"By The Numbers" presented by Compass Minerals is a season-long series that gives a statistical preview of every Sporting match. To visit the series archive, click here.
Following a vital 1-0 victory in Minnesota on Saturday, Sporting Kansas City is now within one point of playoff position as the club returns home to host Leagues Cup finalist Nashville SC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Tickets are available online at SeatGeek, including the Bud Light Easy to Enjoy Pack featuring a match ticket, a hot dog and a Bud Light for only $30.
The cross-conference clash will be broadcast live on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV in English and Spanish. Local radio coverage will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB as well as La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app, while pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network will also show all of the action.
We take a statistical look at the monumental matchup in our newest edition of By The Numbers, presented by Compass Minerals.
- Sporting and Nashville have met three times since the Tennessee club entered MLS in 2020. Sporting has a 2-1-0 record in the series, including one win and one loss at Children’s Mercy Park.
- Both meetings in 2022 resulted in a 2-1 road win for the visiting side.
- All three meetings between the clubs have resulted in 2-1 scorelines.
- All nine goals in the regular season series have been scored by nine different players. Similarly, all 10 assists in the series have come from 10 different players.
- The clubs last met on June 19, 2022, when Sporting earned a 2-1 victory to give Nashville its first ever home loss at Geodis Park. Sporting midfielder Felipe Hernandez scored against his hometown club in the first half before Graham Zusi bagged the second-half winner. The hosts received a consolation goal from Ake Loba, who left Nashville following the 2022 season.
- The clubs last met at Children’s Mercy Park on April 9, 2022, as Nashville secured a 2-1 comeback win. Remi Walter gave Sporting a first-half lead, but the visitors responded with second-half goals from Dave Romney and C.J. Sapong, neither of whom still play for Nashville.
- The inaugural meeting between the clubs saw Sporting earn a 2-1 comeback home win on Oct. 11, 2020. Walker Zimmerman gave Nashville a first-half lead, but Sporting responded in the second half with a Gerso Fernandes equalizer and a world-class Erik Hurtado volley that was later named Sporting’s goal of the season.
- All three regular season meetings have featured Tim Melia and Joe Willis in goal for Sporting and Nashville, respectively.
Sporting Kansas City
- 2023 MLS record: 9-12-8, 35 points (10th in West | 39 GF, 40 GA)
- 2023 MLS home record: 7-5-2 (25 GF, 16 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 3-2-0 (L-W-W-L-W)
- Sporting’s 1-0 victory at Minnesota United FC on Saturday was the club’s first 1-0 league win of the season and its first 1-0 road win since Oct. 28, 2020. It was also Sporting’s first shutout road win since Aug. 14, 2021.
- Sporting’s win at Minnesota was the club’s first victory when being outshot this season.
- Sporting’s win at Minnesota was the club’s fourth such victory when being outshot by eight or more shots over the last five MLS seasons (Minnesota outshot SKC 14-6).
- Since the start of May, Sporting lead the Western Conference with 36 goals scored (1.89 goals per match). The team scored just three goals in its first 10 league matches through the end of April.
- Since the start of May, Sporting lead the Western Conference with a plus-11 goal differential, scoring 36 goals and conceding 25.
- Sporting have scored at least three goals in nine of the club’s last 19 regular season home matches since August 2022. The team has won each of those nine games while posting a 3-5-2 record in the other 10 home matches scoring two goals or fewer.
- Sporting rank second in the Western Conference in goals scored in the first 15 minutes (seven), goals scored in the first 30 minutes (14) and first-half goals (24). Three of their five goals in Leagues Cup also came in the opening 30 minutes.
- Sporting have scored 62% of their regular season goals in the first half, the highest clip in the league (24 of 39).
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia has won five of his last six starts since May 13 after opening the season with a 0-4-1 record. In Saturday’s 1-0 win at Minnesota, Melia earned his 75th career shutout for Sporting in all competitions.
- Since starting his Sporting tenure in 2015, Melia’s 15 penalty kick saves in the regular season are most in MLS. He also has a .583 goals conceded percentage on penalty kicks (21 of 36) in the regular season, lowest in MLS regular season history among keepers with at least 20 penalties faced.
- Forward Alan Pulido is tied for fourth in MLS with 13 league goals (one behind Golden Boot co-leaders Denis Bouanga, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Hany Mukhtar) and has a team-best 14 goals this season in all competitions after missing all of 2022 through injury.
- Pulido leads MLS with 12 goals since the start of June. From June 3 to Sept. 9, he became the second player in Sporting history to score 12 goals in a span of 12 consecutive regular season matches (Johnny Russell in 2021).
- Pulido leads Sporting with 17 goal contributions this season in all competitions (14 goals, three assists).
- Midfielder Erik Thommy has one goal and four assists in his last four matches, including the first multi-assist game of his MLS career in Sporting’s 2-1 win over St. Louis on Sept. 2.
