Beyond the Box Score: Oriol Rosell's passing performance in class of its own

Sporting KC shatters MLS records in 3-0 win at Montreal

Oriol Rosell vs. Montreal Impact - May 10, 2014

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

There's the traditional box score. And then there's Beyond the Box Score, available on SportingKC.com. Take the below example for Sporting KC midfielder Oriol Rosell from Saturday's 3-0 win at Montreal.

Looks a lot more like binary code than a man of the match performance, no? Now consider the following.

VIDEO: ROSELL IN RIGHT SPOT

Rosell's lone shot, at the 16-minute mark, earned the game-winning penalty kick and resulted in a red card to Montreal midfielder Collen Warner for his goalline handball(s). And with that man advantage, Rosell led Sporting KC to a record-setting display of dominance from a passing and possession perspective.

Since Opta -- a worldwide leader in the collection and distribution of detailed performance data in sports -- began tracking Major League Soccer statistics in 2011, no club had logged as many attempted passes and successful passes or controlled as much of the possession in an MLS match (regular season or postseason) as Sporting Kansas City did on Saturday at Stade Saputo. And it wasn't even close, as illustrated by the numbers in the charts below.

TOP FOUR: PASSES AND SUCCESSFUL PASSES IN MLS MATCH (SINCE 2011)

Team Opponent Date Passes Successful Accuracy
Sporting KC at Montreal Impact 5/10/14 803 739 92.03
Sporting KC vs NE Revolution 11/6/13 673 566 84.10
Sporting KC vs NE Revolution 3/17/12 660 565 85.61
Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders 10/17/12 646 563 87.15

TOP FOUR: POSSESSION PERCENTAGE IN MLS MATCH (SINCE 2011)

Team Opponent Date Possession
Sporting KC at Montreal Impact 5/10/14 78.18
Salt Lake vs Chivas USA 5/7/11 74.52
Sporting KC vs Chicago Fire 3/16/13 72.8
Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy 4/27/13 72.24

Sporting Kansas City also claimed the second spot in two other statistical categories on Saturday: touches (961) and passing accuracy (92.03). But back to Rosell, who himself set single-game records for attempted passes, successful passes and touches by an MLS player since the start of the 2011 season.

In the second half alone, Rosell successfully completed 90 of his 91 passes to finish with 160 total successful passes on Saturday. To put that in perspective, Montreal recorded 173 successful passes collectively as a team.

TOP FOUR: PASSES AND SUCCESSFUL PASSES IN MLS MATCH (SINCE 2011)

Player Match Date Passes Successful Accuracy
Oriol Rosell SKC at MTL 5/10/14 166 160 96.39
Kyle Beckerman RSL at SEA 10/17/12 135 122 90.37
Osvaldo Alonso SEA vs NE 4/13/13 116 108 93.10
Dax McCarty NY vs SEA 7/15/12 111 104 93.69

TOP FOUR: TOUCHES IN MLS MATCH (SINCE 2011)

Player Team Opponent Date Touches
Oriol Rosell Sporting KC at Montreal Impact 5/10/14 174
Kyle Beckerman Real Salt Lake at Seatte Sounders 10/17/12 148
Matt Besler Sporting KC vs NE Revolution 11/6/13 141
Osvaldo Alonso Seattle Sounders vs NE Revolution 4/13/13 132

Still skeptical? See the data in action. Rewind your DVR and check out Sporting Kansas City's second goal on Saturday in the 34th minute: a 21-pass scoring sequence that starts with a goal kick from Eric Kronberg on one end of the field and ends with a first-time finish from Paulo Nagamura into the back of the net 120 yards away. At the core of that buildup is Rosell, contributing to six of the 21 passes.

To cap it all off, the 21-year-old Spaniard is not only asserting himself as one of the league's leading distributors but he is also doing the defensive work one would expect for a team that leads Major League Soccer with a 0.66 goals against average. Rosell ranks second among all MLS players in interceptions since the start of the 2013 season -- trailing only teammate Aurelien Collin -- and has won 37 of his last 40 tackles in MLS competition, a 93 percent tackle success percentage.