"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.

Traffic Safety By The Numbers: Did you know that drunk driving caused 27 crashes during the Halloween holiday weekend in Kansas in 2019? Visit the Drive to Zero Coalition for more information.

Occupying first place in the Western Conference with three regular season matches remaining, Sporting Kansas City (17-7-7, 58 points) will look to continue their winning ways Sunday afternoon in a crucial clash at regional rivals Minnesota United FC (12-11-9, 45 points). The contest will kick off at 12 p.m. CT with national coverage from Allianz Field on ESPN, ESPN and ESPN Deportes as well as local radio calls on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM.

Sporting have already locked up a top-three finish in the West and a home playoff match in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, but Manager Peter Vermes' men have their sights on finishing atop the conference for the third time in four years and sealing a first-round bye in the postseason. Minnesota, meanwhile, sit beneath the playoff line by the slimmest of margins and will be absolutely desperate to claim victory this weekend.

As excitement and anticipation builds ahead of the high-stakes encounter, we provide a statistical preview in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting have faced Minnesota 16 times in all competitions since the Loons joined MLS in 2017, more than any other opponent. Sporting have an 8-5-3 record in the all-time series.
  • Sporting leads the all-time regular season series against Minnesota with a 7-3-3 record (1-2-3 away).
  • Sporting have taken four points from the first two meetings this season, posting shutouts in a 0-0 road draw on Aug. 21 and a 4-0 home win on Sept. 15.
  • Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia has a 7-2-2 record, six shutouts and a 0.56 goals against average versus Minnesota in the regular season.
  • Sporting forward Johnny Russell has two goals and seven assists in nine regular season appearances against Minnesota.
  • Minnesota won the lone playoff meeting between the clubs by a 3-0 scoreline last December at Children’s Mercy Park, with Emanuel Reynoso assisting all three goals

Sporting Kansas City

  • MLS record: 17-7-7, 58 points
  • MLS standings: 1st in West
  • MLS away record: 8-5-2 (24 GF, 18 GA)
  • Last five matches: 4-1-0, 12 points (W-W-L-W-W)
  • Last match: Won 2-0 vs. LA Galaxy on Oct. 27
  • Sporting enter the weekend occupying first place in the Western Conference, level on points with Seattle but having a game in hand and owning the goal differential tiebreaker (SKC +22, SEA +20).
  • With a win on Sunday, Sporting can clinch a top-two finish in the West and a berth in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League. The four American clubs in the 2022 CCL will be as follows: (1) 2021 MLS Cup champion, (2) 2021 Supporter’s Shield champion New England Revolution, (3) 2021 Western Conference regular season champion, and (4) club with best 2021 regular season record not already qualified.
  • Sporting’s 10 playoff berths since 2011 (including this year’s clinch) are tied with RBNY for second-most in MLS behind only Seattle (11).
  • Sporting need six points from their final three matches to set a new club record for most points in a 34-game regular season (63 points in 2012).
  • Sporting’s eight road wins this year are tied for the most in club regular season history during the non-shootout era (8-5-2 record). Sporting lead MLS with 57 road wins over the last 10 regular seasons (57-65-37 record).
  • Sporting are 17-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals and 0-7-7 when scoring one or fewer.
  • Sporting have won 12 matches by multiple goals this season, three more than any other team.
  • Sporting rank second in MLS in goals (56), goals per match (1.81), road goals (24) and road goals per match (1.6).
  • Sporting have outscored opponents 20-10 after the 75th minute this season.
  • Sporting’s five wins when allowing the first goal are tied for the most in MLS (5-5-4 record).
  • Sporting are 11-0-1 when leading at halftime and 13-0-1 when leading in the 75th minute this season.
  • Sporting are a perfect 7-0-0 in matches immediately following losses this season.
  • Captain and forward Johnny Russell has scored in eight consecutive regular season matches dating back to Sept. 11, the longest streak in team history and the fifth-longest in MLS history. Only Josef Martinez (15 matches, 9 matches), Carlos Vela (11 matches) and Diego Valeri (9 matches) have had longer scoring streaks.
  • Russell earned MLS Player of the Week honors on Thursday after scoring twice in the 2-0 win over LA. Both of his goals were assisted by Gadi Kinda, who recorded the first multi-assist game of his MLS career.
  • Russell’s 39 regular season goals since arriving in Kansas City in 2018 are the most by a Scottish player in MLS history.
  • Russell has become the first player in Sporting history to score 10 MLS goals in an eight-match span. His 69 combined goals (39) and assists (30) in the regular season since the start of 2018 are tied for third-most in MLS behind only Carlos Vela (57 goals, 34 assists) and Josef Martinez (69 goals, 11 assists).
  • In the 2-0 win over LA, 20-year-old John Pulskamp became the youngest goalkeeper in Sporting history to earn a shutout in an MLS match.
  • Midfielder Remi Walter finished Wednesday’s match with 100% passing accuracy, completing 35 of 35 passes. Since the start of the Opta era in 2010, a Sporting player has finished an MLS match with 30 or more passes and 100% passing accuracy just four times. Walter has accounted for three of those in the last three months alone (Oct. 27 vs. LA Galaxy, Aug. 7 at Colorado, July 21 vs. San Jose).
  • Center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Walter’s French countryman, made his second straight start on Wednesday after missing several weeks through injury. Isimat has a 5-1-3 record as a starter this season.
  • MLS MVP candidate Daniel Salloi has missed the last two matches with an ankle injury. He is tied for second in MLS with 24 combined goals (16) and assists (eight) this season.
  • Russell and Salloi are two of six MLS players with 14 goals and seven assists this season (Gustavo Bou, Valentin Castellanos, Hany Mukhtar, Damir Kreilach).
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia ranks third in MLS with 14 wins. His 0.68 win percentage (14-5-6 record) is the highest for a goalkeeper in club regular season history during the non-shootout era.
  • Center back Andreu Fontas ranks second in MLS in goals added, an advanced metric that measure’s a player’s on-ball contribution in both attack and defense.
  • Left back Luis Martins is the only Sporting player to appear in all 31 regular season matches this season, including 30 starts.