- Thommy ranks second on the team with 16 goal contributions in all competitions, including four goals and a team-leading 12 assists.
- Sporting are a perfect 7-0-0 when Thommy scores in the regular season dating back to 2022. The club is also 9-1-3 this season in games he has scored or assisted a goal.
- With eight goals and seven assists this year in all competitions, forward Daniel Salloi has eclipsed 14 goal contributions in three straight seasons for Sporting. He is also one of four players in MLS with seven or more regular season goals in each of the last three seasons along with Hany Mukhtar, Luciano Acosta and Jesus Ferreira.
- Salloi has scored or assisted in five of his last six regular season appearances since July 12 and is the only Sporting player to start in all 29 regular season matches this year.
- Salloi, who ranks third on the team with 15 goal contributions in all competitions, ranks third in MLS in progressive passes received (255), fourth in successful crosses from open play (21), fifth in progressive carries (101), ninth in expected assists (6.7) and ninth in shots on target (29).
- With a goal and an assist in Sporting’s 3-0 win over San Jose on Aug. 26, forward Johnny Russell became the third player in club history to eclipse 100 combined goals (58) and assists (42) in all competitions.
- Defender Jake Davis has started each of Sporting’s last 18 matches across all competitions, the longest active streak on the team.
- Defender Dany Rosero has accounted for three of Sporting’s five headed goals this season in all competitions, each coming off a set piece.
- Sporting are 6-0-1 in MLS when the center back pairing of Andreu Fontas and Dany Rosero start together at home this season.
- Sporting are a perfect 5-0-0 at home in the regular season with the starting backline of Jake Davis, Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas and Logan Ndenbe with three goals conceded in those five matches (0.6 goals against per game).
- 2023 MLS record: 11-9-7, 40 points (7th in East | 32 GF, 27 GA)
- 2023 MLS away record: 3-7-4 (10 GF, 18 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 0-3-2 (L-L-L-T-T)
- Nashville are winless in their last six MLS matches since July 8, going 0-4-2 with just two goals scored.
- Nashville’s six-game winless drought is tied for its longest in club regular season history.
- Nashville are 1-6-2 in their last nine MLS matches since June 21, scoring just four goals at 0.44 per match.
- In between the club’s six-match winless streak in MLS, Nashville advanced to the Leagues Cup Final before losing on penalty kicks to Inter Miami CF. Nashville scored 16 goals in seven Leagues Cup matches, with their second-place finish sealing a berth in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.
- Nashville has scored half of the club’s MLS goals after the 60th minute (16 of 32).
- Nashville ranks second in MLS with 2.52 offsides per match.
- Nashville is 9-1-2 when scoring the first goal and 2-8-2 when conceding the first goal this season. Similarly, Nashville is 7-0-1 when leading at halftime and 1-6-1 when trailing at halftime.
- Nashville has an 18-21-21 regular season away record under head coach Gary Smith since entering MLS in 2020. The club’s 39 road results since the start of 2020 are tied for the most in MLS.
- Attacking midfielder Hany Mukhtar is tied for the MLS lead in goals (14) and shots on target (40). He is the only MLS player with two hat tricks this season.
- With an MLS-leading 92 goal contributions since 2020, Mukhtar has scored (57) or assisted (35) on 56.4% of the club’s regular season goals all-time (92 of 163).
- Mukhtar has one goal and one assist in his last nine MLS appearances, during which time Nashville has gone 1-6-2 with just four goals scored (0.44 per match).
- Mukhtar leads Nashville with 29 goal contributions (16 goals, 13 assists) in all competitions this season. Fafa Picault (8 goals, 2 assists) and Jacob Shaffelburg (4 goals, 6 assists) are tied for second with 10 goal contributions each.
- Mukhtar and outside backs Daniel Lovitz and Shaq Moore lead Nashville with 35 appearances in all competitions this season. Lovitz leads the team in minutes (3,034) while also adding five assists in all competitions.
Milestones and Miscellany
- Manager Peter Vermes has been involved in a league-record 699 MLS matches as a player or head coach. He will eclipse 700 MLS matches on Wednesday against Nashville SC.
- Forward Johnny Russell is one shy of his 150th start for Sporting in MLS competitions.
- Forward Daniel Salloi is one shy of his 175th regular season appearance for Sporting.
- Sporting forward Alan Pulido become the second player in club history (Johnny Russell in 2021) to score 12 goals in a span of 12 consecutive regular season matches, doing so from June 3 to Sept. 9.
- Midfielder Roger Espinoza is tied with Chris Klein for third in club history with 45 regular season assists.
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia one shy of 100 wins for Sporting in MLS competitions.
- Defender Andreu Fontas is one shy of his 100th start for Sporting in MLS competitions.