By the Numbers - Oct. 23, 2021

"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 10,142 lives were lost due to drunk driving in the United States in 2019? Visit the Drive to Zero Coalition for more information.

A colossal Western Conference clash beckons Saturday as second-place Sporting Kansas City (15-7-7, 52 points) travels to face first-place Seattle Sounders FC (17-6-7, 58 points) at Lumen Field. Kickoff is slated for 2:50 p.m. CT with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City and Bally Sports Midwest as well as Univision, TUDN and @MLS on Twitter.

Sporting can punch their ticket to the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win or a draw on Saturday, but Manager Peter Vermes' men have their eyes on an even bigger objective: keeping pace with Seattle at the top of the West as the stretch run of the regular season intensifies.

With tons to play for this weekend, we take a statistical look at the fixture in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting won the first meeting between the clubs this season, posting a 3-1 road victory on July 25 with a free kick from Johnny Russell, an excellent strike from Daniel Salloi and a first career MLS goal from Academy product Cam Duke.
  • Seattle responded with a road win of their own on Sept. 26, prevailing 2-1 at Children's Mercy Park with goals from Cristian Roldan and Will Bruin. Russell scored a late consolation goal for Sporting.
  • Sporting have gone 7-3-3 in the last 13 regular season meetings against Seattle since 2015.
  • Sporting have won three of the last four meetings dating back to 2019, including victories in each of their last two visits to Lumen Field.
  • The last six regular season meetings between the clubs have produced 25 goals, a clip of 4.2 goals per match.
  • The first 16 regular season meetings in the series from 2009-2017 produced just 29 goals, a clip of 1.8 per match.
  • Russell has five goals and one assist in six career appearances against Seattle, including a hat trick in a 3-2 home win on May 26, 2019.
  • Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia has a 7-3-2 record, five shutouts and a 1.08 goals against average in 12 regular season appearances against Seattle.
  • Seattle leads the all-time regular season series with a 10-8-4 record.
Johnny Russell Scoring Streak

Sporting Kansas City

  • MLS record: 15-7-7, 52 points
  • MLS standings: 2nd in West
  • MLS away record: 7-5-2 (22 GF, 17 GA)
  • Last five matches: 3-2-0, 9 points (W-L-W-W-L)
  • Last match: Lost 1-2 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 17
  • Sporting are a perfect 6-0-0 in matches immediately following losses this season. The club lost 2-1 at Vancouver on Sunday.
  • Sporting's seven away wins this season (7-5-2 record) are one shy of tying the club record during the non-shootout era.
  • Sporting rank second in MLS with 52 goals and 1.79 goals per match.
  • Sporting lead MLS with 11 wins by multiple goals.
  • Sporting have scored three or more goals on nine occasions in 2021, tying the single-season club record.
  • Sporting are 15-0-0 this season when scoring twice and 0-7-7 when scoring one or fewer goals.
  • Sporting’s five wins when allowing the first goal are tied for the most in MLS (5-5-4 record).
  • Forward Johnny Russell has scored in six consecutive MLS matches, the longest streak in club history and tied for the longest in MLS this season.
  • Russell's eight goals since Aug. 28 are tied for the second-most in MLS.
  • Forward Daniel Salloi’s 16 goals are the second-most in MLS. His 16 non-penalty goals are two more than any other player and Sporting are 11-0-3 this season when he scores.
  • Salloi’s 24 goal contributions (16 goals, eight assists) are the most in MLS.
  • Russell and Salloi are two of six MLS players with at least 11 goals and seven assists this season.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia ranks third in MLS with 13 wins. His .667 winning percentage this year (13-5-6) is tied for the best by a Sporting keeper in an MLS season during the non-shootout era (since 2000).
  • Defender Andreu Fontas leads MLS by a wide margin in passes (2,408), passes successful (2,162) and touches (2,720). He also leads MLS in goals added, an advanced statistic that measures a player's on-ball contribution in attack and defense.
  • Defender Luis Martins is the only Sporting player to appear in all 29 regular season matches this season, having started in 28.

Seattle Sounders FC

  • MLS record: 17-6-7, 58 points
  • MLS standings: 1st in West
  • MLS home record: 8-3-4 (26 GF, 12 GA)
  • Last five matches: 3-1-1, 10 points (W-W-W-L-T)
  • Last match: Tied 1-1 at Colorado Rapids on Oct. 20
  • Seattle have reached MLS Cup as Western Conference champions in four of the last five seasons, hoisting the title in 2016 and 2019 and finishing as runners-up in 2017 and 2020.
  • Seattle's 13-year playoff streak dating back to their inaugural season in 2009 is the longest in MLS history.
  • Seattle have won four straight home matches in all competitions, outscoring their opponents 9-1 at Lumen Field since the start of September.
  • Seattle have outscored opponents 21-9 in the final 30 minutes of matches this season.
  • Seattle's nine wins by a single goal are the most in the Western Conference. The Sounders are 9-4 in one-goal games.
  • Seattle's 26 goals conceded are the fewest in MLS. Their 0.87 goals against average is also the lowest mark in the league.
  • Seattle lead MLS with 1.03 second-half goals per match.
  • Seattle have conceded just four goals in the opening 30 minutes of matches this season, the fewest in MLS.
  • Seattle are 15-0-4 when scoring the first goal this season. Similarly, the Sounders are 8-0-3 when leading at halftime.
  • Seattle had six MLS All-Stars participate in the MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 25 in Los Angeles: forward Raul Ruidiaz, midfielders Cristian Roldan and Joao Paulo, and defensive trio Yemar Gomez Andrade, Alex Roldan and Nouhou Tolo.
  • Ruidiaz is tied for second in MLS with 16 goals and leads the league with seven game-winning goals.
  • Joao Paulo is tied for sixth in MLS with 10 assists and ranks 10th with 62 chances created.
  • Yeimar leads MLS in both interceptions (81) and clearances (137). He also ranks seventh with 45 tackles won.
  • Former Sporting midfielder Kelyn Rowe is the only Seattle players to feature in all 30 matches this season, having started in 20.
  • Former Sporting midfielder Jimmy Medranda has set MLS career-highs this season with four goals and three assists. He has scored in two of his last four appearances.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Manager Peter Vermes is one coaching win shy of passing Dominic Kinnear for fourth most in MLS regular season history.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza is one shy of his 250th regular season start for Sporting.
  • Forward Daniel Salloi’s next game-winning goal will tie Chris Klein for third-most in club history and the most in a single season in club history.
  • Salloi’s next non-penalty goal will set a new single-season team record and a new league record for most non-penalty goals in a season by a Homegrown Player.
  • Sporting defender Graham Zusi’s next game-winning assist will tie him for sixth-most in MLS history with Preki and Kyle Beckerman.