Good teams grind out results over a long season.
Which is exactly what Sporting Kansas City did Saturday night against Toronto. And it's exactly what Sporting Kansas City have been doing over the last five weeks.
Since the start of August, and with the huge target on their backs thanks to leading the Eastern Conference, KC are 4-0-1. For good measure, they also brought home the U.S. Open Cup in that span.
None of the wins have been very pretty -- a 1-0 snooze-fest in New England, a 1-1 draw with New York where Kei Kamara scored both goals and three one-goal games with a late second-half winner (including two post-80 minute winners). But points are points and Kansas City are earning them down the stretch. At the end of the year, no one will remember how well you played in all 34 games, only how many points you earned in those 34 games.
With just seven matches left this season, let's open up the Tupperware containers and dish out some leftover news, notes, quotes, stats and facts from Saturday night's 2-1 win over Toronto.
• Kansas City are now 15-7-5 on the season and holding down first-place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points.
• It's only the third time in franchise history that the franchise have reached 50 points.
• The franchise hasn't reached the 15 wins since 2000.
• Peter Vermes on the result: "The three points were well-deserved. We dominated from start to finish. Both goals were scored at the top of the box and that’s something we have been working on."
• The win pulled Kansas City four points ahead of New York in the Eastern Conference. Behind those two are Chicago (44 points with one game in hand), Houston (42 points), Columbus (42 points with one game in hand) and D.C. United (41 points).
• Sporting KC have the most wins (15) and best goal differential (+10) of all teams in the Eastern Conference this season.
• However, KC trails New York in most of the MLS tiebreakers. Here's how the two teams stack up with seven matches (two against each other) to play. The tiebreakers are listed in order of importance.
1. Goals for: NY 46 > KC 34
2. Goal differential: KC +10 > NY +7
3. Fewest disciplinary points: NY 405 > KC 439
4. Road goals: NY 19 > KC 17
5. Road goal differential: KC +3 > NY -8
6. Home goals: NY 27 > KC 17
7. Home goal differential: NY +15 > KC 7
• Kansas City are scoring about 1.26 goals per game. If they keep that current rate, they'll end up with less goals (42) than New York have right now. So, it's time to start scoring goals now if KC want to avoid the tiebreaker mess.
• The San Jose Earthquakes still hold pole position in the Supporter's Shield race after a commanding 4-0 win over Chivas USA on Saturday. The Quakes have 53 points and a shocking 56 goals and an even more astounding goal differential of +23.
• At Livestrong Sporting Park, KC are now 8-3-3 this season.
• Sporting are 17-5-9 all time at Livestrong Sporting Park.
• The last time that Sporting KC won a match when trailing at halftime BEFORE Saturday was all the way back on September 22, 2010.
• So, yeah, not surprisingly, KC are now 1-4-0 when trailing at the half this year.
• Vermes: "The patience from us in the second half was huge. What we were able to do was to be patient and circulate the ball. And that sometimes is the most difficult thing to do in the second half because you are so antsy to get the goal. To have that calmness and composure is great. We built it up in the second half to get those two goals and secure the win."
• Stat alert: Kansas City average 16.8 crosses from open play per MLS match this season. On Saturday, they pumped 31 crosses, tied for the second most in 2012.
• Paulo Nagamura scored his first regular-season goal for KC. It's the 10th in his MLS career and his first in almost two years.
• The goal came from just outside the 18-yard box, only the second goal that KC has scored outside the 18-yard box in 2012.
• The Brazilian tied a single-game career high in shots with five. He also picked up his first assist with Sporting.
• After the match, he had this to say: "We controlled the whole game, but sometimes it can be tough to break the other team down. When I scored that goal, it made us calmer and more confident. We feel great to get the three points because we are further on top now (in the Eastern Conference)."
• Toronto's Paul Mariner on the goal: "The simple fact of the matter is that he didn't hit it particularly well. The goalkeeper's setting up for a power shot and would imagine he's trying to hit it on the volley. And it hits on the ground and bounces up. Sometimes when you're on your top form the games break for you like that.
• Kansas City committed just five fouls on Saturday, a season low on the season. The club had entered the match averaging 13 fouls per game.
• Oriol Rosell (Or is Uriol? Or is it just Uri?) entered the match for Julio Cesar in the 78th minute. It was his second appearance for KC this season.
• In just over 11 minutes on the field, Rosell picked up his first MLS goal to win the game for KC.
• UPDATE: Rosell becomes thethird
youngest goal scorer in club history at 20 years, 1 month and 26 days. Soony Saad and Yura Movsisyan were both younger.
• Vermes on the Spaniard: "He has great qualities as a player. I jokingly told him 'We brought you in here to be a midfielder, not a center forward.' What he does well is that he circulates the ball and reads the game well. I have been delighted by his competitiveness going one-on-one. His game is much more than I thought it was and he fits in very well with how we play."
• Rosell's goal was KC's fifth game-winning goal after the 75the minute this season.
• Dom Dwyer made his MLS debut, entering the match in the 86th minute for C.J. Sapong.
• KC has allowed 24 goals in 27 matches this season. That's a 0.88 goals against average and it's the best in MLS this season.
• At home, KC have allowed just 10 goals in 14 matches.
• Jimmy Nielsen -- the only KC player to log every minute this season -- picked up his 15th win and tied Tony Meola (2000) for second-most single-season wins by a KC 'keeper.
• His 0.88 goals allowed average is on pace to beat Meola's club mark of 0.92 set in 2000.
• Lightning Round! Sporting KC is
• 6-0-1 when scoring two goals in 2012 and 6-2-2 when allowing one goal this season.
• 13-6-5 when wearing Sporting Blue this season.
• 13-5-3 when outshooting an opponent in 2012.
• 8-5-3 when the temperature is above 75 degrees at kickoff in 2012.
• 8-5-3 in the central time zone this season.
• 9-5-3 against the Eastern Conference this season.
• 12-6-4 on grass surfaces this season.
• Sporting leads MLS with 442 shots this season and have allowed the fewest shots against with 260.
• KC outshot Toronto FC 24-6 on Saturday and have outshot their opponents by 10 or more shots 14 times in 2012.
• Kei Kamara, KC's shot-taking ringleader, took nine shots on Saturday. He leads MLS with 109 this season and has the second-most single-season shots in club history (behind only Preki's 140).
• Aurelien Collin missed Saturday’s match due to caution accumulation.
• The attendance at Saturday’s match was 18,481, which marks the 13th sell-out of the season for Sporting KC.
• Thanks to the FIFA international break this weekend, Kansas City are off this weekend and won't be back in action until Friday, Sept. 14 against Houston.