Let's harken back to the past for a minute before we begin. Sporting Park used to be more, or less, a fortress. In it's inaugural year, Sporting Kansas City held a 9-2-6 record, and was consistently ranked by players as one of the hardest places to play.
This year started much differently. After a pair of home wins to start the season, Sporting won just once more, with four home losses and a draw, from April 2nd to June 19th. Since June 19th, however, Sporting has been undefeated. Not just undefeated, but on a six game win streak, the current longest home win streak in MLS.
My general rule of thumb is that to make a decent run in the playoffs ("decent", not "dominate") is teams should be able to average taking two points at home and one point on the road every game. On home form alone that puts them in good shape, with 2.2 points per game at home after 14 played. Conversely, Sporting has won just twice away from home, better than the Portland Timber's zero road wins, but not stellar. Two wins and four draws puts them on 10 points from 13 games, sitting on 0.77 ppg away from home. Overall, SKC sits on 1.41 ppg, good enough for the fifth playoff spot in the west, but not stellar. The home form is encouraging, but for the tail end of the season, Sporting is going to need to find a way to grab an away game or two to earn some breathing room and avoid a wild card game.
Another noteworthy stat, in my book at least, is just how much SKC out passed the Whitecaps, notching 490 passes to Vancouver's 310 (per WhoScored, more on that in a second). The "official" box score has an advantage of "only" 464 to 287. Some of that bears out in possession (SKC out-possessed Vancouver by 61% to 39%, but SKC's passing accuracy also stood at 84%, vs 75% for Vancouver. Again, possession may play a part, with back passes and square balls counting.
But, speaking of WhoScored, I found this blurb on their site funny:
Vancouver Whitecaps : (Team has no significant strengths)
Sporting Kansas City : (Team has no significant weaknesses)
So there you have it.
Anyway, let's look at my numbers.
|Marcel de Jong||5.0|
|Sporting Kansas City|
Benny Feilhaber with a slight edge over The Answer numerically given the PK goal, but I think Mr. Peterson deserves a man of the match nod. What say you?
Anyway, re-match coming tomorrow, should be a chippy one, so break out you Labatt Blue.In which our heroes vanquish their Canadian foes and earn three much needed points, even if we had to wait until 9:00 PM for kickoff...