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05 December 9:52 pm


Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman (@RobbHeineman) at Sporting Park // photo by Aaron Childers

This is a wonderful time for Sporting Kansas City. I couldn't be happier for all the amazing people I get to work with every day on something so incredible. I'm so thankful for the commitment the Patterson's, Illig's, Maday's and Curran's have made towards making Kansas City the Soccer Capital of America when it was so far from that in 2006.
 
I really want to thank our guys and their incredible leader, Peter. This year has been such a unique challenge with all the ups and downs, all the games missed due to call-ups, the events leading up to and culminating in the All-Star Game, plus all the things that could have prevented the boys from doing exactly what they've done: taking us for a ride I doubt many will forget.
 
But let's get to it...You are the most amazing fans in the country. What you've done to transform this team, this sport, this community is nothing short of epic. It's the greatest fan turnaround in the history of sports. Someone disagree?  If you can show me another example where crowds of 2,000 became 24-minute 22,000 person sell-outs, I'm all ears.
 
And that's just it...no matter how far we’ve come, how much we’ve achieved together, how much the rest of the League admires what you’ve become – I have to ask you for one more thing. Nobody has the capability to carry a team to the end like you can. It's going to be cold. It's going to be such a tight game. It's likely going to be uncomfortable at times. But I've had players on this team tell me they've never experienced the emotion they have when Sporting Park is in full voice; players that have played in some of the greatest stadia of the world. So this is your chance to finish what we all started with a championship for this City, for this Club, for all of us.

In 20 years, we all should be able to close our eyes and remember this Saturday afternoon - still feel the emotion, relive the energy, hear again the songs that will be sung and still take joy in the experience of this one match... SKC Nation: let’s leave it all out there.  
 
See you at the end.....

05 December 8:48 pm

Every January, when preseason begins, teams dream about taking this type of photo when the eyes of the world are upon you and you get to proclaim yourselves champions of your sport.

Thirteen years ago, the then-Kansas City Wizards -- led by Peter Vermes and Kerry Zavagnin -- realized their dreams. Saturday afternoon at Sporting Park, a new crop of players will take the field looking to etch their names in history. For this week's #TBT, we throw it back to the 2000 Kansas City Wizards, the last major professional sports team in Kansas City to win a league championship.

05 December 8:11 pm

Major League Soccer held a press conference at Three Points Club on Thursday featuring Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes, team captain Jimmy Nielsen and U.S. Men's National Team winger Graham Zusi in advance of Saturday's MLS Cup final.

Sporting Kansas City Manager, Peter Vermes 

On the growth of soccer in Kansas City...
"A couple years back when we built the stadium, it won stadium of the year, of the world. And there’s no doubt it’s the nicest stadium. And again, I don’t say that with any disrespect to anyone else, but it is. A lot of people have come to our stadium, to see a game at our stadium, to see our stadium. The amazing part is that this is the 36th game in a row that we’re selling out. Those people aren’t coming back because they want to see the stadium again. The people are coming to watch our games because of these guys next to me. The way they play, the things they do, their commitment to the fan base. From that perspective they come because of great play, off the field contributions, and I think that’s why there’s such a closeness."

On hosting the MLS Cup in Kansas City...
"It’s a great reward for the consistent performance by our team over the course of the regular season and now having the chance to host the MLS Cup here in Kansas City. I think that’s the significance of this MLS Cup. Kansas City has never had it here before, and now we have the opportunity of hosting and more importantly participating at the same time. From that perspective, it’s tremendous. But I would agree with Jimmy [Nielsen], and even Graham [Zusi] from his statement earlier, that as much as it’s nice to be here, we still have unfinished business and one more game. That’s what truly is our focus and these guys have been tremendous from that point of view the last two weeks in preparing for Saturday."

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen

On playing Real Salt Lake in the final given what they’ve achieved in the last few years…
"Personally, I didn’t think that far ahead when we started the playoffs. The first hurdle was New England and then Houston. When I was watching Real Salt Lake and Portland, I didn’t care. I haven’t thought about it being awesome to play LA Galaxy or Portland. All I cared about is that Sporting KC are in the final."

