"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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The newest chapter of an illustrious rivalry between Sporting Kansas City (1-0-1, 4 points) and Real Salt Lake (1-0-0, 3 points) will be written Saturday when the sides lock horns at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The Western Conference clash is slated for 1 p.m. CT with live coverage on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, the Bally Sports app and BallySports.com as well as ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM.
Both sides have enjoyed encouraging starts to the 2021 campaign, with Sporting on four points from two games and RSL emerging victorious in their season opener last weekend. Manager Peter Vermes' men won both head-to-head meetings in 2020 and will look to continue their triumphant ways by spoiling RSL's first home match of the year.
We take a statistical look at the matchup in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
- Sporting hold an 11-13-8 record against RSL in the regular season series and an even 14-14-10 mark in all competitions.
- Sporting have a 4-9-3 road record in the regular season series, but won 2-0 on their most recent visit to Rio Tinto Stadium last November with goals from Khiry Shelton and Erik Hurtado.
- Sporting are 3-8-5 in their last 16 regular season meetings against RSL since 2014 but have won each of the last two, including a 2-0 victory at the MLS is Back Tournament last July with goals from Johnny Russell and Gerso Fernandes.
- Sporting's MLS road win over RSL last November was their first at Rio Tinto Stadium since July 2013.
- Sporting notably defeated RSL in MLS Cup 2013, the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals and the 2015 and 2018 editions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
- Sporting forward Johnny Russell has three goals and four assists in eight appearances against RSL across all competitions.
- Saturday will mark the first time Real Salt Lake faces Sporting without midfielder Kyle Beckerman (retired) on the roster since July 2007.
Real Salt Lake
- MLS record: 1-0-0, 3 points
- MLS standings: 7th in West
- MLS home record: 0-0-0 (0 GF, 0 GA)
- Last match: Won 2-1 at Minnesota United FC on April 24
- RSL's three home wins last season (3-4-3 record) were tied for the fewest in the Western Conference.
- RSL scored 11 of their 25 goals after the 75th minute last season. Their 11 goals in the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time were the second-most in MLS.
- Midfielder Anderson Julio scored a brace in his MLS debut last Saturday to lead RSL to a 2-1 win at Minnesota.
- Fellow MLS debutant and forward Rubio Rubin assisted both of Julio's goals.
- In the win over Minnesota, RSL was outshot 23-11 but held a 4-2 advantage in shots on target.
- At 20 years and 98 days, RSL's David Ochoa became the sixth-youngest goalkeeper to win an MLS match last weekend.
- RSL's roster features three players who represented the U.S. U-23s and Concacaf Olympic Qualifying in March: Ochoa and defenders Justen Glad and Aaron Herrera.
- Midfielder Albert Rusnak has amassed 28 goals and 30 assists in the regular season since joining RSL in 2017. During that time, he ranks fourth in MLS with 283 chances created.
Sporting Kansas City
- MLS record: 1-0-1, 4 points
- MLS standings: 4th in West
- MLS away record: 1-0-0 (2 GF, 1 GA)
- Last match: Tied 1-1 vs. Orlando City SC on April 23
- Since the start of 2020, Sporting leads MLS with six regular season road wins (6-2-2 record).
- Sporting are unbeaten in five straight regular season road matches dating back to 2020, the longest active streak in MLS and the longest for the club since 2014.
- Sporting are unbeaten in eight straight regular season matches dating back to 2020, the longest active streak in MLS and the longest for the club since 2017.
- Similarly, Sporting's two regular season road losses since the start of 2020 are the fewest in MLS outside of 2021 expansion club Austin FC.
- Sporting have scored in 22 of their last 23 regular season matches since the start of 2020, including 12 of 13 away from home.
- Sporting are tied for last in MLS with 4.5 chances created per game through Week 2.
- Sporting rank 24th in both passing accuracy (74.5%) and possession (44.7%) through Week 2
- At 18 years and 11 months, midfielder Gianluca Busio has become the seventh-youngest player in MLS history to hit 50 career regular season appearances. His 38 duels are the second-most by a Sporting player through Week 2 since the dawn of the Opta era in 2010.
- Defender Andreu Fontas ranks second in MLS with 17 clearances, the most by a Sporting player through Week 2 of the season since 2013.
- Forward Khiry Shelton owns a 25-8-9 regular season record as a Sporting starter.
- Forward Johnny Russell was one of five players to record 20 goals and 20 assists in the regular season from 2018-2020.
- Among MLS players with at least 10 appearances last season, forward Alan Pulido ranked third in MLS with 0.92 combined goals and assists per game (six goals and five assists in 12 appearances).
Milestones and Miscellany
- Forward Khiry Shelton is one shy of his 50th appearance for Sporting in all competitions.
Recent #RSLvSKC meetings
- Regular season record vs. RSL 11-13-8 (40 GF, 41 GA)
- All competitions record vs. RSL: 14-14-10 (52 GF, 48 GA)
|06/06/2018||W 2-0||Away||Open Cup 4th Round|
|07/04/2018||L 2-4||Away||MLS regular season|
|09/30/2018||T 1-1||Home||MLS regular season|
|11/04/2018||T 1-1||Away||MLS Cup Playoffs|
|11/11/2018||W 4-2||Home||MLS Cup Playoffs|
|06/29/2019||L 0-2||Away||MLS regular season|
|08/10/2019||L 1-2||Home||MLS regular season|
|07/22/2020||W 2-0||Neutral||MLS is Back Tournament|
|11/08/2020||W 2-0||Away||MLS regular season|
Team Stats (2021 regular season)
(Source: Opta; MLS rank in parenthesis)
|Category (per game)||Sporting||RSL|
|Goals scored||1.50 (t-9th)||2.00 (t-5th)|
|Goals conceded||1.00 (t-6th)||1.00 (t-6th)|
|Shots||8.5 (t-24th)||11.0 (t-18th)|
|Shots on goal||4.0 (t-17th)||4.0 (t-17th)|
|Shooting accuracy||61.5% (4th)||50.0% (t-15th)|
|Shot conversion rate||17.7% (t-6th)||18.2% (5th)|
|Shots faced||11.5 (t-11th)||23.0 (26th)|
|Passing accuracy||74.5% (24th)||76.4% (21st)|
|Possession||44.7% (24th)||44.3% (25th)|
|Chances created||4.5 (t-26th)||11.0 (t-9th)|
|Duels won||48.0 (t-22nd)||48.0 (t-22nd)|
|Tackles won||8.5 (t-22nd)||8.0 (t-25th)|
|Interceptions||12.0 (t-10th)||11.0 (t-14th)|
|Clearances||25.0 (3rd)||26.0 (2nd)|
|Fouls committed||11.0 (t-22nd)||12.0 (t-19th)|
|Fouls suffered||9.0 (t-24th)||9.0 (t-24th)|