Beyond The Box Score: Despite draw, dominance bodes well for Sporting KC

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)

Chances
Created
Date Opponent Result
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)

SOG Date Opponent Result
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)

# Club PTS PPG GP W L T GF GA GD
1 Atlanta United FC 25 2.08 12 8 3 1 26 16 10
2 Sporting KC 24 2 12 7 2 3 24 13 11
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)

Minutes Team Start End
405 Columbus Crew SC 04/28/2018 Current
353 Portland Timbers 04/22/2018 05/19/2018
307 Sporting KC 03/24/2018 04/15/2018
271 New England Revolution 03/31/2018 04/14/2018
246 Sporting KC 04/28/2018 05/20/2018
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