Beyond The Box Score: Gerso and Rubio push home unbeaten run to even greater heights

Heading into the final month of the MLS regular season, only two teams have gone the entire 2017 campaign without a home defeat.

One is runaway Supporters' Shield leader Toronto FC. The other, of course, is Sporting Kansas City, a well-deserved 3-1 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park.

Played four days before the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final between Sporting KC and the New York Red Bulls, Saturday's fixture packed a multitude of storylines. Former Kansas City forwards Teal Bunbury and Krisztian Nemeth made significant impacts on the match within the first quarter-hour. Bunbury's deflected volley vaulted the Revs into a shock 1-0 lead before Nemeth's straight red card, issued upon video review, gave the hosts a man advantage.

Manager Peter Vermes' men made no mistake converting their numerical advantage into thorough domination. Gerso and Diego Rubio provided the goals in what became a comfortable comeback win, and both accomplished something they never had in their respective MLS careers.

Gerso tallied a goal and an assist in the same game for the first time in his MLS career, while Rubio bagged his first brace in a Sporting KC uniform. The end result saw Sporting KC extend their club-record home unbeaten run to 23 consecutive MLS regular season matches dating back to June 19, 2016. That's tied for the third-longest such streak in league history.

LONGEST HOME UNBEATEN RUNS
(MLS REGULAR SEASON HISTORY)

Club # Start Stop
Houston Dynamo 30 07/09/11 04/28/13
Real Salt Lake 29 06/06/09 05/14/11
Sporting Kansas City 23 06/19/16 ?
LA Galaxy 23 04/12/14 05/27/15
Columbus Crew SC 22 06/28/08 09/26/09
Portland Timbers 22 04/06/13 05/17/14

The table below provides further insight on Sporting Kansas City's dominance during this remarkable stretch in their home fortress. Over the course of their streak, the club is 16-0-7 with 11 clean sheets, 49 goals scored and just 17 conceded.

SPORTING KC AT HOME SINCE JUNE 19, 2016
(MLS REGULAR SEASON)

Statistic
(per game)
Sporting KC Opponent
Goals 2.13 0.74
Shots 15.5 8.0
Corners 5.1 2.9
Possession 57.7 42.3

Needless to say, these numbers bode well for a Sporting Kansas City side that will play each of its next three games in all competitions at Children's Mercy Park. First up is Wednesday's all-important Open Cup Final, slated for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Vermes' side is seeking its third Open Cup title in six seasons and the club's fourth overall. A victory would see Sporting KC become the only team with four major trophies since 2012.

A busy schedule will require Sporting KC to recover quickly, as the team then hosts LA Galaxy next Sunday and Western Conference co-leaders Vancouver Whitecaps FC the following Saturday, Sept. 30. Tickets for these matches are available at SeatGeek.com.

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