On the exciting...
"Of course it’s a very exciting moment. But we have to keep it as normal as possible. Whatever we’ve done the whole year, to prepare ourselves for each game, week after week, has taken us to where we are today. It’s awesome that there’s so much attention on the MLS Cup. It’s just a signal to how soccer is growing in America. We have to keep our emotions calm, but we are super excited."

Sporting Kansas City midfielder, Graham Zusi
On the team's expectations at the start of the season..
"Before the season starts, you set goals as a team. We knew we had a group of guys that could make it to the final, and win it as well. So I think we knew before the season started, and this was certainly the goal from the beginning."

On Real Salt Lake as Saturday's opponent…
"Having come back from a deficit in New England, and we were extremely focused on Houston as well. It wasn’t until we were through that and able to watch that second leg of Salt Lake and Portland that those thoughts kind of creep in your head, but I’m the same way as Jimmy. It’s two quality teams and both would have made a good final. Salt Lake came out on top and I think it’s going to be a great match."

05 December 7:44 pm

MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Sporting Kansas City players were in attendance today at the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City, MO to unveil a major makeover as part of MLS Cup Week 2013. Major League Soccer’s community service initiative, MLS WORKS, and Sporting Kansas City through The Victory Project came together ahead of MLS Cup 2013 to renovate the lower level family rooms at the local Ronald McDonald House over the past 10 days.

The basement was transformed by local TV celebrity and season three winner of HGTV's Design Star Jennifer Bertrand to benefit children and families who will stay in the Ronald McDonald House during treatments at Kansas City area hospitals. The Sporting Kansas City-themed rooms include great items for all ages including a specially made foosball table featuring the team’s players.

Check out the video above and photos below from today's commemoration ceremony.

05 December 6:05 pm

#SKCvRSL MATCH-UP

  • First time in MLS history for two former MLS players to meet as coaches in MLS Cup.
  • Both teams have won MLS Cup once before: KC (2000), RSL (2009).
  • Sporting KC is 8-5-3 all-time against Real Salt Lake in the regular season (no postseason meetings) and have lost at home only once in the series (2009).
  • Real Salt Lake has never scored at Sporting Park in two previous trips.
  • Saturday's match (Dec. 7) will be the latest in the year in MLS history.

SPORTING KC

  • Sporting KC in MLS Cup for third time in team history (2000, 2004, 2013). Sporting KC has played the third most postseason games (41) among all teams in MLS history behind the Chicago Fire (43) and LA Galaxy (64).
  • Since 1998, Sporting Kansas City has only one home playoff loss: a 2-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Championship in 2011. The team is 12-1-2 at home over that span.
  • Sporting KC has the second most regular season home wins (150) in MLS history behind only the LA Galaxy (166).
  • Sporting Kansas City has played 44 games in all competition this season (MLS, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League). Sporting KC has lost only one match by more than one goal across 44 games in all competition.
  • Sporting KC has held opponents to a goal or fewer in 30 of the team's 38 MLS matches this season.
  • Sporting KC used 30 different lineups in 38 MLS matches this season due to injuries, international duty, etc.
  • Sporting KC was 15-2-3 with nine straight wins in the regular season in 2013 when scoring first and 11-1-1 with eight straight wins when leading at halftime.
  • Sporting KC was 13-0-1 in the regular season in 2013 when leading at the 75th minute and 0-9-0 when trailing at the 75th minute.
  • Paulo Nagamura leads all Sporting KC players with 13 postseason appearances and is only player on the team's roster to have played in an MLS Cup (2005).
  • Seth Sinovic and Jimmy Nielsen have started all 19 of the team's wins in MLS competition (including playoffs) this season, earning two more victories than any other player in MLS.
  • Seth Sinovic has started and played every minute in each of the team's last 20 MLS matches, the longest active games played streak on the team. Sinovic leads all Sporting KC players with 3,613 minutes played in all competition this season.
  • Six Sporting KC players to have started all nine of the team's playoff matches in the last three seasons: Jimmy Nielsen, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi.
  • Dom Dwyer has scored 26 goals across all competition, including goals in six different competitions: MLS regular season, MLS Cup playoffs, USL Pro regular season, USL Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.
  • Saturday will be Dwyer's second league final in 2013.
  • Dom Dwyer leads all MLS players with six shots on goal in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Jimmy Nielsen's 0.86 goals against average in the postseason is fourth best in MLS history among goalkeepers with 300 minutes played.
  • Aurelien Collin (24) and Matt Besler (23) lead all players in the postseason in interceptions.
  • Oriol Rosell has won 19 of 20 tackles in the postseason, a success rate of 95%. His 20 tackles rank second most by any player in the postseason.
  • Graham Zusi has completed the most dribbles (9) of any player in the postseason.
  • Sporting KC is 17-0-2 when C.J. Sapong scores in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Peter Vermes became the second coach in MLS history to win 17 or more regular season games in back-to-back seasons in non-shootout era.
  • Vermes led the second youngest roster in MLS to a postseason berth for third consecutive season and within one point of Supporters' Shield.
  • Among the top six teams in 2013, Sporting KC was only team with a single Designated Player.

