The Full 90

Opening Day usually a good day for Sporting KC

Updated: 2013-02-26T03:25:41Z

Charles Gooch

The Kansas City Star

Fun fact to get this week started: Kansas City has lost just once in the season's opening game over the last 12 years. And that lone blemish was a wild 3-2 loss to Toronto FC back 2009 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

That's not surprising, as the franchise tends to do very well on opening day. In 17 season openers, Kansas City is 11-4-2. Since 2002, that record is 8-1-2.

This year, Sporting will open on the road in Philadelphia. Historically, KC are 3-3-0 in road openers -- the three wins have all come in the last five years.

You want more interesting opening-day related facts? Of course you do. Who wouldn't. (Also, I spent the time researching them, so I'm posting them.)

• This is Kansas City's first ever opener in Philadelphia -- the Union began MLS play in 2010.

• This will be the third year in a row that KC takes its show on the road to start the season. It's a shame too, Kansas City are 8-1-2 historically in home openers.

• The most common opening-day foes? D.C. United. Kansas City have faced D.C. seven times with a 5-2-0 record.

• After that: Colorado (2-0-1) and Chicago (1-0-1).

• C.J. Sapong has scored the team's first goal of the season for the last two years.

Against Chivas USA in 2011, Sapong hit his first career goal just 1:45 into his first career start.

Last year in D.C., he hit a dramatic late header to seal a 1-0 victory.

• In 2011, Omar Bravo (of Chivas Guadalajara fame) scored a double against Chivas USA (which is owned by the same group as Guadalajara).

In 2012, Sapong scored in D.C., which isn't too far from his hometown of Manassas, Va.

Does that mean we can expect good things from Philadelphia-native Bobby Convey on Saturday?

• In 2010, Sporting KC destroyed D.C. United 4-0 in one of the more thorough and stunning opening-day displays I've seen from KC.

The starting lineup that day: Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad, Matt Besler, Davy Arnaud, Ryan Smith, Stephane Auvray, Jack Jewsbury, Roger Espinoza, Josh Wolff, Kei Kamara.

The subs used that day: Korede Aiyegbusi, Jonathan Leathers and Teal Bunbury.

Only Nielsen and Besler will be in KC's opening day lineup this week. Harrington and Jewsbury are in Portland; Conrad and Wolff have retired; Arnaud is in Montreal; Espinoza and Kamara are in England; Smith is in Greece; Aiyegbusi and Leathers are gone; and who knows where Auvray is these days.

Amazing how much can change in just three years, huh?

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