"By The Numbers" is a season-long series presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation that gives a statistical preview of every Sporting match. To visit the series archive, click here.
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2,149  The number of alcohol-related crashes in Kansas in 2019.

A pair of MLS originals celebrating their 25-year anniversary in the top flight of American soccer will lock horns Saturday when Sporting Kansas City visits the New York Red Bulls in a compelling Week 1 showdown at Red Bull Arena.

The highly anticipated and long-awaited matchup is slated for 7 p.m. CT with three hours of live coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO. The game will also air live locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.

Led by the longest-tenured MLS manager in Peter Vermes, Sporting will look to take a successful first step in 2021 after finishing atop the Western Conference standings in 2020. On the opposite sideline, new head coach Gerhard Struber is taking reins of a Red Bulls side that has reached the playoffs every year since 2010.

We provide a statistical preview of the opening-weekend fixture in our season premiere of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.


  • Sporting are 3-1-1 against New York in all competitions since the start of 2016.
  • Sporting are 3-2-1 in its last six regular season visits to Red Bull Arena dating back to 2012.
  • The last two MLS meetings between the clubs have produced nine total goals.
  • In 13 regular season meetings between the clubs since 2012, the home team is just 3-5-5.
  • Sporting and New York have split the all-time series, sharing a 21-21-13 regular season record and a 22-22-14 record in all competitions.
  • Sporting forward Johnny Russell has scored in both of his career appearances against New York, finding the net in a 3-2 road loss in July 2018 and a 2-2 home draw in April 2019.

New York Red Bulls

  • 2020 MLS record:9-9-5, 32 points (6th in Eastern Conference)
  • 2020 MLS home record: 5-4-1 (13 GF, 12 GA)
  • 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs: Lost to Columbus in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
  • All-time Honors: Three Supporters' Shields (2013, 2015, 2018)
  • New York leads MLS with 16 home-opening wins all-time, posting a 16-4-5 record in those matches
  • New York's 11-year playoff streak dating back to 2010 is the second-longest in MLS behind Seattle (2009).
  • New York ranked last in MLS last season with a 72.0% passing accuracy and placed 23rd in average possession at 45.6%.
  • New York led MLS last season with 55.7 duels won per game. The Red Bulls have led MLS in duels won for each of the last six seasons dating back to 2015.
  • New York went 8-1-3 when scoring the first goal last season and 1-8-2 when allowing the first goal. Similarly, the Red Bulls were 5-0-2 when leading at halftime and 0-5-1 when trailing at the break.
  • Defender Kyle Duncan ranked second in MLS last year in duels won (171) and fourth in interceptions (48). Duncan also added four assists, second-most on the team.
  • Forward Brian White led New York last season with five goals, while winger Daniel Royer added four.
  • Homegrown midfielder Sean Davis leads the current New York roster with 173 appearances for the club in all competitions. Royer is second (140) and defender Aaron Long is third (135).
  • New York is led by first-year head coach Gerhard Struber, who went 14-17-8 in his previous head coaching role at English club Barnsley from 2019-2020.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2020 MLS record: 12-6-3, 39 points (1st place in West)
  • 2020 MLS away record: 5-2-2 (14 GF, 9 GA)
  • 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs: Lost to Minnesota in Western Conference Semifinals
  • All-time Honors: Two MLS Cups (2000, 2013), four Open Cups (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017), one Supporters' Shield (2000)
  • Sporting leads MLS with 14 season-opening wins all-time, posting a 14-7-4 record in Week 1.
  • Sporting also leads MLS with nine wins in road openers, going 9-12-4 those matches.
  • Sporting boasted a 5-2-2 road record last season, the best in MLS.
  • Sporting scored in 20 of their 21 regular season matches last season, including 11 of 12 away from home.
  • Sporting outscored opponents 17-8 after the 60th minute last season.
  • Sporting ranked third in MLS in shots per game (14.9) and first in fewest shots faced per game (9.5) last season.
  • Sporting were the only MLS team to have five players with at least five goals last season (Johnny Russell 6, Alan Pulido 6, Gadi Kinda 6, Khiry Shelton 5 and now-departed Erik Hurtado 5).
  • Among MLS players with at least 10 appearances, forward Alan Pulido ranked third in MLS with 0.92 combined goals and assists per game last season (six goals and five assists in 12 appearances).
  • Pulido (six goals, five assists) and midfielder Gadi Kinda (six goals, four assists) were two of seven MLS newcomers with 10 or more combined goals and assists last season.
  • Defender Roberto Puncec played the full 90 minutes in all seven of Sporting's shutouts last season. He led the team in passes (910), successful passes (793), interceptions (25), clearances (59) and blocks (11).
  • Forward Johnny Russell was the only Sporting player who appeared all 25 competitive matches last year. He led the team with 31 chances created in regular season play.
  • Forward Khiry Shelton scored a career-high five goals last season. He owns a 24-8-8 regular season record as a Sporting starter.
  • Sporting went 10-2-1 in the 13 regular season matches that midfielder Ilie Sanchez started last season.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia has a 270-minute regular season shutout streak dating back to Oct. 24, 2020. He also boasts a 0.538 goals conceded percentage on penalties, the lowest in MLS history among keepers who have faced at least 10 penalty kicks. Only 14 of the 26 penalties he has faced in the regular season have been successful.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • The following Sporting players will be in contention to make their MLS debuts on Saturday: Grayson Barber, Ozzie Cisneros, Tyler Freeman, Wilson Harris, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Kendall McIntosh, John Pulskamp and Kaveh Rad.

Recent #NYvSKC meetings

  • Regular season record vs. RBNY: 21-21-14 (73 GF, 69 GA)
  • All competitions record vs. RBNY: 22-22-14 (76 GF, 72 GA)
W 2-0
SKC: Dwyer 46', 68'<br> RBNY: None
W 2-1
Open Cup
SKC: Blessing 25', Salloi 66'<br> RBNY: Wright-Phillips 90+1'
L 2-3
SKC: Russell 8', Espinoza 51'<br> RBNY: Wright-Phillips 4', Rzatkowski 72', 79'
T 2-2
SKC: Russell 24', Busio 88'<br> RBNY: Royer 52', White 75'&nbsp;

Team Stats (2020 regular season)

(Source: Opta; MLS rank in parenthesis)


<strong>Category (per game)</strong>
<strong>New York</strong>
Goals scored
1.81 (5th)
1.26 (17th)
Goals conceded
1.19 (10th)
1.35 (13th)
14.9 (3rd)
10.7 (22nd)
Shots on goal
4.9 (8th)
3.7 (21st)
Shooting accuracy
47.3% (15th)
45.0% (21st)
Shot conversion rate
12.1% (11th)
11.8% (12th)
Shots faced
9.5 (1st)
11.3 (9th)
Passing accuracy
80.8% (16th)
72.0% (26th)
49.5% (14th)
45.6% (23rd)
Chances created
10.0 (8th)
8.1 (21st)
Duels won
52.1 (8th)
55.7 (1st)
Tackles won
10.3 (7th)
9.6 (12th)
11.7 (19th)
13.3 (5th)
15.1 (20th)
15.8 (17th)
Fouls committed
12.3 (14th)
12.5 (13th)
Fouls suffered
10.7 (20th)
11.3 (17th)