By The Numbers: 2015 Sporting KC Preview

Graham Zusi - Sporting KC vs Chicago Fire - October 10, 2014

Sporting Kansas City opens their 20th season in Major League Soccer on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park. A roster makeover during the winter saw Sporting KC acquire 13 new players, but if the club's recent track record is any indication—two major championships and a pair of conference regular season titles—Peter Vermes will have his side competing for silverware again in 2015.

Below are 50 numbers that reflect on Sporting KC's statistical trends from the past few years, project what we may see this year, shed light on offseason storylines and recognize the contributions of the team's core players.

  1. One player in MLS has recorded at least five goals and at least seven assists in each of the last four regular seasons: Sporting KC winger Graham Zusi.
  2. Two clubs have recorded at least 10 shutouts in each of the last three regular seasons: Sporting KC (38 total) and Real Salt Lake (35 total).
  3. Sporting KC has ranked in the top three in average possession three straight seasons.
  4. Sporting KC signed four players selected in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to professional contracts—Connor Hallisey (No. 10), Saad Abdul-Salaam (No. 12), Amadou Dia (No. 20) and James Ansu Rogers (No. 53).
  5. Sporting KC is one of five teams to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs in each of the last four seasons (LA Galaxy, Seattle, Real Salt Lake, New York).
  6. The top six teams from each conference will qualify for the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, up from five the previous three seasons.
  7. Peter Vermes enters his seventh season as Sporting KC’s head coach. His .551 regular season winning percentage (76-58-44) is best in club history.
  8. Sporting KC has recorded eight road wins in each of the last three regular seasons. No team in MLS has won more road games (24) during that time. In comparison, teams averaged 4.1 road wins per season from 2012-2014.
  9. Sporting KC has conceded 9.6 shots per match since the beginning of 2012. No team has faced fewer shots in each of the last three seasons.
  10. Sporting KC will play 10 nationally televised matches during the 2015 regular season—three on ESPN2, four on Fox Sports 1 and three on UniMas.
  11. Eleven different players scored an MLS goal for Sporting KC in 2014. Among them, five are still with the team.
  12. Sporting KC has won 12 season openers since 1996 (12-5-2 all-time). No team in MLS has more season-opening wins.
  13. Thirteen of the last 15 MLS Cup champions are members of the Western Conference in 2015.
  14. Sporting KC recorded 14 wins against Western Conference opponents from 2012-2014 (14-7-6 overall), more than any other Eastern Conference team.
  15. Fifteen players have left Sporting KC since the club’s last competitive match on Oct. 30, 2014.
  16. Sixteen years ago (1999) was the last time Sporting KC failed to qualify for the postseason as a member of the Western Conference.
  17. At 17 years old, homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown is the fourth-youngest player currently signed to an MLS contract.
  18. Eighteen players on Sporting KC’s roster have international experience at the youth or senior team level.
  19. Sporting KC has averaged 19 interceptions per regular season match since the beginning of 2011, second most in MLS.
  20. Sporting KC enters its 20th season in Major League Soccer in 2015. The league will feature 20 clubs, most all-time.
  21. Sporting KC is 21-12-12 against Western Conference opposition since 2011.

  22. Dom Dwyer set a single-season club record with 22 goals during the 2014 regular season.

  23. Sporting KC has earned an MLS best 23 road shutouts since 2011 (including postseason).

  24. Sporting KC will play 24 of their 34 regular season matches in 2015 against Western Conference foes.

  25. Captain Matt Besler’s 25 caps for the United States Men’s National Team are second most among all players since the start of 2013.

  26. Sporting KC has scored 26 goals in the month of March since 2010, outscoring their opponents by 13 goals in those matches (9-3-3 record).

  27. Sporting KC’s roster currently has 27 players under contract, 12 of whom are in their first year with the club.

  28. Sporting KC has 28 MLS road wins since 2011, more than any other team.

  29. World Cup veterans Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza have combined for 29 international appearances since the beginning of 2014 (Besler 13, Zusi 10, Espinoza 6).

  30. Seth Sinovic is the only Sporting KC player to start at least 30 regular season games in each of the past three years.

  31. Benny Feilhaber made a career-high 31 MLS starts in 2014 including postseason, contributing four goals (third on team) and six assists (second on team).

  32. Manager Peter Vermes used 32 field players during the 2015 preseason. Among them, 23 are currently under contract at the club.

  33. Chance Myers made at least 33 appearances every season from 2011-2013 (all competitions) before missing most of 2014 through injury.

  34. Peter Vermes has won 34 regular season road matches since becoming manager in 2009. His .494 career road winning percentage (34-35-20) is best among all active coaches with at least 35 road games coached.

  35. Sporting KC has conceded 35 goals per regular season since 2011, the fewest in MLS during that time.

  36. Sporting KC leads MLS with 36 headed goals over the last three regular seasons combined.

  37. Krisztian Nemeth has scored 37 goals for Hungary’s youth and senior national teams since 2005.

  38. Sporting KC has 38 MLS home wins (including postseason) all-time at Sporting Park.

  39. At least 39 weeks will pass between Major League Soccer’s opening weekend and MLS Cup 2015 (Dec. 5-6/12-13).

  40. Sporting KC will play a maximum of 40 MLS matches during the 2015 season, including six in the postseason (1 knockout round, 2 conference semifinal, 2 conference final, 1 MLS Cup).

  41. Sporting KC has a +41 regular season goal differential all-time at Sporting Park (105 GF, 64 GA).

  42. Sporting KC has scored 42 goals in 19 season openers all-time (2.21 goals per game).

  43. Sporting KC is 43-5-12 when scoring first since 2012 (regular season).

  44. Graham Zusi ranks fifth with 44 assists in MLS since 2011 (including postseason).

  45. Roger Espinoza has earned 45 caps for the Honduras Men’s National Team. He is the only active MLS player to compete in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

  46. Sporting KC will join 46 other professional clubs in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which features a tournament-high 91 teams in 2015.

  47. Sporting KC has scored 47 goals per regular season since 2011, ranking sixth in MLS.

  48. Dom Dwyer’s 48 shots on goal in 2014 were third most in a single season in club history.

  49. Graham Zusi has recorded 49 assists in all competitions during his Sporting KC career, third most in club history.

  50. Dom Dwyer has scored 50 goals in all competitions since the beginning of 2013—28 for Sporting KC and 22 for former USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC.