Beyond The Box Score: Sporting continues left-footed scoring trend against Rapids

When Gerso Fernandes fired Sporting Kansas City into an early lead with the deft touch of his left boot on Saturday night against the Colorado Rapids, it continued a season-long scoring trend that would normally go unnoticed by many.

The newest edition of Beyond The Box Score shines light on said trend, illustrating a statistical quirk unique to Manager Peter Vermes' men over the course of 2019.

Gerso's tidy finish in a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Colorado Rapids—which saw Sporting play down a man for the final 70 minutes after captain Matt Besler was sent off—gave the side its 25th left-footed goal of the regular season. No other club except LAFC has 20 or more left-footed strikes this year, and no squad has accounted for a greater percentage of its scoring via the left foot than Sporting.

As outlined in the table below, 54.3% of Sporting's league goals have been left-footed. That's the highest clip in MLS this season and the club's highest percentage since Opta began tracking goal footedness in 2010. With some of the team's most influential attackers preferring their left foot—Gerso, Felipe Gutierrez and Johnny Russell, to name a few—it's easy to understand why Sporting tops the list.

GOALS BY BODY PART: 2019 MLS REGULAR SEASON
(matches through Sept. 21)

Club Right Foot Left Foot Head Other Total % Left Footed
Sporting Kansas City 13 25 5 3 46 54.3%
Los Angeles Football Club 27 41 9 1 78 52.6%
FC Cincinnati 15 11 2 2 30 36.7%
New York Red Bulls 20 18 10 3 51 35.3%
Columbus Crew SC 15 13 7 2 37 35.1%
Seattle Sounders FC 25 17 6 2 50 34.0%
New York City FC 35 19 2 0 56 33.9%
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 19 11 3 0 33 33.3%
FC Dallas 27 14 3 3 47 29.8%
Philadelphia Union 35 15 4 1 55 27.3%
New England Revolution 24 12 8 1 45 26.7%
Houston Dynamo 25 11 3 4 43 25.6%
Chicago Fire 22 12 13 1 48 25.0%
Colorado Rapids 25 13 14 2 54 24.1%
Montreal Impact 25 10 5 3 43 23.3%
D.C. United 27 9 3 1 40 22.5%
San Jose Earthquakes 33 11 3 3 50 22.0%
LA Galaxy 24 11 15 1 51 21.6%
Real Salt Lake 31 9 2 0 42 21.4%
Portland Timbers 23 9 11 2 45 20.0%
Atlanta United FC 33 10 7 3 53 18.9%
Minnesota United FC 32 9 6 2 49 18.4%
Orlando City SC 28 5 8 0 41 12.2%
Toronto FC 39 5 10 0 54 9.3%

SPORTING KC: GOALS BY BODY PART
MLS REGULAR SEASON SINCE 2010

Season Right Foot Left Foot Head Other Total % Left Footed
2010 22 6 7 1 36 16.7%
2011 27 16 4 3 50 32.0%
2012 24 4 13 1 42 9.5%
2013 22 10 14 1 47 21.3%
2014 20 18 9 1 48 37.5%
2015 21 12 14 1 48 25.0%
2016 14 17 11 0 42 40.5%
2017 23 13 3 1 40 32.5%
2018 30 31 3 1 65 47.7%
2019 13 25 5 3 46 54.3%

Seven points shy of playoff positioning with three regular season matches still to play, Sporting (10-14-7, 37 points) will look to bounce back Wednesday when they travel to face regional rival Minnesota United FC (14-10-6, 48 points) at the new Allianz Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO.

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