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By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #SKCvMIN | July 12, 2020

"By The Numbers" is a season-long series presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation that gives a statistical preview of every Sporting match. To visit the series archive, click here.

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A pair of Midwestern rivals that enjoyed scintillating starts to the 2020 season will finally resume their campaigns Sunday when Sporting Kansas City (2-0-0, 6 points) faces Minnesota United FC (2-0-0, 6 points) in the Group D opener of the MLS is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World. Sunday's highly anticipated clash will mark the first competitive action for both clubs in four months, kicking off at 7 p.m. CT with live coverage on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, the ESPN app, Sports Radio 810 WHB, La Grande 1340 AM and SiriusXM FC.

Sporting and Minnesota occupy the top two spots in the early Supporters' Shield standings and were the most impressive MLS teams through Week 2, recording consecutive multi-goal victories. Following a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these clubs will hope to pick up where they left off and make a winning start in the MLS is Back Tournament group stage.

With palpable excitement abound, we take a statistical look at the matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting are 5-3-2 against Minnesota in all competitions since the Loons joined MLS in 2017.
  • Sporting are a perfect 5-0-0 against Minnesota at home but a winless 0-3-2 on the road. The sides have yet to meet at a neutral site.
  • In eight all-time MLS meetings, Sporting has outscored Minnesota 13-7 and outshot the loons 170-81.
  • Sporting forward Johnny Russell has five assists in four MLS appearances against Minnesota.
  • Sporting split the 2019 regular season series, with the home side winning both games by a one-goal margin. Minnesota also beat Sporting 4-1 at home in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32.

Minnesota United FC

  • 2020 MLS record: 2-0-0, 6 points (2nd in Western Conference)
  • Week 1 result: Won 3-1 at Portland Timbers on March 1
  • Week 2 result: Won 5-2 vs. San Jose Earthquakes on March 7
  • MLS is Back Tournament record: 0-0-0 (Group D)
  • Minnesota leads MLS with eight goals scored through Week 2, having outscored their opponents 8-3.
  • Minnesota opened 2020 with back-to-back road wins, marking the second time in club history that the Loons had accomplished the feat.
  • Minnesota's eight goals through Week 2 are the second-most over a two-game stretch in club history.
  • In both matches to start the season, Minnesota was outshot but put more of their attempts on target. Minnesota leads MLS with a shot conversion rate of 28.6%.
  • Minnesota was one of the most improved MLS teams in 2019, rising from 10th to fourth in the West en route to their first playoff appearance.
  • Minnesota leads MLS with 41 interceptions.
  • Minnesota ranks last in MLS in average possession at 40.2%.
  • Newly acquired Paraguayan striker Luis Amarilla scored in Minnesota's first two games of the season. He ranks second in MLS with 10 shot attempts.
  • Attacking midfielder Kevin Molino recorded two goals and one assist through the first two matches of 2020.
  • Midfielders Jan Gregus (one goal, two assists) and Ethan Finlay (two assists) also contributed notably to Minnesota's strong start this winter.
  • Defender Michael Boxall ranks second in MLS with 15 interceptions.
  • Ike Opara, a former Sporting center back and the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, will not participate in the MLS is Back Tournament due to a medical issue.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2020 MLS record: 2-0-0, 6 points (1st in Western Conference)
  • Week 1 result: Won 3-1 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Feb. 29
  • Week 2 result: Won 4-0 vs. Houston Dynamo on March 7
  • MLS is Back Tournament record: 0-0-0 (Group D)
  • Sporting has begun an MLS season with consecutive wins by multiple goals for the first time ever.
  • Sporting has scored three or more goals in each of their first two MLS matches for the second time ever (2000).
  • Sporting has scored seven total goals through their first two MLS matches for the second time ever (2000).
  • Sporting’s plus-six goal difference is their all-time best through two matches of an MLS season.
  • Sporting ranks second in MLS with seven goals scored, all of which have come from inside the box.
  • Sporting’s one goal conceded is tied with Columbus and Real Salt Lake for the fewest in MLS.
  • Midfielder Gadi Kinda and forward Alan Pulido are the third and fourth newcomers all-time to score in each of Sporting’s first two matches of a regular season (Miklos Molnar in 2000, Claudio Bieler in 2013).
  • Khiry Shelton is tied for the MLS lead with seven chances created from open play and leads MLS forwards with 20 duels won.
  • In a 4-0 win over Houston on March 7, goalkeeper Tim Melia collected his 46th career shutout in the MLS regular season, vaulting him into sole possession of first place on Sporting’s all-time charts.
  • Defender Luis Martins leads MLS defenders with 45 passes in the attacking third.
  • Defender Matt Besler leads MLS with a duel success of 84.2% (minimum five duels won).

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Sporting has played two previous neutral-site matches in club history: MLS Cup 2000 (W 1-0 vs. Chicago Fire in Washington, D.C.) and MLS Cup 2004 (L 2-3 vs. D.C. United in Carson, California).
  • Sporting is 4-11-3 all-time in the state of Florida across all competitions, including an 0-2-1 mark in Orlando.
  • Minnesota has never played a neutral-site match and has played just once in the state of Florida, prevailing 2-1 over Orlando in March 2018.

All-time #SKCvMIN meetings (all competitions)

  • Regular season record vs. Minnesota: 4-2-2
  • All competitions record vs. Minnesota: 5-3-2
Date Result H/A Competition
05/07/2017 L 0-2 Away Regular Season
06/03/2017 W 3-0 Home Regular Season
06/14/2017 W 4-0 Home U.S. Open Cup 4th Round
10/07/2017 T 1-1 Away Regular Season
05/20/2018 T 1-1 Away Regular Season
06/03/2018 W 4-1 Home Regular Season
08/25/2018 W 2-0 Home Regular Season
06/12/2019 L 1-4 Away U.S. Open Cup 4th Round
08/22/2019 W 1-0 Home Regular Season
09/25/2019 L 1-2 Away Regular Season
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