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Sporting Jersey Records

A look at Sporting Kansas City’s record wearing their different uniforms

SKC's new secondary jersey was a big hit
SKC’s new secondary jersey was a big hit
Thad Bell

On Monday, Sporting Kansas City unveiled their new primary jersey, Hoops 3.0. Ahead of that I’d put out a tweet with the club’s record in league play and in all competitions wearing the different jerseys the club has worn during the Sporting era. Given some of the responses to that tweet I went back to my numbers and started breaking them down further. So, for those that are interested, the below is a statistical look at Sporting’s record in every jersey they wear, along with some interesting points that I came across while working on breaking the data down.

League Play Overall

Let’s start by looking at league play and Sporting’s record in those jerseys. First, while I tracked Sporting’s record in the one-off parley jerseys, I don’t consider them the “best” or “worst” jersey simply because of a lack of data wearing those jerseys. The jersey that Sporting has the best record wearing in league play is the club’s current secondary jersey, the Swiss dots, Sporting went 6-1-1 (W-L-D) in that jersey in league play, an average of 2.38 points per game (PPG). That’s followed by the first Hoops jersey worn for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Wearing that jersey, Sporting averaged 2 PPG, going 10-5-0 wearing that jersey.

The jersey worn the most in league play was the club’s original light blue jersey, worn for a total of 58 games. That jersey has the third best record for the club as Sporting went 28-12-18 wearing that jersey, averaging 1.76 PPG.

At the other end of the spectrum, the jersey with the worst league record was the white argyle (2015-2016), which KC finished with a 5-7-5 record, 1.18 PPG wearing the third jersey. The second worst record was worn during the same stretch of time as the white argyle, the graph paper primary jersey (2015-2016) finishing with a 12-15-9 record, 1.25 PPG.

The interesting thing with the graph paper kit is the discrepancy between the record at home and the record on the road. At home wearing the graph paper jersey, Sporting finished with a respectable 10-3-5 record, finishing just under 2 PPG at 1.94. On the road though KC was really bad wearing the graph paper, going 2-12-4 wearing that jersey, averaging just .6 PPG wearing that jersey, the worst record on the road by any jersey other than the parley.

In terms of goals, Sporting averaged six wearing the parley white jersey in a 6-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps and averaged three goals per game (GPG) in the two league games they wore the black argyle third jersey. Outside of those two, the top scoring jersey is the club’s current secondary jersey again, the Swiss dots as the club has scored 16 goals in the eight games played wearing the jersey, giving it a GPG of 2. After that is the black jersey from 2018 and 2019 where they averaged 1.58 GPG. Second was a tie between the club’s light blue with white collar jersey the club wore in 2017 and 2018 and the roadkill/tire tread jersey worn in 2019 and 2020 as they averaged 1.53 GPG wearing those jerseys.

On goals conceded, it’s unfortunately two of the higher scoring jerseys that are also at the top of the goals conceded list, first is the roadkill/tire tread averaging 1.75 goals against per game (GAPG) followed by the black jersey at 1.69. Those are the only two jerseys Sporting has worn that averaged over 1.5 GAPG. The fewest goals allowed is the Swiss dots again with just .5 GAPG followed by the original Hoops and the first light blue jersey both with an average of .93 GAPG.

At home, like overall, the leader right now is the club’s current secondary jersey, the Swiss dots with a perfect 4-0-0 record at home in league play wearing that jersey. That’s followed again by Hoops at 6-2-0 (2.25 PPG) and Hoops 2.0 (2016-2017) at 6-1-2 and 2.22 PPG. The Hoops 2.0 jersey is one of two jerseys with only one home loss along with the light blue with white collar jersey the club worn in 2017 and 2018. Two other jerseys also only have one loss, but they were worn just twice each, the club’s original dark blue jersey (2011-2013) and the club’s first third jersey, the black argyle. KC finish with a 1-1 record wearing both jerseys.

The interesting thing about the dark blue jersey is that it was worn for three seasons after KC transitioned to the Sporting brand from the Wizards. Yet even though it was worn for three seasons, the only primary/secondary jersey to be worn in league play less is the current secondary, the Swiss dots. The original dark blue was worn just 14 times in league play finishing with a 5-5-4 record overall, 1-1 at home and 4-4-4 on the road.

