Beyond the Box Score: Graham Zusi's winning ways

When Graham Zusi is on the scoresheet, Sporting KC is tough to beat and that trend continued on Sunday as the 27-year-old midfielder added his league-leading fourth assist of the year in the team's 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew at Sporting Park. 

It marked the 44th game in Zusi's 140 career MLS appearances in which he has recorded either a goal or an assist. In those 44 games, Sporting KC has won 36, drawn seven and lost...only once. The lone loss came, ironically, against Columbus at Sporting Park on July 28, 2012 -- a 2-1 defeat in which Zusi set up Kei Kamara, earning his first of four assists in his last five games against the Crew.

Here's his career breakdown:

IN...WINS: 17 goals, 33 assists // DRAWS: 1 goal, 6 assists // LOSSES: 0 goals, 1 assist

With the assist on Sunday, Zusi moved into a tie for third on Sporting Kansas City's all-time assists chart with the 35th of his regular season career.

Player Name A GP MINS
Preki 98 218 17817
Chris Klein 45 200 16380
Graham Zusi 35 130 9168
Davy Arnaud 35 240 19399

Among players with a minimum of 20 assists in their KC careers, Zusi's 0.269 assists per game average is now second-best in club history after passing Mark Chung (0.266) on Sunday and his 0.34 assists per 90 minutes played is also second behind Preki -- the leader in both categories (0.45 assists per game and 0.50 assists per 90 minutes).

Beyond his delicately chipped assist on Claudio Bieler's stoppage-time goal on Sunday, Zusi contributed on two scoring opportunities for Dom Dwyer in the 49th and 66th minutes en route to leading all players with five chances created. He ranks first among all MLS players in the category since the start of the 2011 season:

Player Name CC*
Graham Zusi 301
Brad Davis 292
Javier Morales 262
Mauro Rosales 224
Landon Donovan 215

*Chances created (including assists) in MLS competition (including playoffs)

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes spoke to Zusi's playmaking abilities and team-first style of soccer in his postgame comments on Sunday.

"Zusi could probably have been a little selfish and maybe hit that thing but he played a great ball over to Claudio and builds his confidence as well," Vermes said. "I think that's the great team spirit of the guys. We really don't care who scores, we just want to make sure that we get the three points."

That's exactly what Sporting gets more often than not -- 83 percent of the time, to be exact -- when Zusi grabs a goal or provides an assist.

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