Minnesota United FC

  • MLS record: 12-11-9, 45 points
  • MLS standings: 8th in West
  • MLS home record: 9-4-3 (22 GF, 13 GA)
  • Last five matches: 2-2-1, 7 points (L-W-W-T-L)
  • Last match: Lost 2-1 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 27
  • Minnesota boast a 0.81 goals against average at Alliaz Field, allowing just 13 goals in 16 home matches.
  • Minnesota's 13 home goals allowed are second-fewest in the Western Conference.
  • Minnesota rank third in MLS with 14.8 shots per game and fifth with 10.8 chances per game.
  • Minnesota are 10-2-1 when scoring the first goal and 2-9-6 when conceding the first goal.
  • Minnesota are 1-6-1 against the top three teams in the Western Conference this season (Sporting, Seattle, Colorado).
  • Midfielder Emanuel Reynoso leads MLS in duels won (250), ranks second in chances created (90), third in shots (89), fourth in fouls suffered (86) and sixth in fouls committed (52). He has four goals and 10 assists on the year.
  • Midfielder Robin Lod is tied for fifth in MLS with five game-winning goals. He has a team-high eight total goals on the season.
  • Goalkeeper Tyler Miller is tied for third in MLS with 11 shutouts, including eight clean sheets in 14 appearances at Allianz Field.
  • Winger Franco Fragapane has four goals and nine assists in just 17 appearances this season.
  • Midfielder Wil Trapp leads Minnesota in appearances (29), starts (29) and minutes (2553) this season.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of his 100th win for Sporting in all competitions.
  • The 2-0 win over LA on Wednesday was Peter Vermes’ 400th regular season match as Sporting manager. He is the fourth coach in MLS history to reach the milestone and the first to do so with one club.
  • Vermes has set an MLS record with 17 combined playoff appearances as a player (seven) or a coach (10). Bruce Arena and Kyle Beckerman both have 16—all as a coach and player, respectively.