"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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One point out of first place in the Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City (17-9-7, 58 points) will battle for a No. 1 seed in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and a berth in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League on Sunday when the club hosts Real Salt Lake (13-14-6, 45 points) in a monumental regular season finale at Children's Mercy Park.
The Decision Day clash is slated for 5:25 p.m. CT and tickets remain available at SeatGeek.com while supplies last. Supporters can also follow the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM.
Heading into the final day of the regular season, Manager Peter Vermes' men can still finish anywhere between first and third in the West. The top three seeds in the conference will fall to Seattle Sounders FC (59 points), Sporting (58 points) and the Colorado Rapids (58 points), all of whom are set to face teams fighting for their playoff lives on Sunday.
As excitement and anticipation builds for Decision Day, we offer a statistical preview of the matchup in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Playoff Seeding 101
- Sporting can finish anywhere between first and third in the West. A top-two finish will seal a berth in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League. A first-place finish will seal a first-round bye in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Sporting can finish atop the West by finishing above Seattle and Colorado in overall points. In the event that two or more of the teams finish tied on points, tiebreakers will be applied in the following order: (1) total number of wins, (2) goal differential, (3) goals scored, (4) fewest disciplinary points.
- Real Salt Lake sit two points below the seventh and final playoff spot in the West. In order for RSL tor reach the postseason, they must beat Sporting and Seattle must win at Vancouver.
- Sporting hold an 11-14-8 record against RSL in the regular season series and a 14-15-10 mark in all competitions.
- RSL won the first meeting between the clubs this season, prevailing 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium with a Damir Kreilach strike and a Rubio Rubin brace. Alan Pulido scored for Sporting.
- Sporting are 3-9-5 in their last 17 regular season meetings against RSL since 2014 but won both meetings in 2020, including a 2-0 victory at the MLS is Back Tournament and a 2-0 road win last November on Decision Day.
- RSL have emerged with points in six of their last seven regular season trips to Children's Mercy Park, including a 2-1 win in their last visit on Aug. 10, 2019. That game marked the start of Sporting's current 31-game home scoring streak in the regular season.
- Sporting notably defeated RSL in the 2013 MLS Cup, the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals and the 2015 and 2018 editions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Sporting Kansas City
- MLS record: 17-9-7, 58 points
- MLS standings: 2nd in West
- MLS home record: 9-2-5 (32 GF, 16 GA)
- Last five matches: 2-3-0, 6 points (L-W-W-L-L)
- Last match: Lost 3-1 at Austin FC on Nov. 3
- On Sunday, Sporting will play for their third first-place finish in the Western Conference over the last four seasons (2018, 2020).
- Sporting are one win shy of tying the team record for wins in a regular season during the non-shootout era (since 2000).
- Sporting have scored three or more goals nine times this season, tied for the most in team history.
- Sporting are 7-1-0 in matches immediately following losses this season.
- Sporting are 17-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals and 0-9-7 when scoring one or fewer.
- Sporting have won 12 matches by multiple goals this season, more than any other team.
- Sporting have scored in a club-record 31 straight regular season home matches dating back to Aug. 10, 2019, the longest active streak in MLS.
- Sporting rank second in MLS in goals (58) and fourth in home goals (32).
- Sporting are 11-0-1 when leading at halftime and 13-0-1 when leading in the 75th minute this season.
- Captain and forward Johnny Russell has scored or assisted in 10 consecutive regular season matches dating back to Sept. 11, the longest streak in team history and tied for the seventh-longest in MLS history.
- Russell’s 71 combined goals (40) and assists (31) 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).
- Forward Daniel Salloi is tied for third in MLS with 24 combined goals (16) and assists (eight) this season.
- Russell and Salloi are two of six MLS players with 15 goals and eight assists this season (Gustavo Bou, Valentin Castellanos, Hany Mukhtar, Damir Kreilach).
- Russell and Salloi have combined for 31 goals this season, tied for the most by a duo in club history (Preki and Digital Takawira in 1996).
- Center back Andreu Fontas leads MLS in goals added, an advanced metric that measure’s a player’s on-ball contribution in both attack and defense. He has also set single-season MLS records for most passes (2725), passes completed (2437) and touches (3071) since the start of the Opta era in 2010.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia ranks third in MLS with 14 wins (14-7-6 record).
- Left back Luis Martins is the only Sporting player to appear in all 33 regular season matches this season, including 32 starts.
Real Salt Lake
- MLS record: 13-14-6, 45 points
- MLS standings: 8th in West
- MLS away record: 4-10-2 (24 GF, 33 GA)
- Last five matches: 2-3-0, 6 points (W-L-L-W-L)
- Last match: Lost 3-1 vs. Portland Timbers on Nov. 3
- RSL lead MLS with 18 goals scored after the 75th minute. Conversely, their 13 goals conceded after the 75th minute are second-most in the league.
- RSL's 108 combined goals (54) and goals conceded (54) are tied for the most in MLS. Matches involving RSL have produced an average of 3.27 goals, well above the MLS average of 2.79 goals per match.
- RSL have conceded 33 road goals this season, second-most in the Western Conference.
- RSL lead MLS with 11 losses by a single goal. The club is 8-11 in one-goal games.
- RSL's four wins when allowing the first goal (4-11-0 record) are one behind the league lead.
- RSL are 8-1-3 when leading at halftime and 1-8-0 when trailing at halftime.
- RSL have gone 18 straight MLS matches without a draw, taking eight wins and 10 losses since the start of August.
- RSL attacker Damir Kreilach is tied for sixth in MLS with 15 goals alongside Sporting's Johnny Russell.
- RSL defender Aaron Herrera and midfielder Albert Rusnak are tied for fifth in MLS with 11 assists apiece.
- Rusnak has started all 33 MLS matches for RSL this season. He ranks fourth in the league with 82 chances created.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Sporting are one shy of their 1,400th goal all-time in all competitions.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of his 100th win for Sporting in all competitions. Similarly, he is 33 minutes shy of 20,000 minutes played for the club in all competitions.
- Luis Martins can become just the second defender in club history to play in 34 regular season matches (Graham Zusi in 2018).
- Forward Daniel Salloi’s next game-winning goal will tie him for the most in a single season in club history (six).
- Manager Peter 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.