By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #SKCvMIN | Aug. 22, 2019

"By The Numbers" is a season-long series sponsored by The Kansas Department of Transportation that gives a statistical preview of every Sporting match.

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In hot pursuit of a ninth straight playoff berth, Sporting Kansas City (8-11-7, 31 points) will return to Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday to host regional foes Minnesota United FC (12-8-6, 42 points) in a Heineken Rivalry Week showdown at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Tickets for the crucial Western Conference clash are available at SeatGeek.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL to secure a Family 4 Pack, consisting of four tickets, four Coca-Cola products, four hot dogs and four bags of chips. Thursday's match will be shown live nationally on ESPN, the ESPN app and ESPN Deportes, while listeners can catch the action locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.

After missing the playoffs by a wide margin in their first two seasons, the Loons have enjoyed a terrific third year in MLS. Minnesota currently occupies second place in the West and and will visit Atlanta United FC next Tuesday to battle for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title. Sporting are six points below the playoff line and have plenty of work to do, but they should be encouraged by their perfect home record against the Loons. Let's take a statistical look at the matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting are 6-2-2 against Minnesota in all competitions since 2014, including a 4-2-2 mark since 2017 when the Loons entered MLS via expansion.
  • Sporting own a perfect 4-0-0 home record against Minnesota United FC since 2017, including three league wins and an Open Cup victory.
  • Sporting have outscored Minnesota 13-1 in four home meetings across all competitions since 2017.
  • The last time Minnesota visited Children's Mercy Park on Aug. 25, 2018, Sporting forward Johnny Russell assisted both goals in a 2-0 win.
  • Minnesota won the first meeting between the clubs this season, earning a 4-1 home win in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 on June 12 that produced a Darwin Quintero brace and additional goals from Ethan Finlay and Angelo Rodriguez.

Minnesota United FC

  • 2019 MLS record: 12-8-6 (42 points, 2nd in Western Conference)
  • 2019 MLS away record: 4-7-1 (21 GF, 26 GA)
  • Last MLS match: T 1-1 vs. Orlando City SC on Aug. 17
  • Last 5 MLS matches: 2-1-2, 8 points (T-W-L-W-T)
  • Minnesota has just one loss in its last 14 matches across all competitions, going 10-1-3 since June 12.
  • Minnesota has four away wins this season (4-7-1) after recording just four road victories from 2017-2018 combined (4-26-4).
  • Minnesota leads MLS with nine wins by a one-goal margin.
  • Minnesota has seven players with at least three MLS goal this season, the second-most of any team.
  • Minnesota are 4-0-1 this season when leading at halftime but 0-7-0 when trailing at halftime.
  • Midfielder Jan Gregus ranks fifth in MLS with 46 interceptions and leads Minnesota in both assists (eight) and chances created (50).
  • Forward Darwin Quintero leads Minnesota with eight MLS goals, while winger Ethan Finlay is second with six.
  • Former Sporting defender Ike Opara ranks fourth in MLS with 117 clearances.
  • Goalkeeper Vito Mannone is tied for second in MLS in shutouts (nine) and ranks third in saves (86).

Sporting Kansas City 

  • 2019 MLS record: 8-11-7, 31 points (10th in Western Conference)
  • 2019 MLS home record: 5-5-3 (24 GF, 25 GA)
  • Last MLS match: W 2-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 17
  • Last 5 MLS matches: 2-3-0, 6 points (L-W-L-L-W)
  • Sporting sit six points below the seventh and final Western Conference playoff spot with eight matches remaining.
  • Sporting have gone 12 straight matches in all competitions without tying an opponent (five wins, seven losses).
  • Midfielder Benny Feilhaber has become the 17th player in league history and the third active MLS player to record 40 goals and 60 assists throughout his regular season career.
  • Felipe Gutierrez has become the fourth midfielder in club history to hit double-digit goals in a single regular season. He leads the team with 10 league goals in 2019 and also ranks fifth in MLS with 45 tackles won.
  • Forward Johnny Russell leads MLS with four goals from outside the box and is one of two MLS players, alongside D.C. United's Wayne Rooney, with two goals from direct free kicks.
  • Defender Graham Smith scored his first professional goal in last Saturday's 2-1 win over San Jose.
  • Sporting's eight-year playoff streak is the third-longest active run in MLS behind Seattle (10 years) and the New York Red Bulls (nine years).

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Midfielder Ilie Sanchez is 53 minutes shy of reaching 10,000 minutes played for Sporting in all competitions.

Recent #SKCvMIN meetings (all competitions)

  • Regular season record vs. Minnesota: 3-1-2
  • All competitions record vs. Minnesota since 2017 (as MLS club): 4-2-2
Date Result H/A Competition
05/07/2017 L 0-2 Away MLS
06/03/2017 W 3-0 Home MLS
06/14/2017 W 4-0 Home Open Cup 4th Rd.
10/07/2017 T 1-1 Away MLS
05/20/2018 T 1-1 Away MLS
06/03/2018 W 4-1 Home MLS
08/25/2018 W 2-0 Home MLS
06/12/2019 L 1-4 Away Open Cup 4th Rd.

Team stats (2019 regular season)

MLS rank in parenthesis (source: Opta)

Category (per game) Sporting Minnesota
Goals scored 1.50 (t-12th) 1.69 (t-5th)
Goals conceded 1.73 (t-20th) 1.33 (t-7th)
Shots 14.5 (7th) 13.9 (8th)
Shots on goal 5.1 (5th) 4.2 (17th)
Shooting accuracy 44.9% (12th) 39.6% (23rd)
Shot conversion rate 10.3% (19th) 12.2% (8th)
Passing accuracy 83.1% (5th) 79.5% (20th)
Possession 53.8% (6th) 45.6% (21st)
Chances created 9.9 (11th) 10.3 (8th)
Duels won 47.8 (21st) 51.4 (11th)
Tackles won 9.0 (20th) 11.3 (4th)
Interceptions 9.0 (21st) 11.9 (2nd)
Clearances 15.4 (18th) 18.4 (10th)
Fouls committed 12.8 (5th) 12.3 (9th)
Fouls suffered 11.8 (10th) 9.8 (20th)
Shots faced 12.8 (11th) 13.1 (14th)
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