing them to drop yet another valuable point in the table.

Despite all the struggles and the worries of when they will turn it around, there is a shining light in the dark storm. There is a smiling face that gives hope that the results might soon become a reality. That smile belongs to none other than Willy Agada.

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Competing in his third year with the club, Forward William Agada is breaking out in a special way and the results are showing up. In the 2024 campaign, Agada has already competed in eighteen matches, just six shy of his first two-year totals combined. He has five goals, two of them coming in the previous match against Real Salt Lake.

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Agada has a lot to smile about. His passing rating is at a new height, he has already matched his season high in assists, and he feels like his shooting touch is back. Yet, it isn’t all smiles for the SKC striker. Following the loss to Salt Lake City, Agada admitted that his teammates and him are truly frustrated. The repetition of losing is affecting the team as he says, “I know you guys expect me to say something different than what we have been saying but it’s just that we have been going through a lot, the team has not been performing”

The frustration of losing is at the forefront of every member of the Sporting Kansas City system and will remain there until things change. Willy’s piece of advice to the team? “Keep our heads up and keep going”. The answer isn’t complicated, but, when directed, the answer shows the defeat in the hearts of the players. So many adjustments have been made and so many changes have been explored, but no results have come to fruition. 

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Willy is still smiling. Coming off a two-goal performance, he wants to cherish the moment and then replicate it as many times as he can. He says that “sometimes strikers go for one or two months without a score”. Despite a lack of offensive production, his mentality remains the same. “A chance will come – will you be ready?” 

The frustration of losing can not steal Willy Agada’s smile for very long, but it can hurt much deeper than that. If Sporting is going to have a turnaround similar to last season, it needs to start soon. The issue is, that soon might be too late. 

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