Fourteen. It’s a number that holds dual significance for Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber and the Philadelphia Union’s Cristian Maidana.


Fourteen days from now, the creative midfielders will lead their respective teams into the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at PPL Park.


But Feilhaber and Maidana are going head-to-head in more ways than one. Entering Week 29, the players are tied atop Major League Soccer’s assist chart with — you guessed it — 14 apiece.


The U.S. Open Cup Final on Sept. 30 will provide a stage on which two of the league’s premier playmakers hope to shine. So with two weeks to go until Feilhaber and Maidana meet, let’s take a closer look at their impressive seasons to date.


At A Glance


Both players have entered club record books in 2015. We can start in Kansas City, where Feilhaber has notched MLS career-highs in goals (eight) and assists (14) while also setting a single-season team record with 19 assists in all competitions. His 29 combined goals and assists means he has played a role in 53.7 percent of Kansas City’s goals in all competitions. Another gaudy figure? Feilhaber has scored or assisted in 20 of his 30 total appearances this year.


Maidana, a 28-year-old Argentine import who boasts professional experience in South America and Europe, has set Philadelphia’s single-season assist record (14) in his second MLS campaign. He has scored or assisted in 11 of 28 total appearances and contributed to 17 of Philly’s 40 goals in all competitions (42.5 percent). Maidana’s output has tended to come in bunches, as he's reached a club-record three assists on two occasions this year and three times total since joining the Union in January 2014. Since then, no MLS player has more assists than Maidana’s 25.

Benny Feilhaber
2015 Statistics(all competitions)
Cristian Maidana
30
<strong>Games played</strong>
28
10
<strong>Goals</strong>
1
19
<strong>Assists</strong>
16
29 of 54<br> (53.7 percent)
<strong>Team goals<br> involved in</strong>
17 of 40<br> (42.5 percent)

By The Numbers


Not surprisingly, Feilhaber and Maidana are among the league’s best in terms of chance creation. Operating primarily from the central channels in No. 10 roles, both are capable of splitting the defense through the run of play or delivering precise free kicks from the flanks.

Benny Feilhaber
2015 MLS Statistics(MLS ranking in parenthesis)
Cristian Maidana
59&nbsp;<span style="font-size:10px;">(5th)</span>
<strong>Chances created</strong>
75 <span style="font-size:10px;">(1st)</span>
37&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(8th)</span>
<strong>Chances created from open play</strong>
50 <span style="font-size:10px;">(3rd)</span>
22&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(6th)</span>
<strong>Chances created from set plays</strong>
25 <span style="font-size:10px;">(4th)</span>
9&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(1st)</span>
<b>Big chances created</b>
4 <span style="font-size:10px;">(t-20th)</span>
270&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(16th)</span>
<strong>Successful passes in final third</strong>
340 <span style="font-size:10px;">(10th)</span>

Both midfielders hang their hats on setting up teammates, but Feilhaber (eight MLS goals) has turned finisher far more often than Maidana (one). And while Feilhaber’s goal haul includes four penalty kicks, the discrepancy is still notable considering their similar shot totals. Maidana has put 14 of 33 shot attempts on goal, Feilhaber 13 of 37.


As dangerous as they are in the final third, Feilhaber and Maidana have defensive responsibilities to fulfill — and that is where Sporting KC’s talisman has a profound edge. Paired with his attacking creativity, Feilhaber’s ball-winning prowess in the center of the pitch makes him one of the league’s most complete players. Among MLS midfielders, he ranks in the top 10 in tackles won, duels won and recoveries. Maidana doesn't crack the top 50 in any of those categories.

Benny Feilhaber
2015 MLS Statistics(MLS midfielder ranking in parenthesis)
Cristian Maidana
59&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(8th)</span>
<strong>Tackles won</strong>
9&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(not in top 50)</span>
157&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(6th)</span>
<strong>Duels won</strong>
45&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(not in top 50)</span>
181&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(7th)</span>
<strong>Recoveries</strong>
96&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(not in top 50)</span>
36&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(36th)</span>
<b>Interceptions</b>
6&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 10px;">(not in top 50)</span>

Current Form


Feilhaber generated league MVP buzz throughout the spring and summer. During one particularly torrid stretch from late May to mid-August, he scored or assisted in 13 of 14 appearances in all competitions. The 30-year-old has cooled off a bit since then — tallying one assist over four games — but two of the club’s next three matches are at Sporting Park, where Feilhaber has six goals and 14 assists in 17 games played.


Meanwhile, Maidana has missed Philadelphia’s last two matches through suspension but is set to return Sunday when the Union host Houston. The Argentine had recorded nine assists in nine games prior, including two separate three-assist performances on July 11 (a 3-0 win over Portland) and Aug. 16 (a 3-3 draw with Chicago). Like Feilhaber, Maidana is lethal on home soil, where he has 12 of his 17 combined goals and assists.


Head-to-Head History


Feilhaber was instrumental in the lone regular season meeting between Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia on April 5. He ended the night with two assists, including the corner kick delivery that resulted in Krisztian Nemeth’s 94th-minute winner.


Maidana was absent from Philadelphia’s 3-2 defeat at Sporting Park in April, but enjoyed success against Peter Vermes’ side twice last season. In May 2014, he scored his first career MLS goal in the final moments of a 2-1 victory at Sporting Park. At the tail end of last year, he assisted both of the Union’s goals in another 2-1 triumph at PPL Park.