"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's playoff fate will be decided Saturday when the club hosts Minnesota United FC in a monumental Decision Day clash as the 2023 MLS regular season comes to a frantic finish. Kickoff at Children's Mercy Park is slated for 8 p.m. CT with a limited number of tickets available online at SeatGeek.
The all-important Western Conference clash will be shown on Apple TV in English and Spanish for MLS Season Pass subscribers, while radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app and a simulcast on SiriusXM FC.
As two regional rivals prepare to battle for one of the conference's final playoff berths, we take a statistical look at the matchup in this edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.
Sporting KC Playoff Scenario (all Western Conference matches at 8:15 p.m. CT)
Sporting KC will clinch a playoff berth if…
- Sporting KC win, AND
- Portland or Dallas or San Jose draw/lose
Sporting KC Seeding Scenarios (top nine teams in West advance to playoffs)
Sporting KC will clinch the No. 7 seed and play in the Round One Best-of-3 series if…
- Sporting KC win, AND
- All three of Portland, Dallas and San Jose draw/lose
Sporting KC will clinch the No. 8 seed and host the Wild Card match if…
- Sporting KC win, AND
- Only two of Portland, Dallas and San Jose draw/lose
Sporting KC will clinch the No. 9 seed and play away in the Wild Card match if…
- Sporting KC win, AND
- Only one of Portland, Dallas and San Jose draw/lose
- Sporting have faced Minnesota 21 times in all competitions since the Loons joined MLS in 2017, more than any other opponent. Sporting have an 11-6-4 record in the all-time series.
- Sporting lead the all-time regular season series against Minnesota with a 10-4-4 record.
- Sporting have won all eight regular season home meetings against Minnesota, outscoring the Loons 22-2 in those matches.
- Sporting are 9-1-0 at home against Minnesota in all competitions since the Loons entered MLS in 2017. Minnesota’s lone win at Children’s Mercy Park came by a 3-0 scoreline in the 2020 Western Conference Semifinals, the lone playoff meeting between the clubs.
- Sporting are 3-0-1 in the last four regular season meetings, scoring nine goals and conceding two.
- Sporting and Minnesota last met at Allianz Field on Sept. 16, 2022. Gadi Kinda scored the decisive goal on an assist from fellow substitute Roger Espinoza to give Sporting a 1-0 win.
- Sporting and Minnesota last met at Children’s Mercy Park on May 13, 2023. Kinda, Daniel Salloi and Dany Rosero scored goals to seal a 3-0 win for Sporting.
- Kinda has scored in both previous meetings between the clubs this season, accounting for two of his three MLS goals in 2023.
- Sporting have scored 11 goals in their last three home meetings against Minnesota, prevailing 4-0 in September 2021, 4-1 in September 2022 and 3-0 in May 2023.
- Sporting have won by three or more goals in five of their eight regular season home meetings against Minnesota.
- Sporting forward Johnny Russell has three goals and 10 assists in 14 regular season appearances against Minnesota.
- Sporting forward Khiry Shelton has four goals and an assist in 10 regular season appearances against Minnesota. His four goals versus Minnesota are his most against any MLS opponent.
- Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia has a 9-3-2 regular season record against Minnesota with seven shutouts and a 0.59 goals against average.
- Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair has a 0-4-1 regular season record against Sporting with zero shutouts and a 2.00 goals against average, but won the lone playoff meeting between the sides with a shutout in Minnesota’s 3-0 victory in the 2020 Western Conference Semifinals.
Sporting Kansas City
- 2023 MLS record: 11-14-8, 41 points (10th in West | 45 GF, 50 GA)
- 2023 MLS home record: 8-6-2 (27 GF, 20 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 3-2-0 (W-L-W-L-W)
- Since the start of May, Sporting lead the West in points (38), wins (11) and goals per game (1.83) while ranking third in goal differential (+7). Sporting’s seven losses during that time are also tied for the fewest in the conference.
- Sporting are looking to become the first team in MLS history to reach the playoffs after failing to win its first 10 regular season matches.
- Sporting are tied for second in MLS with five league wins since Aug. 26, including two wins in four away matches. The team had won just three of its previous 32 regular season away games from October 2021 through July 2023.
- 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 15-3-5 in regular season home finales in the non-shootout era.
- Sporting are 8-2-2 in regular season home finales at Children's Mercy Park since the stadium opened in 2011.
- Sporting are unbeaten in 12 straight October home matches (10-0-2) since 2015.
- Sporting are 9-0-2 in matches immediately following losses since April (all competitions).
