"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.
Although Sporting Kansas City's run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is over, the club can build on its winning ways in the regular season when rivals Minnesota United FC visit Children's Mercy Park at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. Tickets for the contest are available at SeatGeek.com and the action will air live on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
Sporting have endured a slow start in 2023, but with two-thirds of the season still to play, hosting the Loons in their proverbial house of horrors just may be what the doctor ordered. We take a statistical look at Saturday's match in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.
- Sporting have faced Minnesota 19 times in all competitions since the Loons joined MLS in 2017, more than any other opponent. Sporting have a 9-6-4 record in the all-time series.
- Sporting lead the all-time regular season series against Minnesota with an 8-4-4 record.
- Sporting have won all seven regular season home meetings against Minnesota, scoring 19 goals and conceding just two.
- Sporting and Minnesota last met on Sept. 17, 2022, at Children’s Mercy Park. The hosts earned a runaway 4-1 win behind Willy Agada’s brace, an Erik Thommy strike and an own goal. Mender Garcia opened his MLS scoring account for the visitors.
- Sporting have scored four goals in each of their last two home meetings against Minnesota, prevailing 4-0 in September 2021 and 4-1 in September 2022.
- Sporting have won by three or more goals in four of their seven regular season home meetings against Minnesota.
- Sporting forward Johnny Russell has three goals and nine assists in 12 regular season appearances against Minnesota.
- Sporting forward Khiry Shelton has four goals and an assist in nine regular season appearances against Minnesota. His four goals versus Minnesota are his most against any MLS opponent.
Sporting Kansas City
- 2023 MLS record: 1-7-3, 6 points (14th in West | 5 GF, 16 GA)
- 2023 MLS home record: 0-3-1 (1 GF, 7 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 1-4-0 (L-L-L-L-W)
- Sunday’s 2-1 win at Seattle marked the first time that Sporting have scored multiple goals in a game since Sept. 17, 2022, ending a streak of 12 matches with one goal or fewer.
- Sporting have scored three of their five regular season goals before the 12th minute and four of the five before the 32nd minute. The club has yet to score past the 50th minute this season.
- Sporting rank third in MLS in key passes (103), third in corner kicks (67) and second in shooting accuracy (55.6%).
- Sporting have outshot opponents by an average of 13.5 to 11.3 this season.
- Sporting rank second in MLS in final third entries per game (64.2) and fourth in successful passes in the final third per game (99.7).
- Sporting lead MLS in progressive carries per game (20.9) and rank fifth in progressive passes per game (43.4).
- Sporting have used 27 players in MLS matches this season, the most in the league.
- Since the start of 2020, Sporting are 16-6-5 in the regular season when all three of the club’s Designated Players play in the same match (2.0 goals per game, 27 games). The team is 25-33-15 without at least one Designated Player during that time (1.3 goals per game, 73 games). Sporting’s DPs from 2018-2020 were Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda and Johnny Russell. The club’s DPs in 2023 are Pulido, Kind and Erik Thommy.
- Midfielder Erik Thommy, who had a goal and a game-winning assist in Sunday’s 2-1 victory at Seattle, is tied for second in MLS with 15 shots on target. Sporting are 4-0-0 when Thommy scores in the regular season.
- Forward Alan Pulido scored in Sunday’s 2-1 win at Seattle for his first MLS goal since Aug. 14, 2021, and now has 15 goals in 31 career regular season starts.
- Forward Daniel Salloi ranks third in MLS in progressive carries (44, third in successful crosses from open play (11) and sixth in shots on target (14). He has scored or assisted on five of Sporting’s eight goals this season in all competitions.
- Midfielder Remi Walter has started 53 consecutive regular season matches for Sporting since Sept. 29, 2021, the second-longest active streak among MLS field players behind Jakob Glesnes (83) and the fifth-longest streak in club history. Walter is the only Sporting player to play all 990 minutes this season and leads MLS field players with 106 recoveries.
Minnesota United FC
- 2023 MLS record: 3-4-3, 12 points (8th in West | 10 GF, 11 GA)
- 2023 MLS away record: 3-3-0 (7 GF, 7 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 0-4-1 (L-L-L-T-L)
- After beginning the season 3-0-2, Minnesota have gone 0-4-1 with four single-goal losses in their last five games.
- Minnesota have led for a total of eight minutes across their last five games after leading for 151 minutes across their first five games.
- Minnesota are 3-3-0 away from home, having won each of their first three road games before losing the last three.
- Minnesota’s three road wins are tied for the most in MLS.
- Minnesota has a goal differential of zero away from home (7 GF, 7 GA). Only St. Louis City SC have a better road goal differential (+3).
- All 10 of Minnesota’s MLS matches have been decided by a goal or fewer.
- Minnesota’s four losses by a single goal are tied with Sporting for the second-most in MLS.
- Minnesota are one of five MLS teams yet to concede a penalty kick this season.
- Minnesota rank 26th in MLS with 3.5 shots on goal per game.
- Minnesota have failed to win three of the five matches in which they have scored first (2-1-2 record).
- Minnesota missed the playoffs in their first two seasons from 2017-2018 but have made four consecutive playoff appearances since then.
- Forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane leads Minnesota with 11 shots on target. No other Loons players has more than five. He is tied for the team lead with two goals alongside Luis Amarilla and Mender Garcia.
- Hlongwane is 10th in MLS with 72 duels won.
- Defender Miguel Tapias is the only Minnesota player to start in all 10 of the club’s MLS matches this season. He has also played all 900 minutes.
- Tapias ranks ninth in MLS with 21 interceptions, while teammate Michael Boxall is tied for seventh with 22 interceptions.
- Midfielder Robin Lod leads Minnesota in assists (two) and chances created (10).
Milestones and Miscellany
- Defender Andreu Fontas is one shy of his 100th appearance for Sporting in all competitions.
- Defender Graham Zusi has made 350 regular season appearances for Sporting, one shy of passing Kyle Beckerman for third most regular season appearances with one MLS club in league history (Beckerman 350 with RSL, Nick Rimando 369 with RSL, Chris Wondolowski 376 with SJ).
- Forward Johnny Russell is one shy of his 50th regular season goal for the club. His 49 regular season goals and 54 goals in all competitions are both third most in club history.
- Midfielder Roger Espinoza has made 285 regular season starts for Sporting, tied with Matt Besler for second most in club history.
- Forward Khiry Shelton is one shy of 100 starts in his MLS regular season career.