REAL SALT LAKE

  • Real Salt Lake is in MLS Cup for second time in team history (2009).
  • Seven current members of Real Salt Lake were on the 2009 MLS Cup winning squad, with six in the starting lineup (Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Robbie Findley, Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales).
  • Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando have played every minute of all 18 playoff games in Real Salt Lake team history.
  • Real Salt Lake is 7-8-4 (.474) on the road in 2013 in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Jason Kreis' three wins and .750 winning percentage are best among coaches in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Robbie Findley has scored in back-to-back postseason matches for Real Salt Lake. He is RSL's all-time leading scorer in the postseason with six goals.
  • Real Salt Lake is the top scoring team in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs with 1.75 goals per game and the top defensive team in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 0.69 goals against average.
  • Real Salt Lake has won each of their last three MLS Cup Playoffs games this postseason. Their road win on Nov. 24 snapped a seven-game road winless streak in the postseason dating back to 2009.
  • Javier Morales' nine postseason assists ranks him eighth on the MLS all-time chart. His four game-winning assists in the postseason are fourth most in MLS history, one shy of the all-time record held by Marco Etcheverry, Cobi Jones and Brian Mullan.
  • Javier Morales has created 21 chances in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs, the most by a player in the postseason in the last three years.
  • Nick Rimando's 0.69 goals against average is best among all goalkeepers in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Nick Rimando's 30 postseason games played, 106 saves, 13 wins and 12 shutouts are third most in MLS history. His next shutout will tie Zach Thornton for second most on the MLS all-time chart.
  • Kyle Beckerman's nine postseason cautions ranks him fourth on the MLS all-time chart.
  • Nick Rimando led MLS with two penalty kicks saved in the 2013 regular season.

SPORTING PARK

  • Sporting KC is 11-5-3 (.658) at home in 2013 and 32-11-13 (0.688) at Sporting Park since the stadium opened in 2011 in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • MLS Cup is being held in Kansas City for the first time. Sporting Park is the first stadium to host the MLS All-Star Game, U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS Cup in the same year.
  • Sporting Park is the only venue to host the U.S. Men's National Team each of the last three years.
  • Saturday's match will be the 36th consecutive MLS sell out at Sporting Park dating back to 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City set a new club attendance record of 335,058 (19,709 per match) for the 2013 Major League Soccer regular season. The number improves on last season’s record attendance average of 19,404.