- Sporting have scored 28 goals in the first half this season, the most in the Western Conference.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won seven of his last 10 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 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 Alan Pulido has 14 MLS goals, five behind the league lead, and has a team-best 15 goals this season in all competitions after missing all of 2022 through injury.
- Pulido is tied for the team lead with 18 goal contributions this season in all competitions (15 goals, three assists).
- With one goal and one assist in Sporting’s 3-2 win at RSL on Oct. 7, midfielder Erik Thommy is tied for the team lead with 18 goal contributions this season in all competitions (five goals and a team-leading 13 assists).
- Thommy has become the fifth player in club history to hit 11 assists in a single regular season alongside Preki (six times), Matt McKeon (11 in 2000), Graham Zusi (15 in 2012) and Benny Feilhaber (15 in 2015, 13 in 2016).
- Sporting are a perfect 8-0-0 when Thommy scores in the regular season dating back to 2022. The club is also 10-1-3 this season in games he has scored or assisted a goal.
- 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 has scored in back-to-back matches, becoming one of three MLS players to bag six goals every regular season since 2018 alongside Gyasi Zardes and Luciano Acosta.
- Russell is seeking his first three-game scoring streak in MLS play since October 2021.
- Forward Willy Agada has scored in two of his last three MLS appearances. He has nine goals in nine career MLS starts at Children’s Mercy Park since joining the club in summer 2022.
- Defender Jake Davis has started each of Sporting’s last 22 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team.
- Since breaking into the starting lineup on April 29, Davis ranks fifth in MLS with 38 tackles won.
- 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.
Minnesota United FC
- 2023 MLS record: 10-12-11, 41 points (11th in West | 41 GF, 45 GA)
- 2023 MLS away record: 6-8-2 (21 GF, 28 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 1-3-1 (L-L-T-L-W)
- Minnesota will advance to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a win over Sporting and a loss or tie from either Dallas, Portland or San Jose.
- Minnesota is playing for its fifth consecutive berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 and 2018.
- Minnesota went winless in seven games (0-4-3) from Sept. 2 to Oct. 4 before posting a 5-2 home victory over the LA Galaxy Oct. 7, scoring their second most goals in a single match in club regular season history.
- Prior to their seven-match winless run that began in September, Minnesota went 7-3-2 in all competitions from July to August.
- With a 4-4-9 home record, Minnesota finished with the most home draws in MLS this season.
- Minnesota’s four home wins are tied for the second fewest in MLS this season, while their six away wins (6-8-2 record) are tied for fourth most in the league.
- Minnesota and Real Salt Lake are the only two teams with more road wins than away wins this season.
- Minnesota have conceded nine goals in their last two away matches, a 4-3 loss to the LA Galaxy on Sept. 20 and a 5-1 loss to LAFC on Oct. 4.
- Minnesota has seen 24 of its 33 regular season matches decided by a goal or less.
- Minnesota is 9-3-5 when scoring the first goal and 1-9-5 when conceding the first goal this season. The team is 5-1-3 when leading at halftime and 0-5-2 when trailing at halftime.
- Minnesota has dropped 22 points from winning positions this season, second most in MLS behind only Charlotte FC (23).
- Minnesota has faced
- Forward Teemu Pukki scored a club-record four goals in Minnesota’s 5-2 win over the LA Galaxy on Oct. 7. Pukki has 10 goals in 13 MLS appearances since debuting in July, including nine goals in his last eight appearances since Aug. 30.
- Forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane leads Minnesota with 17 goals in all competitions this season, including seven goals in five Leagues Cup appearances.
- According to Opta, Hlongwane has underperformed his expected goal total by 4.96 goals, the second most in MLS. Hlongwane has eight MLS goals and an expected goal total of 12.96.
- After missing the first three months of the season, midfielder Emanuel Reynoso has tallied six goals and four assists in 17 MLS appearances and scored eight goals in all competitions.
- Defender Michael Boxall ranks third in MLS with 30 blocks, one off the MLS lead. He also ranks eighth in MLS with 48 interceptions.
- Defender Miguel Tapias ranks third in MLS with 151 clearances, three off the league lead.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Sporting are two shy of 750 home goals in club regular season history.
- Manager Peter Vermes is tied for third in MLS history with 194 regular season wins, the most among active coaches and one shy of passing Bob Bradley for sole possession of third place.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of 100 regular season wins in his MLS career.
- Midfielder Gadi Kinda is 48 minutes shy of 5,000 career minutes played for Sporting in all competitions.
- Defender Jake Davis is 52 minutes shy of becoming the fourth player in club history to play 2,000 minutes in a regular season before the age of 22.