By the Numbers presented by KDOT

By The Numbers: Sporting KC at St. Louis | Sept. 30, 2023

"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.

On the heels of a gritty 2-1 home win over Houston Dynamo FC last weekend, Sporting Kansas City sits one point below the playoff line ahead of a mouthwatering rivalry encounter against arch-rival St. Louis at 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday at Citypark.

The regular season rubber match between the clubs will be shown for free on Apple TV in English and Spanish via MLS Season Pass. Local radio coverage will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app.

Sporting's margin for error will be razor thin against a formidable St. Louis side that has already sealed a berth in the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. Manager Peter Vermes' men won the most recent meeting by a 2-1 scoreline at Children's Mercy Park and will fancy a similar result this time around to give their postseason aspirations a significant boost on the final day of September.

We take a statistical look at the monumental matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.


  • Saturday serves as the 2023 rubber match between Sporting and St. Louis after both teams won their inaugural home games in the series earlier this year.
  • St. Louis won the first meeting at Citypark by a 4-0 scoreline on May 20.
    • Indiana Vassilev scored his only two goals of the season to date, while Eduard Lowen and Niko Gioacchini also found the back of the net.
    • Goalkeeper Roman Burki made six saves, tied for his most in a home appearance this season.
    • Midfielder Jared Stroud had two assists for the first multi-assist game of his MLS career.
  • Sporting exacted revenge with a 2-1 comeback win at Children’s Mercy Park on Sept. 2.
    • Sam Adeniran fired St. Louis ahead in the 22nd minute, but forward Alan Pulido struck twice before halftime to complete Sporting’s fightback.
    • Daniel Salloi and Jake Davis tabbed primary assists for Sporting, while Erik Thommy received secondary assists on both goals.
    • Vassilev assisted Adeniran’s early go-ahead goal. Vassilev has recorded three of his seven goal contributions this season against Sporting (two goals, one assist).
    • St. Louis is 13-1-3 when scoring first this season. Their only loss when scoring first was Sporting’s 2-1 comeback win on Sept. 2 at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2023 MLS record: 10-13-8, 38 points (10th in West | 41 GF, 44 GA)
  • 2023 MLS away record: 2-7-6 (14 GF, 24 GA)
  • Last five MLS matches: 3-2-0 (W-L-W-L-W)
  • Since the start of May, Sporting lead the Western Conference in wins (10), points (35), goals (38), goals per match (1.81) and goal differential (+9).
  • Sporting enter the weekend two 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.
  • With a 2-1 home win over Houston last weekend, Sporting improved to 8-0-2 in matches immediately following losses since April (all competitions).
  • Sporting’s 2-1 win over Houston last weekend required the team to play a man down for 51 minutes of normal time and 18 minutes of total stoppage time.
  • Sporting are playing for a second straight away win after beating Minnesota by a 1-0 scoreline on Sept. 16, their first 1-0 road win since Oct. 28, 2020. Sporting last won consecutive MLS road games in July and August 2021.
  • Sporting have scored 63.4% of their regular season goals in the first half, the highest clip in the league (26 of 41). 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.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won six of his last eight starts since May 13 after opening the season with a 0-4-1 record. His victory over Houston last Saturday 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 .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 Willy Agada, who scored the winner in last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Houston, now has nine goals in nine regular season starts at Children’s Mercy Park dating back to his MLS arrival in June 2022. Nine of his 10 MLS goals have been scored at home, with his lone away goal coming at Austin FC on Aug. 13, 2022.
  • Agada’s goal against Houston was Sporting’s first goal scored this season when playing down a man. Sporting has had four red cards and played down a man for 159 minutes during the 2023 regular season (not including first-half or second-half stoppage time).
  • Forward Alan Pulido is tied for fifth in MLS with 13 league goals (two behind co-leaders Lucho Acosta, Giorgos Giakoumakis and 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. 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).
  • Pulido leads Sporting with 17 goal contributions this season in all competitions (14 goals, three assists).
  • Midfielder Erik 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 ranks third on the team with 15 goal contributions in all competitions.
  • Defender Jake Davis has started each of Sporting’s last 20 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team. In Sporting’s 2-1 win over Houston last weekend, Davis became the first MLS player in the Opta era (since 2019) to record 12 recoveries, four clearances, two chances created from open play and 100% tackle success (minimum four tackles) in a single match.
  • Since the start of 2021, defender Andreu Fontas has more completed passes (5,757) than any other MLS player has attempted passes (Ilie Sanchez 5,119) 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.
  • In Sporting’s 2-1 win over Houston last weekend, Rosero led MLS with a matchday-high 12 clearances, the most by a Sporting player during the Opta era (since 2019). He also became only the second MLS player during the Opta era with 12 clearances, four aerial duels won and 90% passing accuracy in a single match.
  • 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 at home in the regular season with the starting backline of Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas and Logan Ndenbe.
  • Midfielder Remi Walter leads MLS in recoveries in the attacking third (33) while ranking second in recoveries in the midfield third (111). Walter places second among MLS field players in total recoveries (214).