LEAGUE LEADERS

Real Salt Lake

  • Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 64 goals in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013, including a league best 58 goals from inside the penalty area and 37 right footed goals.
  • Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 187 shots on goal in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 16,855 passes and 13,442 successful passes in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013. RSL led MLS with 9,925 passes in their opponent's half in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 25,221 touches in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 43 clean sheets in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 19 penalties conceded in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 19 goal assists from dead ball in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake leads MLS with a 71.94% passing accuracy in their opponent's half in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • The club's 79.75% passing accuracy was also best in MLS, including a 91.08% passing accuracy in their own half, in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Additionally, the team's 66.55% passing accuracy in the final third was best in MLS during the 2013 regular season.
  • Real Salt Lake had the highest save percentage (93.02%) in MLS for shots from outside the penalty area in 2013.
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake has the highest save percentage (72.62%) in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Real Salt Lake had the most penalty kick goals (6) among all MLS teams in the 2013 regular season.
  • Javier Morales' 118 chances created (incl. assists) in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 are most in MLS. Graham Zusi ranks third with 94.
  • Javier Morales' 77 chances created from open play in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 are most in MLS.
  • Javier Morales' 1,462 passes in the opponent's half and 941 passes in the final third in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 are most in MLS. His 1,153 successful passes in the opponent's half in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 also lead the league.
  • Javier Morales' 2,677 touches are the most in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Kyle Beckerman's 2,068 passes in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 are most in MLS, followed by Javier Morales with 1,946. Beckerman's 1,700 successful passes in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 also lead the league.

Sporting Kansas City

  • Sporting KC led MLS with a 29.94% accuracy rate on crosses/corners in the 2013 regular season.
  • Since 2011, Sporting KC led MLS with 622 crosses/corners in the regular season.
  • Since 2011, Sporting KC led MLS with 214 successful corners into the penalty area in the regular season.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 431 chances created (incl. assists) in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 98 chances created from set play in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Since 2011, Sporting KC leads MLS with 32 goal assists from set play in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Since 2011, Sporting KC led MLS with 896 chances created from open play in the regular season.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 575 shots in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 4,573 duels and 2,315 duels won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 1,441 aerials and 798 aerials won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 814 tackles and 626 tackles won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 1,272 clearances (incl. punches) and 808 headed clearances in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 917 interceptions in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC led MLS with the fewest corners conceded (134) in the 2013 regular season.
  • Sporting KC led MLS with fewest goals conceded (30) in the 2013 regular season, including a league low 25 from inside the penalty area.
  • Sporting KC led MLS with the fewest shots conceded (301) and shots on goal conceded (100) in the 2013 regular season.
  • Sporting KC led MLS with 92 headed shots and 14 headed goals during the regular season. Sporting KC leads MLS with 38 headed shots on goal in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 565 fouls conceded and 488 fouls won in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS with 71 cautions in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Aurelien Collin leads MLS with 14 cautions in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013. Oriol Rosell ranked second with 10.
  • Since 2011, Sporting KC has the fewest goalkeeper drops (4) in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Aurelien Collin's 342 clearances, 284 duels won, 256 headed clearances and 159 aerials won are most in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.
  • Oriol Rosell's 149 interceptions are most in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013. Aurelien Collin ranks second with 141.
  • Graham Zusi's 145 corners in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 are most in MLS, including a league high 53 successful corners into the penalty area.
  • His 90 successful crosses/corners in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013 also lead the league.
  • Graham Zusi leads MLS with 57 chances created from set play in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013.

TOP TWO

  • Sporting Kansas City was second in possession with 55.22% in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013, trailing only Real Salt Lake (55.59%).
  • Since 2011, RSL (54.75%) and Sporting KC (53.05%) rank first and second in possession in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Sporting KC (17) and Real Salt Lake (16) lead all playoff teams in headed shots in the postseason. No other team had more than 10.
  • Real Salt Lake had the second most road wins (7) in MLS competition (including playoffs) in 2013, behind only Sporting KC (8).
  • Since 2011, Sporting KC led MLS with 229 chances created from set play in the regular season. Real Salt Lake ranked second with 185.
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC are tied for the MLS lead with 180 cautions in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Since 2011, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City have had the two best defenses in Major League Soccer among teams that competed all three seasons. Sporting Kansas City (105) and Real Salt Lake (121) have allowed the fewest goals in MLS competition (including playoffs). Sporting KC (1,028) and Real Salt Lake (1,150) also had the fewest shots faced in the regular season.
  • Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake have won the most MLS matches (including playoffs) of all teams in 2013 with 19 victories each.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads all 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs teams with 74 shots in the postseason. Real Salt Lake is second with 55.
  • Benny Feilhaber's 13 chances created in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs are second most behind Javier Morales (21).
  • Javier Morales leads all players with three assists in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. Sporting Kansas City's Benny Feilhaber is second with two.

