"By The Numbers" presented by Compass Minerals is a season-long series that gives a statistical preview of every Sporting match. To visit the series archive, click here.
Riding palpable momentum after a 2-1 home win over rivals St. Louis City SC last weekend, Sporting Kansas City will continue their late-season playoff push on Saturday by visiting Leagues Cup 2023 champion Inter Miami CF at 6:30 p.m. CT at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The cross-conference clash will be shown live on Apple TV in English and Spanish for MLS Season Pass subscribers, while local radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with broadcast streams in the Sporting KC app.
Inter Miami have demanded attention worldwide in recent weeks, claiming the Leagues Cup title behind the inspirational play of Lionel Messi. With Messi and a host of other Miami stars expected to miss Saturday's clash on international duty, however, Sporting will look to capitalize with its first ever win in South Florida.
We take a statistical look at the can't-miss matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.
- Saturday will serve as the inaugural meeting between the clubs.
- Sporting last played an MLS match in the Miami area on Sept. 29, 2021, falling 2-1 to the Miami Fusion in the decisive third game of the quarterfinal playoff series at Lockhart Stadium—now the redeveloped DRV PNK Stadium—in Fort Lauderdale.
- Sporting went 0-5-1 on the road against the Miami Fusion from 1998-2001, including two playoff losses. All six meetings took place at Lockhart Stadium.
Sporting Kansas City
- 2023 MLS record: 8-11-8, 32 points (11th in West | 36 GF, 37 GA)
- 2023 MLS away record: 1-6-6 (11 GF, 21 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 2-1-2 (T-T-L-W-W)
- Sporting have won consecutive MLS matches for the third time this season. The club is playing for its first three-game winning streak in the league since last October.
- Sporting’s victory over St. Louis last weekend was the club’s first comeback win by a 2-1 scoreline since July 9, 2022 at CF Montreal and its first such win at home since June 26, 2021 against LAFC.
- Sporting’s 2-1 home win over St. Louis last weekend drew a capacity crowd of 21,650 at Children’s Mercy Park, equaling the largest crowd for a soccer match in stadium history (2013 Western Conference final, 2013 MLS Cup, 2021 Western Conference semifinal).
- With a 3-0 home win over San Jose on Aug. 26, Sporting have scored at least three goals in nine of the club’s last 19 regular season home matches since August 2022. The team has won each of those nine games while posting a 3-5-2 record in the other 10 home matches scoring two goals or fewer.
- Since the start of May, Sporting rank second in MLS with 33 goals scored (1.94 goals per match). The team scored just three goals in its first 10 league matches through the end of April.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won in each of his last four starts since May 13 after opening the season with a 0-4-1 record. This run is tied for the second-longest regular season winning streak of his career (and tied for his longest in a single season).
- Forward Alan Pulido ranks fourth in MLS with 12 league goals and has a team-best 13 goals this season in all competitions after missing all of 2022 through injury.
- Pulido leads MLS with 11 goals since the start of June. With four multi-goal games during that stretch, he has become the first player in Sporting history to score four braces during a 10-game stretch of a single regular season.
- Midfielder Erik Thommy has one goal and three assists in his last two matches, including the first multi-assist game of his MLS career in Sporting’s 2-1 win over St. Louis last weekend.
- Thommy ranks second on the team behind Pulido with 15 goal contributions in all competitions, including four goals and a team-leading 11 assists.
- With seven goals and seven assists this year in all competitions, forward Daniel Salloi has totaled 14 goal contributions in three straight seasons for Sporting.
- Salloi has scored or assisted in each of his last four regular season appearances since July 12 and is the only Sporting player to start in all 27 regular season matches this year.
- With a goal and an assist in Sporting’s 3-0 win over San Jose on Aug. 26, forward Johnny Russell became the third player in club history to eclipse 100 combined goals (58) and assists (42) in all competitions.
- Defender Jake Davis provided the winning assist in Sporting’s 2-1 victory over St. Louis last weekend, recording the first primary assist of his MLS career. He has started each of Sporting’s last 16 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team.
- Left back Logan Ndenbe has a 6-3-2 record in 11 regular season starts this year.
Inter Miami CF
- 2023 MLS record: 7-14-4, 25 points (14th in East | 27 GF, 37 GA)
- 2023 MLS home record: 4-5-3 (15 GF, 15 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 2-1-2 (T-L-W-T-W)
- Since the marquee arrivals of forward Lionel Messi, midfielder Sergio Busquets and defender Jordi Alba in mid-July, Miami have gone unbeaten in 11 matches across all competitions. That streak features a 7-0-4 record, with three of the four draws resulting in penalty shootout victories in either Leagues Cup or the U.S. Open Cup.
- Despite sitting eight points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, Miami has sealed a berth in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16 after winning Leagues Cup 2023. The team will also host Houston Dynamo FC in the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Sept. 27.
- During the club’s 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions, Miami has outscored opponents 27-12 with 2.46 goals per match.
- Prior to its 11-game unbeaten run, Miami went winless in 11 straight MLS matches from May 17 to July 15, including a seven-game losing streak from May 17 to June 24.
- Miami has trailed just twice during its 11-game unbeaten streak, coming from behind to secure dramatic penalty shootout road wins against FC Dallas in Leagues Cup on Aug. 6 and Cincinnati in the Open Cup on Aug. 23.
- Miami is the only Eastern Conference team with a losing road record during the 2023 regular season (4-5-3).
- Miami has scored three goals in the first 30 minutes of MLS matches this season, tied for second fewest in the league ahead of only Colorado (two).
- During the 2023 regular season, Miami is 7-0-2 when scoring the first goal and 0-14-1 when conceding the first goal. Similarly, Miami is 6-0-0 when leading at halftime and 0-9-1 when trailing at halftime in the regular season.
- Miami’s nine regular season losses by a single goal are the most in MLS this year.
- Miami played nine matches in all competitions during a 33-day stretch from Aug. 2 to Sept. 3, more than any other team during that time.
- Current Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was appointed head coach on July 10. He lost in his 2023 debut, a 3-0 defeat at St. Louis on July 15, before Miami embarked on its current unbeaten run.
- Forward Lionel Messi, who is expected to miss Saturday’s match while on international duty with reigning World Cup champion Argentina, has 11 goals and five assists during Miami’s 11-game unbeaten run.
- Forward Josef Martinez ranks second on Miami with 10 goals this season in all competitions. Like Messi, he is expected to miss Saturday’s match while on international duty with Venezuela.
- Goalkeeper Drake Callender has a perfect 4-0 record in shootouts this season, prevailing twice each in Leagues Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. He is expected to miss Saturday’s match while on international duty with the United States.
- Miami, which entered MLS in 2020, has yet to achieve a winning regular season record. The club advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2020 and 2022, going one-and-done with 3-0 first-round road losses to Nashville and New York City FC, respectively.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Sporting are two shy of 500 away goals all-time in MLS regular season play.
- Defender Andreu Fontas is 59 minutes shy of 10,000 minutes played for Sporting in all competitions.
- Forward Alan Pulido is one shy of his 50th start for Sporting in MLS competitions.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia ranks sixth in Sporting history with 20,145 regular season minutes played for the club, 13 minutes shy of passing Nick Garcia for fifth.