These things are hard to do: Pick up points on the road in MLS; keep Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper, Tim Cahill, et al off the scoreboard; and announce with a straight face a sell-out crowd when you can make out the club logo on the seats.
The Kansas City Star
And, yet, all three things happened on Saturday. So, despite how poorly KC played (which they did) they picked up a point on the road and held the potent New York offense scoreless for the third-straight game.*
*Kei Kamara's own goal at Livestrong Sporting Park was the only "goal" scored for New York against KC this season.
As for the "sell-out," if you can stomach the music and Shep Messing, watch the main highlight video and notice how the stands facing the cameras never even appears to fill out.
Here's a healthy dose of leftover news, notes, quotes, facts and stats from Sporting KC's 0-0 draw in New York.
Playoffs, Scenarios and Hot Streaks
• Sporting KC is now 17-7-9 on the season with 60 points. That's still good for first in the Eastern Conference.
• This is the first 60-point season in Kansas City franchise history.
• Kansas City's magic number to clinch first place and home-field advantage throughout the Eastern Conference is just ONE. A win would be great, but a draw will do it on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Union.
• Worst-case scenario (KC loses to Philadelphia on Wednesday, D.C. beats Chicago on Saturday), KC is the second seed in the East because D.C. holds the first tie-breaker (goals scored) over KC (52 > 40) should they both finish on 60 points.
• Sporting KC is now unbeaten in 11-straight matches, which is the longest active unbeaten streak in MLS this year.
Shots, Shots, Shots, Everybody!
• On Saturday, New York out-Sportinged* Sporting Kansas City with a high-pressure system that generated double-digit shots and an overwhelming amount of ball possession.
*Yes, I just did the grammatically unthinkable and turned a gerund into a past-tense verb. Sorry.
• Peter Vermes after the match: "I thought they (New York) were good. They had a lot more energy than they had in prior games. They had to secure their spot for the MLS playoffs, and I think they played with a lot more energy tonight. I said to the team it was going to be a playoff atmosphere tonight. It was a good match. It was a great battle for us for sure."
• New York out-shot Kansas City 10 to 6. It's the first time in the last 14 matches that KC was outshot. (That was waaaaaay back on July 14th when Columbus outshot KC but lost 2-0.)
• It's the sixth-time that KC have been outshot in 33 matches in 2012.
• KC is 2-1-3 in those games.
• Kansas City set season lows in shots (6) and shots on goal (1).
• Despite the imbalance Saturday, Sporting still leads MLS in shots taken (529), fewest shots allowed (317) and fewest shots on goal (99).
• This is the best shot-taking season in KC history. The previous record for most shots in a single season was 514 way back in 1996.
• Kansas City finishes the season 8-4-5 on the road this season for a club-record 29 points away from home.
• Since 2000, only three MLS teams have earned more than 29 points on the road in a single season.
• On the road in 2012, Kansas City posted 8 shutouts on the road. They've only allowed 15 goals in their 17 road matches!
The Defense (Rarely) Rests
• Kansas City has allowed 26 goals in 33 matches for a 0.79 goals against average -- tops in the league this year.
• The team record for fewest goals allowed in a season is 29, set in 2000.
• The team is 23-2-8 all-time with the starting defense of Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic.
• It's worth underlining a few Besler-focused facts here. In my book, not many MLS defenders have been better this season. (The only others in that conversation are Vancouver's Jay DeMerit, Philadelphia's Carlos Valdes and Los Angeles' Omar Gonzalez.)
• KC is 16-5-8 with 14 shutouts and a 0.71 goals-against average when Besler starts. They're 1-1-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average when he's out of the lineup. (Including the 4-0 debacle in Philadelphia when he was recovering from an appendectomy.)
• What's more, they've allowed just 21 goals with Besler on the field this season.
• He's even better against the best teams. Against teams in playoff position in 2012, Kansas City is 8-2-4 with Besler in the starting XI and a 0.68 goals-aagainst average!
• He certainly might in the running for most valuable to his team, right?
Nielsen's Extremely Massive Outing
• Well, what about Jimmy Nielsen? He's got some impressive MVP-credentials too.
• On Saturday, The White Puma set a club record for minutes played in a season (2,970). The previous record was 2,916 shared by Peter Vermes and Nick Garcia in 2000.
• Speaking of records set in 2000 that could fall
• Nielsen's 0.79 goals-against average is on pace to break Tony Meola's club mark of 0.92.
• He is one victory (17) and one shootout (15) from the all-time MLS mark.
• This is, without a doubt, the future MLS Save of the Week.
• No, wait, this is the future MLS Save of the Week.
• This one wasn't too shabby either.
The Lightning Round
Sporting Kansas City is
9-2-6 when the temperature is below 75 degrees at kickoff in 2012.
• 6-1-2 in the Eastern time zone this season.
• 11-5-7 against the Eastern Conference this season.
• 14-6-8 on grass surfaces this season.
• 7-2-7 when tied at the half.
• 3-1-2 when wearing dark indigo.
• 11-0-4 when allowing zero goals this season.
• 0-4-4 when scoring zero goals this season.
• Kansas City is now the MLS leader in all-time ties with 108.
• Kansas City is 4-2-3 when making just two subs in 2012.
• Kansas City has gone 62-straight MLS matches (including playoffs) without conceding a goal on a corner kick.
• Bobby Convey made his first appearance since August 4th as a second-half substitute.
• Matt Besler surpassed 9,000 MLS minutes (including playoffs) in his career during Saturday's match. He also picked up his 100th MLS start (including playoffs).
• The only other current Sporting KC player with more than 100 MLS matches played is Michael Harrington.
• Chance Myers surpassed 6,000 minutes played during the regular season on Saturday.