By The Numbers presented by KDOT: #SKCvMIN | Sept. 13, 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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For the third time this season, Sporting Kansas City (5-3-2, 17 points) and Minnesota United FC (5-3-2, 17 points) will rekindle their Midwestern rivalry with hopes of taking pole position in a fiercely competitive Western Conference race. Sunday's showdown at Children's Mercy Park will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports GO and ESPN 94.5 FM.

Sporting and Minnesota enter the weekend with identical 5-3-2 records, having experienced a rollercoaster ride through the first 10 games of an unprecedented 2020 campaign. Manager Peter Vermes' men began 5-1-0 before hitting their current four-game winless skid. Minnesota began a perfect 3-0-0, went five regular season matches without a win, then responded with a pair of emphatic victories on home turf. Needless to say, Sunday's victor will make a real statement of intent as Major League Soccer's 2020 season enters its final eight-week stretch.

As Sporting prepares to host its annual Kick Childhood Cancer match, we take a statistical look at Sunday's fixture in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • In all competitions, Sporting are a perfect 5-0-0 against Minnesota at Children's Mercy Park. 
  • In five previous home matches against Minnesota, Sporting has outscored the Loons 14-1 and posted four shutouts.
  • Sporting are 6-4-2 against Minnesota in all competitions since the Loons joined MLS in 2017.
  • The sides first met this season on July 12 in the MLS is Back Tournament group stage. Sporting dominated early and took a 1-0 first-half lead through Khiry Shelton, but Minnesota struck twice in second-half stoppage time, including a 97th-minute winner from Kevin Molino, to snatch a 2-1 win.
  • In the most recent meeting at Allianz Field, midfielder Gadi Kinda scored early and the teams traded own goals as Sporting prevailed 2-1 for their first MLS win on Minnesota soil.
  • Sporting forward Johnny Russell has five assists in six MLS appearances against Minnesota.
  • Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia has a 5-2-1 regular season record against Minnesota, posting three shutouts and a 0.74 goals against average.

Minnesota United FC

  • MLS record: 5-3-2, 17 points (1st in Western Conference)
  • MLS away record: 2-2-0 (9 GF, 9 GA)
  • Last five regular season matches: 2-3-0, 6 points (L-L-L-W-W)
  • Last Match: Won 3-2 vs. FC Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 9
  • Minnesota is tied for second in MLS with 2.1 goals per game, including seven goals across their last two home victories against Real Salt Lake (W 4-0 on Sept. 6) and FC Dallas (W 3-2 on Sept. 9).
  • Minnesota has scored a league-leading nine goals in four true road matches this season (2-2-0 record).
  • Ten different Minnesota players have scored a goal this season, tied for the most in MLS alongside Colorado.
  • Minnesota has lost each of its last two road games by a combined 6-1 scoreline (L 1-3 at Dallas on Aug. 9; L 0-3 at Houston on Sept. 2). 
  • Minnesota has conceded two or more goals in five of the team's last six regular season matches dating back to July 22.
  • Minnesota went winless in five regular season matches from July 17 to Sept. 2 (0-3-2) before posting two straight home wins over the past week.
  • Minnesota ranks second in MLS in duels won per game (55.8) and fourth in interceptions per game (13.4).
  • Minnesota is a perfect 4-0-0 when scoring the first goal this season and 1-3-1 when allowing the first goal.
  • Midfielder Kevin Molino is tied for fifth in MLS with a team-leading five goals, having scored twice in Wednesday's 3-2 home win over FC Dallas.
  • Midfielder Jan Gregus is tied for third in MLS with five assists and tied for ninth with 18 chances created, both of which are team-highs.
  • Defender Michael Boxall ranks third in MLS in both interceptions (22) and clearances (50).
  • Defenders Boxall, Chase Gasper and Romain Metanire have started all 10 regular season matches this season. Metanire will miss Sunday's match through red card suspension.

Sporting Kansas City

  • MLS record: 5-3-2, 17 points (2nd in Western Conference)
  • MLS home record: 1-1-1 (7 GF, 6 GA)
  • Last five regular season matches: 1-2-2, 5 points (W-L-T-T-L)
  • Last Match: Lost 1-2 at Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Sept. 5
  • Sporting ranks fourth in MLS in total goals scored (20) and goals per game (2.00), behind only LAFC and Minnesota.
  • Sporting is the only MLS team yet to be shut out in the regular season. They have scored in each of their first 10 matches of a regular season campaign for the first time in 2007 and are two games shy of tying the club record of 12 set in 2003 and 2008.
  • Sporting's 8.8 shots faced per game are the second-fewest in MLS.
  • Sporting has lost just once in the four matches where it has conceded the first goal (1-1-2 record).
  • Sporting's Homegrown Players have combined to make 17 appearances over the last four matches.
  • Sporting has lost twice when scoring the first goal (4-2-0) and leading at halftime (3-2-0) this season, both tied for the most in MLS.
  • Since the regular season resumed in home markets in mid-August, midfielder Gianluca Busio ranks third in MLS in tackles won (12) and has completed 88.6% of his passes.
  • Among MLS players to score twice and log 90 minutes this season, forward Erik Hurtado leads the league with 1.86 goals per 90 minutes.
  • Midfielder Gadi Kinda and forward Khiry Shelton are tied for the team lead with four goals apiece, while forward Alan Pulido has added three goals and a team-leading four assists. Pulido has missed Sporting's last two games with a knock.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Midfielder Ilie Sanchez is one shy of his 100th career regular season start for Sporting.

All-time #SKCvMIN meetings (all competitions)

  • Regular season record vs. Minnesota: 5-3-2
  • All competitions record vs. Minnesota: 6-4-2
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
07/12/2020 L 1-2 Neutral Regular Season (MLS is Back)
08/21/2020 W 2-1 Away Regular season

Team Stats (2020 regular season)

(Per Opta; MLS rank in parenthesis)

Category (per game) Sporting Minnesota
Goals scored 2.00 (4th) 2.10 (t-2nd)
Goals conceded 1.50 (t-16th) 1.60 (t-19th)
Shots 14.4 (5th) 13.7 (9th)
Shots on goal 5.0 (t-5th) 4.5 (t-10th)
Shooting accuracy 49.5% (10th) 46.3% (16th)
Shot conversion rate 13.9% (9th) 15.3% (3rd)
Shots faced 8.8 (2nd) 13.4 (19th)
Passing accuracy 81.4% (12th) 80.6 (18th)
Possession 49.2% (t-12th) 48.1% (14th)
Chances created 9.4 (10th) 9.3 (11th)
Duels won 49.5 (16th) 55.8 (2nd)
Tackles won 10.0 (t-10th) 10.2 (9th)
Interceptions 10.8 (21st) 13.4 (4th)
Clearances 12.8 (24th) 18.2 (9th)
Fouls committed 12.8 (12th) 13.7 (7th)
Fouls suffered 10.3 (21st) 12.3 (9th)
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