"Beyond The Box Score" is a weekly series presented by Compass Minerals that takes a statistical dive into every Sporting match, bringing to light the intriguing numbers and factoids that don't appear in the typical box score. To visit the series archive, click here.
They held a decisive advantage in shots, shots on target, possession and chances created. But by the time referee Chris Penso blew his full-time whistle on Wednesday night at BBVA Stadium, Sporting Kansas City (2-2-1, 7 points) had nothing to show for their superiority but a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Houston Dynamo FC (2-1-2, 8 points).
Indeed, Sporting outshot the Dynamo 16-5, enjoyed 56% of possession and created 10 chances to Houston’s four. But there’s one statistic in particular that underscores just how unfortunate the visitors were not to come away from the midweek matchup with at least a point.
Sporting had four shots on goal, prompting Houston goalkeeper Marko Maric to make four saves. The Dynamo mustered a single shot on target—in the 56th minute when Maxi Urruti breached the defense and beat helpless Sporting keeper John Pulskamp for the game’s lone goal.
Entering Wednesday, Sporting had held opponents to one or fewer shots on goal in a regular season match on 54 occasions. Only once in those previous 54 matches had Sporting lost in regulation. The date was Sept. 27, 2007, when the LA Galaxy smash-and-grabbed their way to a 1-0 win over Kansas City before a record crowd of 32,867 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Wednesday marked the 55th time that Sporting has limited the opposition to one or fewer shots on target in MLS play. And almost always, that defensive performance is good enough to get a result.
In those 55 games, Sporting has collected 38 wins, 13 draws, two shutout losses (during the MLS shootout era from 1996-1999), and two losses in regulation. The Dynamo setback was the second such loss in a normal 90-minute match.
“They finished the chance they had,” said Sporting Manager Peter Vermes after the game. “We missed a bunch, especially after they scored. We created a bunch of chances. We just didn’t finish them.”
He later continued: “As a team, we have to score goals. When we get as many high-quality chances as we do, the people that get them eventually have to score. They have to score, simple as can be.”
Vermes’ side will have an opportunity to bounce back Sunday when they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-2-1, 7 points) in a 1 p.m. CT kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park. A limited number of tickets for the match are available at SeatGeek.com while supplies last. Fans can also catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com, the Bally Sports app, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.