Overall, at home though KC tends to have a strong home record with only one jersey having a losing record at home, the 2019-2020 primary, the roadkill/tire tread jersey had a 5-7-3 record at home. The only other jersey that was worn for more than four losses at home was the state line uniform worn in 2013-2014 with a 10-7-9.

The highest scoring team in at home is again the Swiss dots averaging 2.5 GPG across four games played in those jerseys. After that you have the light blue and white collar jersey which averaged 1.9 GPG in 20 games wearing the jersey. The lowest scoring jersey oddly enough was one of the best in terms of record as the original Hoops jersey which had a 6-2-0 record averaged just 1.38 GPG.

When it comes to goals against, Sporting have yet to allow a goal at home wearing the Swiss dots, four games in league play without allowing a goal. After the Swiss dots comes the Hoops 2.0 jersey which allowed .78 GAPG in the nine games it was worn at home. The most impressive one though is third place, the original light blue jersey which averaged .79 GAPG in 33 games, the most a single jersey was worn at home. The worst home jersey in terms of goals allowed was the roadkill/tire tread jersey as the club allow 2 GAPG at home while wearing that jersey. The next highest GAPG average that was more than a couple games was the graph paper jersey that averaged 1.28 GAPG.

The interesting thing before going into the road records in league play is that the original black argyle jersey was never worn on the road, not just in league play, but in all competitions. It’s the only jersey that was worn more than once that was never worn by the club on the road.

On the road in league play, the Swiss dots secondary jersey has only been worn twice on the road, with a 1-0-1 record, the best PPG of any jersey worn, but given its limited wear on the road, the best would fall to the Hoops jersey which had a 4-3-0 record when worn on the road. The previously mentioned graph paper jersey has the worst away record with just .6 PPG when worn followed by the white argyle which has the fewest wins of any jersey, one, and a 1-4-3 record, .8 PPG.

Worn the most on the road was Sporting’s state line jersey, worn 27 times with a 13-10-4 record, a 1.6 PPG. The state line jersey is one of two that Sporting has worn wear they have a better PPG on the road than at home. The state line jersey averaged 1.5 PPG at home and 1.6 on the road. The other jersey with a better road record is the roadkill/tire tread jersey which averaged 1.2 PPG at home but had a 1.3 PPG on the road (6-7-3).

Goals on the road are obviously harder to come by, and the GPG average is definitely lower, though only three jerseys averaged less than a goal per game. The best goal scoring jersey that’s played more than a couple games was the state line jersey, where KC averaged 1.3 GPG wearing it. After that came the roadkill/tire tread jersey that finished with 1.19 GPG. The lowest scoring jersey for Sporting on the road was the Hoops 2.0 with just .86 GPG followed closely by the white argyle .88 and graph paper .89.

League by season

When it comes to single league seasons, the best season goes to Sporting’s original Hoops jersey, which finished with a 5-1-0 record, 2.5 PPG in the 2015 season. It’s followed by the Swiss dots jersey last year and it’s 6-1-1 record, 2.38 PPG. The worst record goes to the club’s original secondary dark blue jersey which finished with a 0-3-1 record, .25 PPG in the club’s first season in under the Sporting name. That’s the only season where a jersey has finished with under a point per game average. The next two lowest were the white argyle in 2016 and the club’s black secondary worn in 2019 which finished with a 3-6-3 and 3-6-4 record respectively, finishing with an average of one point per game.

The most GPG would go to the 2020 Swiss dots and the 2 GPG average, followed by the 2018 light blue jersey with white collar that averaged 1.8 GPG over 20 games that year. The lowest GPG went to the 2016 graph paper jersey, which was the only season Sporting averaged under a goal per game wearing a jersey as KC scored just 12 goals in 13 games wearing that jersey for an average of .92 GPG.

With GAPG, KC had three seasons where the club averaged half a goal against per game as the 2013 dark blue secondary (two goals against in four games), the 2015 Hoops season (three goals in six games), and the 2020 Swiss dots (four goals in eight games) all finished with .5 GAPG. The dark blue jersey has the distinction of the fewest goals against as well as the most, as the club’s 2011 season in that jersey saw them allow nine goals in the four games played for an average of 2.25 GAPG. Second in that list was the 2019 black secondary jersey as KC allowed 28 in 13 games for 2.15 GAPG.

