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Sporting KC’s 2019 Statistical Leaders

It was a rough year but there were some standout performances.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve heard it for months. Sporting Kansas City simply weren’t very good in 2019. They got off to an amazing start in the CONCACAF Champions League and a pretty solid start in Major League Soccer (MLS) before ultimately falling apart for various reasons. Injuries. Age. Fatigue. Tactics. Simple regression. The list goes on.

Despite that, some players had great individual years (that they’d undoubtedly trade for team success). And some surprising players appear on a list or two. Let’s take a look at the top three (or so) players in a multitude of categories.

Games Played

  1. Ilie Sanchez, Tim Melia and Felipe Gutierrez (32)
  2. Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell (28)

Tell me you aren’t surprised that Salloi is tied for fourth on the team in appearances with some of his other (less than favorable) stats coming up below.

Game Started

  1. Melia (32)
  2. Gutierrez (31)
  3. Graham Zusi (27)

Minutes Played

  1. Melia (2,880)
  2. Gutierrez (2,722)
  3. Ilie (2,509)
  4. Matt Besler & Russell (2,115)

Goals Scored

  1. Gutierrez (12)*
  2. Russell (9)
  3. Nemeth (8)
*five from PKs (Ilie was the only other play to score a PK in league play)

Expected Goals (xG)

  1. Gutierrez (9.72)
  2. Nemeth (9.58)
  3. Salloi (6.90)
  4. Gerso (5.46)
  5. Russell (5.43)

Best xG Differential

  1. Russel (+3.57)
  2. Gutierrez (+2.28)
  3. Yohan Croizet (+1.39)

There was no one else on the entire team with more than +0.05. Yikes!

Worst xG Differential

  1. Salloi (-5.90)
  2. Gerso (-3.46)
  3. Nemeth (-1.58)
  4. Zusi (-1.33)
  5. Roger Espinoza (-1.25)

Goals per 90 Minutes

  1. Nemeth (0.46)
  2. Gutierrez (0.40)
  3. Russell (0.38)
  4. Gianluca Busio (0.29)
  5. Croizet (0.22)

And because it has to be shown, Daniel Salloi put up a abysmal 0.06 g/90 number (11th on the team — only 12 people scored goals). Halloween was yesterday but... Frightening!

Home Goals

  1. Russell (8)
  2. Nemeth (7)
  3. Gutierrez (3)
  4. Busio and Croizet (2)

Road Goals

  1. Gutierrez (9)
  2. Nine players (1)

That’s pretty stunning to see that Guti did so much of his scoring on the road.


  1. Russell (9)
  2. Gerso (6)
  3. Ilie (5)
  4. Espinoza and Gutierrez (3)

Expected Assists (xA)*

  1. Russell (6.76)
  2. Gerso (4.81)
  3. Gutierrez (3.44)

Side Note: Maybe Gerso didn’t create as many direct opportunities as it appeared. That said, I’d argue he still stretches the game and makes space for players which doesn’t show up in the stat line. Don’t @ me Khiry Shelton fans.

*This category is a bit wonky as American Soccer Analysis doesn’t count secondary assists in this number but MLS tracks secondary assists. Almost all variance between assists and xA can be factored in with those missing secondary assists, so I didn’t show the xA versus actual assist stat.

Goalkeeper stats (outside of GP, GS and minutes) are absent because it’s all Tim Melia. The sample size for Eric Dick and Adrian Zendejas is a single game each, so even averages are brutally unfair. A future story on just Melia and his year-over-year stats would be more useful. Feel free to write it as a Fan Post.

What stands out to you about the stat leaders (or losers in some categories)? Personally, Yohan’s appearance the positive xG differential and his g/90 were much better than expected, especially considering he started a slew of games at left back.