"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.
Sitting two points outside playoff position, Sporting Kansas City will continue its push for the postseason at 7:30 p.m. CT this Saturday when the team visits Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Western Conference clash will be broadcast live on Apple TV in English and Spanish for MLS Season Pass subscribers. Local radio coverage will air on ESPN Kansas City 94.5 FM and 1510 AM as well as La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app, while pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network will also show all of the action.
We take a statistical look at the pivotal matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.
- Sporting and Minnesota have met 20 times in all competitions since the Loons joined MLS in 2017, the most of any opponent for both teams. Sporting have a 10-6-4 record in the all-time series.
- Sporting lead the all-time regular season series against Minnesota with a 9-4-4 record, including a perfect 8-0-0 record at home and a 1-3-4 road mark at Allianz Field.
- Sporting’s loan regular season road win over Minnesota came by a 2-1 scoreline on Aug. 21, 2020.
- Sporting have won the last two meetings by three goals each at Children’s Mercy Park, prevailing 4-1 last September and 3-0 in May.
- Sporting forward Khiry Shelton has four goals and an assist in seven regular season starts against Minnesota. His four regular season goals against the Loons are the most by any Sporting player.
- Sporting forward Johnny Russell has three goals and 10 assists in 13 regular season appearances against Minnesota.
- Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia has an 8-3-2 record and a 0.63 goals against average in 15 regular season appearances against Minnesota (two no-decision appearances).
- Minnesota midfielder Emanuel Reynoso has a goal and three assists in five MLS appearances against Sporting, including three assists in a 3-0 playoff win in Kansas City in December 2020.
Sporting Kansas City
- 2023 MLS record: 8-12-8, 32 points (12th in West | 38 GF, 40 GA)
- 2023 MLS away record: 1-7-6 (13 GF, 24 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 2-2-1 (T-L-W-W-L)
- Last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Inter Miami FC marked the first time this season that Sporting has lost when scoring two or more goals. Sporting has a 9-1-4 record in all competitions when scoring multiple goals this season and a 1-13-5 record when scoring one goal or fewer.
- Since the start of May, Sporting are tied for the MLS lead with 35 goals scored (1.94 goals per match). The team scored just three goals in its first 10 league matches through the end of April.
- Sporting rank second in the Western Conference in goals scored in the first 15 minutes (seven), goals scored in the first 30 minutes (14) and first-half goals (24). Three of their five goals in Leagues Cup also came in the opening 30 minutes.
- Sporting have scored 63% of their regular season goals in the first half, the highest clip in the league (24 of 38).
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won four of his last five starts since May 13 after opening the season with a 0-4-1 record.
- Since starting his Sporting tenure in 2015, Melia’s 15 penalty kick saves in the regular season are most in MLS. He also has a .583 goals conceded percentage on penalty kicks (21 of 36) in the regular season, lowest in MLS regular season history among keepers with at least 20 penalties faced.
- Forward Alan Pulido is tied for second in MLS with 13 league goals (one behind Golden Boot leader Hany Mukhtar) and has a team-best 14 goals this season in all competitions after missing all of 2022 through injury.
- Pulido leads MLS with 12 goals since the start of June and has 12 goals in Sporting’s last 12 regular season matches, becoming the second player in club history to accomplish that feat after Johnny Russell in 2021.
- Pulido leads Sporting with 17 goal contributions this season in all competitions (14 goals, three assists).
- Midfielder Erik Thommy has one goal and four assists in his last three matches, including the first multi-assist game of his MLS career in Sporting’s 2-1 win over St. Louis on Sept. 2.
- Thommy ranks second on the team with 16 goal contributions in all competitions, including four goals and a team-leading 12 assists.
- Sporting are a perfect 7-0-0 when Thommy scores in the regular season dating back to 2022. The club is also 9-1-3 this season in games he has scored or assisted a goal.
- With eight goals and seven assists this year in all competitions, forward Daniel Salloi has eclipsed 14 goal contributions in three straight seasons for Sporting. He is also one of four players in MLS with seven or more regular season goals in each of the last three seasons along with Hany Mukhtar, Luciano Acosta and Jesus Ferreira.
- Salloi has scored or assisted in each of his last five regular season appearances since July 12 and is the only Sporting player to start in all 28 regular season matches this year.
- Salloi, who ranks third on the team with 15 goal contributions in all competitions, ranks third in MLS in progressive passes received (242), fifth in progressive carries (97), fifth in successful crosses from open play (20), sixth in expected assists (6.5) and seventh in shots on target (29).
- 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 has started each of Sporting’s last 17 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team.
- Since the start of 2021, defender Andreu Fontas has more completed passes (5,597) than any other MLS player has attempted passes (Ilie Sanchez 5,005) in the regular season.
- Defender Dany Rosero has accounted for three of Sporting’s five headed goals this season in all competitions, each coming off a set piece.
Minnesota United FC
- 2023 MLS record: 9-8-10, 37 points (7th in West | 34 GF, 33 GA)
- 2023 MLS home record: 3-2-8 (17 GF, 14 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 2-0-3 (W-T-W-T-T)
- Since falling 4-1 at home to Austin FC on July 8, Minnesota has gone unbeaten in seven MLS matches with three shutout wins and four 1-1 draws.
- With a 3-2-8 home record, Minnesota has the most home draws in MLS this season.
- Minnesota’s three home wins are second fewest in MLS this season, ahead of only Colorado (one).
- Minnesota has scored multiple goals in just two of 13 MLS home matches this season. Likewise, Minnesota’s opponents have scored multiple goals in just two of 13 MLS matches at Allianz Field this season.
- Seven of Minnesota’s 13 MLS home matches this season have resulted in a 1-1 draw.
- In three of Minnesota’s last four home matches, the team has fallen behind 1-0 and come back to earn a 1-1 tie.
- Minnesota has twice as many road wins (six) as home wins (three) this season. Their 6-6-2 MLS road record is fourth best in MLS.
- Twenty of Minnesota’s 27 MLS matches this season have been decided by a goal or fewer.
- Minnesota is 8-1-4 when scoring the first goal and 1-7-5 when conceding the first goal this season. Similarly, the team is 4-0-3 when leading at halftime and 0-4-2 when trailing at halftime.
- Currently occupying seventh place in the Western Conference, Minnesota is playing for its fifth consecutive berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 and 2018.
- Forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane leads Minnesota with 15 goals in all competitions this season, including seven goals in five Leagues Cup appearances.
- According to Opta, Hlongwane has underperformed his expected goal total by 4.96 goals, the most in MLS. Hlongwane has six MLS goals and an expected goal total of 10.96.
- After missing the first three months of the season, midfielder Emanuel Reynoso has scored six goals in 12 MLS appearances and eight goals in all competitions. Minnesota has lost just once in the 10 MLS matches Reynoso has started this season, a 4-1 setback to Austin FC on July 8.
- Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair is tied for fifth in MLS with eight shutouts this season.
- Defender Michael Boxall ranks fifth in MLS in blocks (43) and seventh in interceptions (43).
- Defender Miguel Tapias ranks second in MLS with 128 clearances.
- Defender D.J. Taylor ranks fourth in MLS with 16 successful crosses into the penalty area.
- Forward Teemu Pukki has scored three goals in 12 appearances across all competitions since debuting for Minnesota on July 8. Pukki, who has goals in each of his last two appearances, has scored over 200 goals at the professional club level.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Manager Peter Vermes has won a combined 297 MLS matches as a player or a coach, tied with Bruce Arena for the most in league history (regular season and playoffs).
- Midfielder Roger Espinoza has made 285 regular season starts for Sporting, tied with Matt Besler for second most in club history.