Sporting Kansas City took care of business on Saturday with a 2-0 road win over Eastern Conference rivals Columbus Crew.
The Kansas City Star
The win, coupled with D.C. United's 4-0 loss to Houston last night, means Kansas City are the sole leaders in the East this morning.
Here the relevant facts, stats, notes and quotes you need to know from the weekend in today's hefty portion of weekend Leftovers.
• Sporting Kansas City are 11-5-3 on the season, 5-3-2 on the road.
• The 11 victories are the most in the East and only behind San Jose Earthquakes (12) for most in the league.
• Only San Jose (40) has more points than Sporting (36).
• Kansas City are 4-2-1 against teams with 30 or more points this season. The only two losses are from the hands (or is that feet?) of the Chicago Fire.
• KC's three road losses are the second fewest in the league this season, trailing only Chivas USA who have only lost once away from home.
• Since losing to Philadelphia 4-0 on June 23, Sporting KC are 4-1-1 in all competitions with just two goals allowed.
• Columbus was the third-straight team to fail to score on KC.
• Jimmy Nielsen and the defense have a shutout streak of 310 minutes in all competitions.
• Nielsen leads MLS with 11 wins. His eight shutouts are tied for the league lead with Joe Cannon.
• Saturday was the Dane's 25th MLS shutout with KC. His 1.10 goals against average is tied for third-best in MLS history among goalkeepers with a minimum of 4,000 minutes played.
• The captain, after the game: "I think overall it was a solid performance. I think we were very well organized. Of course you cant keep them from creating chances for 90 minutes because they are a very good team. I think they created their chances but unfortunately for them it wasnt their night. They hit the crossbar and had another few good chances but I am very happy with the win and with the way we reacted on the field. It is a performance to be proud of."
• The defense leads the league in fewest goal allowed this year with 17.
• Also: KC has the lowest goals against average in the league this year at 0.89.
• Also: KC leads the league in fewest shots against (202).
• When Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin start for Kansas City, the team is 19-2-3 all time.
• Myers, Collin and Nielsen are the only three players to appear in all 19 MLS regular season games.
• Iron-man Myers (which is really odd given his past injury history) has logged every MLS minute this season. Nielsen has done the same in net.
• Midfielder Graham Zusi missed his first game in all competitions on Saturday.
• Allowing no goals is usually quite good for KC. On the season, KC are 7-0-1 when keeping a clean sheet.
• Scoring two goals is usually quite good for KC too. On the season, KC are 7-0-1 when bagging two goals.
• Oddly enough, Kansas City has just two 2-0 wins.
• Head coach Peter Vermes had a lot of praise for his defense: "Whenever you play away from home you got to realize that the other team has the pressure on them to drive the game. They have to entertain their home fans and I think we were really solid defensively, we didnt give much away. I think it was hard for them to break us down and I think they got a little frustrated. We scored a great goal early on, we talked about finding some seams in behind them and it was a great run and finish by Jacob [Peterson] and a great ball by Peterson Joseph who was making his debut for us tonight. In the end we defended very well we really grinded the game out and that was huge for us."
• It was a different performance for KC. The Crew out-possessed KC (61.7%-38.3%), out-passed KC (439-269), out-shot (16-8) and out-dueled (55%-45%).
• Columbus held KC to its lowest shots (8) and shots on goal (2) marks for the year.
• Columbus coach Robert Warzycha: "We played against a very good team and they punished us for our mistakes. I think we made two mistakes, and they got two chances. Obviously, they scored both of them. Overall We had a lot of possession. They sat back and waited for the counter attack. We had some momentum, we created chances, but when we had those five minutes, we didn't score. You have to score."
• Midfielder Roger Espinoza left Sunday to join Honduras in training for the 2012 Olympic Games. Espinoza is one of three over-23 players on the Honduran squad.
• The tireless worker will be missed in KC's lineup. The team have a few options to replace him.
• Paulo Nagamura earned his fifth start on the season on Saturday. KC are 3-0-2 when he starts.
• Peterson Joseph earned his first MLS start on Saturday. He picked up his first assist and first MLS point.
• Speaking of missing midfielders (Part II): Julio Cesar, the team's highest-paid player and regular defensive midfielder, missed his fourth-consecutive match (in all competitions). He hasn't stepped on the field since leaving in the 82nd minute of the 1-0 loss to Chicago on June 29. Cesar was in the team's 18 on Saturday and was not listed on the injury report.
• Speaking of missing midfielders (Part III): Bobby Convey has not appeared for KC since the May 19th draw with Colorado. He is listed on the injury report with a calf strain.
• During Convey's absence, Jacob Peterson has used it as an opportunity to showcase his talent. Including his Open Cup appearances, Peterson has four goals and two assists in seven games.
• Over his last 92 matches before June 20, Peterson had just three goals. He's scored three in his last five MLS matches.
• Peterson left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. The early report is that it's a sprain.
• They'll need him to recover quickly. KC is 2-0-2 when he starts.
• Vermes continued to shuffle his lineup a bit during this tough summer stretch. Soony Saad and Joseph replaced C.J. Sapong and Zusi on Saturday. It was Saad's second MLS start this year; Peterson's second start with the team.
• During a 29-day stretch, Sporting KC have played nine competitive matches. The team is 5-2-2.
• Teal Bunbury, who came on as a second half substitute, is the 40th player in team history to accrue 4,000 or more regular season minutes in a KC uniform. He's one of 8 active players to do so.
• His 82nd minute goal is his third on the season. The goal ties him at 17 with Jimmy Conrad and Eddie Johnson for 10th most in team history.
• Kei Kamara picked up the assist on Bunbury's goal, his fourth of 2012 and his 17th all-time.
• Here are a few benchmarks this season. Kansas City is...
• ...9-1-2 when scoring first.
• ...8-0-0 when leading at the 75th-minute mark.
• ...9-4-3 when wearing the Sporting Blue kits.
• The team also leads the league in shots (306) and corner kicks (120).
• The franchise leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 6,955.