With a 2-0 triumph over Minnesota United FC in the books, Sporting Kansas City has officially completed its most dominant month ever.
Yohan Croizet and Diego Rubio struck in the second half of Saturday's hard-fought win at Children's Mercy Park, lifting Sporting KC within a point of Western Conference leaders FC Dallas and giving the club its fourth consecutive shutout victory since the start of August.
Coming on the heels of clean sheet wins over Houston, LAFC and Portland, Sporting KC has assembled its first perfect month in club history with a minimum of four matches played. Leading the charge have been the red-hot Rubio, who posted four goals and two assists this month, and goalkeeper Tim Melia, who allowed zero goals in August.
As Saturday's Till Vodka Stat of the Match pointed out, Manager Peter Vermes' men have earned four straight shutout wins in a single regular season for the first time in club history, becoming just the sixth MLS team all-time to do so.
FOUR STRAIGHT SHUTOUT WINS IN A SINGLE SEASON
(MLS REGULAR SEASON, ALL-TIME)
|4||Colorado Rapids||2003||07/09/03 to 08/09/03||6-0|
|4||New England Revolution||2005||04/27/05 to 05/14/05||7-0|
|4||San Jose Earthquakes||2015||08/14/15 to 08/28/15||9-0|
|4||New York Red Bulls||2016||05/18/16 to 06/19/16||13-0|
|4||New York City FC||2018||07/08/18 to 07/26/18||8-0|
|4||Sporting KC||2018||08/04/18 to present||8-0|
Melia and Sporting KC haven't conceded a goal since the second half of a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas on July 28. The current shutout streak has reached 376 minutes, the team's longest of the season and the fourth-longest in MLS in 2018.
Similarly, Saturday marked the fifth time, and the first since 2011, that Sporting KC has totaled four or more clean sheets in a single month.
LONGEST SHUTOUT STREAKS IN MLS IN 2018
|512||Columbus Crew SC||04/28 to 05/27|
|434||New York City FC||07/08 to 07/26|
|420||Montreal Impact||06/09 to 07/07|
|376||Sporting KC||08/04 to present|
|353||Portland Timbers||04/22 to 05/19|
SPORTING KC: MOST SHUTOUTS IN ONE MONTH
(MLS REGULAR SEASON, ALL-TIME)
As delighted as Vermes will be about his side's stingy defensive record of late, he will be even more pleased to see Sporting KC take maximum points game after game. The club's four-game winning streak is now tied for the second-longest in a single season during the non-shootout era, which began in 2000 when MLS abandoned penalty shootouts introduced draws.
SPORTING KC: LONGEST WIN STREAKS IN SINGLE SEASON
(MLS REGULAR SEASON, 2000-PRESENT)
|2012||7||03/10/12 to 04/18/12|
|2000||4||04/15/00 to 04/29/00|
|2000||4||05/13/00 to 05/27/00|
|2003||4||09/27/03 to 10/18/03|
|2005||4||08/06/05 to 08/19/05|
|2014||4||07/12/14 to 07/26/14|
|2018||4||08/04/18 to 08/25/18|
Anchoring the backline effort on Saturday was captain Matt Besler, who notably made his 292nd competitive appearance for Sporting KC to pass current assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin for the most in club history. No other player has worn the Sporting KC uniform more than Besler, who has represented his hometown team since turning professional in 2009.
Besler tops the chart below, which also includes current Sporting KC players Graham Zusi at No. 3 and Roger Espinoza at No. 7. It should be noted that current defender Seth Sinovic is one game shy of tying Jack Jewsbury for 10th place at 218 games played in all competitions.
SPORTING KC: MOST GAMES PLAYED ALL-TIME
|1||292||Matt Besler||2009 - present|
|3||282||Graham Zusi||2009 - present|
|7||246||Roger Espinoza||2008-2012; 2015 - present|
Riding high on momentum, Sporting KC will now prepare for a mouthwatering Western Conference matchup next Saturday against red-hot Seattle Sounders FC (10-9-5, 35 points) at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders are currently on a club-record six-game winning streak of their own and sit two points below the playoff line in the West. Kickoff in Seattle is set for 3 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and UniMas, with a live stream on Twitter at @UnivisionSports.