As I sift through the stats, notes and quotes from Sporting KC's 3-1 win over Vancouver last night, I'm at a loss to figure out which numbers are more impressive.
That Sporting Kansas City have won its first 7 games to start the season. Or that it beat five consecutive Western Conference opponents. Or that KC have earned 21 points on the season (a number the team didn't reach last season until July 6!). Or that Sebastien Le Toux's goal in the 79th minute was thefirst allowed in the run of play
this season. Or that a team actually out-shot Sporting. Or that Jimmy Nielsen had a streak of 415 minutes without allowing a goal. Or that it was the first time KC rolled out the dark blue (and much better looking) jerseys.
Or that, despite not playing its best, KC managed to win a road game by 2 goals.
I'm leaning toward that last one. But, you know what? Pretty much everything in this blog post is going to be impressive on some level.
• Sporting KC didn't win its 7th game of the season until August 3 last year.
• Sporting holds an 11-point lead over the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference.
• In fact Sporting KC have more points (21) than Chicago (5), Montreal (5), Philadelphia (4) ad Toronto (0) combined.
• Only New York (16) has more goals than KC (12).
• Sporting KC have allowed a league best two goals this season (that's a 0.28 per game average).
• To give you an idea of how crazy (and potentially impossible) it would be to keep that pace: If KC keeps allowing goals at that rate, it would allow 9 goals on the season.
• In 2011, Sporting KC scored 1.47 goals per game. Despite the perception of a sputtering offense (KC have four 1-0 wins), Sporting are actually ahead of that pace this year, averaging 1.71 goals per game.
• To give you an idea of how crazy (and potentially impossible) it would be to keep that pace: If KC keeps scoring goals at that rate, it would equate to 58 goals.
• Yeah, the projected goal differential based on those early averages? +49.
• In the modern era of Major League Soccer (from 2002 to 2012), the best goal differential in that time was Real Salt Lake's +25 in 2010.
• Sporting are still on pace for 102 points this season. Which is pretty crazy (and totally impossible).
• The Los Angeles Galaxy earned 67 points last year to win the Supporter's Shield. Sporting would need to earn 46 points over the next 27 games (about 1.7 points per game) to reach that mark.
• Last night, Kansas City became the first MLS club to play 500 regular season games. The team's all-time regular season record is 201-199-100.
• Aurelien Collin scored the first goal last night, his second consecutive match with a goal. On the season, Collin has scored three times -- tied for second-most on the team with C.J. Sapong.
• When Collin scores a goal, Sporting KC are 6-0-1.
• Kei Kamara, who leads the team with four goals this year, notched his 38th career MLS goal.
• Kamara leads the league in shots (36) and shots on goal (16).
• Jimmy Nielsen saw his shutout streak snapped at 415 minutes -- the longest in MLS this season. He still leads the league in wins (7) and shutouts (5).
• After making just one save in the last three games, the White Puma was forced into stopping six shots against Vancouver.
• Manager Peter Vermes: "The big difference for us tonight was the play of Jimmy (Nielsen). His saves at the end were tremendous and I think at the end of the day that's what saved us because the last ten minutes they were really on us."
• Chance Myers, Jimmy Nielsen, Kamara, Matt Besler and Roger Espinoza have all played the maximum 630 minutes this year. Seth Sinovic has played one minute less than the max. Collin and Graham Zusi have 599 and 595 minutes respectively.
• Kansas City leads the league in corner kicks, with 45.
• Bobby Convey left the game early in the second half with a tight left hamstring.
• There were plenty of fans who made the trip to Vancouver this week (between 70 and 100 made the trek). Vermes had this to say about the fans: "When we travelled in the past we really didn’t see too many fans, just a few here and there, but last year ever since we moved into the new stadium and the 10 games on the road, we've had a lot more support. When you're playing those games on the road you can get disconnected from your fans and you can lose respect for what you're playing for -- not only yourself but also for them. When they're there you don't want to disappoint them, so it's great for our organization that we have such committed people back home, and now to see them on the road is tremendous."