By The Numbers - Sporting KC 2020 DL Image

By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #VANvSKC | Feb. 29, 2020

"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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With a long and restful offseason in the rearview mirror, Sporting Kansas City will open the 2020 MLS regular season on Saturday with a visit to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. The Western Conference battle will kick off at 9:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.

This long-awaited Week 1 opener pits a pair of teams hoping to bounce back from 2019 campaigns that fell short of expectations. Led by Manager Peter Vermes, Sporting won four major championships last decade as a perennial title contender before finishing 11th in the West five months ago. Vancouver was rooted in the 12th-place basement under first-year head coach Marc Dos Santos, but a strong crop of offseason acquisitions has the Whitecaps believing better days are ahead.

Without further ado, let's take a statistical look at the matchup in our first 2020 edition of By The Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting is 9-3-4 against Vancouver in the MLS regular season, including a 4-2-2 mark at BC Place.
  • Sporting has earned a three-goal victory in each of its last two visits to BC Place, prevailing 3-0 in July 2019 and 4-1 in October 2018.
  • Sporting has outscored Vancouver 14-2 across the last four MLS meetings, posting three wins and a draw.
  • Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez and forward Gerso Fernandes scored in Sporting’s 3-0 win at Vancouver last summer, while forward Daniel Salloi bagged a brace in the 4-1 defeat of Vancouver in 2018.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

  • 2019 MLS record: 8-16-10 (34 points, 12th in Western Conference)
  • 2019 MLS home record: 5-7-5 (16 GF, 23 GA)
  • Vancouver finished last in the Western Conference last year with 34 points, their fewest points in a season since their inaugural 2011 campaign (28 points).
  • Vancouver was the only Western Conference team to finish with a losing home record in 2019, going 5-7-5 at BC Place.
  • Vancouver went 3-2-1 during its 2020 preseason, finishing with consecutive wins over the New England Revolution and Minnesota United FC.
  • Vancouver finished last in MLS in 2019 with 7.5 chances created per game.
  • The Whitecaps are led by second-year head coach Marc Dos Santos, who previously led Sporting Kansas City II to a USL Championship Western Conference title in 2016.
  • Veteran forward Fredy Montero is Vancouver’s top returning scorer, having bagged eight goals in all competitions last year. Returning midfielder Yordy Reyna placed second with seven goals.
  • Newly acquired Canadian striker Lucas Cavallini scored in each of Vancouver’s final four preseason matches.
  • In addition to signing Cavallini for a club-record transfer fee, Vancouver acquired three other players using Targeted Allocation Money: Colombian forward Cristian Dajome, Ghanaian midfielder Leonard Owusu and Argentine defender Erik Godoy.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2019 MLS record: 10-16-8, 38 points (11th in Western Conference)
  • 2019 MLS away record: 3-10-4 (19 GF, 37 GA)
  • Sporting’s 30 regular season wins against Canadian clubs (30-11-15) are the most in MLS all-time.
  • Sporting’s 12 regular season wins on Canadian soil (12-7-9) are the second-most in MLS behind D.C. United’s 13.
  • Sporting's 13 season-opening wins are tied with the LA Galaxy for the most all-time in MLS.
  • Sporting advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs in eight straight seasons from 2011-2018, the fourth-longest streak in league history, before falling short of the postseason last year.
  • Sporting conceded 67 regular season goals in 2019, the most in club history and the second-most in MLS last year.
  • Newly acquired striker Alan Pulido led Liga MX during the 2019 Apertura season with 12 goals for Chivas de Guadalajara.
  • Forward Johnny Russell is the second player in team history to record nine goals and nine assists in consecutive regular seasons.
  • Tim Melia’s 10 penalty kick saves since the start of 2016 are five more than any other goalkeeper in the MLS regular season.
  • Russell, Salloi and Gianluca Busio were tied for the team lead with two preseason goals this winter in Arizona.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia is one shy of his 46th shutout for Sporting in the MLS regular season, which would pass Jimmy Nielsen for the most in club history.
  • Midfielder Ilie Sanchez is one shy of his 100th appearance for Sporting in the MLS regular season.
  • Saturday will mark the first time that either team has opened its regular season in the month of February or played a competitive match on Leap Day.
  • Sporting has never before opened its MLS regular season campaign in Canada.

Recent #VANvSKC meetings

  • Regular season record vs. Vancouver: 9-3-4 (33 GF, 18 GA)
  • Regular season away record at Vancouver: 4-2-2 (15 GF, 10 GA)
Date Result H/A Scoring
04/20/2018 W 6-0 Home SKC: Russell 10', 16', 48', Medranda 30', Lobato 54, Croizet 77'
VAN: None
10/17/2018 W 4-1 Away SKC: Croizet 62', Salloi 82', 90+7', Busio 90+4'
VAN: Martins 42'
05/18/2019 T 1-1 Home SKC: Nemeth 37'
VAN: Cornelius 90+4'
07/13/2019 W 3-0 Away SKC: own goal 24', Gutierrez 56', Gerso 90'
VAN: None

Team Stats (2019 regular season)

MLS rank in parenthesis (source: Opta)

Category (per game) Sporting Vancouver
Goals scored 1.44 (16th) 1.09 (23rd)
Goals conceded 1.97 (23rd) 1.74 (t-18th)
Shots 14.7 (6th) 10.6 (t-23rd)
Shots on goal 5.1 (t-8th) 4.0 (19th)
Shooting accuracy 44.7% (13th) 49.1% (4th)
Shot conversion rate 9.8% (20th) 10.3% (18th)
Passing accuracy 82.9% (5th) 80.9% (15th)
Possession 52.6% (8th) 45.0% (21st)
Chances created 10.2 (12th) 7.5 (24th)
Duels won 46.6 (23rd) 46.3 (24th)
Tackles won 8.7 (22nd) 8.6 (23rd)
Interceptions 9.1 (22nd) 11.8 (3rd)
Clearances 16.2 (17th) 23.8 (1st)
Fouls committed 12.3 (6th) 10.5 (21st)
Fouls suffered 11.6 (10th) 10.9 (15th)
Shots faced 13.6 (13th) 20.1 (24th)
Series: