By the Numbers presented by KDOT

By The Numbers: Sporting KC at Philadelphia Union | April 1, 2023

2023: A Season You Don’t Want to Miss

"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.

Sporting Kansas City will visit reigning Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia Union at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. The contest will be shown live on Apple TV for MLS Season Pass subscribers in both English and Spanish. Radio coverage will also air locally in English on ESPN 94.5 FM and 1510 AM, as well as in Spanish on La Grande 1340 AM, with all streams available in the Sporting KC app.

Seeking their first win of 2023, Sporting will venture east to face a Union side that was seconds away from hoisting the 2022 MLS Cup last November, only to relinquish a last-gasp lead against LAFC. Philadelphia remains a formidable foe this season, but Sporting is no stranger to success at Subaru Park as evidenced by their epic victory in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final.

Both clubs have seen their rosters evolve significantly since then, and both teams enter the weekend hungry for a win after suffering consecutive league defeats. We take a statistical look at the matchup in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.


  • Sporting and Philadelphia last met in the MLS is Back Tournament quarterfinals on July 30, 2020, as the Union claimed a 3-1 win in Orlando. Philadelphia took an early 3-0 lead before Alan Pulido grabbed a goal back for Sporting on the stroke of halftime.
  • Sporting and Philadelphia haven’t battled in the MLS regular season in over four years, last meeting on March 10, 2019, as Sporting claimed a 2-0 home win at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting last visited Philadelphia on Sept. 23, 2018, suffering a 2-0 loss as the Union received a brace from Jay Simpson and two assists from Alejandro Bedoya.
  • Sporting and Philadelphia have split the regular season series with a 6-6-5 record through 17 meetings. Sporting are 2-4-2 in the regular season at Subaru Park, with both wins bookending the 2013 campaign.
  • Sporting have lost their last three regular season away matches against Philadelphia, taking losses in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
  • Sporting notably beat Philadelphia in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at Children’s Mercy Park, prevailing 7-6 on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Sporting’s Tim Melia was the winning goalkeeper with two saves in the shootout.
  • Sporting defender Graham Zusi has four goals and two assists in 12 regular season appearances against Philadelphia.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2023 MLS record: 0-3-2, 2 points (13th in West | 2 GF, 7 GA)
  • 2023 MLS away record: 0-2-1 (1 GF, 3 GA)
  • First 5 Matches: 0-3-2 (L-T-T-L-L)
  • Sporting are tied with Philadelphia for the MLS lead in shots (76) and rank second in shots on target (32).
  • Sporting lead MLS with 57 key passes and rank second in both shooting accuracy (62.8%) and corner kicks (34).
  • Sporting lead MLS with six shots from fast breaks.
  • Sporting rank second in MLS with 92 crosses from open play.
  • Sporting lead MLS with a dribble success rate of 64.4%, completing 58 of 90 attempted dribbles.
  • Sporting are tied for last in MLS with two goals scored. Both have come within the first 11 minutes of their last two matches.
  • Midfielder Erik Thommy leads MLS in shots (20) and shots on target (11) while ranking seventh in chances created (12).
  • Forward Daniel Salloi ranks fourth in MLS in shots (18), second in shots on target (nine) and fourth in successful crosses from open play (six).
  • Forward Willy Agada, who opened his 2023 scoring account in Sporting’s loss to Seattle last Saturday, has bagged eight goals in eight home starts at Children’s Mercy Park since joining the club last summer.
  • At age 21, John Pulskamp has become the sixth-youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to record six career shutouts in the regular season. His 319-minute shutout streak that spanned from Feb. 27 to March 18 is the second longest by any MLS goalkeeper this season.
  • Midfielder Remi Walter has started 47 consecutive regular season matches for Sporting since Sept. 29, 2021. That is the third-longest active streak among MLS field players behind Jakob Glesnes (78) and Darlington Nagbe (72) and tied for the ninth-longest streak in club history.
  • Since the start of 2021, Fontas leads MLS in passes (5,113), successful passes (4,513) and touches (5,822). During that time, Fontas has completed more passes (4,513) than any other player in MLS has attempted passes (Michael Bradley at 4,510).
  • Midfielder Danny Flores made his Sporting and MLS debut in last Saturday’s match against Seattle as a second-half substitute.

Philadelphia Union

  • 2023 MLS record: 2-3-0, 6 points (8th in East | 8 GF, 8 GA)
  • 2023 MLS home record: 2-1-0 (6 GF, 3 GA)
  • First 5 Matches: 2-3-0 (W-L-W-L-L)
  • Philadelphia have lost consecutive for the first time since Sept. 3, 2021, which was also the club’s most recent home defeat prior to falling 2-1 to Orlando last Saturday, March 25.
  • Philadelphia went unbeaten in 24 straight regular season home matches from September 2021 through March 11 of this year, posting a 19-0-5 record at Subaru Park, before seeing the streak end in a 2-1 home loss to Orlando last Saturday. A total of 568 days had elapsed between Union home losses in the regular season.
  • Philadelphia are currently in the midst of their 2023 Concacaf Champions League campaign. The Union beat El Salvadorian side Alianza in the Round of 16 and will now prepare to face Mexican club Atlas in the quarterfinals, with the first leg at home on April 4 (three days before the match against Sporting) and the second leg in Mexico on April 12.
  • Philadelphia enjoyed a banner year in 2022, finishing as MLS Cup runners-up after posting a club-record 67 points during the regular season (19-5-10 record).
  • In 2022, Philadelphia led MLS during the regular season in goals (72), fewest goals conceded (26), goal differential (+46) and fewest losses (five).
  • Philadelphia produced three major award winners at the end of the 2022 season: Coach of the Year Jim Curtin, Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake and Defender of the Year Jakob Glesnes.
  • Glesnes, Blake and midfielder Daniel Gazdag started all 34 regular season matches for Philadelphia last season, while midfielder Leon Flach (33) and defenders Kai Wagner (33) and Jack Elliot (32) all made more than 30 starts.
  • Glesnes has started 78 straight regular season matches for Philadelphia dating back to 2020, the longest active streak among MLS players.
  • Gazdag and forwards Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre have scored two regular season goals apiece for the Union this season.
  • Gazdag is tied for the MLS lead with four assists this season.
  • Carranza leads MLS with 17 fouls committed and ranks fourth with eight shots on target.
  • In 2022, Gazdag was tied for second in MLS with 22 goals, while Wagner was tied for second with 15 assists. Blake had a league-high 15 clean sheets.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Forward Daniel Salloi is one shy of his 50th goal for Sporting in all competitions.
  • Forward Johnny Russell is one shy of his 50th goal for Sporting in MLS competitions and two shy of 50 regular season goals for the club. His 48 regular season goals and 53 goals in all competitions are both third most in club history.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza is one shy of his 300th start in MLS competitions (regular season, playoffs and MLS is Back Tournament).
  • Midfielder Remi Walter is one shy of his 50th consecutive MLS start (including two playoff matches) dating back to Sept. 29, 2021.