By The Numbers presented by KDOT: Sporting and San Jose meet in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs | Nov. 22, 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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After finishing atop the Western Conference regular season standings, Sporting Kansas City will look to punctuate an unprecedented 2020 campaign by winning silverware on Major League Soccer's greatest stage. Manager Peter Vermes' side will square off against the No. 8 seed San Jose Earthquakes in Round One of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, marking the first time the clubs have met in the postseason since 2004.

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT with live coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes, the FOX Sports app, ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM. Additionally, supporters can access the Sporting KC app at 2:45 p.m. CT for an exclusive pregame show with interviews from Sporting players and analysis from broadcast trio Nate Bukaty, Jacob Peterson and Carter Augustine. The hosts will also hear from a special Sporting guest in the lead-up to Sunday's showdown.

Sporting ended the campaign in sizzling form, going 6-1-1 since the start of October and finishing with the best points per game clip in club history. The Earthquakes, meanwhile, went 6-3-1 down the stretch to snag the eighth and final playoff berth in the West.

As both teams prepare for Sunday's win-or-go-home encounter, we take a statistical look at the contest in our newest edition of By the Numbers, presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Head-to-Head

  • Sporting and San Jose have met in two previous editions of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
    • San Jose earned a 3-2 extra-time home win in the 2003 Western Conference Final.
    • Kansas City claimed a 3-2 aggregative victory in the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals, erasing a 2-0 first-leg deficit with a famous 3-0 home win in the second leg at Arrowhead Stadium.
  • Since August 2004, Sporting have gone 13-1-1 in 15 home matches against San Jose in all competitions.
  • San Jose are 1-7-1 at Children's Mercy Park. The lone draw was a 1-1 stalemate in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals that Sporting won 5-4 on penalties.
  • Since August 2004, the home team in this fixture is 23-3-4 across all competitions.
  • Sporting are 6-1-2 against San Jose in the last nine competitive meetings dating back to September 2016. San Jose's lone win during that stretch was a 4-1 result at Avaya Stadium in April 2019.
  • Sporting and San Jose haven't met since Aug. 17, 2019 at Children's Mercy Park, when the hosts emerged with a 2-1 win.
  • San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski has scored 10 goals in 19 career regular season appearances against Sporting, including one goal in each of his last two visits to Children's Mercy Park in 2018 and 2019.

San Jose Earthquakes

  • MLS record: 8-9-6 (30 points)
  • MLS Standings: 8th in West (1.30 points per game)
  • MLS away record: 2-7-0 (12 GF, 30 GA)
  • Last five regular season matches: 1-3-1, 4 points (L-W-T-L-L)
  • Last Match: L 1-2 at LA Galaxy on Nov. 1
  • San Jose have conceded 51 goals this season, the most in MLS and an average of 2.22 per game.
  • Similarly, San Jose have conceded 30 goals on the road this season, the most in MLS and an average of 3.33 per game.
  • San Jose have posted a 6-3-1 record since Sept. 27, scoring two or more goals in each of those six wins.
  • San Jose have earned 14 points from losing positions this season, including four come-from-behind wins. Both totals are the highest in MLS.
  • San Jose have lost just seven of the 13 matches in which they have fallen behind 1-0 (4-7-2 record).
  • San Jose lead MLS with 12 goals after the 75th minute.
  • San Jose have conceded five or more goals on five separate occasions, the most in a single season in MLS history despite the shortened campaign.
  • San Jose rank third in MLS with 55.4% average possession.
  • San Jose have been outscored 13-5 in the first 30 minutes of matches this season.
  • Seven of San Jose's nine losses have come by two or more goals.
  • Forward Chris Wondolowski leads San Jose with seven goals this season. As the league’s all-time leading scorer, Wondolowski bagged 10 or more goals in 10 consecutive seasons from 2010-2019.
  • Winger Cristian Espinoza has a team-best nine assists, one off the MLS lead, and ranks sixth in MLS with 48 chances created. He also ranks fifth in MLS with 20 successful crosses from open play.
  • Midfielder Jackson Yueill ranks sixth in MLS with 50 successful passes per game.
  • Midfielder Judson leads MLS with 54 tackles won, 13 more than any other player and 38 more than any other San Jose player.
  • Goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski is 6-3-2 as a starter this season, posting four shutouts and a 1.27 goals against average.

