By the Numbers presented by KDOT

By The Numbers: Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo FC | Sept. 23, 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.

Looking to bounce back from a midweek loss to Nashville SC, Sporting Kansas City returns to Children's Mercy Park on Saturday to host longtime rival Houston Dynamo FC at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the annual Kick Childhood Cancer match are available on SeatGeek, including the Coca-Cola Friends & Family 4-Pack consisting of four tickets, four 20-ounce Coca-Cola products and four cheeseburgers for $100.

The Western Conference clash will be broadcast for free on Apple TV in English and Spanish. Local radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB 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.

Manager Peter Vermes' men are in dire need of points for their late-season playoff push, while the Dynamo are looking to continue their red-hot run of form in the days leading up to a marquee meeting with Inter Miami CF in the U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday. We take a statistical look at the monumental matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.


  • Sporting are 3-0-2 in their last five regular season meetings against Houston. The Dynamo claimed their last league win in the series on May 12, 2021.
  • Sporting are 4-1-2 in their last seven meetings against Houston across all competitions, with the lone loss coming on May 10 as Houston claimed a 1-0 home win in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32.
  • Houston’s Open Cup win over Sporting on May 10 saw Thor Ulfarsson score the decisive goal in the 12th minute. The Dynamo held on for a 1-0 victory despite being outshot 17-2 and playing down a man for 55 minutes following Chase Gasper’s red card.
  • Sporting are 8-3-3 in their last 14 regular season meetings against Houston dating back to 2018.
  • Sporting are 6-1-0 in their last seven regular season home meetings against Houston since 2018 (7-1-0 in all competitions including an Open Cup home win in 2022).
  • Sporting and Houston last met on July 8 at Shell Energy Stadium, playing to a 2-2 draw. Alan Pulido scored a brace, giving Sporting the lead in both halves, but Houston responded on the cusp of halftime and full time through Ibrahim Aliyu and Ivan Franco, respectively.
  • Sporting have faced Houston 44 times in all competitions since 2011, more than any other opponent (18-14-12 record).
  • The all-time regular season series is even through 41 meetings with both teams going 13-13-15 and scoring 56 goals apiece (1.37 per game).
  • Sporting forward Alan Pulido has six goals and one assist in seven regular season appearances against Houston since 2020. His six goals against Houston are his most versus any MLS opponent.
  • Sporting forward Johnny Russell has seven goals and three assists in 14 appearances against Houston in all competitions since 2018.
  • Sporting midfielder Gadi Kinda has four goals and three assists in seven regular season appearances against Houston since 2020.
  • Houston forward Corey Baird has four goals and one assist in 11 regular season appearances against Sporting.
  • Houston midfielder Hector Herrera had two assists in the 2-2 draw between the clubs on July 8.
  • Only four people have played or coached in 600 MLS matches in league history: Sporting manager Peter Vermes (700) and Houston head coach Ben Olsen (618), who will go head-to-head on Saturday, as well as Jason Kreis (662) and Gregg Vanney (620).

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2023 MLS record: 9-13-8, 35 points (11th in West | 39 GF, 43 GA)
  • 2023 MLS home record: 7-6-2 (25 GF, 19 GA)
  • Last five MLS matches: 3-2-0 (W-W-L-W-L)
  • Since the start of May, Sporting lead the Western Conference with 36 goals scored (1.8 goals per match). The team scored just three goals in its first 10 league matches through the end of April.
  • Since the start of May, Sporting lead the Western Conference with a plus-8 goal differential, scoring 36 goals and conceding 28.
  • Sporting have scored at least three goals in nine of the club’s last 20 regular season home matches since August 2022. The team has won each of those nine games while posting a 3-6-2 record in the other 10 home matches scoring two goals or fewer.
  • 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 62% of their regular season goals in the first half, the highest clip in the league (24 of 39).
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won five of his last seven 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 fifth in MLS with 13 league goals (two behind 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. 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 has one goal and four assists in his last four 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 five of his last seven regular season appearances since July 12 and is the only Sporting player to start in all 30 regular season matches this year.
  • Salloi ranks third on the team with 15 goal contributions in all competitions.
  • 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 19 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team.
  • Since the start of 2021, defender Andreu Fontas has more completed passes (5,730) than any other MLS player has attempted passes (Ilie Sanchez 5,106) 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.

Houston Dynamo FC

  • 2023 MLS record: 12-10-7, 43 points (4th in West | 41 GF, 33 GA)
  • 2023 MLS away record: 2-8-4 (10 GF, 23 GA)
  • Last five MLS matches: 0-3-2 (W-W-T-T-W)
  • Since the resumption of the regular season on Aug. 20 following Leagues Cup, Houston leads MLS in wins (four), points (14), goals scored (15), fewest goals conceded (two), goal differential (+13) and shutouts (four).
  • With a 4-0-2 record since Aug. 20, Houston is one of two MLS teams (Charlotte FC) without a league defeat since the regular season resumed following Leagues Cup.
  • Houston is 5-0-2 in all competitions since Aug. 20 with 18 goals scored and three goals conceded, including a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake in the Open Cup semifinals on Aug. 23. Houston will travel to face Inter Miami CF in the Open Cup final on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
  • Houston has five shutouts in its last seven MLS matches since July 15 and hasn’t allowed a goal before the 87th minute during that seven-game stretch.
  • Houston posted a 540-minute shutout streak in MLS play from July 15 to Sept. 16, the longest shutout streak in MLS this season.
  • Houston has a 10-2-2 record and a +21 goal differential at home but a 2-8-4 record and a -13 goal differential on the road this season.
  • Houston’s two regular season road wins are tied for the fewest in the Western Conference this season.
  • Houston has scored 10 goals in the first 15 minutes of MLS matches this season, second most in MLS behind only Atlanta (11).
  • Houston is 11-0-2 this season when scoring the first goal and 1-10-2 when allowing the first goal. Similarly, Houston is 8-0-1 when leading at halftime and 0-5-0 when trailing at halftime.
  • Midfielder Hector Herrera ranks second in MLS with 14 assists, one off the league lead. He leads Houston with 18 goal contributions during the 2023 MLS season.
  • Forward Corey Baird has four goals in his last six MLS matches after scoring three goals in his first 23 appearances this season. He leads Houston in both goals (12) and appearances (36) across all competitions this season.
  • Forward Amine Bassi is second on the team with 11 goals in all competitions this season, eight of which have been penalty kicks.
  • Goalkeeper Steve Clark is tied for the MLS lead with 11 shutouts.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Sporting forward Alan Pulido is one shy of his 50th regular season start for the club.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza is tied with Chris Klein for third in club history with 45 regular season assists.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia one shy of 100 wins for Sporting in MLS competitions.