MILESTONES

  • Peter Vermes could become the second individual in league history to win MLS Cup as player (2000, KC) and coach.
  • MLS Cup 2013 could be C.J. Sapong's 100th game played in MLS competition (including playoffs).
  • Chance Myers will celebrate his 26th birthday on the day of MLS Cup (Dec. 7).
05 December 4:17 pm

To get everyone prepared for Saturday's MLS Cup, I'll be taking an in-depth look at Real Salt Lake with some help from broadcaster Brian Dunseth. In part four of Scouting RSL, we look at the club's midfielders.

Key Players

Javier Morales (nine goals, 13 assists) - A creative midfielder who is the key Real Salt Lake's attack

Kyle Beckerman (4 goals, 6 assists) - One of the most consistent defensive midfielders who will likely be matched up against Benny Feilhaber and/or Graham Zusi

Dunny's take

"It's been similar (RSL's formation/style of play in midfield) but at the same time you know they lost Will Johnson, an All-Star and it was a big loss. They were forced to make some tough decisions because they got knocked out of Champions League and the financial ramifications and salary cap implications. What Will Johnson going to Portland did was it allowed Luis Gil to get a lot more minutes as well as Ned Grabavoy to not have to share as many minutes. I think Jason leaned on Ned in a way he didn't previously. I think the same can be said for Luis Gil. Luis' development has been phenomal this year. He's been so good and no one is talking about him being only 20 years old anymore. He's just very good two-way player. I think he's one of the best young players in this league and if he's on another team maybe he gets a little more shine but because he's on Real Salt Lake and he's got to share the spotlight with so many good players. I don't think people dismiss him but maybe they overlook how good of a player he is. Kyle Beckerman again has had another Best XI worthy year. He's been phenomal all year long. I think the same could be said for Javier Morales. I think he's been one of the best foreign players this year on both sides of the ball. He's got double digits in goals and assists in all competitions. He's just one of those unique players that can change the game in a split second. Despite his lack of size, strength, and stature, technically he's capable of doing what very very few players in this league are capable of doing. That's pretty much the solid four that Jason Kreis goes with (in midfield)."

Notable Stats

  • Kyle Beckerman leads MLS with 2068 passes (regular season & postseason)
  • Javier Morales leads MLS with 118 chances created (regular season & posteason)
  • Ned Grabavoy leads the RSL midfield with a 87.73% passing accuracy
  • Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 16855 passes and 55.59% possession
05 December 1:50 pm

It's been 13 years since Sporting Kansas City won MLS Cup. The then-Kansas City Wizards, defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 in front of 39,000 fans at RFK Stadium with current Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes and assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin leading the charge from their central defense and central midfield positions.

So how much does Zavagnin remember about that night at RFK? We tested his knowledge with a little MLS Cup quiz:

Jamila St. Ann: Who scored the game-winning goal, and what minute did he score?
Kerry Zavagnin: Miklos Molnar, and I’m going to say the 22nd minute. I don’t know if the minute is right.

JS: Molnar is right, but he scored in the 11th minute.
KZ: Oh man. I knew it was early.

JS: And who was the Championship MVP?
KZ: Tony Meola.

JS: Who was the season MVP?
KZ: Um, Preki I think.
JS: Tony Meola

JS: Chicago drastically out shot us in the final. Do you remember by how much?
KZ: *laughs* Oh my gosh. 18-3.
JS: Close, it was 20-6.

JS: That season, who committed more fouls, you or Peter Vermes?
KZ: *laughs* I’m going to say me.
JS: Correct. Who suffered the most fouls, of any player that season?
KZ: I’m going to say me again.
JS: It was you!

JS: Whom did we beat to get to MLS Cup Final 2000?
KZ: LA Galaxy, 1-0.
JS: Correct!

JS: Who scored more goals that season, you or Peter?
KZ: Oh my gosh! I’m going to say Peter. Wait, was it tied?
JS: It was tied! Two goals each and three assists each.

