By The Numbers: Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union | March 2, 2024

"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.

Following a 1-1 draw in last weekend's season opener against Houston, Sporting Kansas City will host the Philadelphia Union in a star-studded home opener on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. CT showdown are available online at SeatGeek, including the Home Opener Pack and Sporting U Pass. The cross-conference clash will stream free via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and air locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and LA Grande 1340 AM. Pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network will also show all of the action.

Sporting will play six of their next eight matches in the friendly confines of Children's Mercy Park, and a win this weekend would generate palpable momentum for a team looking to cash in on its home-heavy start to the campaign. The Union, meanwhile, are juggling the start of the regular season with the Concacaf Champions Cup, as Philadelphia will host Pachuca in the Round of 16 just three days after visiting Kansas City for the first time in five years.

With no shortage of excitement surrounding this compelling contest, we offer a statistical preview in our newest edition of By The Numbers presented by Compass Minerals.


  • Sporting and Philadelphia last met on April 1, 2023, playing to a 0-0 draw at Subaru Park. The Union had scored in 24 of their previous 25 regular season home matches prior to getting shut out by Sporting last April.
  • Sporting last hosted Philadelphia on March 10, 2019, winning 2-0 in the regular season opener at Children’s Mercy Park. A total of 1,819 days will have elapsed since the Union’s last visit to Kansas City.
  • Sporting and Philadelphia have split the regular season series with a 6-6-6 record through 18 meetings.
  • Only once has either team won consecutive meetings in the regular season series, when Sporting beat Philadelphia in their 2012 season finale and their 2013 season opener.
  • Sporting are 4-2-3 in nine regular season home matches against Philadelphia, including a 3-2-3 record at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Philadelphia has not won at Children’s Mercy Park since prevailing 2-1 on May 14, 2014. The Union have gone 0-2-2 in their four visits to Kansas City since then.
  • Sporting notably beat Philadelphia in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at Subaru Park, prevailing 7-6 on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Sporting’s Tim Melia was the winning goalkeeper with two saves in the shootout.
  • Sporting also won at Philadelphia in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup semifinals before beating Seattle at home in the tournament final at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2024 MLS record: 0-0-1, 1 point (6th in West | 1 GF, 1 GA)
  • Week 1 Result: Tied 1-1 at Houston Dynamo FC on Feb. 24
  • Sporting are 16-3-9 all-time in regular season home openers, including a 5-1-7 record at Children’s Mercy Park. The club’s last home-opening loss, and its only home-opening loss at Children’s Mercy Park, came against New York City FC on March 4, 2018.
  • In last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Houston, Sporting held the Dynamo to an expected goal total of 1.19 (per Sportec). That was the fifth-lowest expected goal total among the 15 home teams during the first week of the regular season.
  • In last Saturday’s 1-1 draw, Sporting held Houston to seven penalty area entries from the run of play, the third fewest in MLS during the first week of the regular season.
  • All 11 starters from Sporting’s opener at Houston were returning players from the previous season in 2023. That had happened only three times prior in club history (2014, 2019, 2023).
  • Sporting’s 1-1 draw at Houston was the club’s first MLS season opener without Roger Espinoza or Graham Zusi in the lineup since 2008.
  • Sporting’s opener in Houston on Feb. 24 was the earliest regular season match in club history and the second earliest competitive match behind Sporting’s 3-0 win over Toluca in the Concacaf Champions Cup on Feb. 21, 2019.
  • Midfielder Erik Thommy scored Sporting’s go-ahead goal in the second half of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Houston. He has now scored goals in back-to-back regular season road appearances dating back to last season.
  • Sporting are unbeaten at 8-0-1 when Thommy scores in the regular season. He has appeared in each of the club’s last 51 MLS matches (including playoffs) since debuting on July 23, 2022.
  • Three Sporting players made their club debuts last Saturday in Houston: defender Zorhan Bassong, midfielder Memo Rodriguez and forward Alenis Vargas. All three were second-half substitutes.
  • Rodriguez was a 74th-minute substitute last Saturday and the only Sporting player to record two shot attempts.
  • In last Saturday’s match, Vargas hit a top speed of 9.9 meters per second, 0.8 m/s higher than any other Sporting player.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia is 10-3-2 in his last 15 regular season starts since May 13, 2023.
  • Forward Daniel Salloi has appeared in 57 straight MLS matches (including playoffs) for Sporting since June 2022, the longest active streak on the team.
  • Defender Jake Davis has started in each of Sporting’s last 28 matches in all competitions dating back to May 28, 2023.

Philadelphia Union

  • 2024 MLS record: 0-0-1, 1 point (5th in East | 2 GF, 2 GA)
  • Week 1 Result: Tied 2-2 vs. Chicago Fire FC on Feb. 24
  • Since the start of 2019, Philadelphia leads MLS in regular season wins (78), points (279) and points per match (1.75) with a 78-37-45 record.
  • Philadelphia’s first three matches this season in all competitions have produced 15 total goals, an average of five per game.
  • Philadelphia has scored and conceded at least two goals apiece in each of their first three matches this season in all competitions.
  • Philadelphia has conceded the first goal in all three matches this season. In 300 minutes of action this season, the Union have led for only 16 minutes.
  • Philadelphia has conceded two or more goals in three straight matches in all competitions for the first time since October 2019.
  • Philadelphia will be four days removed from playing 120 minutes against Deportivo Saprissa in the Concacaf Champions Cup first round. After a 3-2 first-leg win on Feb. 20, the Union trailed 3-2 at home in Tuesday’s second leg before scoring a series-winning goal in extra time.
  • Philadelphia used a total of 23 players during the 2023 regular season, the fewest in MLS.
  • Forward Julian Carranza leads Philadelphia with four goals this season in all competitions, all coming in the Union’s 6-5 aggregate win over Deportivo Saprissa in the Concacaf Champions Cup first round.
  • Attacking midfielder Daniel Gazdag has tallied 41 goals and 26 assists in 90 regular season appearances since joining the club in 2021. His goal total includes a perfect 19-19 conversion rate on penalty kicks.
  • During the 2023 regular season, 11 of Gazdag’s 14 MLS goals were penalty kicks. His 11 penalty kick goals were more than any other MLS team’s total last year.
  • Center backs Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes have made at least 31 regular season starts apiece in each of the last three seasons since 2021.
  • Similarly, left back Kai Wagner has made at least 27 regular season starts every year since 2021. He has recorded at least seven assists in three straight regular seasons, including a total of 15 in 2022 that ranked second in MLS.
  • In 103 regular season matches played since the start of 2021, the Union leads MLS with 36 shutouts and a 1.00 goals against average.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Forward Johnny Russell has 56 regular season goals for Sporting, one shy of tying Dom Dwyer for second most in club history.
  • Forward Daniel Salloi has 77 goal contributions (45 goals, 32 assists) in the regular season, one shy of tying Davy Arnaud for fifth most in club history.
  • Forward Willy Agada is one shy of his 50th goal at the professional club level.