The big statistic around Major League Soccer this week is the one showing that Sporting KC has not allowed a single shot on goal in the last 245 minutes — a league record — heading into its top-of-the-table showdown with RSL on Saturday night.
But RSL coach Jason Kreis believes that's a little misleading.
“When you watch the games, they're allowing chances at goal,” Kreis said. “But the quality in the final third of their opponents hasn't been great yet. So I think, for us, if we continue to do what we have been doing, we won't have a problem. We'll get some shots on goal.”
Kreis agreed that the statistic can be misleading, because “shots on goal” — by definition — are shots that would go into the net if not stopped by an opponent. Even a shot that hits the crossbar does not count as a shot on goal.
“Probably a much more worthwhile statistic would be chances at goal,” he said. “That would cover things like a missed cross, when there's a glaring opportunity. A cross comes in, there's a glaring opportunity to score, and the guy whiffs it. Well, that doesn't even count as a shot. But for me, that's a chance at goal that was very dangerous and on a different day, it is a goal.”
All the same, Sporting KC has allowed only one goal in five games so far this season, in a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas on March 25.
“They've done a really good job pressuring opponents into mistakes,” RSL's Will Johnson said, “and getting that first goal and just being relentless from there. They play good team defense, they don't allow a lot of chances, they don't allow a whole lot of shots. So that's a really good recipe for keeping a lot of shutouts.”