"By The Numbers" is a season-long series presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation that gives a statistical preview of every Sporting match. To visit the series archive, click here.
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A point out of first place in the Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City (9-6-2, 29 points) will have the opportunity to put Wednesday's frustrating loss to FC Dallas behind them quickly when they visit Chicago Fire FC (5-8-4, 19 points) at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The cross-conference clash will be shown live regionally on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO as well as nationally in Spanish on Univision and TUDN. Fans can also follow the action on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM or catch an English-language stream via @TUDNUSA on Twitter.
Sporting have won four straight meetings against a Chicago side that sits just below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. Manager Peter Vermes' men will be less than 72 hours removed from a hard-fought road game in Dallas, while the Fire will be on full rest after their midweek battle against Minnesota was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
With plenty to play for in the first MLS match of the weekend, we take a statistical look at the matchup in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
- Sporting have won four straight meetings against Chicago dating back to 2017.
- Sporting are 6-0-1 in their last seven matches against Chicago, including a 1-0 victory in the most recent meeting on Oct. 7 at Children's Mercy Park.
- Sporting defender Winston Reid scored the decisive goal in the 1-0 win over Chicago on Oct. 7, his first since joining MLS in February.
- Sporting haven't lost to Chicago since taking a 1-0 loss at SeatGeek Stadium on July 13, 2016.
- Sporting's last visit to Chicago resulted in a thrilling 4-3 win on March 10, 2018, highlighted by a Johnny Russell goal and a brace from Felipe Gutierrez.
- Chicago holds a 26-18-11 edge in the regular season series dating back to 1998.
- Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia made his club debut in May 2015 with a 1-0 win against the Fire. He saved a penalty kick in the most recent meeting on Oct. 7 at Children's Mercy Park.
- This week marks the 20-year anniversary of MLS Cup 2000, which saw the Kansas City Wizards beat Chicago 1-0 to claim their first league championship.
- Saturday marks Sporting's first match at Solider Field since 2005. Sporting have gone 1-7-1 at the venue, with the lone win coming in their most recent visit on Aug. 10, 2005.
Chicago Fire FC
- MLS record: 5-8-4, 19 points (11th in Eastern Conference)
- MLS home record: 4-1-1 (14 GF, 5 GA)
- Last five regular season matches: 3-1-1, 10 points (W-W-T-L-W)
- Last Match: W 2-1 vs. D.C. United on Sunday, Oct. 11
- Chicago are 4-1-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents 14-5. That includes a stretch of three straight wins in which the Fire have outscored opponents 8-1.
- Chicago are 3-1-1 in their last five matches, with the lone loss coming to Sporting on Oct. 7 at Children's Mercy Park.
- Chicago have conceded 19 of their 26 goals in the second half this season.
- Chicago have outscored opponents 17-11 in the first 60 minutes of matches this season, but have been outscored 15-5 after the 60th minute.
- Chicago are 0-7-1 when conceding the first goal this season.
- Chicago lead MLS with 16.1 interceptions per game.
- Midfielder Alvaro Medran leads Chicago with 28 chances created and six assists, including both assists to C.J. Sapong and Boris Sekulic in a 2-1 home win over D.C. on Sunday.
- Defender Francisco Calvo leads MLS with 51 interceptions.
- Forward Robert Beric leads Chicago with seven goals and ranks second in MLS with 22 shots on target. He recently scored in five straight matches between Sept. 12 and Oct. 3.
- Midfielder Fabian Herbers has four goals this season and leads Chicago with 22 chances created from open play.
Sporting Kansas City
- MLS record: 9-6-2, 29 points (3rd in Western Conference)
- MLS away record: 3-2-1 (9 GF, 7 GA)
- Last five regular season matches: 3-2-0, 9 points (L-L-W-W-W)
- Last Match: Won 2-1 vs. Nashville SC on Sunday, Oct. 11
- Sporting will be playing their fifth match in the space of 15 days on Saturday. The club has gone 3-1-0 during that stretch, with Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at FC Dallas snapping a three-game winning streak.
- In Wednesday's 1-0 loss, Sporting became the last MLS team to be shut out this season and ended it's 16-game scoring streak dating back to opening day on Feb. 29.
- Sporting are one of three Western Conference clubs with a winning road record this season (3-2-1).
- Thirteen of Sporting's 17 regular season matches this season have been decided by one goal or less (6-5-2 record).
- Sporting have outscored opponents 13-7 after the 60th minute this season.
- Sporting are tied for the MLS lead with two wins when trailing at halftime this season (2-4-0 record).
- Sporting rank third in MLS in shots per game (15.1) while also ranking second in fewest shots faced per game (9.6).
- Forward Erik Hurtado ranks fourth in MLS with 1.11 goals per 90 minutes, having scored three in 243 minutes this season.
- Forward Johnny Russell has four goals and two assists in his last seven appearances.
- Sporting are 4-1-1 this season when defender Winston Reid starts.
- Defender Andreu Fontas made his 2020 debut on Wednesday, becoming the first Sporting player this season to finish with 45 successful passes, six clearances, three duels won and two interceptions in a match.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia has saved 11 of the 25 penalty kicks he has faced in his MLS regular season career, including four of the last five. His 0.56 goals conceded percentage on penalties is the lowest in MLS history among keepers who have faced at least 10 penalty kicks.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of his 50th career regular season shutout for the club.
- Melia is also four shy of tying Tony Meola for the most saves in Sporting's regular season history (507).
Recent #SKCvCHI meetings
- Regular season record vs. Chicago 17-26-11 (67 GF, 91 GA)
- Regular season home record vs. Chicago: 12-8-9 (41 GF, 40 GA)
|07/13/2016||L 0-1||Away||SKC: None
CHI: de Leeuw 19'
|07/29/2017||W 3-2||Home||SKC: Salloi 23', Feilhaber 45+1', Blessing 51'
CHI: own goal 28', Accam 78'
|03/10/2018||W 4-3||Away||SKC: Gutierrez 9', 86', Russell 44', Medranda 83'
CHI: Katai 70', Nikolic 74', 82'
|07/06/2019||W 1-0||Home||SKC: Croizet 14'
|10/07/2020||W 1-0||Home||SKC: Reid 67'
Team Stats (2020 regular season)
(Per Opta; MLS rank in parenthesis)
|Category (per game)||Sporting||Chicago|
|Goals scored||1.71 (t-6th)||1.29 (17th)|
|Goals conceded||1.35 (13th)||1.53 (15th)|
|Shots||15.1 (3rd)||13.7 (9th)|
|Shots on goal||4.5 (t-14th)||4.6 (12th)|
|Shooting accuracy||43.7% (22nd)||44.3% (20th)|
|Shot conversion rate||11.3% (13th)||9.5% (20th)|
|Shots faced||9.6 (2nd)||11.8 (12th)|
|Passing accuracy||82.3% (9th)||81.0% (15th)|
|Possession||50.5% (12th)||50.2% (13th)|
|Chances created||10.1 (9th)||10.4 (7th)|
|Duels won||50.8 (13th)||46.1 (22nd)|
|Tackles won||10.0 (11th)||8.5 (24th)|
|Interceptions||11.1 (19th)||16.1 (1st)|
|Clearances||14.8 (21st)||16.1 (14th)|
|Fouls committed||12.8 (12th)||14.3 (3rd)|
|Fouls suffered||10.9 (18th)||11.3 (15th)|