The Full 90

Leftovers: It's hard to feel good about nil-nil

Updated: 2012-07-23T18:23:17Z

Charles Gooch

The Kansas City Star

There aren't a lot of things more depressing in soccer than a scoreless draw. (Well, besides dealing with people who troll message boards to hate on the game that is.)

Don't get me wrong, there is such a thing as an entertaining 0-0 draw. It's just that, Saturday night's goalless slug fest between Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution was absolutely, positive, certainly not one of them.

There were just two quality chances for both teams -- including a shot by the Revs that only goal-line technology could have sorted out.

It's the second time this season that a Sporting match has ended 0-0 (both games have come at Livestrong Sporting Park). What's more, Kansas City hasn't scored a goal at home in its last three matches.

That the team is suffering a scoring drought seems only appropriate given the scorching arid patch of drought-riddled Earth we call home right now.

Here are more relevant stats, facts, notes and quotes from the match.

• Sporting KC is now 11-6-4 on the year and 6-2-2 at home.

• That's good for 37 points on the year which is good for second place in the Eastern Conference.

1.76 points per game through 21 games. That's also good for second in the Eastern Conference.

• Only Montreal has played more games (23) in the Eastern Conference than KC.

• Manager Peter Vermes: "It's tight at the moment with a couple teams but that's the way it goes sometimes. I'd like to think we're in a pretty good position at the moment. We're right there at the top of the table and we're playing for the Open Cup final in a couple weeks. We have not had any real training in probably a month now. We're looking forward to getting a week in of training because we'll have a different team on the field come Tuesday night. Then we'll do the same thing next week and I think it will be a big help to us."

• Here's the positive spin on the 0-0 draw: Jimmy Nielsen notched his ninth shutout this year -- the most in MLS this year.

• What's more, only Salt Lake's Nick Rimando has more regular-season shutouts since 2010 than Nielsen's 26.

• His career goals allowed average in MLS is 1.09. That's second best in league history for a 'keeper with more than 4,000 minutes played.

• The shutout continues a positive trend for Sporting: The team has conceded just five goals in 10 home matches in 2012. That's the fewest in the league.

19 goals allowed. That's also a league best.

• Kansas City is unbeaten in the last seven matches against New England.

• It's the first time in the last four matches that both teams ended the match with 11 players not he field.

• Nielsen had this to say after the match: "The first half definitely wasn't our best half. We played too slow and gave them too much space. New England was having it too easy. Luckily we came out with a better attitude in the second half. We completely dominated the second half and created a couple good chances — Matt Reis made an amazing save on a header. We had a lot of possession, but it was just not our night. It was a great second half effort, but overall I'm unsatisfied."

• Speaking of Reis, my Doctor Who fans might recognize him for what he truly is… a Sontaran.

• Now, let's talk about the bad part of the 0-0 draw.

• It's the sixth time that an opponent has shut out KC this year.

• It's the fourth time since June 23.

• Sporting took 16 shots against New England. Only 6 were on target.

331 shots on goal. That's good for most in the league.

• This is where that gets alarming. While KC leads the league in chances, it's closer to the bottom of the pack than the top in goals scored.

26 goals scored. That trails New York (37), D.C. United (34), Houston (31) and Montreal (30) in the Eastern Conference.

• In fact, KC is the only team in the top five for shots this year in the entire league that doesn't have 30+ goals -- San Jose (326 shots, 44 goals), Montreal (307/30), Los Angeles (289/38) and Salt Lake (273/33).

• Vermes: "I think we had 29 crosses during the game, but we have to connect on the end of those. There were too many balls that went in front of the goal and also past the goal and almost out the other side for a throw in and that means that we're not getting enough guys in the box. It's something that we have to take responsibility for and do a lot better with because we're right around it we just need the final touch."

• It was Vermes' 100th match (including playoffs) in charge of Sporting KC.

• Forward Kei Kamara took four shots on Saturday. He now has 276 during his Sporting career and that's good for fourth in all-time franchise history.

• Kamara leads all MLS players with 82 shots and 35 shots on target this year.

• Bobby Convey made his first start since May 19.

• Vermes: "What [Bobby] brings to the game is a real intelligence and great service. He had some very good service in the game, maybe a little off on one or two - but he's a dangerous player for us. I have to be careful with him because I really wanted him to go more because he was dangerous but I had to take him out at 55-60 minutes because I don't want to overdo it with him because he hasn't played in two months."

• In addition to Convey, the starting lineup saw three changes from the 2-1 loss to Houston last week. Convey replaced Peterson Joseph, Graham Zusi took over for Michael Thomas and C.J. Sapong was swapped in over Teal Bunbury.

• Convey surpassed 15,000 minutes (including playoffs). That's most among active Sporting KC players.

• While we're talking minutes: Aurelien Collin surpassed 4,000 in MLS; Jacob Peterson and Matt Besler topped 8,000. All three numbers include playoffs.

• Zusi returned to the starting lineup after a two-match absence. He also surpassed the 5,000 minutes played mark in MLS.

• Zusi leads MLS with 85 corners. The team leads the league with 128.

• Collin and Nielsen are the only two players to play in all 21 MLS regular season matches in 2012.

• 19,080 was the announced attendance on Saturday -- the eight-straight sellout in 2012.

• The average attendance at Livestrong Sporting Park this year is 19,214.

• Now, my favorite quick hit numbers. This season, Sporting KC is…

• 10-5-3 on natural grass playing surfaces.

• 6-4-2 in the Central time zone.

• 3-1-2 in July in all competitions.

• 9-4-2 when outshooting an opponent.

• 4-4-2 when the temperature is over 75 degrees -- it was 99 at kickoff.

• 0-4-2 when held scoreless.

• 9-5-4 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms.

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