"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 travel to face Real Salt Lake in the club's final regular season road match on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. CT at America First Field in Sandy, Utah, with live broadcasts in English and Spanish on Apple TV for MLS Season Pass subscribers. Local radio coverage will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app.
A frantic finish to the 2023 campaign has arrived for a Sporting side that will almost certainly need a result against RSL to preserve its postseason hopes. In the buildup to the penultimate regular season match of the year, we offer a statistical preview in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.
SKC Playoff Scenarios
Sporting will be eliminated from the playoff race on Saturday if…
- Sporting lose to RSL, and
- FC Dallas beat or tie San Jose
- Sporting tie RSL, and
- FC Dallas beat San Jose, and
- Austin FC beat LAFC
- Sporting and RSL settled for a 2-2 draw in the first meeting of 2023 on July 12 in Kansas City. Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell gave Sporting a 2-0 halftime lead before RSL battled back behind second-half goals from Danny Musovski and Anderson Julio.
- Real Salt Lake leads the all-time regular season series with a 16-12-9 record through 37 meetings.
- Sporting are 4-11-6 in their last 21 regular season meetings against Real Salt Lake since 2014, including a 1-7-2 record at America First Field.
- Sporting have one MLS road win at Real Salt Lake in the last 10 seasons, a 2-0 result on Decision Day to conclude the 2020 regular season.
- The teams have split the last seven regular season meetings since 2020 with a 3-3-1 record.
- Sporting notably defeated Real Salt Lake in the 2013 MLS Cup at Children’s Mercy Park, prevailing 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Sporting also eliminated RSL in the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals, winning 5-3 on aggregate goals.
- The most recent playoff match saw Real Salt Lake earn a 2-1 comeback road win over Sporting in the Western Conference Semifinals on Nov. 28, 2021.
- Sporting forward Johnny Russell has six goals and five assists in 13 appearances against RSL across all competitions, including a goal and an assist in the 2-2 draw on July 12.
- RSL forward Cristian Arango has three goals and two assists in four regular season appearances against Sporting.
- RSL midfielder Damir Kreilach has three goals and six assists in 13 MLS appearances against Sporting (including playoffs).
Sporting Kansas City
- 2023 MLS record: 10-14-8, 38 points (11th in West | 42 GF, 48 GA)
- 2023 MLS away record: 2-8-6 (15 GF, 28 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 2-3-0 (L-W-L-W-L)
- Sporting enter the weekend three points out of the ninth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The team has advanced to the playoffs in 10 of the previous 12 seasons since 2011.
- Since the start of May, Sporting rank third in the Western Conference with 35 points (10-7-5 record) and second in the West in both wins (10) and goal differential (+6).
- Sporting have scored at least three goals in nine of the club’s last 21 regular season home matches since August 2022. The team has won each of those nine games while posting a 4-6-2 record in the other 12 home matches scoring two goals or fewer.
- Sporting are unbeaten at 8-0-2 in matches immediately following losses since April (all competitions).
- Sporting have scored 63.9% of their regular season goals in the first half, the highest clip in the league (26 of 42). Their 26 first-half goals are most in the Western Conference.
- Sporting rank second in the Western Conference in goals scored in the first 15 minutes (eight) and goals scored in the first 30 minutes (15). Three of their five goals in Leagues Cup also came in the opening 30 minutes.
- Sporting have scored first in 14 of their last 20 matches across all competitions, posting a 7-2-5 record in those 14 games.
- Since 2010, MLS teams have scored seven goals with buildups of 30 or more passes. Sporting has scored five of the seven, including each of the last four since 2021 and two in a 3-0 home win over San Jose on Aug. 26.
- Sporting rank third in MLS in overall passing accuracy (85.1%), passing accuracy in the attacking half (80.0%) and passing accuracy in the final third (76.0%).
- Since Aug. 14, 2021, Sporting are 6-1-4 in the regular season with all three Designated Players in the starting lineup (Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell and Gadi Kinda were DPs from 2021-2022; Pulido, Kinda and Erik Thommy are DPs in 2023). Sporting has started all three of its DPs in 11 of 82 MLS matches during that span.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won six of his last nine starts since May 13 after opening the season with a 0-4-1 record. His victory over Houston on Sept. 23 was his 100th career win for Sporting in MLS competitions.
