By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #SKCvORL | April 23, 2021

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With a momentum-building 2-1 road win over the New York Red Bulls in the rearview mirror, Sporting Kansas City (1-0-0, 3 points) will return to Children's Mercy Park on Friday for the club's long-awaited and highly anticipated home opener against Orlando City SC (0-0-1, 1 point). The sold-out showdown is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT with national coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO as well as local radio broadcasts on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

Friday's high-profile encounter features two teams that enjoyed successful 2020 campaigns, as Sporting finished atop the Western Conference regular season standings and Orlando reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history. This Week 2 battle will provide an early measuring stick for two ambitious teams aiming to reach great heights in 2021.

We provide a statistical preview of the mouthwatering matchup in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting are 2-3-1 against Orlando in the MLS regular season, including a 2-1-0 record at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Orlando has won each of the last two meetings in 2019 and 2020.
  • The sides most recently met on Sept. 23, 2020, when Orlando prevailed 2-1 in Kansas City. The visitors took a 2-0 halftime lead through Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel before Johnny Russell grabbed a goal back for Sporting.
  • Akindele has scored for Orlando in each of the last two meetings, including the lone goal in a 1-0 home win over Sporting on Aug. 14, 2019.
  • Sporting has outshot Orlando 66-23 in three previous meetings at Children’s Mercy Park.

Orlando City SC

  • 2020 MLS record: 11-4-8, 41 points (4th in Eastern Conference)
  • 2020 MLS away record: 3-4-3 (12 GF, 11 GA)
  • 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs: Lost to New England in Eastern Conference Semifinals
  • Week 1 Result: Tied 0-0 vs. Atlanta United FC on Saturday
  • Orlando's four regular season defeats in 2020 were tied for the fewest in MLS (11-4-8 record). All four losses came by a one-goal margin.
  • In his first year as Orlando's head coach last season, Oscar Pareja led the Lions to their first playoff appearance. Orlando had previously missed the playoffs every season from 2015-2019.
  • Orlando set regular season club records last year in goals per game (1.74) and fewest goals conceded per game (1.09).
  • Orlando hasn't lost back-to-back league matches since August 2019.
  • In 2020, midfielder Chris Mueller led Orlando with 10 regular season goals and placed second on the team with seven assists.
  • Midfielder Mauricio Pereyra finished two shy of the MLS lead last year with eight assists in the regular season.
  • Portuguese winger Nani led Orlando last season with 31 chances created, tallying six goals and five assists in 19 regular season appearances. He finished the year with nine goals and six assists in all competitions.
  • Midfielders Junior Urso and Andres Perea were the only Orlando players to appear in all 23 regular season matches last season.
  • Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese boasts an 11-3-6 regular season record and a 1.00 goals against average since joining Orlando at the start of 2020.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2020 MLS record: 12-6-3, 39 points (1st place in West)
  • 2020 MLS home record: 5-3-1 (18 GF, 12 GA)
  • 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs: Lost to Minnesota in Western Conference Semifinals
  • Week 1 Result: Won 2-1 at New York Red Bulls on Saturday
  • Sporting owns a 15-3-7 all-time record in regular season home openers. With a win on Friday, Sporting would tie the New York Red Bulls for the most home-opening wins in MLS history.
  • On Friday, Sporting has the opportunity to start 2-0-0 in back-to-back regular seasons for the first time in club history.
  • Sporting have scored in 21 of their last 22 regular season matches dating back to the start of 2020, including all nine at Children's Mercy Park.
  • In Saturday's 2-1 win over the Red Bulls, Sporting scored in back-to-back minutes of a regular season match for the first time since 2007 and the sixth time in club history.
  • Daniel Salloi's game-winner in the 60th minute of Saturday's win was his first goal for Sporting since September 2019.
  • At 19 years and 363 days, John Pulskamp became the youngest Sporting goalkeeper to play in an MLS match on Saturday. He also became the third-youngest MLS keeper to win a regular season game and the youngest to win a regular season road game.
  • Eight teenagers started matches for MLS clubs in Week 1, two of which for Sporting: Pulskamp and 18-year-old Gianluca Busio.
  • Center backs Andreu Fontas and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin combined for 19 clearances in Saturday's match, the most by a Sporting center back pairing since 2015.
  • Among MLS players with at least 10 appearances, forward Alan Pulido ranked third in MLS with 0.92 combined goals and assists per game last season (six goals and five assists in 12 appearances).
  • Pulido (six goals, five assists) and midfielder Gadi Kinda (six goals, four assists) were two of seven MLS newcomers with 10 or more combined goals and assists last season.
  • Forward Johnny Russell was one of five MLS players to record 20 goals and 20 assists in the regular season from 2018-2020.
  • Forward Khiry Shelton owns a 25-8-8 regular season record as a Sporting starter.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Friday will mark the 600th combined MLS match (regular season and playoffs) for Peter Vermes as a player (209) and a head coach (391). That’s the second-most in MLS history behind Jason Kreis (662).
  • Midfielder Gianluca Busio is one shy of his 50th career regular season appearance.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza is 55 minutes shy of eclipsing Nick Garcia for fourth in club history in regular season minutes played (currently at 20,103 minutes).
  • This will be Sporting’s first Friday home match since defeating Vancouver 6-0 on April 20, 2018.
  • Orlando is one of two Eastern Conference clubs scheduled to visit Children’s Mercy Park during the 2021 regular season. Sporting is slated to host Chicago Fire FC on Sept. 11.

#SKCvORL meetings

  • Regular season record vs. Orlando: 2-3-1 (7 GF, 9 GA)
  • Regular season home record vs. Orlando: 2-1-0 (4 GF, 3 GA)
Date Result H/A Details
09/13/2015 L 1-3 Away Krisztian Nemeth scores, but Adrian Winter brace and Bryan Rochez strike propels Lions
05/15/2016 W 2-1 Home Dom Dwyer and Jacob Peterson score late goals as hosts racks up a regular season club-record 34 shots
05/13/2017 T 2-2 Away Latif Blessing bags brace while Orlando receives goals from Kaka and Cyle Larin
09/08/2018 W 1-0 Home Felipe Gutierrez scores winner for Sporting in the 53rd minute
08/14/2019 L 0-1 Away Tesho Akindele nets lone goal of the game in the 21st minute
09/23/2020 L 1-2 Home Akindele and Benji Michel score before halftime as Johnny Russell grabs a goal back in the second half

Team Stats (2020 regular season)

(Source: Opta; MLS rank in parenthesis)

Category (per game) Sporting Orlando
Goals scored 1.81 (5th) 1.74 (7th)
Goals conceded 1.19 (10th) 1.09 (t-5th)
Shots 14.9 (3rd) 11.6 (17th)
Shots on goal 4.9 (8th) 4.4 (15th)
Shooting accuracy 47.3% (15th) 51.3% (5th)
Shot conversion rate 12.1% (11th) 15.0% (3rd)
Shots faced 9.5 (1st) 13.2 (17th)
Passing accuracy 80.8% (16th) 83.3% (8th)
Possession 49.5% (14th) 50.3% (13th)
Chances created 10.0 (8th) 8.4 (19th)
Duels won 52.1 (8th) 51.6 (11th)
Tackles won 10.3 (7th) 10.1 (9th)
Interceptions 11.7 (19th) 10.0 (25th)
Clearances 15.1 (20th) 20.7 (4th)
Fouls committed 12.3 (14th) 12.7 (12th)
Fouls suffered 10.7 (20th) 13.0 (6th)
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