"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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Entering the postseason for the 10th time in 11 years, No. 3 seed Sporting Kansas City will begin the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday against No. 6 seed Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a Western Conference Round One encounter at Children's Mercy Park.
Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CT with live regional coverage on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest and the Bally Sports app as well as national broadcasts on UniMas, TUDN, MLSsoccer.com and the MLS app. Tickets for the highly anticipated matchup are available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting look to take their first step toward a third MLS Cup title in club history.
As excitement and anticipation builds for the opening-round battle, we offer a statistical preview in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
What's at Stake
The winner between Sporting and Vancouver will advance to face either No. 2 seed Seattle Sounders FC or No. 7 seed Real Salt Lake on Sunday, Nov. 28, at either 2 or 4:30 p.m. CT. The higher-seeded team will have homefield advantage.
- Sporting are 11-4-4 against Vancouver in the MLS regular season, including a 6-1-2 mark at home.
- Sporting have gone 5-1-1 in the last seven regular season meetings, scoring 21 goals and conceding just five.
- The last time Vancouver visited Kansas City on May 16, Sporting prevailed 3-0 with a Daniel Salloi goal and an Alan Pulido brace.
- The sides most recently met on Oct. 17 in Vancouver as the Whitecaps won 2-1. Johnny Russell scored for Sporting, while Vancouver received strikes from Ryan Gauld and Russell Teibert on a pair of Brian White assists.
- Sporting and Vancouver have never met in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but they did square off in the MLS is Back Tournament Round of 16 on July 26, 2020. The clubs battled to a 0-0 tie before Tim Melia saved a pair of penalties as Sporting prevailed 3-1 in a shootout.
Sporting Kansas City
- MLS regular season record: 17-10-7, 58 points
- MLS standings: 3rd in West
- MLS home record: 9-3-5 (32 GF, 17 GA)
- Last five matches: 2-3-0, 6 points (W-W-L-L-L)
- Last match: Lost 1-0 vs. Real Salt Lake on Nov. 7
- Sporting have reached the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons. Only Seattle Sounders FC and the New York Red Bulls have reached the postseason every year since 2011.
- Sporting ranked second in MLS with 58 goals during the regular season. Their 32 goals at home ranked fourth.
- Sporting are 17-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals and 0-10-7 when scoring one or fewer.
- Sporting won 12 matches by multiple goals during the regular season, more than any other team.
- Sporting outscored opponents 21-11 after the 60th minute during the regular season.
- Sporting’s five wins when allowing the first goal this season (5-7-4 record) were tied for the MLS lead.
- Sporting went 11-0-1 when leading at halftime and 13-0-1 when leading in the 75th minute during the regular season.
- Sporting led MLS during the regular season in passes (17,698), successful passes (15,131) and passing accuracy (85.5%) while ranking second in average possession (55.2%).
- Sporting ranked third in MLS during the regular season with a shooting accuracy of 49.0%.
- Sporting forward Daniel Salloi was tied for fifth in MLS in goals (16) and tied for fourth in combined goals and assists (24) during the regular season. His 16 non-penalty goas were tied for the league lead and the most among MLS Homegrown Players.
- Sporting captain Johnny Russell was tied for seventh in MLS with 23 combined goals (15) and assists (eight) during the regular season. His 12 goals since Aug. 28 are second-most in MLS.
- Sporting defender Andreu Fontas set an Opta-era MLS record during the regular season in passes (2,818), successful passes (2,515) and touches (3,178).
- Sporting midfielder Ilie Sanchez ranked second in MLS behind Fontas in passes (2,172) and successful passes (1.924) during the regular season.
- Sporting defender Graham Zusi ranked eighth in MLS with 28 successful crosses from open play during the regular season.
- Midfielder Remi Walter ranks second among players in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs with a passing accuracy of 90.8% (minimum 1,000 passes).
- Forward Alan Pulido ranked third for Sporting with eight goals during the regular season. He has not started since Sept. 11 due to injury.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia ranked third in MLS with 14 wins during the regular season (14-8-6 record).
- Left back Luis Martins was the only Sporting player to appear in all 34 regular season matches this season, including 33 starts.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- MLS record: 12-9-13, 49 points
- MLS standings: 6th in West
- MLS away record: 2-5-10 (20 GF, 28 GA)
- Last five matches: 2-3-0, 6 points (W-L-L-W-L)
- Last match: Tied 1-1 vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Nov. 7
- Vancouver have returned to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017 and the fifth time in the club’s 11-year history.
- Vancouver posted a 10-2-10 record in the final 22 matches of the regular season, including a 2-1-7 mark away from home. Their two losses since July 17 are tied for the fewest in MLS.
- Vancouver have drawn 10 of their 17 road matches this season (2-5-10 record).
- Vancouver were last in MLS with 7.4 chances created per match during the regular season but ranked second in shot conversion rate at 12.9%.
- Vancouver ranked third in MLS with a big chance conversion of 47.7% during the regular season.
- Vancouver ranked 25th in MLS in average possession at 46.0% during the regular season.
- Vancouver ranked third in MLS with 18.3 clearances per match during the regular season.
- Vancouver is tied for the MLS lead with 9 assists from set plays this season.
- Vancouver ranked 26th in MLS with 17.5 touches in the opponent’s box per match during the regular season.
- Forward Brian White led Vancouver with 12 goals during the regular season. He scored once in his first 16 appearances and 11 times in his final 16 appearances of the regular season.
- Forward Cristian Dajome, who finished second on the team with 10 goals, ranked sixth in MLS with 216 duels won during the regular season.
- Midfielder Deiber Caicedo was tied for seventh in MLS with four assists from set plays during the regular season. He was also tied for 10th in MLS with 58 dribbles completed.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Sporting 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.
- Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of his 100th win for Sporting in all competitions.
- Sporting are one shy of their 1,400th goal in all competitions all-time.
- Midfielder Gadi Kinda is one shy of his 50th appearance for Sporting in all competitions.
- Sporting are 15-5-4 at home in the MLS Cup Playoffs, including a 6-3-2 mark at Children’s Mercy Park.