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Looking at Major League Soccer’s longest defensive streaks

Apr 18, 2013, 12:42 PM EDT

MLS Western Conference Championship - Real Salt Lake v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

At 519 minutes, Sporting Kansas City has constructed the 7th longest defensive scoreless streak in MLS history.

They’ll need just three scoreless minutes Saturday against the MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy to climb into the sixth spot. And then Peter Vermes’ side needs just 10 more minutes past that to become a Top Five member on this list of big defensive doings.

Here are six scoreless streaks still in front of SKC:

6. LA Galaxy, 521 minutes in 2006:

A tough pair of central defenders (Ugo Ihemelu and Tyrone Marshall) were given a lot of protection by Paulo Nagamura on this team of worker bees – where defense was clearly valued, but which didn’t make the playoffs because it couldn’t score.

5. FC Dallas, 531 minutes in 2011:

Ihemelu was front and center on this defense, as well. Protection in this case was provided from Daniel Hernandez, who patrolled with a certain menace just in front of the back line. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was also exceptional that year for FCD.

4. Real Salt Lake, 567 minutes in 2010:

The streak actually stretched over three difference months, beginning in late May and extending into mid-July. This one was all about center backs Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave (pictured above), backstopped more than capably by Nick Rimando and protected by U.S. international Kyle Beckerman.

3. Real Salt Lake, 568 minutes in 2010:

A second record-making streak is exactly why RSL absolutely hated last fall to trade away Olave, whose speed and anticipation covered for most defensive miscues from the team’s younger outside backs. Jason Kreis’ team allowed an all-time league low 20 goals that season.

2. Kansas City Wizards, 681 minutes in 2000:


All you need to know about this streak is that goalkeeper Tony Meola (pictured at right)  is the only non-attacker to ever win an MLS Most Valuable Player award. He was that good in 2000 in guiding the franchise (now called Sporting Kansas City, of course) to its only MLS Cup championship. Players of that team were also acutely aware of their roles, expectations and limitations.

1. Houston Dynamo, 727 minutes in 2007:

Like the Wizards of 2000, Dominic Kinnear’s Dynamo went on to win MLS Cup in this season. That bunch of defensive bruisers was tough as Kevlar … but look at the attackers and midfielders on the roster: It included Dwayne De Rosario, Brian Ching, Brad Davis, Stuart Holden, Alejandro Moreno, Chris Wondolowski, Ricardo Clark, Brian Mullan and Corey Ashe (then a midfielder). Teams were too busy on defense to attack! The Dynamo allowed just 23 goals that year, second lowest MLS total yet.

  1. dreadpirate82 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Hated seeing Olave go down last night. Huge fan of that guy. My brother-in-law, whom I am converting into a soccer fan, couldn’t believe how well he moved for a guy his size. Guy is a monster when healthy.

    That was quite a collection of talent in Houston, though a couple of those guys hadn’t really taken off yet. That’s a helluva streak to catch. SKC would have to shut out LA and Portland and some change against Chivas to match it. I don’t see it happening, but it’s certainly not out of the question.

    • Steve Davis - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Agree on Olave … check back later this afternoon; more on what that means for RBNY.

  2. ndnut - Apr 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Chivas would be easy, and Portscum is definitely doable for Sporting. But a shutout of LA Galaxy? That could be a bit tricky for them.

  3. wesbadia - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Wasn’t Sporting’s run last season without allowing even a shot on goal across more time? Not sure the exact minutes that lasted, but it was at least four games, which amounts to 360 alone. I forget when that ended, but they did go 7-0-0 to start the season…

    • wesbadia - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Ah, nevermind. Just looked it up. It was that goal in the third game against FCD that really did them in. If not for that, SKC would’ve easily had 3rd place at 605 minutes.

  4. charliej11 - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Hmmm, those are some pretty good teams.

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