In many ways, Sunday marked the continuation of Sporting Kansas City’s impressive form away from home.
With three victories from five away games entering Sunday’s battle with Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium, Manager Peter Vermes’ men had already surpassed their road win total from 2017 (two) and had already scored as many road goals (10) as they finished with last season.
The sixth away test of 2018 unfolded in similar fashion, with Sporting KC dominating for extended periods against a Minnesota side that was second-best for most of Sunday afternoon. The final statistics paint a fair picture of proceedings, and while Vermes’ side was unable to translate their superiority into three points — the clubs settled for a 1-1 draw after Darwin Quintero canceled out Khiry Shelton’s opener — the manager was nonetheless encouraged by another strong away performance.
“I think we were really good, actually,” Vermes said postgame. “I don't think they posed any threats to us in the second half. I think we controlled the game. We had a lot of possession. From that perspective, it was very good. And like I said, we created a lot of chances where we could have gotten a second or third goal.”
Indeed, Sporting KC had its foot on the attacking pedal throughout the match, forcing Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to make a career-high nine saves. The visitors’ 19 chances created were tied for their most in a regular season away game during the Opta era (2010-present). Similarly, Sporting KC’s 10 shots on target were their seventh-most in a regular season road match all-time.
SPORTING KC: MOST CHANCES CREATED IN AWAY GAME
(MLS REGULAR SEASON, 2010-PRESENT)
|19||05/20/2018||at Minnesota United FC||T 1-1|
|19||10/16/2010||at New England Revolution||L 0-1|
|19||07/16/2011||at Houston Dynamo||T 1-1|
|18||10/22/2011||at D.C. United||W 1-0|
|17||09/10/2017||at Columbus Crew SC||T 1-1|
|16||03/24/2018||at Colorado Rapids||T 2-2|
|16||05/07/2017||at Minnesota United FC||L 0-2|
SPORTING KC: MOST SHOTS ON GOAL IN AWAY GAME
(ALL-TIME, MLS REGULAR SEASON)
|12||08/02/1997||at FC Dallas||W 2-1|
|12||10/02/2010||at New York Red Bulls||L 0-1|
|11||06/08/1996||at Columbus Crew SC||T 3-3|
|11||09/02/1998||at Colorado Rapids||L 2-3|
|11||06/16/2007||at New York Red Bulls||T 3-3|
|11||07/11/2009||at New York Red Bulls||T 0-0|
|10||05/20/2018||at Minnesota United FC||T 1-1|
Another reason for optimism despite the draw? Khiry Shelton turned in arguably his best game in a Sporting KC uniform. The forward opened his 2018 scoring account in the eighth minute, created four chances — one shy of his MLS career-high — and put a season-high three shots on target.
“Khiry works so hard for us, and he's a vital part of what we do,” said fellow forward Johnny Russell, who assisted Shelton’s goal with a well-taken corner kick delivery. “The play that he provides for us is very underrated. I'm just glad that he got the goal today and glad I could play a part in it, as well.”
With a two-game road swing in the books, Sporting KC returns to Children’s Mercy Park this Sunday for a mouthwatering cross-conference clash against Columbus Crew SC at 5 p.m. CT. Tickets for the highly anticipated Retro Night matchup are available via SeatGeek.com.
Columbus enters the fixture unbeaten in six games and boasting a 405-minute shutout streak, the longest such run in MLS this year. The Ohio outfit is also tied with Sporting KC for second place in the crowded Supporters’ Shield standings, making Sunday’s tilt all the more alluring.
2018 MLS SUPPORTERS' SHIELD STANDINGS
(THROUGH SUNDAY, MAY 20)
|1||Atlanta United FC||25||2.08||12||8||3||1||26||16||10|
|3||New York City FC||24||2||12||7||2||3||25||16||9|
|4||Columbus Crew SC||24||1.85||13||7||3||3||18||10||8|
|5||New York Red Bulls||21||2.1||10||7||3||0||26||12||14|
LONGEST SHUTOUT STREAKS
(2018 MLS REGULAR SEASON)
|405||Columbus Crew SC||04/28/2018||Current|
|271||New England Revolution||03/31/2018||04/14/2018|