By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #PHIvSKC | Sept. 23, 2018

"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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Winners in six of their last seven matches, Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City (15-7-6, 51 points) will return to the field Sunday at noon CT to face the Philadelphia Union (13-12-4, 43 points) at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. The cross-conference clash will air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.

Manager Peter Vermes' men are on the brink of clinching a club-record eighth straight playoff berth, riding a wave of momentum after firing five goals past the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend. The Union lack no confidence of their own, having emerged from Seattle with a massive 1-0 road win over the Sounders last night, but head coach Jim Curtin could elect to rest his starters on Sunday with next a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final looming next Wednesday in Houston. We take a statistical look at the compelling matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers.


  • Sporting KC leads the all-time series with a 6-5-6 record in all competitions, but has just one win in the last seven matchups since 2014.
  • The clubs notably met in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at Talen Energy Stadium, a gripping affair that Sporting KC won 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw through regulation.
  • The most recent meeting saw the sides play to a 1-1 draw in July 2017 at Children’s Mercy Park, with Diego Rubio and Roland Alberg trading second-half goals.
  • Sporting KC has lost two straight regular season games in Philadelphia, falling 2-1 in 2014 and 2-0 in 2016.
  • Sporting KC has failed to shut out the Union in 12 straight regular season meetings.

Philadelphia Union

  • 2018 MLS record: 13-12-4, 43 points (5th in East)
  • 2018 MLS home record: 7-5-2 (22 GF, 18 GA)
  • Last MLS match: W 1-0 at Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 19
  • Last five MLS matches: 3-1-1, 10 points (W-W-T-L-W)
  • Philadelphia has won a club-record 13 regular-season games this season and has advanced to the U.S. Open Cup Final for the third time in five seasons.
  • Philadelphia are 5-1-1 in their last seven games, with three of those wins coming on the road.
  • Philadelphia are tied for third in MLS with nine clean sheets.
  • Philadelphia has conceded 31 of its 45 goals this season in the second half.
  • Philadelphia is 5-1-0 in one-goal games this season. Eleven of their 12 defeats have come by two or more goals.
  • Philadelphia is 8-1-0 when leading at halftime but 0-6-1 when trailing at halftime this season.
  • Forward Cory Burke is tied for second in MLS with five game-winning goals.
  • Midfielder Borek Dockal leads MLS with 15 assists in his debut MLS season.
  • Defender Keegan Rosenberry leads MLS with 84 interceptions.
  • Goalkeeper Andre Blake and defender Auston Trusty have played every MLS minute for Philadelphia this season. Blake is third in MLS with 105 saves.

 Sporting KC

  • 2018 MLS record: 15-7-6, 48 points (2nd in West)
  • 2018 MLS away record: 6-5-3 (24 GF, 20 GA)
  • Last MLS match: W 5-1 at San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 15
  • Last five MLS matches: 4-1-0, 12 points (W-W-L-W-W)
  • Sporting KC is averaging 1.93 goals per game, their best MLS scoring rate in club history.
  • With 54 goals through 28 games, Sporting KC is seven goals shy of tying the club record for most goals in a regular season (61 in 1996).
  • Sporting KC has 24 goals through 14 road games, more than its total from 2016 (12 goals) and 2017 (10 goals) combined. Sporting KC need to score five times over their last three away games to tie the club record of 29 road goals set in 2005.
  • If the season ended today, Sporting KC’s plus-20 goal difference (54 GF, 34 GA) would be their best in club history.
  • Sporting KC is the only team in MLS to have four players with at least seven MLS goals (Johnny Russell 8, Diego Rubio 8, Daniel Salloi 7 and Felipe Gutierrez 7).
  • Forward Diego Rubio has scored or assisted in a Sporting KC-record eight straight MLS matches. He leads MLS with 1.17 goals per 90 minutes.
  • Forward Johnny Russell leads Sporting KC in goals and assists across all competitions with 10 each.
  • Midfielder Ilie Sanchez leads MLS with 991 passes in the attacking half.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza leads the team with a career-high nine MLS assists.
  • Defender Graham Zusi leads MLS defenders with 55 chances created while also leading the league in touches (2,530).
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia leads MLS with a career-high 12 shutouts.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza is one shy of his 250th appearance for Sporting KC in all competitions.
  • Manager Peter Vermes has 130 regular-season coaching wins, one shy of taking sole possession of fifth place on the all-time MLS chart.

Recent #PHIvSKC meetings

  • Regular season record vs. Union: 5-5-5 (all competitions: 6-5-6)
  • Regular season away record at Union: 2-3-2 (all competitions: 3-3-3)
Date Result Home/Away Details
04/05/2015 W 3-2 Home Sporting KC scores in 91st and 94th minutes to complete comeback
09/30/2015 T 1-1 Away Sporting KC wins Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final 7-6 in PK shootout after Krisztian Nemeth scores in regulation
08/27/2016 L 0-2 Away Roland Alberg and Tranquillo Barnetta score late goals
07/06/2017 T 1-1 Home Alberg and Diego Rubio trade second-half goals

Team stats (2018 regular season)

MLS rank in parenthesis (source: Opta, as of Sept. 20)

Category (per game) Sporting KC Philadelphia
Goals scored 1.93 (3rd) 1.41 (t-19th)
Goals conceded 1.21 (3rd) 1.55 (12th)
Shots 17.0 (1st) 14.0 (10th)
Shots on goal 5.9 (4th) 5.1 (11th)
Shooting accuracy 45.8 (17th) 46.3 (15th)
Passing accuracy 84.6 (1st) 80.9 (12th)
Possession 58.0 (2nd) 50.2 (8th)
Duels won 51.6 (10th) 51.1 (13th)
Tackles won 10.9 (19th) 11.3 (17th)
Interceptions 13.2 (10th) 12.8 (14th)
Clearances 16.4 (19th) 16.1 (21st)
Fouls committed 11.0 (14th) 12.1 (8th)
Fouls suffered 10.4 (15th) 9.8 (20th)
Shots faced 12.0 (5th) 12.7 (6th)