In play at Children’s Mercy Park, the Swiss dots 2020 season was the best in terms of PPG (3), GPG (2.5), and GAPG (0), finishing with a 4-0-0 record, 10 goals scored and zero conceded. The four games without a loss though isn’t the most in a single season, the light blue and white collar jersey worn in the 2017 season finished with zero losses in 12 games at CMP. Sporting went 7-0-5 that season at home for 2.17 PPG, the 1.83 GPG was second behind the 2020 Swiss dot season.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sporting’s other 2020 jersey, the roadkill/tire tread jersey had the worst single season in terms of PPG as KC went just 1-3-1 at home wearing the jersey, just .8 PPG. That season the jersey also had the worst GAPG average with KC allowing 2.4 goals a game wearing that jersey at home. It did not finish as the worst in GPG though as that honor went to the Hoops jersey worn in 2014 as KC averaged just 1.2 goals (six in five games) wearing that jersey.

On the road Sporting’s original dark blue jersey finished with the best PPG record in 2012 going 3-0-2 wearing that jersey. This was one year after the same jersey finished with the second worst PPG record in 2011 as Sporting went 0-3-1 wearing it on the road that year for .25 PPG. The worst single season in terms of PPG was the graph paper jersey worn in 2016 as Sporting went 0-5-1 on the road wearing that for .17 PPG.

That 2016 season with the graph paper was also the club’s worst season in terms of GPG on the road as in the six games KC wore the graph paper jersey in league play, they failed to score a goal in all six of them. The only other jersey KC wore that they failed to score in on the road was the white argyle jersey during the 2015 season when they failed to score in the two games, they wore it. The season with the most GPG on the road was the 2018 black secondary jersey as KC averaged 2.2 GPG, scoring 11 goals in nine games wearing it.

The season with the lowest goals against average also belonged to the 2012 dark blue jersey as KC allowed just two goals in the five games, they wore the jersey for a .4 GAPG average. That was followed by the 2016 season and the Hoops 2.0 jersey where KC allowed three goals in five games for a .6 GAPG average. The most goals allowed belongs to KC’s 2019 black jersey where KC allowed 16 goals in six games for a 2.67 GAPG average. That was followed by the original dark blue jersey’s 2011 season where Sporting allowed nine goals in four games for a 2.25 GAPG average.

Outside league play

You can look at the tables for each jersey in all competitions above, I won’t go through the top in each category here like I did in league play, but I will specifically look at what jerseys did best outside of league play.

When you look at the record in knock out competitions, MLS Cup Playoffs, US Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, and the MLS is Back Knockout Rounds, the one thing that really stands out is the success that Sporting had wearing the white argyle outside of league play. While in league play the white argyle was the worst jersey in terms of points per game, in competitions outside of league play Sporting technically didn’t suffer a loss. The PK shootout in Portland technically goes down as a draw in official records. The white argyle finished second among jerseys that were worn more than one time, finishing with a 3-0-2 record.

The best record though went to the original hoops jersey as Sporting lost just once in six times wearing that jersey, winning the other five times. The original hoops jersey also had the most goals per game at 2.67 and was one of three with a GAPG average under one at .83.

While Sporting was very good outside league play wearing the white argyle, the opposite has been true so far for the team’s current secondary, the Swiss dots, as in the four games the team has worn that jersey in knockout competitions, they’ve failed to win all four, going 0-2-2, winning both the draws in a shootout. They’ve averaged one goal per game in those four games, tied with the black argyle and graph paper jerseys for the lowest GPG average. The 2.25 goals against is the second highest, tied with the club’s prior secondary black jersey. The highest GAPG average goes to the roadkill/tire tread jersey, which averaged 2.4 GAPG in the five games it has been worn in knockout competitions. It doesn’t help that jersey that it was worn for both legs of the club’s Champions League series against Monterrey.

In the end the jersey a team wears really doesn’t make a difference on the field, but there are certainly jerseys that are thought of more fondly than others because of how the team has performed wearing them. Jerseys that were worn when trophies were lifted like the state line jersey worn in MLS Cup, or the white argyle worn when the club lifted the 2015 US Open Cup are always looked upon more fondly. On the other end of the spectrum, jerseys worn when the team player poorly, whether they are great designs or not will leave a negative feeling about the jersey when fans think about it. How the new hoops 3.0 is remember as well as the Swiss dots in its second season will be written this year.