The Leftovers: Sporting surging into playoffs
10/01/2012 10:37 AM
05/16/2014 7:51 PM
Can you remember last time Sporting Kansas City lost a match? Wait, don't open a new browser window and hit up Google. I'll tell you.
It was July 28.
By my calculations, that's 66 days now without a loss. Over that span, KC is 7-0-3 -- including the win in the U.S. Open Cup Final.
Want an even more impressive stat to chew on? Over those last 66 days, Kansas City has allowed justfive goals
. On the season, Kansas City has an MLS-best 0.81 goals against average. Over the last 66 days, KC has 0.50 GAA.
So yeah, with just three matches left in the MLS season and the playoffs already clinched, Kansas City are rolling. But they can't stop now -- not when Chicago and New York are still on hot on their tails and the Supporter's Shield race is a scant three points. (San Jose drew over the weekend and sit on 61 points.)
Here are some more interesting facts, stats, news, notes and quotes following KC's 2-0 win over Chicago and New York.
• Sporting is now 17-7-7 with 58 points on the season and hold a five-point lead over Chicago in the Eastern Conference.
• The 17 regulation wins are a franchise best, topping the 2000 Wizards (16).
• The 58 points are also a franchise best, topping the 2000 Wizards (57).
• In 2000, it's worth repeating since it sounds good, Kansas City won the Supporter's Shield and the MLS Cup. It's almost not arguably the best year a sports franchise in Kansas City has had this millennium.
• KC's winning percentage (.661) is on pace to best the 1997 Wizards (.656).
• With the win on Friday, Kansas City became the first Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff spot.
• The big match to watch this coming week that will impact KC's playoff spot: Chicago vs. New York on Saturday. A KC win and a draw in that match would guarantee that Sporting could do no worse than the second seed in the East. (Chicago has a game in hand.)
• Peter Vermes on reaching the playoffs again: "It absolutely was a goal, it's another one we check off at the bottom of our list. We're making our way up. The next thing would be to win the division so we have home field advantage through the playoffs if we're still fortunate to keep moving forward. So, if we're still in that position hopefully we can continue to keep the Supporters' Shield in our grasp."
BEHOLD THE POWER OF ZUSI
• KC's midfielder is having a really phenomenal season. You know that. But did you know that he's contributed to48.7 percent of Kansas City's goals?
* As that link shows, that number is higher than Thierry Henry (48.1%) and Chris Wondolowski (44.6%). Those are two of the leading MLS MVP candidates.*Thanks to ESPN's senior researcher Paul Carr -- who I suspect has a tie or two to the region -- for coming up with that one. If you don't follow him on Twitter, you should. He's full of great soccer-specific stats.
• On Friday, Zusi picked up both goals for KC. He now has five for the season, matching his MLS best from last year. Both goals are worth re-watching again.
Zusi's run onto this ball -- not to mention the finish -- was absolutely clinical. This is the kind of in-the-box movement KC has been missing since Omar Bravo left.