- 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 58.3% 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 Willy Agada has scored in back-to-back MLS matches. His 11 MLS goals since arriving to Kansas City last summer are fifth most in club history through 25 regular season appearances.
- Agada has nine goals in nine regular season starts at Children’s Mercy Park dating back to his MLS arrival in June 2022.
- Forward Alan Pulido has 13 MLS goals, four behind the league lead, 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. From June 3 to Sept. 9, he became the second player in Sporting history to score 12 goals in a span of 12 consecutive regular season matches (Johnny Russell in 2021).
- Midfielder Erik Thommy is tied for second on the team with 16 goal contributions in all competitions, including four goals and a team-leading 12 assists.
- Forward Daniel Salloi is tied for second on the team with 16 goal contributions in all competitions, including eight goals and eight assists.
- Salloi is 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 become the third player in Sporting history (Preki, Johnny Russell) to have seven goals and seven assists in three or more regular seasons for the club (2018, 2021, 2023).
- Forward Johnny Russell is one of four MLS players to score five goals every regular season since 2018, alongside Raul Ruidiaz, Gyasi Zardes and Luciano Acosta.
- Defender Jake Davis has started each of Sporting’s last 21 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team.
- Since the start of May, Davis ranks third in MLS in tackles won (37) and fifth in total tackles (60).
- Sporting are 7-1-1 in MLS when the center back pairing of Andreu Fontas and Dany Rosero start together at home this season.
- Sporting are 6-1-0 in MLS when the backline of Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas and Logan Ndenbe start together at home this season.
Real Salt Lake
- 2023 MLS record: 13-11-7, 46 points (4th in West | 43 GF, 45 GA)
- 2023 MLS home record: 6-6-4 (23 GF, 24 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 3-2-0 (W-L-L-W-W)
- RSL occupy fourth place in the Western Conference despite having a negative goal differential at -2 (43 goals scored, 45 goals conceded).
- RSL have won back-to-back MLS matches and will be playing for their first three-game winning streak in the regular season since May 2022.
- RSL have a 9-4-3 MLS record since the start of June, the best mark in the Western Conference.
- RSL’s six home losses are tied for the most in MLS (6-6-4 record).
- With 23 goals scored and 24 goals allowed at home, RSL are one of three MLS teams with a negative goal differential at home this season (RSL -1, Toronto -1, Colorado -2).
- RSL are tied for the MLS lead with seven road wins, going 7-5-3 away from home during the regular season. RSL’s 24 road points are second in MLS behind only Orlando (25).
- RSL are 4-2-0 in their last six MLS home matches after opening the season with a 2-4-4 home record.
- RSL went 11 matches unbeaten in all competitions during June and July, then lost six of seven matches in all competitions from Aug. 8 to Sept. 20.
- RSL lead MLS in shots on target per game (5.7) and rank second in total shots per game (14.8).
- RSL are the only team in MLS yet to be awarded a penalty kick during the 2023 regular season.
- RSL are 10-1-1 when scoring first this season and 3-10-2 when conceding first.
- RSL are 7-1-0 when leading at halftime and 3-9-2 when trailing at the break. Their three comeback wins after trailing at halftime are the most in MLS.
- Forward Cristian Arango has scored five goals in his last six MLS appearances since Aug. 30. His five goals since Aug. 30 are tied for third most in MLS.
- Forward Jefferson Savarino is tied for the RSL team lead in both goals (six) and assists (six) during the regular season. He also leads the team in key passes (45) and shots on target (23).
- Midfielder Andres Gomez is tied for second in MLS with five game-winning assists. Five of his six assists in 2023 have been match-winners.
- Midfielder Braian Ojeda ranks sixth in MLS with 51 fouls committed, while defender Brayan Vera is tied for the MLS lead with 10 yellow cards.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Manager Peter Vermes is one shy of a league-record 300 MLS wins as a player or a coach (regular season and playoffs combined).
- Midfielder Erik Thommy is one shy of his 50th appearance for Sporting in all competitions.
- Midfielder Gadi Kinda is 80 minutes shy of 5,000 career minutes played for Sporting in all competitions.