JS: Compare the feeling of coaching a championship season, to playing a championship season.
KZ: It’s much different preparation. As a player, you’re only thinking about the game and what you have to do in the game. As a coach, you have to think about the entire group and prepare them all, mentally and physically and tactically for the task at hand. It’s a much bigger project to take on as a coach. And although I’m just an assistant coach it’s a bigger task than just worrying about yourself and how you work within the team.

JS: What advice are you giving this team, having the knowledge of knowing what playing in a championship is like?
KZ: There are a couple pieces. One, is that you don’t get as many opportunities as you think. Especially some of the younger players who’ve been professionals for a couple of years, getting a first taste of a championship game, you often think that if we don’t get it done now, there will be plenty more other opportunities. That’s not necessarily the case. The other piece is to try and encourage the guys to understand that they’re  going through a great moment in their careers. To make sure they understand, while they may feel the pressure of the moment, it’s about enjoying the moment. That’s something I want to pass to them as well.

JS: While players and coaches often say they don’t get nervous, per se, but are you more nervous now coaching than when you were more in control playing?
KZ: Maybe. It happens right when you’re done playing. That you feel like you’re helpless, just sitting on the sidelines. I think after coaching for a couple of years, like all of us have, it gets to be more a relaxed feeling. When you have players like we do, and you have the confidence in them that we have, it makes it a lot easier to go out there and feel that they’re going to get the job done, for everybody involved.

05 December 1:29 pm

Sporting Kansas City returns to the MLS Cup for the first time since 2004 as they host Real Salt Lake on December 7. The two sides have met once this season with Sporting KC earning a dramatic 2-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 20. Sporting KC is making their third appearance in an MLS Cup while Real Salt Lake is making their second. Both teams have won the MLS Cup once in club history.

A few in-depth stats (MLS Cup Playoffs)

  • Matt Besler leads MLS with 24 interceptions
  • Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales leads MLS with 21 chances created
  • Uri Rosell leads MLS with 20 tackles won
  • Javier Morales leads MLS with 189 passes in the opponent's half
  • Aurelien Collin leads MLS with 47 aerial duels won
  • Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman leads MLS with 64 passes into the final third

All-Time Records (MLS Cup Playoffs)

Sporting KC: 17-18-6 (15-4-2 at home)

Houston: 7-6-5 (2-4-4 on the road)

2013 MLS Cuo Playoffs Leaders

Sporting KC Stat Real Salt Lake
Aurelien Collin 2 GOALS Findley/Schuler 2
Feilhaber 2 ASSISTS Morales 3
Uri Rosell 8 FOULS COMMITTED Schuler/Saborio 7
Feilhaber/Zusi 9 FOULS WON Beltran/Findley/Morales 6
Benny Feilhaber 13 CHANCES CREATED Javier Morales 21
Matt Besler 24 INTERCEPTIONS Chris Schuler 14
Jimmy Nielsen 6 SAVES Nick Rimando 6

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs Team Stats

  Sporting KC Real Salt Lake
Goals Scored (Allowed) 7 (4) 6 (3)
Shots (on goal) 74 (20) 55 (19)
Fouls Committed (Suffered) 54 (65) 62 (53)
Offsides 9 7
Corner Kicks 18 21
Passes per match 451 401
Passing Accuracy 77.76% 73.6%
Duels Success Rate 52.21% 49.68%
Possesion 57.05% 48.56%
05 December 12:44 pm

Leading up MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Park on December 7, we'll be counting down Sporting KC's Top 10 moments on the Quest for MLS Cup this season. Today, we look at No. 2 which features the goal that sent Sporting KC into the Eastern Conference Championship.

November 6, 2013 was one of the most dramatic and electric evenings in the history of Sporting Park. In the second half of overtime, Sporting KC were tied 3-3 on aggregate and needed one more goal to advance into the next round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Benny Feilhaber intercepted a Matt Reis throw, dribbled towards goal, and sent a perfectly placed pass to Claudio Bieler. The Argentine calmly redirected it into the back of goal as the Sporting Park crowd went crazy.

Here's No. 2 in our countdown, Bieler's overtime goal at Sporting Park on November 6.