"Beyond The Box Score" is a weekly series presented by Compass Minerals that takes a statistical dive into every Sporting match, bringing to light the intriguing numbers and factoids that don't appear in the typical box score. To visit the series archive, click here.
Saturday marked a milestone moment for Children's Mercy Park as Sporting Kansas City played the club's 200th match inside the world-class venue since it opened on June 9, 2011.
- 158 in MLS regular season
- 19 in U.S. Open Cup
- 10 in Concacaf Champions League
- 8 in MLS Cup Playoffs
- 5 in friendlies
And in that 10-season history, Sporting Kansas City had never lost a competitive match that kicked off at 4 p.m. CT or earlier. Until today, as Sporting suffered a late 3-2 loss to FC Dallas. In the previous 27 games, Sporting was 18-0-9 in day games across all competitions.
While one streak came to an end, another streak continued as Sporting remains the only team in MLS not to be shut out in 2020. Sporting Kansas City has now scored in all 12 regular season games this year, a run that matches the club record for most consecutive games with a goal to start a season - first set in 2003 and equaled in 2008.
Having surpassed the halfway point of the season, might Sporting threaten one of the more remarkable feats in MLS history by scoring in every match of a regular season? It's only been done once before, all the way back in 1998 when D.C. United scored in all 32 games amidst a stunning 52-game scoring streak that spanned from August 1997 through June 1999.
For perspective, Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio was born in 2002. And it was the 18-year-old who set up both Johnny Russell goals on Saturday, serving in the corner kick that got SKC on the scoreboard in the 53rd minute then delivering a delightful free kick in the 83rd minute to earn his first assist of the year and Sporting's 250th regular season assist at Children's Mercy Park.
"That area is really difficult to get it up and over, even floating it up to the back post is a really difficult ball," Russell remarked postgame. "Busio strikes it great and any touch from us, Dallas players, or even if it misses everyone, is on target. With that power, it can always go in. We just managed to bunch up at the front post and he whipped it straight on my head and I just got a little touch on it, a little glance. The power is already there, I just tried to direct it."
Busio is one of just 11 teenagers with a regular season assist in MLS this year and the third youngest. The Sporting KC Academy product has played every minute of Sporting's last seven games, but will miss Wednesday's match-up with Orlando City SC while serving a one-game suspension for caution accumulation.
MLS TEENS WITH ASSISTS IN 2020 (YOUNGEST TO OLDEST)
|Ricardo Pepi||FC Dallas|
|Efrain Alvarez||LA Galaxy|
|Gianluca Busio||Sporting Kansas City|
|Tanner Tessmann||FC Dallas|
|George Bello||Atlanta United FC|
|Cole Bassett||Colorado Rapids|
|Julian Araujo||LA Galaxy|
|Jesus Ferreira||FC Dallas|
|Bryan Reynolds||FC Dallas|
|Andres Perea||Orlando City SC|
|Brenden Aaronson||Philadelphia Union|
Finally, let's get to the man of the moment. After scoring the game-winning goal in Sporting's 1-0 victory over Minnesota last weekend, Russell was back on the scoresheet on Saturday with his fourth multi-goal game since arriving in KC in 2018. Today's brace moves Russell into eighth on the club's career multi-goal game chart alongside Sporting Legends Mo Johnston and Chris Klein.
TOP 10: MULTI-GOAL GAMES FOR KC (REGULAR SEASON)
Russell's double also sees the Scottish international join an elite group of eight players in club history to contribute 25 goals and 25 assists across all competitions.
KC 25 GOAL + 25 ASSIST CLUB (ALL COMPETITIONS)
His regular season strike rate has vaulted him into second on the club's career goals per game chart, surpassing two-time MLS MVP Preki and man-on-the-move Kei Kamara, who was acquired by Minnesota United FC earlier today via trade.
GOALS PER GAME IN KC CAREER (REGULAR SEASON)
Sporting KC will conclude a three-game homestand at 6:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday against MLS is Back Tournament finalist Orlando City SC as Sporting faces its first opponent from the Eastern Conference in the 2020 MLS regular season. Tickets are available online at SeatGeek.com and the mid-week match will feature national coverage on FS1 (English), FOX Deportes (Spanish) and the FOX Sports App.