"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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With a berth in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs already secured, Sporting Kansas City (16-7-7, 55 points) will continue their rase for first place in the Western Conference when they welcome longtime foes LA Galaxy (13-11-7, 46 points) on Wednesday night at world-class Children's Mercy Park. Tickets for the marquee matchup are available at SeatGeek.com and supports can catch the action live on FS1, FOX Deportes, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM. Kickoff is slated for 7:55 p.m. CT with broadcast coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Wednesday marks the start of a busy final fortnight of the regular season as Sporting contends for their third first-place finish in the last four years. A win or a draw would see Manager Peter Vermes' men seal a top-four finish in the West and a home playoff match next month, while the Galaxy are four points above the playoff line and fighting for their postseason lives.
As excitement and anticipation builds ahead of the midweek encounter, we provide a statistical preview in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
- Sporting and LA most recently squared off on July 4 as Johnny Russell and Khiry Shelton scored late goals to spark a 2-0 road win at Dignity Health Sports Park. Goalkeeper Tim Melia had a season-high seven saves in the victory.
- Russell’s 81st-minute winner on July 4 was the first of 12 goals in his last 16 appearances.
- Sporting are 5-2-4 against LA in the last 11 regular season meetings dating back to October 2015.
- LA are 1-5-6 in their last 12 regular season visits to Kansas City dating back to 2008. Their only win during that time came in the most recent meeting at Children’s Mercy Park on May 29, 2019.
- Russell has three goals in five career appearances against the Galaxy.
- Sporting and LA have met 65 times in the regular season, with the Galaxy holding a narrow 26-24-15 edge.
- The 65 regular season meetings dating back to 1996 have produced just three scoreless draws.
Sporting Kansas City
- MLS record: 16-7-7, 55 points
- MLS standings: 2nd in West
- MLS home record: 8-2-5 (30 GF, 16 GA)
- Last five matches: 3-2-0, 9 points (L-W-W-L-W)
- Last match: Won 2-1 at Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 23
- With a win or a draw on Wednesday, Sporting can clinch a top-four finish in the West and a first-round home playoff match.
- 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 are a perfect 7-0-0 in matches immediately following losses this season.
- Sporting are 16-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals and 0-7-7 when scoring one or fewer.
- Sporting rank second in MLS with 54 goals scored and 1.8 goals per match.
- Sporting’s five wins when allowing the first goal are tied for the most in MLS (5-5-4 record).
- Sporting have scored in a club-record 30 consecutive regular season home matches dating back to Aug. 10, 2019, the longest active streak in MLS.
- Sporting lead MLS in passing accuracy at 85.8% and rank second in average possession at 55.5%.
- Captain and forward Johnny Russell has scored in seven consecutive regular season matches dating back to Sept. 11, the longest streak in team history and tied for 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’s 37 regular season goals since arriving in Kansas City in 2018 are tied with former Colorado Rapids ace John Spencer for the most by a Scottish player in MLS history.
- Midfielder Remi Walter opened the scoring on Saturday with his first career MLS goal and earned MLS Team of the Week honors for his performance, which included completion in 40 of 45 passes (89%), five of seven duels won and seven recoveries.
- Center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Walter’s French countryman, returned on Saturday for his first start since Aug. 7 after recovering from a hamstring injury. Isimat has a 4-1-3 record as a starter this season.
- MLS MVP candidate Daniel Salloi missed Saturday’s match with an ankle injury. He is tied for the MLS lead with 24 combined goals (16) and assists (eight) this season.
- Russell and Salloi are two of six MLS players with 12 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.
- Defender Luis Martins is the only Sporting player to appear in all 30 regular season matches this season, including 29 starts.
- MLS record: 13-11-7, 46 points
- MLS standings: 5th in West
- MLS away record: 5-7-3 (20 GF, 29 GA)
- Last five matches: 2-1-2, 8 points (L-T-W-W-T)
- Last match: Tied 2-2 vs. FC Dallas on Oct. 23
- LA's 19 playoff appearances all-time are tied with Sporting for second-most in MLS behind the New York Red Bulls (21). The Galaxy have yet to clinch a postseason berth but sit four points above the playoff line.
- LA are tied for fifth in MLS with five away wins (5-7-3 record).
- LA are 12-2-2 when scoring the first goal and 1-9-5 when conceding the first goal this season.
- LA went 0-5-3 from Aug. 17 to Sept. 29 but are unbeaten in their last four with two wins and two draws.
- LA rank third in MLS in passing accuracy at 85.3%.
- Forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is tied for seventh in MLS with 14 goals. He bagged 10 goals in his first 10 matches before missing almost three months through injury.
- Defender Julian Araujo is tied for third in MLS with 49 tackles won and tied for sixth with 54 interceptions. He has a team-best six assists.
- Winger Kevin Cabral and midfielders Ryan Raveloson and Sacha Kljestan have all scored five goals apiece.
- Winger Samuel Grandsir is the only LA player to feature in all 31 matches this season. He has three goals and five assists with 23 starts.
- Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond ranks second in MLS with 118 saves.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Wednesday will be Peter Vermes’ 400th regular season match as Sporting manager. He’s the fourth coach in MLS history to reach the milestone and the first to do so with one club.
- Sporting are one shy of their 400th win in all competitions.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of his 100th win for Sporting in all competitions.
- 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.
- Vermes passed Dominic Kinnear for fourth on the all-time MLS charts with his 171st regular season coaching win on Saturday.
- Veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza, who turned 35 years old on Monday, marked his 250th regular season start for Sporting on Saturday with his 11th game-winning assist, the fifth-most in club history.