Consecutive minutes to start a Major League Soccer season without scoring

    When every MLS season begins, there are a handful of records that teams look to avoid. At or near the top of the list is consecutive minutes without scoring to start the season.

    Perhaps it’s injuries, or maybe it’s indicative of a futile offseason that left the attacking cupboard bare. A congested fixture list or plain old bad luck could be driving forces, too. 

    The good news (for most of the league) is only one team still carries this concern for the 2020 season: NYCFC. When the regular season was suspended on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cityzens were blanked twice on the road, first at Columbus and then at Toronto.

    But they have a long, long way to go before taking this undesired record’s mantle, with their 180 minute-mark far off the current leaders. The below table shows the top three teams, with two exceeding four full matches.

    Team Minutes Duration
    Toronto FC 383 April 7, 2007 – May 12, 2007
    Colorado Rapids 361 March 7, 2015 – April 10, 2015
    Kansas City Wizards 356 March 20, 1999 – April 10, 1999

    The top honor (if you can call it that) goes to Toronto during 2007, their expansion season when they sat bottom of the entire table. Their first goal was a memorable one, when Danny Dichio infamously found net at BMO Field.

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    As for the other two teams, Colorado’s 2015 season ended with the club bottom of the Western Conference standings. In 1999, Kansas City finished in the same spot. 

    That cellar-dweller trend might inspire dread for some NYCFC fans, but it’s difficult to envision a scoreless drought persisting. They topped the Eastern Conference standings last year, and have an offense that’s led by Heber, Maxi Moralez, Alexandru Mitrita and others. Plus, NYCFC had a busy start to the season in advancing to the Concacaf Champions League Round of Eight.

    The Ronny Deila-led side should be just fine, though the record does loom. MLS’s other 25 sides are safe.

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