"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.
- 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)
|04/20/2018||W 6-0||Home||SKC: Russell 10', 16', 48', Medranda 30', Lobato 54, Croizet 77'
|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'
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)|