Sporting Kansas City

  • MLS record: 12-6-3 (39 points)
  • MLS Standings: 1st in West (1.86 points per game)
  • MLS home record: 5-3-1 (18 GF, 12 GA)
  • Last five regular season matches: 3-1-1, 10 points (L-T-W-W-W)
  • Last Match: Won 2-0 at Real Salt Lake on Nov. 22
  • Sporting are 15-4-3 all-time in home playoff matches, including a 5-2-1 record at Children's Mercy Park.
  • After collecting 10 wins and 38 points during a 34-game regular season in 2019, Sporting eclipsed those totals with 12 wins and 39 points in 21 matches this year.
  • Since the start of October, Sporting are 6-1-1 with MLS bests in wins (six), points (19), shutouts (four) and goals against average (0.63).
  • Sporting scored in 20 of their 21 regular season matches this season, including all nine at Children's Mercy Park.
  • Sporting have outscored opponents 17-8 after the 60th minute this season.
  • Sporting rank third in MLS in shots per game (14.9) and first in fewest shots faced per game (9.5).
  • Sporting are the only MLS team to have five players with at least five goals (Johnny Russell 6, Alan Pulido 6, Gadi Kinda 6, Khiry Shelton 5 and Erik Hurtado 5).
  • Among MLS players with at least 10 appearances, forward Alan Pulido ranks third in MLS with 0.92 combined goals and assists per game (six goals and five assists in 12 appearances).
  • Pulido (six goals, five assists) and midfielder Gadi Kinda (six goals, four assists) are two of seven MLS newcomers with 10 or more combined goals and assists.
  • Forward Erik Hurtado leads MLS with 1.20 goals per 90 minutes (minimum 3 goals scored).
  • Defender Roberto Puncec has played the full 90 minutes in all seven of Sporting's shutouts this season. He leads the team in passes (910), successful passes (793), interceptions (25), clearances (59) and blocks (11).
  • Forward Johnny Russell is the only Sporting player who has appeared all 23 competitive matches this season. He led the team with 31 chances created during the regular season.
  • Forward Khiry Shelton scored a career-high five goals this season. He owns a 24-8-8 regular season record as a Sporting starter.
  • Sporting went 10-2-1 in the 13 regular season matches that midfielder Ilie Sanchez started this season.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Melia has a 270-minute shutout streak dating back to Oct. 24. He also boasts a 0.538 goals conceded percentage on penalties, the lowest in MLS history among keepers who have faced at least 10 penalty kicks. Only 14 of the 26 penalties he has faced in the regular season have been successful.

Milestones and Miscellany

  • Sporting midfielder Roger Espinoza is one shy of his 300th appearance for the club in all competitions.
  • Sporting forward Khiry Shelton is one shy of his 100th career MLS appearance (including playoffs).
  • Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio could become the youngest player in club history to appear in a playoff match (18 years, 178 days).
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes' 16 career playoff appearances (7 as player, 9 as head coach) are tied with Kyle Beckerman for the most in MLS history among players and head coaches.

Recent #SKCvSJ meetings

  • Regular season record vs. San Jose: 27-25-8 (76 GF, 75 GA)
  • Playoff record vs. San Jose: 1-2-0 (5 GF, 5 GA)
Date Result H/A Competition
03/18/2017 W 2-1 Home Regular Season
06/17/2017 T 0-0 Away Regular Season
08/09/2017 T 1-1 (5-4) Home U.S. Open Cup Semifinals
03/17/2018 W 3-2 Home Regular Season
09/15/2018 W 5-1 Away Regular Season
04/20/2019 L 1-4 Away Regular Season
08/17/2019 W 2-1 Home Regular Season

Team Stats (2020 regular season)

(Per Opta; MLS rank in parenthesis)

Category (per game) Sporting San Jose
Goals scored 1.81 (5th) 1.52 (11th)
Goals conceded 1.19 (10th) 2.22 (26th)
Shots 14.9 (3rd) 13.3 (9th)
Shots on goal 4.9 (8th) 5.0 (7th)
Shooting accuracy 47.3% (15th) 50.2% (8th)
Shot conversion rate 12.1% (11th) 11.5% (13th)
Shots faced 9.5 (1st) 11.8 (13th)
Passing accuracy 80.8% (16th) 83.6% (5th)
Possession 49.5% (14th) 55.4% (3rd)
Chances created 10.0 (8th) 9.6 (13th)
Duels won 52.1 (8th) 46.4 (23rd)
Tackles won 10.3 (7th) 8.8 (21st)
Interceptions 11.7 (19th) 11.5 (20th)
Clearances 15.1 (20th) 13.6 (24th)
Fouls committed 12.3 (14th) 12.0 (15th)
Fouls suffered 10.7 (20th) 11.4 (16th)
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