By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #RSLvSKC | July 22, 2020

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A pivotal group stage finale beckons on Wednesday morning as Sporting Kansas City (3-1-0, 9 points) and Real Salt Lake (1-0-3, 6 points) renew their rivalry in the MLS is Back Tournament. Kickoff at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World is set for 8 a.m. CT, giving both clubs the opportunity to rise and shine in Orlando. Supporters can catch the action live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, the ESPN app, ESPN 94.5 FM, 1510 AM and La Grande 1340 AM.

Wednesday's battle features a pair of teams that have enjoyed strong starts to the 2020 campaign, albeit with different approaches. Sporting has scored the second-most goals in MLS, while RSL has conceded just once and currently boasts the longest shutout streak in the league. With plenty to play for in this all-important Group D encounter, we serve up a statistical preview in our newest edition of By the Numbers presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Qualification Scenarios

  • Sporting will advance to the MLS is Back Tournament Round of 16 with a win or a draw.
  • A win over RSL would see Sporting finish first or second in Group D and advance to the Round of 16 as a top-two finisher.
  • A draw against RSL would see Sporting finish second or third in Group D and advance to the Round of 16 as a top-two finisher or one of the four best third-place teams.
Group D Points   Overall
# Club PTS GP W L T GF GA GD
1 Real Salt Lake 4 2 1 0 1 2 0 2
2 Minnesota United FC 4 2 1 0 1 2 1 1
3 Sporting Kansas City 3 2 1 1 0 4 4 0
4 Colorado Rapids 0 2 0 2 0 2 5 -3

Tiebreakers: (1) Goal differential, (2) Goals scored, (3) Fewest disciplinary points

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting holds a 9-13-8 record in the regular season series and a 12-14-10 mark in all competitions.
  • Sporting is just 1-8-5 in its last 14 regular season meetings against RSL dating back to 2014.
  • Sporting is 3-1-2 against RSL in tournament matches (MLS Cup Playoffs and Open Cup).
  • Sporting defeated RSL in MLS Cup 2013, the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals and the 2015 and 2018 editions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • RSL won both regular season meetings in 2019, including a 2-0 home victory last June and a 2-1 result at Children's Mercy Park last August.
  • Sporting forward Johnny Russell has two goals and four assists in six appearances against RSL in all competitions.
  • RSL forward Corey Baird has four goals in four career appearances against Sporting.

Real Salt Lake

  • 2020 MLS record: 1-0-3, 6 points (8th in Western Conference)
  • MLS is Back Tournament record: 1-0-1 (1st in Group D)
  • Group match No. 1: Won 2-0 vs. Colorado Rapids on July 12
  • Group match No. 2: Tied 0-0 vs. Minnesota United FC on July 17
  • RSL has allowed just one goal in four matches this season, tied for the fewest in MLS.
  • RSL's three goals scored are tied for the third-fewest in MLS.
  • RSL is in the midst of a 257-minute shutout streak in the regular season, the longest such streak in MLS this year.
  • RSL has faced 8.5 shots per game this season, the fewest in MLS.
  • Midfielder Damir Kreilach leads RSL with two goals this season and ranks fifth in MLS with 33 duels won.
  • Goalkeeper Zac MacMath leads MLS in save percentage (90.9%) and clean sheets (three).
  • Defenders Aaron Herrera, Donny Toia and Marcelo Silva have started all four matches for RSL this season.

Sporting Kansas City

  • 2020 MLS record: 3-1-0, 9 points (2nd in Western Conference)
  • MLS is Back Tournament record: 1-1-0 (3rd in Group D)
  • Group match No. 1: Lost 1-2 vs. Minnesota United FC on July 12
  • Group match No. 2: Won 3-2 vs. Colorado Rapids on July 17
  • Sporting ranks second in MLS with 11 goals scored this season.
  • Sporting's plus-6 goal differential (11-5) is tied for the second-best mark in MLS.
  • Sporting has outshot all four opponents this season, recording 60 shot attempts and facing 35.
  • Sporting leads MLS with 143 passes per game in the attacking third.
  • Sporting has faced 8.8 shots per game this season, the second-fewest in MLS.
  • Forward Khiry Shelton has scored in three straight regular season appearances and can become the fifth player in club history to score in four straight on Wednesday.
  • Forward Alan Pulido has scored or assisted in each of his first four regular season appearances for Sporting, the first to do so in club history.
  • Pulido and midfielder Gadi Kinda are two of five MLS players with multiple goals and assists. Pulido has three goals and two assists, while Kinda has two apiece.
  • Defender Matt Besler leads MLS with 62 successful passes per game.
  • Midfielder Roger Espinoza is tied for second in MLS with 10 tackles won.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Wednesday's 8 a.m. CT kickoff will be the earliest start to a competitive match in Sporting's history.
  • In Friday's win over Colorado, defender Matt Besler became the first Sporting player ever to surpass 25,000 regular season minutes for the club.
  • In Friday's win over Colorado, Graham Zusi became the second player in club history (Preki) to record 100 combined goals (29) and assists (71) in MLS play.

Recent #RSLvSKC meetings

  • Regular season record vs. RSL 9-13-8 (36 GF, 41 GA)
  • All competitions record vs. RSL: 12-14-10 (48 GF, 48 GA)
Date Result H/A Competition
04//29/2017 W 3-0 Home MLS regular season
07/22/2017 T 1-1 Away MLS regular season
10/22/2017 L 1-2 Away MLS regular season
06/06/2018 W 2-0 Away Open Cup 4th Round
07/04/2018 L 2-4 Away MLS regular season
09/30/2018 T 1-1 Home MLS regular season
11/04/2018 T 1-1 Away MLS Cup Playoffs
11/11/2018 W 4-2 Home MLS Cup Playoffs
06/29/2019 L 0-2 Away MLS regular season
08/10/2019 L 1-2 Home MLS regular season
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