St. Louis

  • 2023 MLS record: 16-10-5, 53 points (1st in West | 58 GF, 39 GA)
  • 2023 MLS home record: 10-3-2 (37 GF, 14 GA)
  • Last five MLS matches: 1-1-3 (L-T-T-T-W)
  • With an eight-point lead atop the Western Conference, St. Louis has clinched a playoff berth and is looking to become the first MLS expansion team to finish atop the conference regular season standings.
  • St. Louis ranks second in MLS with 16 wins, four more than any other Western Conference team.
  • St. Louis leads the Western Conference with 58 goals this season at a clip of 1.87 goals per match.
  • St. Louis leads MLS with a plus-19 goal differential (58 goals scored, 39 goals conceded). The club’s plus-23 goal differential at home (37 GF, 14 GA) is second best in MLS and the best in the West.
  • St. Louis leads the Western Conference in shot conversion rate (13.9%) while ranking fifth in MLS in shots on target per game (5.1).
  • St. Louis is 13-1-3 when scoring first this season. Their only loss when scoring first was Sporting’s 2-1 comeback win on Sept. 2 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • St. Louis is 10-0-1 when leading at halftime this season and 0-2-1 when trailing at halftime. Their three halftime deficits are tied for the fewest in MLS this season (New England Revolution).
  • According to Opta, St. Louis is outperforming its expected goal differential by 26.97 goals, the largest such margin in MLS and at least two times more than any other team (New England is 2nd at 13.34).
  • According to Opta, St. Louis has outperformed its expected goal total by 18.9, the most in MLS (58 goals, 39.1 expected goals).
  • St. Louis has scored 48 goals in its 16 wins this season. The team has scored just 10 goals in the 15 games it has failed to win (10 losses, five draws).
  • St. Louis has 10 home wins this season, tied with Houston for the most in the Western Conference (10-3-2 home record).
  • St. Louis has five draws during the regular season, tied for the second fewest in MLS.
  • St. Louis ranks last in MLS in average possession (43.6%).
  • St. Louis ranks second in MLS with 14.6 fouls committed per match. The team’s discrepancy between fouls committed (451) and fouls suffered (322) is the largest in MLS by a margin of 40 fouls (129).
  • Forward and Kansas City native Niko Gioacchini leads St. Louis with 10 MLS goals. He also leads the team in fouls suffered (56) and ranks third on the team in key passes (28).
  • Midfielder Eduard Lowen leads St. Louis in both assists (11) and total goal contributions (17) this season. His 11 assists are tied for fifth most in MLS, while his four game-winning goals are tied for seventh in the league.
  • Goalkeeper Roman Burki leads MLS in saves (114) while ranking second in wins (16) and eighth in save percentage (74.4%).
  • Defender Tim Parker has a career-high four goals in 26 MLS matches this season after scoring just two goals in his first 217 regular season appearances from 2015-2022. He ranks third in MLS in clearances (136) and has a 14-7-5 record as a starter. St. Louis is 2-3-0 without him in the lineup.
  • After scoring five goals in his first five MLS appearances through the end of March, forward Klauss has scored three goals in his last four appearances since Sept. 10. He ranks second on the team in both goals (eight) and total goal contributions (12).
  • Midfielder Njabulo Blom ranks sixth in MLS in interceptions (47).

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).
  • Sporting Forward Andreu Fontas is one shy of his 100th regular season start for Sporting.
  • Sporting forward Alan Pulido is one shy of his 50th regular season start for the club.