"By The Numbers" is a season-long series sponsored by The Kansas Department of Transportation, giving a statistical preview of every Sporting KC match.
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Chasing first place in the Western Conference, Sporting KC enters the penultimate week of the MLS regular season with back-to-back games on tap against the Houston Dynamo. The first of which will take place Wednesday, kicking off at 7 p.m. CT at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and televised live on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest and FOX Sports GO.
Sporting KC (12-7-12, 48 points) can secure a club-record seventh straight playoff berth with a win or a draw, but Houston (11-10-10, 43 points) has held a decisive upper hand in the head-to-head series over the last six regular season meetings. We take a statistical look at Wednesday's matchup in our By The Numbers preview.
- The sides most recently met in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on June 28, as Ike Opara and Gerso scored second-half goals to give Sporting KC a 2-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- Prior to their 2-0 win in June, Sporting KC had suffered three straight losses in Houston across all competitions.
- Sporting KC is winless in its last six regular season meetings against Houston, going 0-3-3 ever since emerging 2-0 winners at BBVA Compass Stadium on June 6, 2014.
- Sporting KC is 10-13-12 in all competitions against Houston, including a 5-9-11 mark in the MLS regular season.
- Sporting KC has faced Houston 24 times in all competitions since 2011, more than any other opponent (9-7-8 record). This includes five playoff games (2011-2013) and four U.S. Open Cup matches (2011, 2015-2017).
- 2017 MLS record: 11-10-10, 43 points (5th in West)
- 2017 MLS home record: 10-1-4 (38 GF, 16 GA)
- Last five games: 1-2-2, 5 points (L-L-T-T-W)
- Last MLS match: W 2-1 vs. Minnesota United FC on Sept. 30
- Houston leads the Western Conference with 1.68 goals per game, including a conference-best 2.53 goals per home game.
- Houston is 10-1-4 at BBVA Compass Stadium in MLS play, and their plus-22 goal home differential is the best in the Western Conference.
- Houston is coming off a 2-1 home win over Minnesota, which snapped a six-game winless skid that included three losses and three draws.
- Houston is 10-0-4 when scoring first this season, but 1-10-3 when conceding the first goal.
- Houston has scored 11 goals in the first 15 minutes of matches this season, second-most in MLS.
- Forward Erick "Cubo" Torres leads Houston with 14 goals this season, but has scored in just one of his last eight games.
- Defender Adolfo Machado has played every minute in all 31 MLS matches this season. Machado leads MLS with 187 clearances and ranks third with 79 interceptions.
- Midfielder Alex leads Houston in assists (10) and chances created (51).
- Midfielder Juan David Cabezas is tied for third in MLS with 57 fouls committed.
- 2017 MLS record: 12-7-12, 48 points (2nd in West)
- 2017 MLS away record: 2-6-7 (8 GF, 14 GA)
- Last five games: 2-1-2, 8 points (T-W-W-L-T)
- Last MLS match: T 1-1 at Minnesota United FC on Saturday
- SKC's 0.81 goals against average is on pace to be the second-lowest in a 34-game regular season in MLS history.
- SKC's 25 goals conceded are 10 fewer than any other team in MLS. Their 14 road goals conceded are also a league-low.
- SKC has scored just eight goals in 15 road games, the second-fewest in MLS.
- SKC's six road losses (2-6-7) are the fewest among Western Conference clubs in 2017.
- SKC has conceded just two goals in the first 15 minutes of matches this season, the fewest in MLS.
- SKC is 11-0-6 when scoring first this season, but 1-7-2 when conceding the first goal.
- Defender Ike Opara boasts a 16-4-12 record as a starter in all competitions. SKC has a 0.66 goals against average and 13 shutouts in the 32 matches he has played.
- Midfielder Ilie ranks third in MLS in total passes (2,112) and passes completed (1,816). He also ranks fourth among MLS midfielders with 58 interceptions.
- Forward Gerso leads Sporting KC with 10 goals in all competitions. Diego Rubio is second with seven, all of which have come since July 6.
- Rubio's 0.67 goals per start (six goals in nine games) since July 1 are tied for eighth-best in MLS among players with at least nine starts during that time.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Sporting KC can clinch a club-record seventh straight playoff appearance with a win or a draw on Wednesday.
Team stats (2017 regular season)
MLS rank in parenthesis (source: Opta)
|Category (per game)||Sporting KC||Houston|
|Goals scored||1.23 (18th)||1.68 (5th)|
|Goals conceded||0.81 (1st)||1.42 (9th)|
|Shots||14.7 (2nd)||14.0 (5th)|
|Shots on goal||4.9 (6th)||5.0 (4th)|
|Shooting accuracy||44.3 (15th)||46.8 (8th)|
|Passing accuracy||83.5 (1st)||76.6 (17th)|
|Possession||57.5 (2nd)||44.5 (20th)|
|Duels won||47.3 (13th)||45.8 (18th)|
|Tackles won||11.0 (22nd)||11.9 (16th)|
|Interceptions||11.5 (22nd)||12.7 (17th)|
|Fouls committed||10.9 (19th)||12.5 (12th)|
|Fouls suffered||11.8 (8th)||10.8 (16th)|
|Shots faced||9.9 (1st)||12.4 (11th)|
Recent #HOUvSKC meetings in all competitions
- Regular season record vs. Houston: 5-9-11
- Record vs. Houston in all competitions: 10-13-12
|07/21/2015||W 3-1||Children's Mercy Park||Open Cup quarterfinals||Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth score|
|08/01/2015||T 1-1||Children's Mercy Park||Regular season||Dwyer scores early before Ricardo Clark levels late|
|09/23/2015||L 0-1||BBVA Compass Stadium||MLS||Will Bruin bags the winner in the 67th mintute|
|05/07/2016||L 0-2||BBVA Compass Stadium||MLS||Giles Barnes and Andrew Wenger score first-half goals|
|06/29/2016||L 1-3||BBVA Compass Stadium||Open Cup Round of 16||Alex scores and Mauro Manotas bags brace|
|09/09/2016||T 3-3||Children's Mercy Park||MLS||Dwyer, Roger Espinoza and Jacob Peterson score, but Alex and Manotas help Houston draw|
|06/28/2017||W 2-0||BBVA Compass Stadium||Open Cup Round of 16||Ike Opara and Gero score second-half goals|